At the turn of the 19th century, A.B. Graham - the founder of 4-H - observed that youth were not being treated very well. Youth were mistakenly viewed as mini adults which resulted in their exploitation for labor and commerce. Their only opportunity for personal development outside of church and school was through contests, most of which were over-focused on competition.
As an early pioneer in organized youth development, Graham designed the 4-H program as a mix of activities and relationships to meet the appropriate developmental needs of young people. This well-rounded approach has stood the test of time! Today we build on that foundation by engaging youth in a variety of activities, including competitions. Our approach is ever mindful of Graham’s design, so even in competition a culture of positive youth development remains the highest good.
To discover the main venues that our 4-H'ers ‘get their competitive juices flowing', check out the links to our state 4-H competitive events below.
View resources and results from the State 4-H Livestock Judging and Skill-A-Thon competitions held Sept. 15–16, 2023 in Brookings, South Dakota.
View important dates, updates, results and resources for state shooting sports events.
View schedules, resources and results for the 2023 South Dakota State Fair taking place Aug. 31-Sept. 4 in Huron, South Dakota.
View contestant resources and results for the State 4-H Dog Show.
View contestant resources and results from the State 4-H Horse Show, Judging and Hippology contests.
View the documents and forms to participate in the State 4-H Rodeo.