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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.

4-H, Shooting Sports, Muzzleloading gun, Adolescent girl shoting a muzzleloading gun while 2 adolescent males watch

State Shooting Sports

View rules and resources for 4-H State Shooting Sports.

Horse judging, 4-H, Horse Show

State 4-H Horse Show

August 29-30, 2020

White dog with teal collar running down path.

State Dog Show

August 29, 2020

two young males with their show goats at a competition

State Fair

September 3-7, 2020

Group of teens filling out worksheet, 4-H, Livestock Skill-a-thon

State 4-H Livestock Judging

September 18-19, 2020

Upcoming Events

Ellie Wagner posing next to a cow at the Yankton County Fair.
Jan 30

Black Hills Stock Show® Youth Day

Registration for the Black Hills Stock Show® Youth Day ends on January 15, 2021.

a young man practicing shooting with a shotgun
Feb 25

2021 Hunting Team Application

The National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships will be held on June 20 - 25, 2021.

The 4-H emblem: a green four leaf clover with H's in each leaf
Apr 01

South Dakota 4-H Scholarship Deadline

Youth who have at least five years of active membership in South Dakota 4-H (current high school senior or accepted to college, technical institute, etc.) are eligible to apply for South Dakota 4-H Scholarships.