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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 important dates, updates, results and resources for state shooting sports events.

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

State 4-H Livestock Judging and Skill-a-Thon

View resources and results from the State 4-H Livestock Judging and Skill-a-Thon competitions held Sept. 17–18, 2021 in Brookings, South Dakota.

two young males with their show goats at a competition

State Fair

View schedules, resources and results for the 2021 South Dakota State Fair taking place Aug. 31 – Sept. 6 in Huron, South Dakota.

White dog with teal collar running down path.

State Dog Show

View schedules, resources and results for the 2021 State 4-H Dog Show held Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 in Huron, South Dakota.

Horse judging, 4-H, Horse Show

State Horse Show, Judging and Hippology

View contestant resources and results from the State 4-H Horse Show, Judging and Hippology contests.

4-H youth completing a dairy cattle judging scorecard.

State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging

View resources and information for State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging.

Upcoming Events

a young man shooting a rifle
Jan 22

Sanborn County Shooting Sports Coaches Training

South Dakota State University Extension will host 4-H Shooting Sports Discipline Certification on Jan. 22 at the Sanborn County 4-H Grounds in Forestburg, South Dakota.