Western Illinois University and Black Hawk College: The Dynamic Duo of Livestock Judging

WIU Blog update

Build (v.) to construct something complex by assembling and joining parts

Building a program takes several years, and building a legacy may take decades. The livestock judging teams of Western Illinois University (WIU) and Black Hawk College have certainly made their mark in collegiate competition history. Dan Hoge, father of WIU’s Mark Hoge, who began the livestock judging program at Black Hawk College states, “I often say, “you need to know how to walk before you run,” in building a program. Determine what you are good at as a teacher and a coach, and emphasize that as you recruit and build.”

Coach (v.) to give instruction or advice to in the capacity of a coach

Western Illinois University

Dr. Mark Hoge- Associate Professor

“Livestock judging team experiences and approaches are different for everyone. I would encourage students to practice as you wish to compete. Success takes great commitment, focus, and effort. Those that have the taste to learn and be successful will be. Those that simply go through the motions will do exactly that.”

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Photo from Western Illinois University

Black Hawk College

Mr. Dan Hoge- Professor of Animal Science

“Be PASSIONATE! Be PATIENT!  Progress in livestock judging can be very slow and somewhat discouraging.  My favorite saying is “Never, ever give up”.  I say to students “you will know when that time or day comes when the evaluation of livestock and giving reasons is natural for you.”  We encourage all beginning students to study all four of the species we judge attempting to understand  the priorities and selection of each.”

Photo from Black Hawk College

Mr. Jared Boyert- Agricultural Instructor

“Any place that you choose is a good choice to continue your education, at the end of the day the experiences and friends you make will be more important than how you ever did in competition.”

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Photo from Sullivan Supply: The Pulse

This trio of coaches is second to none. They work alongside each other, build off of each other, and learn from each other. Boyert, a graduate of both Black Hawk College and WIU, states, “It is fun to travel with your mentors to talk and discuss livestock, I do feel that by traveling with both Dan and Mark that we have fun and make it more than just riding in a van judging livestock, but turn it into an experience for students to meet new people and see new things.” WIU and Black Hawk College have common goals of developing their students into well-rounded livestock people, and that is what makes it so easy for them to travel together.

Diligence (n.) constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken

It takes a lot of hard work and genuine passion for the livestock industry to be part of a livestock judging team. Both of these teams practice 3-4 days a week, if not more. They learn to place and evaluate livestock, and then they must give a set of oral reasons on why they placed the class the way that they did. Mark Hoge remarks, “Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and National Barrow Show. I love those contests and I love the way that we prepare for those contests. It is exciting to watch student growth during those two times and the industry leaders that we visit are simply incredible.”  It takes time, it takes effort, and you have to want it. Hard work certainly pays off in the end. Dan Hoge says, “Our students have the upmost respect for Mark and the WIU livestock judging team members he works with in terms of understanding and describing selection of livestock. The maturity and leadership of the judging team members at WIU serve as an incredible role model to our students.” These two teams simply build off of each other, and that is how they are able to diversify their knowledge and continue to develop into better livestock people.

Western Illinois University claiming their High Team Overall title at the 2015 National Barrow Show

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Photo from WIU Livestock Judging Facebook Page

Black Hawk College claiming their High Team Overall Title at the 2015 National Barrow Show

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Photo from Black Hawk College Livestock Judging Facebook Page

Success (n.) the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors

There is no question that WIU and Black Hawk College started the year off right. They both received the title of High Team Overall at the 2015 National Barrow Show. This was very special to Dan Hoge because this year was his 32nd National Barrow Show win for Black Hawk College. Dan says, “This is only the second time since Mark has been coaching that we have been high team the both divisions, in the same year. It is difficult to explain the feeling of pride when both programs are successful in the same year. It doesn’t get any better than that!” The success of these two programs is certainly noted on a local and national level. It is amazing to see the state of Illinois succeed in such a highly recognized collegiate extracurricular activity.

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”

-George Sheehan


Please “Like”  These Pages on Facebook to Stay Updated on Team Results

WIU Livestock Judging and Black Hawk College Livestock Judging

Definitions accredited to Dictionary.com


Written by: Mallory Espenscheid

IMG_0630Hello Everyone! Thank you for visiting the Western Illinois University Agricultural Blog, we appreciate all of your support. My name is Mallory Espenscheid, I am currently a Junior at Western Illinois University studying Agricultural Business with a minor in Communications. I transferred to WIU from Black Hawk College because of its high regards in terms of the Livestock Judging Team and Agricultural Program. I grew up on an acreage where my family and I have a purebred Angus cattle operation. I grew up showing cattle on the local, state, and national level. I am a livestock enthusiast, avid journalist, and passionate agriculturist. Please continue visiting the WIU Agriculture blog, I ensure that you will be reading posts from many talented students who share the same passion for agriculture that I do. Enjoy your day, and always remember to appreciate agriculture.


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