When you join the judging team at WIU you don’t just become another member of a team or the product of another system, you become party of a family. A group of your peers that you spend the next year with not only learning about livestock evaluation and industry trends but also learning about one another, learning about yourself and where you want to be within the industry or how you want to leave an impact. The individuals that get on the van for the first time will become lifelong friends that share memories you will carry for the rest of your life.
Now none of this was known to me when I showed up in Macomb the fall of 2015 and became part of a storied program. Though growing up I was fortunate enough to have the ability to show livestock at a competitive level and reach success, but never once did the thought of livestock judging cross my mind till that first day attending the livestock evaluation course with Dr. Mark Hoge. That day many topics were discussed from individuals summer activities to what the senior members of the judging team will be doing in preparation for The National Barrow Show and the rest of the fall as they near the end of the time with the team. For the juniors their journey has just begun, as they are turned loose to prepare hogs for the truck load contest at The National Barrow Show. For me as the “new kid” it was my first time meeting all the other transfer students from Black Hawk East, Lakeland Community College, and Lincoln Land Community College as I was the only one who had not attended a junior college.
Maxwell Street Facebook
I did not take long into winter workout for a group of strangers to become a close group of friends, for when you stuff 11 students in a 15 passenger van you have no choice but to. As we travel across the country making industry connections, evaluating the livestock that reached the highest qualities, the people who start out as strangers become your best friends. Many of my teammates had experiences judging from their previous schools but for me this was the first time I had ever given a set of reasons in my life, and I’ll tell you the first few times were pretty rough for me. What made this experience in life most beneficial for me was this group of people who I had only met a few months ago want to see me improve and better my skill as an evaluator and grow as a person.
From the yards in Denver to the green shavings of Louisville, the National Barrow Show to the shores of Galveston we made memories as a family that I would never trade. We never took it easy, we were always hammer down no matter what we did, if it was sorting stock in a feed lot somewhere in Nebraska or on the streets of Kansas City, I enjoyed every minute spent with this group of people I am able to call my friends and I thank them for that.
Maxwell Stret Facebook
They say your make your best friends in college. If you would have told me that before we got in the van I don’t know if I would believe you, but the moment you have to get in for the final time you realize that it is the most real thing you have been told. I can say I was lucky enough to be one of those who got to spend a year driving the gravel back roads of this great nation in a white van bound for some workout or a judging contest running on little sleep and a shared passion for livestock.
Hello readers! My name is Max Street and I am a senior at Western Illinois University. I will be graduating in May with a major in Agricultural Business, and was a member of the livestock judging team. I grew up in Helenville, WI, where I grew up on a family farm where we raised and showed livestock competitively. Agriculture has always been a very important part of my life and it has instilled qualities in me that I hope one day to be able to pass on to my children and the younger generations. Agriculture is my passion in life, it’s what I love to do, and hopefully this blog represents that! Thank you!