On Sept. 10, 2013 the National Association of Swine Records and the National Barrow Show presented the Hall of Fame award to Dan Hoge, professor of animal science at Black Hawk College East Campus in Galva, Ill.
Hoge has been a staunch supporter of the National Barrow Show, or NBS, since the inception of the junior college judging division in 1974.
Fall means different things to different people. For Hoge, it means students have come back to the college classrooms eager to begin a new collegiate judging season and the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn.
“Students learn quickly of Hoge’s passion for the NBS as he passes out a copy of the official ‘Welcome to the National Barrow Show’ postcard to each judging student at the semester’s start,” says Brian Arnold, a Black Hawk College graduate and Hoge’s former livestock judging co-coach.
“Leading up to NBS, Dan will coordinate numerous weekend workouts with fellow Midwest coaches helping to prepare the teams for their first fall contest, NBS,” added Arnold, who is now vice president of member outreach and youth development at the National Swine Registry.
During his coaching tenure at Black Hawk College, Hoge’s enthusiasm for the “World Series of Swine Shows” has been instilled in the countless students he’s worked with from across the country. As the coordinator of the modern day “NBS Pilgrimage,” Hoge works tirelessly coordinating judging workouts for Midwestern teams preparing for the contest. This judging journey to Austin, Minn., is known as the largest collaboration of judging teams from coast to coast as they prepare for competition at the NBS.
Hundreds of collegiate livestock judging students congregate at Iowa farms on their way to the National Barrow Show, gathering around livestock pens listening intently to Hoge passionately critique a class of four gilts and absorbing his knowledge regarding breed standard criteria.
The preparation has paid off for Hoge. His 1974 team won the first junior college division title and claimed high individual as well. The next 39 years saw another 30 team wins and more than 20 high individuals.
Hoge’s former judging students still reminisce about their trips to Austin, Minn., talking about lessons learned from Hoge at workouts on the way to the contest. They have applied these lessons to their professional careers, taking to heart one of Hoge’s most famous quotes, “You’re never done, your roles just change.”
Having the opportunity to coach talented individuals hasn’t been Hoge’s only reason for success. His wife, Deanna – a former educator herself – comes from a strong agricultural background and shares his love for developing young people. Her family, the Broers of Walnut, Ill., have supported the East Campus program from the start, hosting countless pre-barrow show practices as well as animal science labs at the family farm over the years.
Hoge’s passion for hogs started young. He learned from his father, legendary Duroc breeder Elmer, on their farm in Walnut, Ill. Following his love of livestock, Dan attended the University of Illinois in Champaign where he participated in the livestock judging team and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Hoge passed on his passion for livestock judging and raising hogs to his son, Mark.
Dr. Mark Hoge is a professor and livestock coach at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill. Since the younger Hoge started teaching, he has built up the school’s Yorkshire hog program to a nationally recognized level. As a livestock judging coach, Dr. Hoge has taken competitive teams from Western to national competitions year after year.
“Both Mark and Dan have an incredible ability to teach in the classroom and out,” said Jared Boyert, a Black Hawk College graduate, current agribusiness instructor and co-coach of BHC’s Livestock Judging Team.
“I had the benefit to learn from both, and it was a great experience,” he said.