Past WDE Collegiate Judging Contest High Individuals, Jered Haase and Kevin Ziemba, have taken on new roles in the judging ring.
by Taylor Pires, Hoard's Dairyman Editorial Intern
Being part of a judging team can have its thrills and challenges. A solid team has put in hours upon hours of practice, has determination to succeed, and of course, a dedicated coach. Jered Haase and Kevin Ziemba are giving back, and using their knowledge and experiences to build up the next generation of successful dairy judges.
Both Jered and Kevin got their start by judging in 4-H. "As kids both my brother and I were pre-disposed. We did 4-H, Junior Holstein activities and showed. It became second nature," Kevin said of how his judging career began. After 4-H, Jered and Kevin went on to judge in college. Jered was on the UW-Madison team in 1997 and Kevin was on the Cornell team in 1994; both were honored as High Individuals. "It was surreal at the time. I was shocked. I put a lot of effort in but I never expected to win," Jered said. Kevin also had a memorable experience winning at Expo. "Everything I've done since then, I have put in lots of effort. I have been blessed with many opportunities since, bred some phenomenal cows, and have had what I consider to be great successes, but that moment was the most outstanding memory I have," he shared.
The experiences had by Jered and Kevin inside the judging ring inspired them to move outside of it and coach. After college, Jered helped coach the 4-H team in Ohio for four years and continued to coach when he returned to Wisconsin. He followed in his uncle's footsteps and is coaching the Polk County 4-H dairy judging team, which will be representing Wisconsin this year at WDE. Kevin went on to get his masters at Cornell and within the next year was already coaching there with David Galton, who he continued to coach with for eight years. With Galton's retirement, Kevin has stepped up as head coach.
In having great coaches themselves, Jered and Kevin have taken what they learned and implemented that knowledge into their coaching strategies. "I just tell my team to relax, have fun and try to remember the cows," Jered said. Kevin has continued to implement the Cornell judging system that has been consistent for the last 30 years, but he also brings his own unique perspective. "I work more off of the psychology of how classes may be placed. We focus on keeping your head in the game and not being thrown off by distractions or a class not going well. It's important to stay in the zone," he shared.
Jered and Kevin are confident that they will continue to coach, especially because they have had rewarding experiences. "I really enjoy being able to work with the kids, seeing the progress that they make through the years and how their confidence builds," Jered said. Kevin also enjoys seeing his team members grow. "Of all the things I do, one thing I would never give up is coaching. It is a huge motivator for me. Judging is the opportunity to take deductive reasoning and put it into an oral presentation.
Those skills will help with their future careers. I'm excited to be a part of that. When they are finished, I am always sad to see them go."
The author is the 25th Hoard's Dairyman editorial intern. She will be a senior at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. At Cal Poly, Taylor is majoring in dairy science with an agricultural communications minor. Pires grew up on a 500-cow dairy in Merced County, Calif.
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