Posted tagged ‘Don Good’

Dr. Don Good – My Hero

February 15, 2012

My name is Chris Mullinix and this represents my first ever Butler Blog.  I’m excited to do so but must admit my motivation stems from sadness.  We all have heroes and mentors in our life and last night I lost one of mine in Dr. Don Good.  Like most of the students who write on this blog, my background is of family farm origin where I grew up loving animal agriculture.  I know in my early years I viewed people like Michael Jordan or Joe Montana as heroes.  Today, my view on heroes is different.  Not to take anything away from those icons in sport, but as my life and passions changed so did my heroes.

Today, I feel very fortunate to be in my 15th year teaching in the Agriculture Department here at Butler and serving as the coach of our livestock judging team.  As I developed my enjoyment of judging through 4-H and at the collegiate level I also became interested in the history of my “sport.”  We’ve had so many individuals influence our industry and direct positive change!  But in my opinion that list starts with Don Good!  I am proud of my opportunity to judge shows across the country and the impact I am fortunate to have on young people as the coach of a collegiate livestock judging team.  In my opinion, no one ever did those two things with any greater skill, integrity level and success than Don Good!  Doesn’t that define a hero?

 As an evaluator of livestock, Don Good is widely considered one of the greatest cattle judges of all time.  His understanding of industry, astute eye, amazing communication skills and steadfast moral code gave him the opportunity to judge every major show in the country and numerous events worldwide.  What’s cool is that I honestly think Don derived as much joy from judging a Kansas county fair (which I believe he made an effort to judge every county show in the state) as he did judging the International in Chicago.  He just loved people and livestock no matter what the scope of the event!  Though I’m sure you could highlight many great moments in his judging career, the 1969 International in Chicago stands as an unbelievable moment in the livestock industry.  That year, judge Don Good selected the first ever crossbred to win a major livestock event and forever changed industry views on crossbreeding.  What we see as the norm today was anything but normal in that era.  Purebred livestock were viewed as superior to that of their crossbred, “mongrel,” counterparts.  With one “slap” Don Good changed that view.  Conoco (picture below) was a Charolais/Angus cross that weighed just shy of 1300 pounds as approximately 15 or 16 months of age and went on to grade middle choice with a yield grade of 2 and a 15+ inch ribeye.  In 1969!!  We couldn’t ask for any better four decades later.  Don Good was a pioneer – with GUTS!  A hero if you will.

 Dr. Good also served as the head livestock judging coach at Kansas State University for 20 years, spanning a portion of three decades.  A decorated collegiate competitor himself, Don was named the High Individual Overall at the American Royal and the Second High Overall at the Chicago International as at student at The Ohio State University.  I am so proud of my affiliation with the livestock judging program at K-State.  The enthusiasm of our alumni is unbelievable and it came from the efforts of Don Good and the impact he had on the lives of some many young people as their coach, teacher and mentor.  To many, judging success is measured in wins.  Victories are great, of which Don Good achieve many (Pictured below with his 1950 National Championship Team), but lives touched is what generates a legacy.  In his later years, I had the chance to share coaching philosophies with Dr. Good on several occasions and have spent time with countless former students who have each made their own profound impact on our industry.  Don believed in a consistent approach to teaching the principles of the livestock industry and developing life skills through livestock judging.  His students state it simply – “He made me a better person!”  Now that’s a hero.


On July 21, 2007, I married Elissa Good and became a part of the Good Family.  From that day forward, I began to have a greater appreciation for Don Good the man.  You see, inside the walls of their family home he was not Don Good the livestock icon or judging great.  He was simply, Dad or Husband or Grandpa or Uncle Don.  Up until that time, I viewed Don Good as my hero based on his exploits as a coach and livestock evaluator.  Once again my views of a hero have changed.  He made a life partner in his beautiful wife Jane and together raised the most amazing family I’ve ever been around.  A family I’m now proud to call my own!  In September, my wife will give birth to our first child and I hope I can continue to use Don Good as my inspiration on how to balance family and career.

Yesterday, I lost a hero.  But today, I realized that you never really lose your heroes.  The impact they have on your personality lasts a lifetime and hopefully can be passed on by your good deeds to others.  Thank you Don for being a great spokesman for industry, an American Soldier, a proud educator, a breeder of great livestock and a coach that touched the lives of so many students.  Most of all, thanks for just being “Uncle Don.”