Darrell Bilke was born November 28, 1947, in Miami, Oklahoma, and has two younger sisters.
Darrell attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Afton, and graduated from Oklahoma Panhandle State University with a degree in animal science.
He met his wife, Barbara, when they were both working for the Oklahoma State University Extension Service – Barbara in Nowata County and Darrell in Rogers County. Darrell was with the Extension Service 6 years and developed the farm, ranch and home management programs at Rogers State University in Claremore. The Bilkes have identical twin daughters, Lenzee and Lacee.
Darrell and his father-in-law, Rex Graham, owned and operated the Tom Cat Horse Walker business and formed Graham-Bilke Quarter Horses, engaging in breeding, raising, showing and selling Quarter Horses. When Rex died, Darrell shut down the show side of the business in order to concentrate on judging and managing horse shows.
Darrell holds judges cards in fourteen breed and discipline organizations, and has judged the world championship shows of all of them – some several times.
His international judging experience is vast. He has judged the German and the European Championships for four different breeds, the Australian Championships for three different breeds, the AQHA Canadian National Championship and Canada’s Quarter Rama. He has judged the International American Horse Show in Brussels, the Munich Open in Munich, Germany, and the AQHA Austrian Championship. He belongs to twenty different horse breed and discipline organizations.
Darrell was an AQHA Director for eighteen years, during which time he served on the AQHA Youth Committee, the Show and Contest Committee and was Chairman of the AQHA International Committee.
Darrell was OQHA Youth Director from 1980 to 1985 and started the OQHA youth judging team. In 1982 he took the Oklahoma judging team to both the World and Reserve World Championships – a feat never repeated.