Livestock Judging Team Claims Back-to-Back National Championships

The team earned its ninth overall title and sixth crown in the last decade.

Louisville Team Photo

Texas Tech Livestock Judging Team

North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky

The national championship of livestock judging is staying in Lubbock.

On the strength of three top 10 individual finishes, the Texas Tech University Livestock Judging Team from the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources claimed its second straight national title and ninth in program history Monday at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Kentucky.

“This is a humble group of Christian young men and women on this team that mean the world to me personally,” said coach Ryan Rathmann, an associate professor and the John W. and Doris Jones Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “This is a very special win.”

Texas Tech edged Kansas State University by just three points, 4,878-4,875, to claim the win. Oklahoma State University was third, followed by the University of Nebraska and Texas A&M University.

Texas Tech claimed first place in the reasons division by seven points over Oklahoma State while taking second in swine and sheep judging and third in cattle.

The team was led by Zane Webster, a senior from San Simon, Arizona, who finished second overall. Gabe Jennings, a senior from Fredonia, finished sixth overall while Jonathan Neiman, a senior from New Home, was eighth.

Jennings and Chama Martin, a senior from Mason, were named All-Americans based on their academic record, leadership and livestock judging success.

The livestock team this season also captured the championship at the State Fair of Texas Collegiate Livestock Contest in Dallas and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in March.

“The consistency at which our CASNR collegiate judging teams compete on the national level is truly amazing,” said Steve Fraze, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. “Our students and coaches are commended as we embark on a new era of excellence and start the count for another 100 national championships.”

Other members of the livestock judging team are:

  • Austin Adams, a senior from Hedley
  • Dakota Crissman, a senior from Bells
  • Brody Halfmann, a senior from Garden City
  • Maclaine Shultz, a senior from Meeker, Colorado
  • LJ Young, a senior from Pendleton, Indiana

In addition to Rathmann, Jon DeClerck, a doctoral student, co-coached the team with Rathmann.

Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at Texas Tech Today Media Resources or follow us on Twitter.


The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is made up of six departments:

  • Agriculture and Applied Economics
  • Agricultural Education and Communications
  • Animal and Food Science
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Natural Resources Management

The college also consists of eleven research centers and institutes, including the Cotton Economics Research Institute, the International Cotton Research Center and the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute.

More Stories

Meat, Livestock Judging Teams Fare Well in Final Fall Tuneups

Livestock Judging Team Wins State Fair Competition for Second Straight Year

Meat Judging Team Takes First Place at Eastern National Competition

Judging Teams Open Fall with Solid Showing

Texas Tech University System Forms College of Veterinary Medicine Steering Committee

Texas Tech Center Chosen for Retail Meat Surveillance Program