Texas Tech University

Judging Teams Open 2017 With Strong Outing at National Western Stock Show

George Watson

January 26, 2017

Wool Judging Team

The Meat and Wool Judging teams earned victories at the event while the Livestock team was narrowly edged out for the win.

2017 Meat Judging Team

The Texas Tech University Meat, Livestock and Wool Judging teams in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences began the 2017 competition season with a solid outing at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

The Meat Judging and Wool Judging teams earned first place in their respective competitions while the Livestock Judging Team finished just two points out of first place behind Texas A&M University.

"These teams show the balance and strength of the program we are building at Texas Tech," said professor Mark Miller, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Science and coach of the Meat Judging Team. "These students represented Texas Tech with excellence. They are a hard-working group that truly understands the value of teamwork."

Meat judging

Maddy Ainsley
Maddy Ainsley

The Meat Judging Team cruised to a 92-point victory over Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M, which tied for second. Texas Tech earned victories in lamb judging, pork judging and the specifications division.

Three members of the team finished in the top 10 overall, led by Maddy Ainsley. The sophomore from Hondo racked up 1,065 points to take the top spot while April Molitor, a sophomore from Hondo, finished fourth with 1,022 points. Kaylee Martin, a sophomore from Roscoe, rounded out the Texas Tech contingent with a sixth-place finish (1,014 points).

Clay Braden, a sophomore from Wall, finished first in the alternate division, racking up 1,052 points and was one of seven of the top 10 finishers in the division.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Cole Bradford, a sophomore from Shallowater
  • Grayson Briney, a sophomore from Sanger
  • Dean Chapman, a sophomore from Sweetwater
  • Matthew Cordonier, a sophomore from Edinburg
  • Kenna Faulkenberry, a junior from Stephenville
  • DeLaney Hanagan, a sophomore from Artesia, New Mexico
  • Eduardo Hermosilla, a sophomore from El Paso
  • Dustin Jones, a junior from Hondo
  • Kyle Mahagan, a junior from Plainview
  • Benjamin Mills, a sophomore from Shallowater
  • Jess Nighswonger, a junior from Keenesburg, Colorado
  • Samuel Spradlin, a sophomore from Granbury
  • Ryan Zaiontz, a junior from Hondo

Assisting Miller in coaching the team are instructor Loni Lucherk, graduate student Nick Hardcastle and undergraduate students Clay Bendele and Erin Beyer.

Wool judging

2017 Wool Judging Team

The Wool Judging Team also opened up the spring with a victory, with both of its teams finishing first and second, respectively, and outlasting teams from South Dakota State University, Angelo State University and Texas A&M.

Individually, five members of the team finished in the top 10 overall, led by Alec Winfrey, a sophomore from Hondo. Haleigh Erramouspe, a freshman from Corona, New Mexico, was second, followed by Aspen Eaton, a freshman from Ovalo, in third; Jessie Featherstone, a freshman from Atascadero, California, in fourth; and Rafe Royall, a freshman from Garden City, in ninth.

Texas Tech also had the top three individuals in the alternate division – Zach Buckley, a freshman from Clovis, California; Kade Clapper, a freshman from Georgetown; and Reagan Langemeier, a freshman from Marion.

Other members of the Wool Judging Team are:

  • Cole Bendele, a freshman from Hondo
  • Hannah Harken, a freshman from Yuma, Arizona
  • Emma Mortenson, a freshman from Brush, Colorado
  • Kirby Nixon, a freshman from Floydada
  • Sarah Spradlin, a freshman from Granbury
  • Travis Tilton, a freshman from Cleburne
  • Koby Valentine, a freshman from Melrose, New Mexico
  • Jack Whitaker, a freshman from Spring Branch

The team is coached by undergraduates Gabe Jennings, Matthew Huston and Breanne Burner. Associate professor Sam Jackson serves as the team supervisor.

Livestock judging

2017 Livestock Judging Team

The Livestock Judging Team finished just two points behind Texas A&M for the overall prize, but did finish with three of the top 10 individuals and also won the Carload Contest by 27 points.

The Carload Contest is unique to the National Western Stock Show where competitors judge groups of cattle instead of each individual animal. Students judge each group of bulls, steers or heifers on subjective quality and uniformity.

Cam Anderson, a junior from Needville, was the top individual competitor for Texas Tech, finishing second overall. Jack Redifer, a junior from Blacksburg, Virginia, took third while Benjamin Weis, a junior from McIntire, Iowa, was sixth.

Mason Weadock, a junior from Wall, led the Texas Tech contingent in the Carload Contest with a sixth-place finish followed by Preston Lawrence, a junior from Pottsboro, in seventh and Will Gibson, a junior from Newton, Mississippi, who tied for 10th.

Other members of the Livestock Judging Team are:

  • Jonah Biensch, a junior from Marsden, Saskatchewan
  • Kaylee Casey, a junior from Malvern, Arkansas
  • Mason Flack, a junior from North Henderson, Illinois
  • Brayden Hawkins, a junior from Cleburne
  • Travis Stedje, a junior from Gruver
  • Kyle Vehige, a junior from Bonnots Mill, Missouri
  • Jim Waldrop, a junior from Moultrie, Georgia

The team is coached by doctoral student Jon DeClerck, along with undergraduate Brody Halfmann. Associate professor Ryan Rathmann serves as the team supervisor.

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