Texas Tech University

Meat, Livestock Judging Teams Sweep Competitions as National Championships Draw Near

George Watson

November 3, 2017

The Meat Judging Team captured its third victory of the fall with a win in Friona while the Livestock Judging Team picked up a second victory in Kansas.

As the national championships draw near, both the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team and Livestock Judging Team in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) are hitting their stride, each earning victories this past weekend.

The Meat Judging Team defended the home turf – so to speak – over the weekend, capturing top honors both as a team and individually at the Cargill High Plains Meat Judging Contest in Friona. Meanwhile, the Livestock Judging Team earned the crown at the American Royal Livestock Judging Contest in Kansas City.

Meat Judging

The victory in Friona is the third of the fall season for the meat judging team, which totaled 4,143 points to edge out Colorado State University (4,123). Texas A&M University (4,068), Kansas State University (4,060) and Oklahoma State University (4,058) rounded out the top five teams.

Angelo State University, a part of the Texas Tech University System, finished ninth with 3,808 points.


Texas Tech captured first place in five of the eight categories, winning the beef grading, lamb judging, overall beef, specifications and reasons competitions while finishing second in beef judging and pork judging and fifth in total placing.

"I am so thankful for each of the students on the 2017 Meat Judging Team,” said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences. "Their unselfishness and their service to each other to make themselves better is a real key to their success this year. They work very hard and are a great example of ‘Striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence' in representing Texas Tech University across the nation.”

Texas Tech's strong effort came as a result of top-notch performances from individual competitors.

Maddy Ainsley, a junior from Hondo, paced the effort by Texas Tech, finishing first overall with 1,045 points, just edging out teammate Kaylee Martin, a junior from Roscoe, who finished second with 1,042 points.

Ainsley finished first in beef grading and overall beef and picked up a top-five finish in reasons. Martin added a first-place finish in lamb judging and a pair of third-place efforts in specifications and reasons.

Ben Mills, a junior from Shallowater, finished eighth overall on the strength of a first-place finish in reasons and second-place finishes in lamb judging and pork judging.

Kyle Mahagan, a senior from Plainview, rounded out Texas Tech's individual performances with a 10th-place finish, taking second in beef judging and putting forth top-five finishes in specifications and overall beef.

Delaney Hanagan, a junior from Artesia, New Mexico, captured first place in the alternate division with 839 points.

Other members of the Meat Judging Team are:

  • Jordan Bachler, a junior from Florence, Texas (fifth place alternate division)
  • Legrand Bouyi, a senior from Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
  • Dean Chapman a junior from Sweetwater
  • Kenna Faulkenberry, a senior from Stephenville (fourth place alternate division)
  • April Molitor, a junior from Hondo (eighth place alternate division)
  • Sam Spradlin, a junior from Granbury

In addition to Miller, instructor Loni Lucherk and graduate students Nick Hardcastle, Clay Bendele and Erin Beyer serve as coaches for the team.

Livestock Judging

For the Livestock Judging Team, their second trip to Kansas was as successful as their first, when they won the Flinthills/Mid-America Classic in Hutchinson in September.

This time, Texas Tech racked up 4,639 points to outlast Big 12 Conference rivals Kansas State (second, 4,610) and Oklahoma State (fourth, 4,572) as well as Texas A&M (third, 4,605) and Western Illinois University (fifth, 4,639).


Texas Tech finished first in sheep judging and second in reasons to lead its effort, also placing fourth in beef judging and ninth in swine judging.

Individually, Texas Tech was led by Jim Waldrop, a senior from Moultrie, Georgia, who finished second. Will Gibson, a senior from Newton, Mississippi, finished fourth overall.

"This was a well-deserved win,” said Ryan Rathmann, the John W. and Doris Jones professor of beef cattle biology who supervises the team. "The students on the team have worked tirelessly toward trying to be the best they can possibly be, and recently they really have elevated their game. Winning the American Royal is a prestigious accomplishment. I am very proud of them and the manner in which they have represented the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, CASNR and Texas Tech.”

Other members of the Livestock Judging Team are:

  • Cameron Anderson, a senior from Needville
  • Jonah Biensch, a senior from Marsden, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Kaylee Casey, a senior from Malvern, Arkansas
  • Mason Flack, a senior from North Henderson, Illinois
  • Brayden Hawkins, a senior from Cleburne
  • Preston Lawrence, a senior from Pottsboro
  • Jack Redifer, a senior from Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Kyle Vehige, a senior from Bonnots Mill, Missouri
  • Mason Weadock, a senior from Wall

The team is coached by Jon DeClerck, a teaching assistant in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences.

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