Livestock Judging Team Wins National Championship

The Texas Tech University Livestock Judging Team was named national champion at the 2007 North American International Livestock Exposition, held Nov. 12 in Louisville, Ky.

The Texas Tech University Livestock Judging Team was named national champion at the 2007 North American International Livestock Exposition, held Nov. 12 in Louisville, Ky.

"It’s an awesome experience," said Jeff Berry, a member of the team and senior animal sciences major from Cheyenne, Wyo.

Texas Tech claimed four of the top 10 individual rankings in the competition and earned first place in the cattle and oral reasons divisions, second in sheep, and third overall in swine to win the national championship for the first time since 1985.

In addition, the team set an all-time record in the oral reasons division, scoring 1,881 points.

Ryan Rathmann, livestock judging coach and an instructor in Texas Tech’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences, said team members committed tremendous amounts of time to achieve their goal of winning the national contest.

"Their work ethic and determination finally persevered," he said.

The competition, which featured teams from across the nation – including Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, Colorado State University and Oklahoma State University – tested the students’ knowledge of cattle, sheep and swine, as well as their oral reasons for ranking animals.

Along with the national championship, three team members were named to the All-American Livestock Judging Team at the event. The students included Landi Woolley of Grandview, Amber Harris of Pearland and Matthew Stolz of Brenham.

Other members of the team were Jordan Hicks of Hereford, Brett Wheeler of Plant City, Fla., Greg McNeil of Rosharon, Clint Halfmann of Wall, Jonathan Hisey of Rule, Andrew Hokanson of Dumas and Garrett Holder of Andrews.

According to North American International Livestock Exposition officials, the annual event is the world’s largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition. Ten different types of livestock compete, and the purebred beef and sheep events are the largest in the world.

"We’ve got a program that recruits outstanding students and training programs capable of taking them to the highest level," said Kevin Pond, chairman of Texas Tech’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences. "If you take great students and train them appropriately, you can expect them to excel. This adds to the 20 previous national championships our departmental teams have won."

CONTACT: Ryan Rathmann, Texas Tech University livestock judging, Department of Animal and Food Science, (806) 742-2805 ext. 248, or ryan.rathmann@ttu.edu