Texas Tech University

Meat Judging Captures Crown at Eastern National

George Watson

October 6, 2017

Meat Judging

It is the third straight year for Texas Tech to claim both team and individual titles at the event.

Meat Judging Team
Meat Judging Team

For the third straight year, the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences picked up the overall team victory and claimed top individual honors Saturday (Sept. 30) at the Eastern National Meat Judging Contest in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania.

Texas Tech edged out Colorado State University, 4,093 to 4,092, retiring the traveling trophy after the third victory in the event, sponsored by Cargill Regional Beef. Big 12 rival Oklahoma State University was third with 4,031 points, followed by Texas A&M University (4,020) and the University of Florida (3,989). Angelo State University, part of the Texas Tech University System, finished ninth with 3,790 points.

"The team was very blessed to have this victory and will need to work extremely hard and focus on the details for winning the future fall contests,” said Mark Miller, coach of the Meat Judging Team and the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Distinguished Chair in Meat Sciences.

Ben Mills
Ben Mills

The victory was keyed by Texas Tech finishing in the top three in seven of the eight separate categories and a fourth-place finish in the other. Texas Tech took first place in specifications and was second in beef grading, overall beef and pork judging.

Texas Tech's victory came based on three top-10 individual showings, which included first-place finishes in three different categories as well as three other top-three finishes.

Leading the way for Texas Tech was Shallowater junior Ben Mills, who finished first overall with 1,047 points. Mills took first place in overall beef and pork judging and was third in total placing and total reasons. It also marks the third straight year a Texas Tech competitor has taken the overall individual honors.

Maddy Ainsley, a junior from Hondo, finished fourth overall with 1,029 points. She took third in specifications and fourth in pork judging.

April Molitor, also a junior from Hondo, took ninth place overall thanks to her first-place finish in lamb judging.

Kaylee Martin, a junior from Roscoe, took first overall in the alternate division, edging out the competition from Oklahoma State by three points. Three other Texas Tech competitors finished in the top 10 in the alternate division – Dean Chapman, a junior from Sweetwater (seventh), Kyle Mahagan, a senior from Plainview (eighth) and Sam Spradlin, a junior from Granbury (ninth).

Other members of the meat judging team are:

  • Jordan Bachler, a junior from Florence
  • Legrand Bouyi, a senior from Brazzaville, The Republic of Congo
  • Clay Braden, a junior from Wall
  • Cole Bradford, a junior from Shallowater
  • Kenna Faulkenberry, a senior from Stephenville
  • DeLaney Hanagan, a junior from Artesia, New Mexico
  • Dustin Jones, a junior from Hondo
  • Jess Nighswonger, a senior from Keenesburg, Colorado
  • Ryan Zaiontz, a senior from Hondo

Instructor Loni Lucherk serves as a coach for the team as well, with assistance from graduate students Nick Hardcastle, Clay Bendele and Erin Beyer.

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