By: George Watson
The team outpaced Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Oklahoma State at the National Meat Animal Evaluation Contest in Oklahoma City.
The Texas Tech University Meat Animal Evaluation Team won the National Meat Animal Evaluation competition for the fifth time in school history, earning the title of national champions, on April 1. Oklahoma State University hosted the competition this year at the Oklahoma City Stockyards.
Texas Tech secured the title with a total of 8,953.666 points, outpacing Big 12 Conference rivals Kansas State University (8,935.334) and Oklahoma State University (8,818.333). Texas Tech finished first or second in six of the seven divisions, taking first place in beef evaluation, market animal division and meats division.
“The Department of Animal & Food Sciences prides itself on the value of competitive teams for the personal and professional development of students,” said Michael Orth, chairman of Animal & Food Sciences. “I especially appreciate the Meat Animal Evaluation Competition because students must be competent in all areas of the livestock and meat industries to excel. The students work hard for that contest, and I am glad to see their efforts resulted in another national championship for Texas Tech University.”
Three members of the team finished in the top 10 individually, led by Kade Clapper. The junior from Georgetown finished second with 2,231.333 points, taking second in sheep evaluation and finishing in the top 10 in beef evaluation, the market animal division and the meats judging division.
Right behind Clapper was Koby Valentine. The senior from Melrose, New Mexico, took third with 2,207 points, thanks to a first-place finish in swine evaluation and a third-place spot in the meats division. Rounding out the list of Texas Tech’s top 10 individuals was Caley Ellington, a senior from Linville, Virginia, who finished sixth.
Texas Tech also had some impressive performances by individuals in the various categories. April Molitor, a senior from Hondo, took first place in the meats division and fifth in beef evaluation; Austin Walter, a junior from Grand Ridge, Illinois, finished third in beef evaluation and fourth in the breeding animal division; Tanner Barnes, a senior from Stephenville, was fifth in market animal division; Rafe Royall, a senior from Garden City, finished seventh in both market animal division and sheep evaluation; Taylor Perryman, a senior from Seminole, took home an eighth-place finish in market animal division; and Allie Martin, a junior from Pragould, Arkansas, was sixth in sheep evaluation.
Other members of the team are:
- Bailey Samper, a senior from Coarsegold, California
- Ben Mills, a senior from Shallowater
- Case Hendrix, a junior from Campbell
- Collin Cass, a junior from Mathis
- Daniel Young, a senior from Lapel, Indiana
- Derek Sharp, a junior from Citra, Florida
- Graysen Gilbraith, a junior from Austin
- Hannah Craun, a senior from Bridgewater, Virginia
- Reagan Langemeier, a senior from Marion
- Thachary Mayer, a senior from Burlington
- Travis Tilton, a junior from Cleburne
- Trevor Rosso, a junior from Deland, Florida
The Meat Animal Evaluation Team is supervised by Mark Miller, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Chair in meat science, and Ryan Rathmann, the John W. and Doris Jones Professor of beef cattle biology in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences within the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.
Coaches of the team are graduate students Jon DeClerck, Loni Lucherk and Blake Foraker.
“This contest is a strong reflection of the level of education that our students are receiving in the livestock and meats industries,” Rathmann said. “I’m proud of our graduate student coaches that have put forth an immense amount of time preparing them, and I’m especially proud of the students on the team. They have represented our program with excellence. I’m confident they will achieve great things in their respective careers.”