Wichitan included in successful West Texas A&M meat judging team

West Texas A&M University’s team of meat judges, which includes a native of Wichita Falls, placed in the top three in an international competition.

The WT team finished third in the International Meat Judging Competition on November 14 at Tyson Fresh Meats in Dakota City, Neb. It was the only team to make the Top 4 in each category.

“They are by far the most successful WT meat judging team in history,” said Dr Loni Lucherk, assistant professor of animal science and coach of the student team. “What is really unexpected is that only four of the 10 students had ever participated in a meat jury before this year. ”

Team members include Claire Shaw, an animal science major from Wichita Falls; Will Boyd, an animal science student from Joshua; Jenna Mayer, an animal science major from Bushland; Madysn Shook, an animal science junior – Amarillo pre-vet major; Abby Reed, an agriculture major from Wolfe City; Meagan Wootton, a junior major in animal science from Lewiston, Idaho; Koelle Brandenberger, second year agribusiness and economics student from Corona, NM; Jake Gillespie, a senior agribusiness and economics graduate from Joshua; Kordell Kraich, an animal science major from Brush, Colorado; and Zachary McDonough, a senior animal science student from Plainview. The graduate student coach is Travis Tilton of Cleburne.

Two members finished the season on the second team of the All-American Meat Judges, the first in WT history. Both Will Boyd and Jenna Mayer have been part of the All-American squad based on academic excellence and competition performance throughout the year.

During the fall season, the team traveled to 13 states to compete in eight competitions, culminating with second places in the Mountain West competition in Laramie, Wyo .; the Iowa State Contest in Ames, Iowa; the Eastern National Competition in Columbus, Ohio; and the Cargill High Plains competition in Friona. The team also finished third at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

When judging meat, teams evaluate beef, pork and lamb carcasses and cuts for attributes such as quality, finesse and musculature.

“Judging meat teaches a lot more than information about the meat or the meat industry,” Luccherk said. “Being part of a team of judges teaches students how to work hard for something bigger than themselves, to work with other people who may not be like them, to make decisions, how to defend their decision. And much more. ”

West Texas A&M University is located in Canyon and has approximately 10,000 students.

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