Texas Tech Meat Judging team is off to a strong start

Texas Tech Meat Judging team is off to a strong start

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The Tech Meat Judging team began in 1981, the teams current adviser Mark Miller, was on the original judging team.

Miller said, they've come a long way from their first competition.

"This big silver cup right here is our first International cup that we retired as Texas Tech University so it has teams from 1989, 1991 and 1996 that all helped to retire this trophy," 2015 Meat Judging team member, Clay Bendele said. 

Retiring a trophy is not an easy feat, "you have to win it a total of three times and some cups you can win it three years in a row. I think Denver we retired in 2015 and we had won it in 2014, and 2013 as well so we were the team that got to retire that one," Bendele said. 

The 2015 Meat Judging team brought home the schools 12th national championship. "We're really proud of that I guess thats probably the least thing thats most important because you know the trophy's and the winning all collect dust and they create great memories but the most important part is the development of the students, the people and individual," team adviser, Mark Miller said. 

Meat judging season follows the calendar year, beginning in January and finishing in November. "You get one year eligibility that's cool it's one shot and you're done and were in our third competition coming up at Houston we were able to win the National Western in Denver and the South Western in Fort Worth and now were getting ready to go to Houston and try to judge there the first weekend in March," Miller said. 

The team spends countless hours preparing for each of their competitions. "Preparing for a competition is a lot of work we would be up here 4 a.m. on Saturday mornings and stay till 2 or 3 in the afternoon just practicing in the meat locker getting ready, just working hard, making sure we're always prepared, staying in the meat locker coolers before contest for 12 hours at a time," 2015 Meat Judging team member, Landon French said. 

"The week before every contest well go ahead and leave and not go to class that entire week and practice at plants that are near the contest," 2015 Meat Judging team member, Darby Gonzales said. 

The trophy case suggests that the hours of training show when they arrive at competition. "They evaluate beef, pork and lamb and put those evaluations together and then they have to justify those to a group of officials from the USDA, from other universities in academia, and from the industry," Miller said.  

Members of this year's team have won their first two competitions and are looking forward to the rest of their competition season.

"It's going to be really exciting in the fall to travel and go to different places and to get to go to the International after working so hard," 2016 Meat Judging team member, Courtney Jasik said. 

The International competition is November 13th at the Tyson food facility in Dakota City, NE.


Photojournalist Jordan Belt
Samantha Waddell

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