WT Meat Judging Team an International Champion Following Australian Contest

Chip Chandler Jul 21, 2022
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WT Meat Judging Team an International Champion Following Australian Contest

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s award-winning meat judging team isn’t content to dominate state and national competitions. Now, they’re taking on the world.

The 10-person squad was named the international champion at the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Conference that concluded July 9 in Wagga Wagga, Australia. WT’s closest competitor, the University of Queensland, was 49 points behind.

“This team put WT meat judging on the map on a global scale,” said Dr. Loni Lucherk, Gordon W. Davis Endowed Chair in Meat Judging and team coach. “Attending this contest in Australia was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students. They took full advantage by interacting with students and industry leaders all week, and the cherry on top was the contest championship.”

The team took home top honors in pork judging and placings. They were overall runner-up in four categories: lamb judging, beef judging, questions, and retail cuts and saleable items.

Meat judging programs are the most effective tool for the recruitment and development of future meat science technologists. Meat judging is much more than just the determination of the quality and lean meat yield of a carcass or wholesale cut; the program serves as a training tool to develop young leaders in the meat and livestock industries.


Photo: The West Texas A&M University meat judging team enjoyed some sights in Sydney while competing in the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Conference in Wagga Wagga, Australia.

The WT students were challenged to learn the Australian beef eating quality evaluation system and Australian meat cut names for the competition. The contest was comprised of two lamb classes, two pork classes and seven beef classes, including two beef pricing classes, an eating quality evaluation class of 10 beef carcasses, and identification of 25 retail cuts and 25 beef saleable items. The students were required to take notes on each class and answer questions from memory on all classes.

Cole Petit, a junior animal science major from Seymour, scored six individual awards: overall runner-up, individual champion pork judging, runner-up lamb judging, runner-up beef pricing, third place in questions, and fourth place in retail cuts and saleable items.

"It was an honor to have the opportunity to represent WT and the United States in Australia,” Petit said. “I would like to thank all our sponsors and the ICMJ coordinators for giving us the opportunity to travel to Australia to attend the conference and compete in the contest.”

Caleb Baker, a senior animal science major from Snyder, Colorado, was runner-up in placings. Carter Mortensen, a senior animal science major from Akron, Colorado, was fourth in beef pricing and placings. Shannon Anderson, a junior agriculture major from Seguin, was third in beef judging. Jacob McMillan, a senior animal science major from Elbert, was fourth in beef judging.

Other team members include: Ambri Harrigal, a senior animal science major from Holliday; Jenna Mayer, an animal science graduate student from Bushland; Tessa Barrett, a sophomore agriculture education major from Plainview; and Jeffrey Morphis, a junior agriculture education major from Cedar Park. The team was coached Lucherk and graduate student Kara Belt from Houston.

Only one team from the United States is invited to attend this prestigious contest each year. The WT team was invited in 2020, but was finally able to compete this year. The students attended a week-long conference filled with speakers from the Australian red meat industry, hands-on workshops and networking dinners before competing in the two-day competition. More than 100 students attended the conference from 10 universities across Australia.

Offering intellectually challenging, critically reflective and regionally responsive academic programs like meat judging is the primary mission of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World .

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $110 million.


Top photo: The West Texas A&M University meat judging team was named an international champion at the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Conference in Wagga Wagga, Australia. Team members include, front from left, Caleb Baker, Jacob McMillan, Shannon Anderson, Cole Petit and Carter Mortensen; and, back from left, coach Dr. Loni Lucherk, Jeffrey Morphis, Ambri Harrigal, Tessa Barrett, Jenna Mayer and Coach Kara Belt.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.