WT’s Successful Meat Judging Team to Be Featured on ‘Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp’

Chip Chandler Oct 25, 2023
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WT’s Successful Meat Judging Team to Be Featured on ‘Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp’

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s internationally victorious meat judging team will be featured on the next episode of “Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp.”

The episode will roll out around the state beginning Oct. 26 and will air at 11 p.m. Oct. 29 in its regular timeslot on Panhandle PBS in the Amarillo area.

The team and its coach, Dr. Loni Lucherk, WT’s Gordon W. Davis Endowed Chair in Meat Judging, will be profiled.

“The episode will answer some of the public’s burning questions about meat judging: ‘what is meat judging?’, ‘why do you spend so much time practicing meat judging,’ ‘is it like a D-1 sport?’,” Lucherk said. “When we are staying in a hotel or traveling around the world, we usually get some pretty weird looks when people see or hear that we are a meat judging team. Now, we can let them know that Chancellor Sharp’s episode is where to learn more about it.

“I am excited for everyone to see what makes WT the place to be for meat judging,” she continued. “I hope it gets young people at home excited about meat judging and hooked on coming to school at WT.”

The team was just named national champion at the prestigious American Royal Meat Judging contest, where it set a school record.

The team also was named reserve champion at the Eastern National Meat Judging Contest in September.

In 2022, the team was named international champion at the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Conference in Wagga Wagga, Australia.

Current team members include Juan Carlos Buentello, a senior animal science major from Angleton; Madison Colvin, a junior agriculture major from Bryan; Colt Edrington, a junior agribusiness and economics major from Grandview; Parker Franz, a junior animal science major from Bethune, Colorado; Noah Harrell, a senior agriculture major from Colorado City; Ryan Heitschmidt, a junior animal science major from Nazareth; Mikayla Hudnall, a junior animal science major from Lorenzo; Bryce Hutson, a junior agricultural media and communications major from Idalou; Eli Mathis, a sophomore agribusiness major from Covington; Megan Miller, a senior agribusiness major from Silver City, New Mexico; Caleb Olfers, a junior animal science major from Fredericksburg; and Payton Ownbey, a junior animal science major from Whitney.

Former team members also featured in the “Around Texas” segment include Caleb Baker, a May graduate from Snyder, Colorado; Carter Mortensen, a May graduate from Akron, Colorado; Ambri Harrigal, a May graduate from Holliday; Jacob McMillan, a senior animal science/pre-vet major from Elbert; Cole Petit, a senior animal science major from Seymour; Shannon Anderson, a senior agriculture education major from Seguin; Tessa Barrett, a senior agriculture education major from Plainview; Jeffrey Morphis, a senior agriculture education major from Cedar Park; and Kara Belt, a May graduate from Houston.

In addition to Lucherk, the current team is coached by Megan Eckhardt, a doctoral student in agriculture.

The “Around Texas” episode also will spotlight the work of Prairie View A&M University students in preserving the history of Texas' oldest historically Black university.

WT’s meat judging team is one of the ways the University is responsive to regional needs, as set out in its long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.



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.


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, in July 2022. 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.