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Livestock judging team wins national championship

Texas Tech University’s Livestock Judging Team was crowned national champions Nov. 18 at the 2008 North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville. The team won by a 50-point margin, shattering the previous contest record by 11 points.

The contest tested the contestants’ knowledge of cattle, sheep, and swine as well as their oral reasons. Teams gathered from across the nation to compete for the title. Kansas State University and Texas A&M University were second and third overall teams, respectively.

Texas Tech boasted four of the top-ten individuals and the team claimed first place in the sheep, swine, performance and oral reasons divisions. They were second in the beef division.

Preparation Pays. “It is an awesome feeling to work so hard all year long and win the big one,” said Bryan Bernhard, a team member and high individual overall. “Preparation pays dividends.”

For the first time in school history, Texas Tech has won the contest two consecutive years.

“This repeat of a National Championship is the result of having the best coach and the best students with a strong work ethic,” said Kevin Pond, chairman of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “This adds to the 23 previous National Championships our departmental teams have won.”

All-American. Bernhard was named to the All-American Livestock Judging Team, based upon his academic record, leadership and livestock judging success. Teammates Judd Gardner and Chance Williams received honorable mention in this division.

“This is an extremely intelligent group of kids who performed to near perfection,” said Coach Ryan Rathmann. “Today is just a milestone in their lives. They will continue to excel after they leave Texas Tech and have a huge impact in their respective jobs.”

Team members include:
• Marcus Arnold, a senior from Panhandle
• Bryan Bernhard, a senior from Seguin
• Jennifer Blackburn, a senior from Broadview, New Mexico
• Josh Campbell, a senior from Las Cruces, New Mexico
• Judd Gardner, a senior from Estancia, New Mexico
• Zach Gilbert, a senior from Sweetwater
• Colton Long, a senior from Sterling City
• Aaron Renfroe, a senior from Ozona
• Chance Van Dyke, a senior from Hobbs, New Mexico
• Micah Walker, a senior from Sulpher Springs
• Chance Williams, a junior from Quemado, New Mexico

The team was coached by Rathmann and Jon DeClerck.

CONTACT: Ryan Rathmann, Livestock Judging Coach, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2805 ext 233 or

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