9 Things They Don’t Tell You When You Join a Collegiate Judging Team

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If you would have told me if I was going to be on a judging team in college 4 years ago, I would have thought you were crazy! I never imagined I would be on a collegiate judging team at Texas A&M University, let alone the meat judging team. Today I share 9 things no one told me when I joined a judging team.

1. You will meet some of your best friends.


After the Ft. Worth Stock Show contest.

Some of my most treasured friends are my teammates. The countless hours spent practicing, traveling and competing together can create strong bonds between people. You have been through good times and bad times with them, and they will support you every step of the way. They always say your judging teammates become your family, and I couldn’t agree more.

2. Your coaches will become your mentors.


My coaches, Drew and Leslie, at my Ring Day.

A good group of students cannot become a successful judging team without great coaches! Not only do your coaches help you grow as an evaluator, they also help you grow as an individual. They can offer advice and push you to be the best person you can be!

3. You will travel across the country.


When you get to see the Statue of Liberty, you’ve got to take a selfie, right?

During my time on the judging team, I got to travel to 12 different states! While riding in a 15 passenger van might not be the most luxurious (or comfortable) form of transportation, it allows you to see sights along the way and take a quick detour if you see cool landmarks, like the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX or the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia, PA! (P.S. Don’t run as fast as you can up the Rocky Steps after you have eaten pizza. It’s not fun.)

4. You will get to meet people from other universities.


My teammate, Kline and I, with two members of the Texas Tech meat judging team during our San Antonio Stock Show Internship.

Meeting people from other universities who’s shared interests make contests and trips more fun. My team played Trivia Crack with the Texas Tech University team for several weeks. (They might have beat us at the International contest, but we won a majority of those Trivia Crack games.) I still keep in touch with a lot of the people I met from other universities!

5. You will gain new skills.

Judging meats taught me a lot. Not only did I learn how to properly evaluate beef, pork and lamb carcasses and cuts, I also learned how to effectively construct written reasons. While these skills might not necessarily help me in a future career, I have better decision making skills and I have the ability to communicate to others better.

6. You will impact youth.

As a member of 4-H, some of my favorite memories were when I was able to teach younger members about something. Who knew I’d have the chance to do that on a collegiate judging team! From helping with 4-H and FFA contests, to teaching at our youth clinic, it was so rewarding to see 4-H and FFA members get excited about judging.

7. You will meet industry leaders and get to tour cutting edge facilities.


After touring Beef Products, Inc. in Dakota City, Nebraska.

On the road, when we weren’t practicing, we had the chance to tour some of the industry’s greatest facilities and meet with meat and livestock industry leaders. These tours gave me an inside look into the facilities that work to produce high-quality products for consumers and showed me that the future of the livestock and meat industry is gleaming with new technologies!

8. You will learn so much about yourself.

I learned so much about myself during the time I was on the judging team. I learned more about how I worked on a team and how to be a leader AND a follower. I am more trusting in my decision making skills, and I can defend my decisions better. Who knows what other things you could learn about yourself!

9. You will make lifelong memories.

I would not trade the van rides, the time spent in the cooler practicing, or weeks spent in a hotel room for anything. While some days on the road were tough, all of the laughs we shared and memories we made were worth it. Being on a collegiate judging team was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’m so glad I have so many wonderful memories to reflect upon.


I would encourage anyone to be apart of a judging team, whether it’s meats, livestock or wool. Create your own memories, form your own special friendships and learn more about the industry and yourself! It will be one of the best experiences of your life.

Editor’s Note: This post was written by RHD Summer Intern, Madalynn Kainer.

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