From a young age, I can remember listening to my dad, Michael Schertz, reminiscing about his fond memories at Texas Tech, and more specifically on the meat judging team. Although many of his stories were pretty funny, the ones that truly stuck with me were about his competitive drive and perseverance to continue no matter the circumstance. In 1995, my dad was on the Texas Tech Meat Judging Team, and he later went on to coach the 1998 team. The values he learned through his personal experiences as a team member and coach are the same values he has helped instill in my three younger sisters and I.
Wanting to follow in my dad’s footsteps, I was excited when the opportunity finally came to be a member of the 2019 Meat Judging Team. I was ready to create my own experience in the program, hopefully filled with some of the same values my father had shared with me. Fortunately, over the past few months, I have only discovered that being a member of this team is so much more than your average team. I have had the opportunity to build lasting relationships with 21 of my teammates who I know will be around for the long haul. We have grown together as a family and have already made numerous memories in the van, in the cooler and on the road that we will one day be able to share with our own families. Though each of us are unique, we all share the same mission: Striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence. At Texas Tech, we all strive to honor not only ourselves, but our team, as well as those who have come and are yet to come before us. Never before have I been a part of a culture surrounded by so many hard working and dedicated individuals, and for that, I am forever grateful.
The road trip leading to the 2019 National Western Stock Show and Rodeo Collegiate Meat Judging Contest included countless hours of preparation. When the moment finally came to compete, we knew that our coaches had prepared us well for any situation that could be thrown our way. In addition, we had a strong belief in each other. We never knew which four individuals would be marking that day; but, we knew no matter who it was, we would be as competitive as any other team in the cooler. The contest consisted of a variety of different components including: beef grading, beef, pork, and lamb judging, specifications, and reasons. Though I was both excited and nervous entering the cooler, I knew that I needed to just trust in God’s plan. I can remember hearing my coaches, teammates and dad’s voice in the back of my mind saying, “Believe in yourself and just have fun.” With that mindset, my nerves gradually drifted away as I moved from one class to the next.
The following morning, mixed emotions filled the banquet as judging teams from across the nation waited anxiously for the results. Although I was extremely nervous, I knew no matter the outcome, it was all in God’s hands. All I needed to do was have faith and trust I did the best I could. As results were announced, my heart raced, but I remembered the words I held in my heart the day before: “Believe in yourself and just have fun.” At the conclusion of the banquet, I was overwhelmed with excitement and joy. I had the honor of winning High Individual Overall, High Individual in Total Beef Judging, Reasons, Specifications, and top-five honors in Beef and Pork Judging. Additionally, our team placed third. My heart is full, and I am excited for what is to come the rest of the season.