As the Texas Tech University Meat Judging Team loaded into the van, they were thrown for a loop to see Shae Lynn Suttle crawling in with them.
It had been a rough couple of days for the junior animal science major. Words of comfort were shared. Several members of the team asked Suttle why she was even there. But, she had already made up her mind, and she knew she needed to get ready for her next competition.
Suttle, an animal science major at Texas Tech, grew up on a cotton farm near Idalou, Texas. She and her family raised steers and heifers commercially and for show. Suttle started showing both at local and major stock shows at a young age. She also competed in speaking contests, often advocating for the advertising of meat consumption.
Suttle knew she wanted to judge meat in college, regardless of where she went. After being offered a full ride to Texas Tech, Suttle made a last-minute decision to come to Lubbock.
Suttle is now a junior in Texas Tech’s animal science program with a concentration in meat science. Concluding her 2020 judging year, Texas Tech came out on top as national champions. Suttle and her team upheld Texas Tech’s Meat Judging Team’s nationally-renowned winning reputation.
Yet, the meat judging team was more than a team to Suttle; it was a family. Suttle’s mother passed away unexpectedly from a severe heart attack right before her first contest back from the summer break in 2020.
“While it was just meat judging to some people,” Suttle explained, “meat judging was definitely a big spot in my heart.”
Every single one of her teammates attended her mother’s funeral.
Suttle loaded the van for Oklahoma with her teammates two days later. The team is everything to Suttle.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Suttle plans to get her master’s in meat science and help coach the 2023 Texas Tech Meat Judging Team.
“They are family that will always be there.”