South Plains College’s Livestock Judging Team wins nation championship in Houston


LEVELLAND – South Plains College’s Livestock Judging Team recently claimed its first national title at the Houston Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest. The win also marked the first national title for coach Conner Newsom, who became the youngest coach at age 25 to win such an honor. 

“We’ve done well to reach our goal,” Newsom said. “Throughout the year, I’ve seen the team grow, progress, prosper and overcome. We’ve been down but we never gave up.

“The feeling is unreal, and as a coach I can't put words on a screen that can explain the emotions and feelings we are all experiencing,” he said. “But I can confidently say there was no quit in the seven individuals that are bringing home the win from our final national contest of the year. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for each and everyone one of them. They are not only great evaluators but even better people.”

The sophomore team is comprised of Tyler Kelly of Bullard, Sterling Scott of Lubbock, Dylan Bostick of Bangs, Trace McBride of Abernathy, Kelton Matthews of Abilene, Logan Bauer of Llano and Kenzee Criswell of Dora, N.M. Kelly finished sixth high individual and seventh high individual in swine. Scott finished seventh high individual and high individual in sheep and goats. Bostick finished ninth high individual, second high individual in sheep and goats, fifth high individual in cattle and eighth high individual in reasons. McBride earned All American Honors (4.0 grade point average) as well as fourth high individual in swine. Criswell finished second high individual in the alternate contest.                                         

The team was named champion team overall, champion team in sheep and goats, second overall team in swine (tied for first), second overall team placings, third overall team reasons and sixth overall team cattle. 

Since 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has grown to be the largest livestock show and rodeo in the world, attracting more than 2.4 million people to the annual event from across the world. South Plains College finished first out of 34 teams in their category. More than 300 students participated and SPC had three students finish in the top 10 in the country.

Newsom arrived at South Plains College in 2013. This year the SPC Livestock Judging Team competed in more than 20 contests from September through March and finished in the top of each event. SPC last won a national title in livestock judging in 1991. He said he has 13 freshmen who will return next year as sophomores.  

“I’m as excited about the group that’s coming in that will be sophomores as I am finishing as strongly as we did this year,” he said. “And so the future looks bright.”

Newsom added, “I am as proud to be a part of this program and South Plains College because my dad judged here, my mom judged here and two of my uncles. To give back to a program that has given so much to my family means a great deal to me.”


Livestock Judging Team

Members of the South Plains College Livestock Judging Team recently won its first national title.  Seated, from left, are Logan Bauer, Trace McBride, Tyler Kelly, Sterling Scott, Kelton Matthews and Dylan Bostick. On the top row are, from left, Conner Newsom (coach), Kenzee Criswell and Laramie Priest, assistant coach. (SPC Photo/Wes Underwood)