04 2018 (April)

UW meat judging team makes a comeback

Team in white lab coats and yellow hard hats stands in front of hanging pieces of meat.
University of Wyoming meat judging team members at the National Western Meat Judging contest in Denver in January (left to right): Katie Hazlewood, Riverton; Erika Eckhardt, Sterling, Nebraska; Alecia Ouellette, Carson City, Nevada; Haley Cole, Cheyenne; Cedar Radosevich, Manila, Utah; Zach Davis, Sebastopol, California; Amanda Mills, Vernon, Vermont.; Eli Worrall, Worland; coach Sierra Jepsen

The University of Wyoming meat judging team made a strong showing its first season under new coach Sierra Jepsen. The university last had a team in 2015.

The team placed second overall in specifications out of 17 teams at the Houston Stock Show Meat Judging Contest in Houston March 3. Katie Hazlewood of Riverton, Erika Eckhardt of Sterling, Nebraska, and Eli Worrall of Worland, placed 10th, 11th and 12th individually in specifications. Eckhardt was 9th in pork judging.

Specifications refer to the USDA institutional meat purchasing specifications that ensure consistency across the industry. Students memorize USDA specification rules for a variety of meat cuts, explained Jepsen. Competitors look over 10 cuts of meat and determine if they meet all specifications or if there are defects.

“It’s a pleasure working with this group of students because they all care deeply about improving their personal scores, as well as being good representatives for the university and state of Wyoming,” Jepsen says.

The team turned in its top performance at the Iowa State University Meat Evaluation Contest in Ames, Iowa, February 10. They earned 4th overall out of 11 teams, third in specifications, lamb judging, and beef judging and fourth in beef grading and reasons. Alecia Ouellette of Carson City, Nevada, was 6th overall individual and 5th in beef judging. Worrall was 5th in specifications.

At the Fort Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas, January 28, Wyoming placed 7th of 11 teams. The team was 5th high in pork judging and 6th high in lamb judging. Worrall placed 6th in pork judging. Zach Davis of Sebastopol, California, was 12th in placings and 13th in beef grading. Cedar Radosevich of Manila, Utah, was 16th in lamb judging.

At the National Western Stock Show in Denver January 14, the UW team earned 8th out of 14 teams and 6th in beef judging. Radosevich was 6th in placings, Ouellette 11th in beef grading, and Hazlewood 17th in lamb judging.

The UW meat judging team will help with the 4-H and FFA state meat judging contests later this spring and resume competition in the fall.

Jepsen invites UW students to sign up for the fall course, Introduction to Meat Judging. “The course covers everything they need to know to become a competitive meat judge,” she says. “After completing it, they can join the team.”

For more information, contact Jepsen at 307-766-3100 or  sjepsen2@uwyo.edu.