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UW Meat Judging Team Reorganizes, Posts Competitive Results

March 21, 2018
people in hard hats and white coats standing with hanging meat behind them
University of Wyoming meat judging team members pose at the National Western Stock Show Meat Judging Contest in Denver in January. Pictured, from left to right, are: Katie Hazlewood, Riverton; Erika Eckhardt, Sterling, Neb.; Alecia Ouellette, Carson City, Nev.; Haley Cole, Cheyenne; Cedar Radosevich, Manila, Utah; Zach Davis, Sebastopol, Calif.; Amanda Mills, Vernon, Vt.; Eli Worrall, Worland; and Coach Sierra Jepsen. (Brandon Klehm, University of Illinois Photo)

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

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

Specifications refers to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) institutional meat purchasing specifications that ensure consistency across the industry. Students memorize USDA specification rules for a variety of meat cuts, Jepsen explains. Competitors look over 10 cuts of meat, and determine whether 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, Feb. 10. UW earned fourth overall among 11 teams. The UW team placed third in specifications, lamb judging and beef judging; and was fourth in beef grading and reasons. Alecia Ouellette, of Carson City, Nev., was sixth overall individually and fifth in beef judging. Worrall was fifth in specifications.

At the Fort Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 28, Wyoming placed seventh among 11 teams. The team was fifth high in pork judging and sixth high in lamb judging. Individually, Worrall placed sixth in pork judging. Zach Davis, of Sebastopol, Calif., 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 Jan. 14, the UW team placed eighth overall among 14 teams and sixth in beef judging. Radosevich was sixth in placings, Ouellette took 11th in beef grading, and Hazlewood was 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, titled “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, call Jepsen at (307) 766-3100 or email sjepsen2@uwyo.edu.

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