UW Meat Judging Team Finishes Spring Season Strong with a Win at Iowa State

The University of Wyoming Collegiate Meat Judging team wrapped up a successful spring season with a first-place finish at Iowa State University Saturday, March 4.

It was a great day in the coolers last weekend, reports UW Collegiate Judging Coordinator McKensie Phillips. The UW team was named champion overall, placing first in all but one team division. Team members excelled individually as well, with all 10 students earning a spot in the Top 10 Total Contest or Top 10 Alternate Division.

thirteen smiling people stand below a colorful tile mural in front of a plastic table piled with award plaques, ribbons, and trophy cup.
The 2023 UW Collegiate Meat Judging team. Front row, L-R: Abby Vogl (Assistant Coach), Sophia Fuhrmann, Ashlyn Manuel, Kylie Strauch, Rachel Broyles, Madeline Holmes, Tessa Maurer, Kara Reynolds, Haley Rutsch, McKensie Phillips (Coordinator), Jake Gillespie (Coach). Back row, L-R: Joseph Kennah, Casey Spencer.

The win in Ames, Iowa, was the culmination of what the 2023 team dubbed UW’s comeback tour. After a hiatus in 2022, a dedicated group of UW students revived the meat judging program under the mentorship of Phillips, Head Coach Jake Gillespie and Assistant Coach Abby Vogl.

Members of the 2023 collegiate meat judging team are Rachel Broyles from Arlington; Sophia Fuhrmann, Hoaglund, Ind.; Madeline Holmes, Humboldt, Calif.; Joseph Kennah, Hulett; Ashlyn Manuel, Montrose, Colo.; Tessa Maurer, Arvada, Colo.; Kara Reynolds, Laramie; Haley Rutsch, Pinedale; Casey Spencer, Petaluma, Calif.; and Kylie Strauch, Van Tassell.

“Throughout the season, these students worked so hard to set goals, to accomplish and perform. That just escalated their success,” says Phillips. “They know they are setting a standard and really reinvigorating the program.”

The Cowboys kicked off the season with an impressive showing at the National Western Stock Show in Greeley, Colo., earning high team honors in the beef grading division as well as a fifth-place team finish overall. In outstanding individual debuts, Joseph Kennah won the total beef division and Madeline Holmes and Kylie Straunch earned top 10 finishes in the Alternate Contest.

In late January, the UW team finished seventh place at the Southwestern Intercollegiate Meat Judging contest in Ennis, Texas. Last month, they placed sixth at the South Plains Intercollegiate contest in Hereford, Texas, before wrapping up the spring season with the Iowa State win.

In July 2023, the UW collegiate meat judgers will officially become international competitors, traveling to Australia for an invitation-only conference, career expo and competition. More details will be released later this spring.

Students interested in joining the 2024 meat judging team are encouraged to attend a free recruitment dinner in early April. Contact McKensie Phillips at mckensie.phillips@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-2334 for more information.

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