UW Meat Judging Team Achieves a Successful 2024 Spring Season

The University of Wyoming’s collegiate meat judging team competed at four regional contests this spring. At every contest, the team had at least one top five team finish and at least one individual top ten finish.

A group of young adults in formal clothing holding up two plaques and four ribbons.
From left to right, back row: Tessa Maurer (assistant coach), Joe Mills, Stella Ordahl, Hailey Rasmussen, Jordan Anderson, Sam Waller, Koy Stanley, McKensie Phillips (coach and coordinator). Front row: Leah Allen, Aida Hester, Emi Ramirez, Kaitlyn Brandenburg, Sarah Turner, Kristy Benjamin. Photo taken at Fort Worth Stock Show.

This year’s team includes students Leah Allen from Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Jordan Anderson from Centre Hall, Pa.; Kristy Benjamin from Boulder; Kaitlyn Brandenburg from Council Bluffs, Iowa; Aida Hester from Hot Sulphur Springs, Colo.; assistant coach Tessa Maurer from Arvada, Colo.; Joe Mills from Peyton, Colo.; Stella Ordahl from Savage, Minn.; Emi Ramirez from Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Hailey Rasmussen from Estes Park, Colo.; Koy Stanley from Midland, Texas; Sarah Turner from Cheyenne; and Sam Waller from Basalt, Colo.

Among other successes, the team tied for fifth place at the National Western Meat Judging contest in Denver, Colorado. At the Fort Worth Stock Show in Texas, the team placed fourth overall and Joe Mills won first in the Placings division with a perfect individual score. At the South Plains Contest in Hereford, Texas, the team earned second place in the lamb judging division. In their final spring competition at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Aida Hester achieved a perfect score in the Specifications division.

“This group is exceptionally in tune with team camaraderie. They’re continually setting goals together, building a family and network that is also very competitive,” says McKensie Phillips, UW collegiate meat judging team coordinator.

Meat judging students can judge at a collegiate level for a year, starting with the spring semester from January through March and concluding with a second season in the fall. Contests evaluate both individual performance and overall team performance. In each division, students are assessed on their ability to accurately judge the quality of different cuts of meat.

For the past two years, the UW meat judging team has achieved success in both individual and team competitions and maintained large teams of 10 to 12 students. Last year’s team was the only American team to be invited to Australia’s Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association Wagga Conference.

“We plan to come back very strong in the fall to finish out the second half of the season,” Phillips concludes.

To learn more about meat judging at UW, contact McKensie Phillips at mckensie.phillips@uwyo.edu or (307) 766-2334.

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