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Local meat processor hosts collegiate meat judging contest

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Junior and senior college teams from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming competed in the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) Mountain West Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest at 307 Meats in Laramie on Jan. 17. 

Focus on student opportunities

                  McKensie Harris, assistant lecturer in the University of Wyoming (UW) animal science department and a member of the officials committee for the contest, shared the first collegiate meat judging contest is typically held in Denver at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in collaboration with AMSA.  

                  “Because NWSS was cancelled and the JBS packing plant in Greeley, Colo. where the contest is usually held isn’t allowing visitors due to COVID-19, another location was sought,” she explained. 

                  Kelcey Christensen, a former collegiate meat judger and coach, offered to host the contest at his processing plant, 307 Meats, just an hour north of the original location. 

                  “Sierra Jepsen, the meat judging coach at the University of Wyoming, put together a COVID-19 mitigation plan to allow students from other universities to practice in the UW meat lab,” Harris continued.  “It looked a little different this year than in years past – the coolers and classrooms would be full with people practicing, but this year, each school was allowed three hours to utilize the meat lab for practice.”          

                  Students who elect to judge have eligibility running from January through November, so the NWSS contest usually kicks off their year of judging. According to Harris, contests in 2020 were limited or took place virtually. 

                  “There was a big push from AMSA and coaches to make sure contests in this spring semester were going to happen in a safe manner. It was a collaboration on many parts to provide this opportunity to judge for students,” said Harris. 

                   The meat judging contest which is usually held in conjunction with the Fort Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas was cancelled. However, a small packing plant in the area has offered to host the contest.  

Judging results 

                  In the junior college division, the team from Eastern Oklahoma State College took first, followed by Fort Scott Community College and Clarendon College. 

                  In the senior college division, Texas Tech University was the first place team, followed by West Texas A&M University in second, Texas A&M University in third, Oklahoma State University in fourth, Kansas State University in fifth, Colorado State University in sixth, Angelo State University in seventh, the University of Wyoming in eighth, South Dakota State University in ninth, Iowa State University in 10th, the University of Nebraska in 11th and North Dakota State University in 12th place. 

                  Ian Lovell, a member of the UW team, placed 15th overall in the senior college division, 12th in overall beef judging and 11th in specifications. Other highlights from the UW team include Karlie Rumbeck who placed 12th in beef grading and 18th in overall beef and Tanner Wright who placed 14th in lamb judging and 19th in total placing. 

                  Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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