ISU meat judging team places well in regional competition


Courtesy of Breanna Branderhorst

Iowa State’s Meat Judging Team took both first and third place in the 2014 Southeastern Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest. The group competed against 12 teams and 70 different contestants.

Morgan Ball

Iowa State’s meat judging team took both first and third place in the 2014 Southeastern Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest. The group competed against 12 teams and 70 different contestants.

The contest was April 11 and 12 in Columbus, Ohio, and Lexington, Ken.

The students were split into two teams. They could place in six categories other than overall placings, including beef grading, beef judging, overall beef, reasons, pork judging and specifications.

The ISU teams placed overall first and second in beef grading; first and fourth in beef judging; first and third in overall beef; first in reasons; second in pork judging; second and third in specifications; and fourth in overall placings.

The members include: Jordy Berger, senior in animal science; Brian Patterson, junior in animal science; Erika Edwards, sophomore in animal science; Patrick Frank, junior in animal science; Breanna Branderhorst, junior in agricultural and life sciences education; Matt Schulte, junior in animal science; Amanda Patterson, sophomore in animal science, and Ty Sexton, senior in agricultural systems technology.

The coaches include Sherrlyn Olsen, lecturer in animal science; Tyler Frick, senior in animal science, and Megan Myers, graduate student in animal science.

The team has put a lot of effort into practicing and competing. They have been practicing since last semester and have competed in six total competitions.

“We’ve put a lot of work in, so it was really exciting to see it all pay off. We practiced four times a week, sometimes more if there was product in the Meat Lab for us to see,” Branderhorst said. “Winning the Southeastern was awesome, but it’s more than that. It’s finally being able to see all the hard work we put in really pay off and to see how far we’ve come, that’s an indescribable feeling.”

The four weekly practices add up to be around 15 hours each week. The team meets in Kildee Hall and it analyzes pictures of beef, lamb and pork. The members compare the quality, trimness and muscling of the different species.

“We are looking for muscle, fat — but not too much fat — and bone,” Sexton said. “We are picking out the highest quality of meat.”

During the year, once it becomes closer to competition, the team travels to different universities and practices judging without pictures.

The team said it enjoys getting to travel and see what other kinds of facilities are in the surrounding universities.

“The Southeastern was held in Ohio at a prison, which was kind of cool to experience,” Amanda Patterson said. “The prison runs their own meat lab, and it helps the prisoners work and it helps the prison to become financially sound.”

Five of the 10 total top individual honors went to ISU students. For the honors, Branderhorst placed second, Schulte placed third, Berger took fourth, Frank ended up sixth and Sexton placed seventh.

There were other individual accomplishments, too.

Berger took first in pork judging and reasons, placed third in beef grading and fifth in overall beef.

Branderhorst placed first in total placings, second in beef judging, third in both overall beef and reasons, fourth in lamb judging and seventh in pork judging.

Edwards placed 11th in overall beef.

Frank took first in beef judging and overall beef and second in beef grading and reasons.

Amanda Patterson placed fifth in pork judging and seventh in specifications.

Brian Patterson took fifth in total placings.

Schulte placed second in overall beef, fourth in beef grading beef judging and specifications, and seventh in reasons.

Sexton took first in specifications and sixth place in beef grading.