FFA Meat Judging team competes in San Antonio


Megan Wedhorn

Two weeks ago, the FFA Meat Judging team traveled to San Antonio, Texas for their first contest of the season. The team finished 39 out of 70 something teams, and that was with two of the four members that went, competing for the first time.

“I was really nervous because this contest was a huge contest, and it was my first one at that,” sophomore Alex Grizzle said. “I had to judge beef, lamb, and pork carcasses, then I had a placing class where I placed the carcasses and cuts of meat. I was kind of unprepared for this contest, but now that I have gotten a feel for what to expect, I can study more and get them at the next one.”

In meat judging, students have to be able to do everything from identifying different types of meat, to quality and yield grade beef carcasses. They deal with anything that would be in an actual processing plant in the meat industry.

“In meat judging, the team has to identify 40 cuts of meat, by species, primal cut, retail cut and cookery for a total of 280 points,” Ag teacher Henry Goff said. “They also have to judge six placing classes that range from four retail cuts, to four pork carcasses, to maybe four beef carcasses for a total 300 points. There are also questions classes over two of the six placing classes, as well as a written exam, and they have to quality and yield grade six beef carcasses.”

While the thought of doing so much at one time, especially for the first time would normally make people nervous, junior Makayla Gilliam said that she wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, she says that she can’t wait until the next contest.

“This was my first year doing meat judging and I like it a lot, but it was a bit too cold for me,” junior Makayla Gilliam said. “I felt like I did pretty well for my first contest and surprisingly I wasn’t nervous at all. My favorite thing was getting to look at all of the different types of meats. I’m very excited for the next contest, because I can’t wait to see if I improved any.”

However, meat judging is not the only thing the team did while they were in San Antonio. After the contest, they went and visited the Alamo and ate at a Mexican restaurant.

“The kids got to see the Alamo,” Goff said. “We were going to go a big pizza place that serves a 42-inch pizza, but it took two hours to cook that pizza, so we didn’t get to do that. I think that they had a great time getting to actually see the history of the city and getting to experience the culture of  San Antonio. It was a wonderful experience for all of us.”

The meat judging team, led by junior Charles Bosh, consists of seven students, including three returners and four new members. These seven students are competing for one of the four spots on the team that will go to area.

“We have several people who are brand new this year; Melanie McGill, Makayla Gilliam, Alex Grizzle, Jose Villagomez are just starting, and then we have Marshal Jonas, Charles Bosh and Kevin Espinosa returning to complete our meats team,” Goff said. “Charles and Kevin look to be top five individuals by the time April rolls around, and we are hoping that one of those other young folks can provide us with the third score we need to possibly win our first area championship. We’re always second, but we would like to win our first one.”