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Pierce County Meat Judging Team Earns National Honors

By Staff | Nov 10, 2016

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Pierce County 4-H meat judging team members (left to right) Devin Volk, Shane Giedd, Breanna Thompson and Abigail Volk. (Submitted photo)

The Pierce County meat consisting of Devin Volk, Shane Giedd, Breanna Thompson and Abby Volk earned many national honors at the 2016 National 4-H meat judging contest at the meat lab of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. The contest is made up of the state champion meats teams from the other states in the nation that participated.

Team members have a variety of areas they must prepare in to be ready for the contest:

Beef Judging includes a class of beef carcasses and a class of beef ribs along with a set of oral reasons presented to the judges on why you placed the beef the way you did. In beef judging the ND Team (Pierce County) finished 4th with no member of the team placing in the top five individuals.

Pork Judging Includes a judging class of pork carcasses and hams followed by a set of oral reasons. In the pork division the ND team placed first iin the nation with Devin Volk named the National Champion and Shane Giedd the National Runner-up.

Retail judging classes In the retail judging competition the members judged a class of porterhouse steaks and a class of pork shoulder boston butts followed by a set of oral reasons. In the retail judging class the ND team placed first in the nation with Breanna Thompson being named the national individual champion and Abby Volk finished 6th in retail judging.

Overall judging class team where the scores of all the judging areas above are added together to determine the top judging class team in the nation. North Dakota was named the national champion team in overall judging with our individuals placing 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th in the nation.

Oral reasons In the oral reasons area of the contest the members have to prepare three sets of reasons where they get two minutes per set to explain to the official judge why they placed the classes the way they did. The judges then add up the scores from the three sets of reasons to determine the rankings. The ND Team placed second in reasons (Texas) with Shane Giedd named the second high individual in the nation in reasons.

Retail meat cut identification The team members have to identify 30 cuts of meat out of a list of nearly 200 meat cuts. The members must identify the species of meat (beef, pork or lamb) the primal cut on the animal the cut comes from, the proper name of the cut of meat and finally the proper method of cookery (moist, dry, or dry moist). In retail ID judging the ND team was second in the nation to Texas. Team member Devin Volk placed 4th in retail ID judging.

The final awards were for the high overall team and individuals in all areas of the contest combined. The North Dakota team finished second (Texas). With team member Devin Volk placing second high individual in the nation earning a $750 scholarship from the American Meat Science Institution, Shane Giedd placed 4th, Breanna Thompson 9th and Abby Volk took 11th. The team will also receive a scholarship for placing second in the nation; the scholarship will be divided evenly amongst the team members.

The team members along with coaches Rick Vannett and Gary Matterns would like to thank those that helped make this trip a success: Phil and Lisa Volk, Chad and Julie Ellingson, the ND 4-H, Rugby Eagles, NDSU meats lab, the Rugby FFA and the Rugby Jaycees.

The team went through a very challenging workout schedule in preparation for the contest. They had workouts along the way at NDSU, Cargill Beef in Schuyler, Neb., Nebraska Beef in Omaha, Neb. and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. All of these places opened their doors and allowed our team the access they needed to product in order to help prepare for our contest. Dr. Dennis Bureson and his staff at the University of Nebraska prepared an entire contest for the team to use in practice.

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