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RHS senior Thompson judges meat in Western National Roundup competition

By Staff | Jan 13, 2017

Breanna Thompson traveled to Denver, Colorado last week to participate in the Western National Roundup Meats Judging Contest on Jan. 7.

Thompson placed fifth overall in the contest, with a total score of 679. “It was okay, I suppose,” Thompson said of her score. “I was expecting a little bit more, but my yield grades weren’t that good.”

Thompson said each participant had 30 cuts of meat to identify in the categories of animal, primal, cookery method and the actual retail cut. There were six placing classes, and contestants took notes on two of the six. For those two classes, 10 questions each were answered. Thompson also explained there was quality meat grading on two carcasses, which featured a written test and a formulation.

“It’s so hard [to choose a favorite part],” Thompson said. “I just love the whole competition.”

On the way to the competition, Thompson and her team stopped at the Tyson Foods plant in Lexington, Nebraska. There, they studied and took a tour of the plant. Thompson explained that it was a little weird seeing how employees were cutting meat so freely in the plant.

“[To prepare] we stop at a lot of meat packing plants, and it’s a lot of studying. Normally, we do our quality grades and yield grades [at the plants]. We spent quite a lot of time at this one, about seven hours,” Thompson said.

Now a senior, Thompson began meat judging in 10th grade. This year, she is on the Parliamentary Procedure, Agronomy and Small Animal Care teams, in addition to Meats Judging. She is also looking for other events to join before the state competition in June.

“[Meats judging] is something I would want to do in college, being on a meats team,” she said. “I think that would be fun.”

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