Meat Judging Team takes third place

Team works toward win at next competition

By Adriana Ibarra
On November 1, 2013

ASU's Meat Judging Team, Oct. 20 took home third place at competition in Omaha, Neb.

ASU scored 3,984 points in the American Royal Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest, finishing behind Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University.

"The competition was pretty stiff, and I'm happy that we placed so well," junior Clay Kelley said.

Kelley scored the highest out of over 60 competitors.

Growing up around agriculture and having experience with the 4-H can be an advantage when it comes to these kinds of competitions, Kelley said.

The 4-H is an agriculture club that teaches young people about cows, sheep, and other aspects of farming and agriculture, he said.

"I'm a pretty competitive person," he said. "I put my all into everything and I like to win."

In meat judging, competitors judge different carcasses provided by the plant where the competition is held, graduate student and coach Troy Tarpley said.

"The competitors must place the carcasses in the correct order from the best to worst quality of the bunch," Tarpley said.

The hardest part of judging meat is judging the quality of the meat, he said.

"We practice at a meat plant in Amarillo, Texas, three mornings during the week and every Saturday beginning at 5 a.m. until we feel we've practiced enough," Tarpley said.

Carcasses are judged based on the color, marbling, and trimness of the meat, he said. A lot of hard work and preparation goes into being able to distinguish these traits.

The team has improved from its previous performances and showed the university that the team can be successful, Tarpley said.

"I believe this team has excellent work ethic and has improved tremendously," Associate Professor of Animal Science Dr. Kirk Braden said.

The team strives to do better at every competition and, with these results, it shows, Tarpley said.

"When these students graduate, I want them to leave with all of the skills that will help them with their careers and in life," Braden said.

The next competition takes place on Nov. 3 in Friona, Texas.

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