Well, several of these same kids are also very judgmental…as in 4-H Meat judging! The Niobrara County senior 4-H meat judging team composed of Chelsea Baars, Lexie Dockery, Dax Dockery and Shane Smith tallied 2,108 points to capture 4th place honors at the National 4-H Meat Judging Contest in Manhattan, Kan. in October.
In addition to placing 4th overall, this group tied for 1st in retail cut identification, 3rd in pork, 6th in reasons and total placing of classes, 7th in placing retail cut classes and 10th in beef. Texas won the contest, followed by Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming and Virginia. There were 17 teams from across the nation competing and 62 individual contestants.
Individually, Chelsea Baars was 8th overall in the contest with 707 points out of the 750 possible. Chelsea also tied for 1st in retail cut identification with a perfect score of 300 points. She was also 7th overall in the pork division.
Lexie Dockery (see video below where Lexie describes another one of her unique 4-H projects) tied with Baars also having 707 points, but placed 9th overall after the tie breaker was applied. Lexie was also recognized for placing 6th in retail cut identification and 11th in pork judging.
Dax Dockery (also in the above video) gathered 694 points to place 18th overall in this competition. Dax was honored for placing 5th overall in the pork division and 10th in retail cut identification.
Shane Smith rounded out the Wyoming team with 676 total points to place 20th overall in this competitive event.
This group earned the right to represent Wyoming at the National 4-H Meat Judging Contest by winning the State 4-H Meat Judging Contest in April 2012. Their trip was sponsored by the Wyoming Beef Council, Farm Credit Services of America, Wyoming Meat Processors Association, Ron and Kathy Cunningham and the Niobrara County 4-H Judging Team Fund (numerous county donors).
This group practiced at the University of Wyoming meat lab facility numerous times in preparation for this contest. The team and their coach attribute much of their success to the outstanding practices offered by the University of Wyoming meat lab manager Kelcey Christianson. The group also practiced at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
This contest is held in conjunction with American Royal Livestock Show and Rodeo in Kansas City, Mo. The team was coached by Extension Educator Tammie Jensen and chaperoned by Jensen and 4-H leader Matt Dockery.
Meat judging teaches 4-H members how to identify and select high-quality meat. They learn how to select and handle nutritious meat products and may someday apply their knowledge to ensuring we all have a safe and abundant food supply. These youth also gain valuable life skills such as decision making, critical thinking, public speaking and team work; which will benefit them throughout their lives.