Marathon, Grant Counties top State 4-H Meats Judging Contest

(Madison) The team from Marathon County took top honors in the senior division of the State 4-H Meats Contest held Feb. 18 at University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat Laboratory. Team members were: Stephanie Witberler, Emilie Pauls, Kailen Smerchek and Cortney Zimmerman. They were coached by Mark Zimmerman. These 4-H members will represent Wisconsin at either the National 4-H Meats Judging Contest to be held this fall in Kansas City, Missouri, or the National Western held in January 2018 in Denver.

The second place senior team, was from Dodge County. Team members included Natalie Siedschlag, Morgan Wollin, Riley Kappell and Kaytlynn Meyer. The team was coached by Christine Siedschlag.

The State 4-H Meats Judging Contest consists of evaluating and ranking classes of hams, beef, pork and lamb carcasses, and two retail cut classes. Contestants also identified 30 retail cuts of beef, pork or lamb and 10 cuts of processed meats products, quality and yield graded 5 beef carcasses and completed a 10 question meat label reading exercise. Seniors had to give one set of oral reasons on a carcass class.

New awards were given this year for the top individual in retail identification and carcass evaluation: Top individual in retail identification went to Zach Mickelson, Columbia County and carcass evaluation went to Stephanie Witberler, Marathon County.

The top ten senior individual’s judges, in order, were: Stephanie Witberler, Marathon, Justin Taylor, Columbia, Zach Mickleson, Columbia, Paul Connolly, Grant, Natalie Siedschlag, Dodge, Emilie Pauls, Marathon, Daniel Walsh, Juneau, Kailen Smerchek, Marathon, Cortney Zimmerman, Marathon, Danielle Chwala, Jefferson.

The top junior team was from Grant County. Team members were: Jessica Patterson, Avery Crooks, Luke Patterson, Abby Meier and Alayna Barth. The team is coached by Dennis Patterson. The second place junior team was from Jefferson County. Team members were: Hanna Brattlie, Drew Dettmann, Mackenzie Thom, Rylee Brattlie. The team is coached by Lindsey Knoebel.

New awards were given this year for the top individual in retail identification and carcass evaluation: Top Junior in Retail Identification went to Cora Kleist, Richland County, and top individual in carcass evaluation went to Jessica Patterson, Grant County.

The top ten junior individual judges, in order, were: Cora Kleist, Richland, Jessica Patterson, Grant, Avery Crooks, Grant, Hanna Brattlie, Jefferson, Mae Sann, Marathon, Drew Dettmann, Jefferson, Samantha Rake, Columbia, Luke Patterson, Grant, Abby Meier, Grant and Talena Sprecher, Richland. Results and photos are available at:

Sponsors for the State 4-H Meats contest include: The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, UW-Extension and UW Madison Department of Animal Sciences and Muscle Biology Laboratory.

The contest is organized annually by Extension Meats Specialist, Jeff Sindelar, Extension Youth Livestock Specialist, Bernie O’Rourke, Extension Outreach Specialist, Alissa Grenawalt and 4-H Youth Development Specialist Pam Hobson.

For more information about this or other Wisconsin Youth Livestock events, please contact: Bernie O’Rourke 608-263-4304. The Wisconsin Youth Livestock Program can be found by going to To receive email updates of information related to beef, sheep, swine and meat goats, on the right side of the page, add your email address and click subscribe. You can also connect with us on Twitter at or on Facebook,

Photos and captions are available here:

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