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Muscatine FFA competes in national meat judging competition, ranks 7th overall
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Muscatine FFA competes in national meat judging competition, ranks 7th overall

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MUSCATINE — Muscatine FFA had another successful competition earlier this month. On Saturday, Jan. 8, the Muscatine meat judging team traveled to Denver, Colorado to compete in the Denver Western Meats National Contest. This contest is hosted by the National Western Stockshow.

The team consisted of Becca Potter, Cory Shank, Bob Carver, Isabella Zigament, Jenna Lovstad, Landin McCrery and Nyssa Brown, with FFA teacher Dave Tometich accompanying them. For this competition, only those teams who placed 2nd in their state FFA competition qualify.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to go to the National Western Stockshow Meats competition a chunk of different years. I’ve probably gone about 10 times with different teams,” Tometich said, “Which has shown our skill and work ethic on it. It’s just a really neat trip for the students – several of them have never seen mountains, and to me it’s just really neat to have the students spend some time seeing some of those things while expanding their horizons.”

Potter shared similar sentiments when she reflected on the competition, saying the things she enjoyed most was traveling and sightseeing.

“I think we got a little more psyched out beforehand, but it was actually pretty straightforward and rather fun, actually,” she said, “Not a lot of people think of meats judging to be fun… but knowing how we work through it as a group and then being able to work through it individually really did come in handy.”

Together, the team was placed seventh overall out of 11. Looking at the individual placings, Carver finished at eighth overall, managing to crack the top ten, while Lovstad placed fifth in quality and 11th overall.

“I was just really pleased with how they came together and helped each other,” Tometich said, “The group of young people that I brought to that competition were probably more consistent in their abilities (than in other years), and that to me is what makes a team very good.”

When asked, Carver said he thought both winning and participating in this competition was a cool experience. This was his second time going; he was  excited about the opportunity.

“It’s awesome to be able to go out there and compete with some of the best in the country while doing as well as most of them,” he said, “I like food, I love to eat and I want to make sure that everybody’s having a good quality cut of meat – including my family.”

“I feel really accomplished,” Lovstad added when asked about her placing, “I feel like I put a lot of effort into it and I’m happy with what I came out with. I really like that I’m able to do something that a lot of people aren’t able to, and I like to help my family out when we go to the grocery store.”

Potter, Carver and Lovstad all said they hoped to continue participating in meat-judging competitions, and with this latest competition in the books, both Tometich and his team hope to win first place in next year’s state FFA competition, their eyes firmly set on Indianapolis, Indiana for their next national-level competition.

“It’s my pleasure to teach about the food and agriculture systems,” Tometich said, “With meats judging in particular, all of these kids will understand steaks, roasts, chops, and a variety of meats in various areas. To me, it’s something that anybody can use, no matter what career they go into. I’ve even had some students on a meat judging team that are vegetarian, and I think that’s the fun part of it. It’s for everyone.”

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