Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Marias Fair Carcass Contest - What Happens After the Fair?

Kari Lewis

One component of the Marias Fair that isn’t always quite as visible is the carcass contest, which follows the fair.  Following the fair and the processing of the fair animals, carcass data is recorded by a judge, and the animals are then ranked for their carcass merit with awards being given for the best carcasses as well.  While contests vary a little bit depending on the species, the carcass is weighed, the size of the ribeye or loin eye and fat thickness is measured, and characteristics that determine the carcass’s quality are graded. 
As extension educators, we strive to teach the youth about raising a quality product throughout their project.  4-H members receive Livestock Quality Assurance training where they learn about proper animal health and vaccination protocols along with how to provide a safe and healthy environment for their animal.  Throughout the year, we strive to educate members on how an animal’s genetics, nutrition, and the care they receive impact the final product that they produce.  The carcass data is an opportunity for members to evaluate the final quality of the product that they produced for the buyer. 

In the lamb carcass contest, the top four lambs were raised Danny Habets, Carly Behr, Dylan Clark, and Cole Waldusky.  Danny Habet’s lamb, who was also the Reserve Champion in the live contest, also earned Certified Lamb status and will be enjoyed by its buyer, 3 Rivers.  Danny’s lamb had a 3.6 in.2 ribeye, graded Choice-, and had 0.2 inches of backfat. 

In the goat contest, the top three were Logan Waldusky, Alyson Leach, and Landan Omdahl.  Logan’s champion carcass, purchased by Turner Angus, had a 2.4 in.2 ribeye area, 0.6 inches backfat with the heaviest carcass weight and highest cutability as well.

In the swine contest, the top four were Sadie Vermulm, Elyse Bengtson, Karra Lohr, and Payton Vermulm.  There were 16 members who had pigs that earned Swine of Excellence distinction for their carcass merit from the Marias Fair, which is quite impressive!  The Champion carcass, exhibited by Sadie Vermulm and purchased by Marias Ridge Ranch, had an 8.6 in.2 loin eye, just 0.5 inches of backfat, and scored well for marbling, color, firmness, and wetness.

In the beef contest, the top four were from Jordyn Fields, Ruger Winkowitsch, Coley Cundall, and Grady Kerfoot.  Jordyn Fields’s steer also earned Steer of Merit status, which is a special distinction from the Montana Stockgrowers Association.  The Champion carcass, exhibited by Jordyn Fields and purchased by Naturener, had a 14.6 in.2 ribeye, had a Choice- quality grade, and a 1.7 yield grade with just 0.25 inches of backfat. 
The Reserve Champion beef carcass, exhibited by Ruger
Winkowitsch.  Of the 2018 Marias Fair steers, 98% graded Choice-
or better, compared to the national average of 79%

It was interesting to see that out of the 56 steers in the Marias Fair carcass contest, 98% had a quality grade of Choice- or better, which is pretty amazing!  The national average in that same time frame was right around 79% Choice- or better, so our Marias Fair steers did very well compared to the national average in terms of their quality grade. 

As always, thanks to all those who support our 4-H youth!  Carcass data is available at  

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