Meat-ing their expectations

Moffat County FFA meats judging team takes first at state competition

There's no bright lights, no cheering crowd, no victory dance in the end zone.

"It's not the glamorous thing," said teacher Rick Murr, who is the Moffat County High School FFA adviser.

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Moffat County's team took first place in the statewide meats judging contest Monday. And while FFA contests may not be as celebrated as sports events, Murr said the effort has been well worth the students' time.

"Their glory was at the awards at state in front of 1,200 other FFA members," Murr said. "It definitely says something about their character, their initiative and their desire to learn about something that's going to help them throughout their lives."

The school's meats carcass evaluation and technology team -- seniors Cassie Moon and Brandon Seick and junior Colton Murray -- received a gold rating and took first place overall at the FFA state Career Development Events competition in Fort Collins.

The horse evaluation team -- freshmen Taelor Stagner, Chelsea Mead, Ashley Summers and Anna McIntosh -- also received a gold rating and placed fourth overall.

The farm business management team -- juniors Libby Stetson, Andrew Maneotis and Kaycee Stagner and senior Mary McIntosh -- received a silver rating.

The livestock evaluation team of freshman Nate Moon and senior Rance Moon and job interview competitor junior Teren Wilkey also participated Monday.

Murr said he and fellow adviser John Haddan are pleased with the state competition's results. In Murr's six years with FFA, this marks the second first-place finish in meats judging. The Moffat County team has taken reserve three times.

Meats judging competition includes about four hours of identifying and ranking cuts of beef, lamb and pork, and completing writing and math tests.

Competitors' individual scores are combined to reach a total team score.

Murr said this year's win marks an important milestone for the winners and the community.

"It's a definite sense of accomplishment for these students, Moffat County High School and Craig," Murr said, "because now they advance to the national competition in Indianapolis, Ind., in the fall."

Haddan said he was equally impressed with his horse team's placement and looks forward to a strong, growing program.

"Those young girls really do a nice job competing," Haddan said. "It's really unusual for four freshmen to stand toe-to-toe with upperclassmen and do so well."

The students enjoy the wins, of course. But Moon said FFA is about more than the plaques she brought home.

"It's just something I enjoy," Moon said. "It's just fun being able to go new places and meet new people. We have a lot of fun together, just as a team."

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