1. This contest is open to a team of four 4-H members from a state to be selected and/or certified by the state 4-H leader. The three high scoring members of a team shall constitute the official team for each division and for total
    contest. The fourth ranking member in each division and total contest shall automatically become the alternate in
    that division or total contest.

    All the members, including alternates, shall meet the eligibility requirements found in the Policies and Guidelines
    for National 4-H Competitive Events approved by ECOP. Specifically, contestants:
    • Must be 14-18 years old as of January 1 in the year they compete; Must be a 4-H member during the year they
      compete; Must not have participated in official post secondary (university, college, junior college or technical
      school) competitive events of a similar nature in the same subject matter area, nor be a member of a post
      secondary team undergoing training in preparation for such an event.
  2. In addition to the Policies and Guidelines for National 4-H Competitive Events, contestant must be selected in the
    12-month period prior to the contest date.

Selection of Facilities, Products and Judges

  1. The selection of facilities and product for the contest will be made by the Contest Superintendent or his designate.
  2. The selection of three Judges will be made by the American Meat Science Association and the Contest Superintendent. The Judges will be competent and well qualified in the field of meats.
  3. Every effort will be made to keep contest conditions fair to all contestants. Due to limited pre-contest practice opportunities, the Contest Host and Contest Superintendent may decide to permit pre-contest practices at the contest site. The decision will be made no later than two weeks prior to the contest. There must be sufficient product available and adequate security measures taken to prevent unfair advantage to teams using the practice session. The contest site will be “Off Limits” to all coaches, contestants and associated persons 60 hours prior to the contest.

General Conduct of Contest

  1. Contestants will move from exhibit to exhibit during the contest in five or more separate groups.
  2. No two members of the same team will be in the same group.
  3. Where possible, a Group Leader will be provided for each group of contestants whose duty shall be to enforce the
    rules of the contest and to keep the exhibits of the class on which his group is working in an orderly arrangement.
  4. Contestant will not be permitted to:

    1. Handle or touch cuts or lean cut surfaces under any condition;
    2. Use any mechanical aid, such as a measuring device, light, etc.;
    3. Talk to fellow contestants at any time during the contest;
    4. Monopolize any one exhibit for any unreasonable length of time;
    5. Separate themselves from the class on which their group is working;
    6. In any way willfully obstruct the work of any other contestant.

    Walk-By – The walk by will apply only to the reasons classes where quality has a major impact on the placing (beef carcasses or “quality” cuts). Contestants will be informed at the pre-contest briefing how many walk-by classes there will be. Following the initial start for the class, the group leader will instruct the group to line up for a walk-by. Contestants will proceed past the exhibits starting with exhibit number one through exhibit number four. After contestants have viewed each exhibit, they will return to the “stand back” area, and will remain there until the time for close inspection of the class.

    Team members and coaches will be given the official placings and reasons by the Judges after the contest is completed.

Selection of Classes

The Judging Committee will give special consideration to the following items:

  1. General

    1. All exhibits in the judging classes are to be selected from the top four grades;
    2. The Judging Committee shall be the final authority in how the cuts are trimmed. The contestants will not be
    expected to make allowances for faulty workmanship or differences in trim;
    3. An effort will be made to select classes that will hold their characteristics for the duration of the contest;
    4. All exhibits within one class will be of about the same weight, so that the size of the exhibit is not a major
    factor in determining the placing;
    5. A special effort will be made to avoid unusual conditions in the contest area which would tend to change the
    appearance of the exhibits during the contest;
    6. A check will be made to see that all hanging exhibits in one class are on about the same length hooks and at a
    height for best observation;
    7. A check will be made to see that marks of identification, such as plant or official federal grades, tags, or other
    common marks of identification are removed from every exhibit prior to the start of the contest.

    (Exceptions to the above—or other unusual cooler area or exhibit conditions—will be carefully explained to
    coaches and contestants prior to commencement of the contest

  2. The retail cuts to be used for the identification portion of the contest will be selected from the latest approved
    national 4-H Meat Identification Cut Master List (Retail Cut Identification Codes *Updated January 2012) available
    from the American Meat Science Association ( Steaks or chops will not exceed 1-1/4 inches
    thick. Roasts will be 1-1/2 inches thick or more. Efforts will be made to avoid borderline calls. Each cut will be
    packaged in a tray with a clear wrapping cover and the most identifiable side displayed. Contestants may not touch
    retail cuts at any time. Retail cuts and names shall be among those found in the Uniform Retail Meat Identity
    Standards approved list, and the Guide to Identifying Meat Cuts.
  3. Beef retail cut placing/reason classes shall be selected from among the following:
    • Beef Chuck, Arm Roast
    • Beef Rib, Rib Steak, Lip-on
    • Beef Rib, Ribeye Steak
    • Beef Loin, T-Bone/Porterhouse Steak
    • Beef Loin, Top Loin Steak, Boneless
    • Beef Loin, Top Sirloin Steak, Boneless
    • Beef Round, Round Steak (Bone-In or Boneless)

    Pork retail cut placing/reason classes shall be selected from among the following:

    • Pork Shoulder, Blade Boston Roast
    • Pork Shoulder, Blade Steak
    • Pork Loin, Blade Chop
    • Pork Loin, Blade Roast
    • Pork Loin, Rib Chop
    • Pork Loin, Loin Chop
    • Pork Ham, Smoked Center Slice
  4. Wholesale/Primal-Subprimal Judging Class list.

    Different numbered options are listed because of regional or market availability preferences.
    *Preferred choices, if available.

    • Beef Ribs (103/107*/109/112A)
    • Beef Rounds (158*/160)
    • Beef Short Loins, Short-Cut (174*)
    • Beef Strip Loins, Bnls (180)
    • Pork Fresh Hams (401*/401A)
    • Pork Shoulder Boston Butts, Bone-In (406)
    • Pork Loins (410/411/412*)
  5. Classes and scoring for a Standard Contest
  Possible Score 
Retail—2 Classes

Selected from list in Part C, one beef, one pork 100 
Beef—2 Classes

Carcasses and/or  50 
Wholesale/Primal/Subprimal Cuts   50 
Pork—2 Classes   
Carcasses and/or  50 
Wholesale/Primal/Subprimal Cuts  50 
Oral reasons will be given on three of
The above classes at 50 points each  150 
Total Judging Score Possible  450 
Identify 30 retail Cuts—Beef, Pork, and Lamb
Fresh, Processed or Variety 
(A) Name of Species at 2 points each  60 
(B) Name of Primal Cut at 3 points each  90 
(C) Name of Retail Cut at 4 points each  120 
(D) Recommended Cookery Method at 1 point each
Total Identification Score Possible 300 

Oral Reasons

  1. There will be three reasons classes selected from beef, pork and retail classes. Each contestant will give three sets of oral reasons. The reasons classes will be chosen by the Judges and announced to the contestants at the start of the contest. The contestant may not use notes while giving reasons, but will be provided note cards during the contest to
    be used for review and preparation for the oral reasons.
  2. Reasons should be given to the Judges, in the order of the contestant’s placing. Major comparisons, criticisms and grants should be used, where appropriate.
  3. Contestants giving their reasons on a different placing than what they recorded on their placing card will automatically be penalized 5 points from their reasons scores.

Contest Time and Materials

  1. Twelve minutes will be allowed in the cooler per placing each judging class and taking notes for reasons.
  2. Contestants will stand back two minutes for reviewing judging class general characteristics except those classes designated as walk-by classes. Nine minutes will be allowed for close inspection of each class and one minute will be allowed for standback and filling out placing cards.
  3. Two 12-minute periods will be allowed for identifying the 30 retail cuts, with no standback.
  4. The Judges will decide all official placings and cuts for the contest.
  5. Immediately preceding the start of oral reasons, there will be a warm-up period of at least 45 minutes for contestants to study notes for their oral reasons.
  6. Oral reasons may not exceed two minutes for any one class.
  7. All forms, placing cards, note cards for reasons, etc. shall be provided by the contest administration.
  8. H. Clipboards, pens, pencils, clean frocks, cooler coats and hard hats shall be provided by the contestant.

  9. Cards not marked will be scored as a zero.


  1. Suitable trophies or awards will be given the high individuals and teams in appropriate contest divisions and in total contest.
  2. All individuals participating, including alternates, shall be eligible for individual awards.
  3. Ties in judging categories shall be broken by reasons and/or total contest scores. Ties in identification shall be broken by total contest scores.

Study Material

  1. Retail cuts and names shall be among those found in the Uniform Meat Identity Standards (1996 Edition).
  2. The “Meat Evaluation Handbook” (2001 Edition) will be used by the Judges as a guide in selecting and placing the various classes.
  3. Study materials are available from several sources. For the latest suggested list, contact:

    American Meat Science Association
    Phone: (800) 517-AMSA

For a free copy of the current catalog of education materials, ordering instructions and prices.

D. Questions relating to the contest should be directed to:

Contest Coordinator
Leslie Frenzel
Director of Youth Programs
American Meat Science Association
302 S. Platte Clay Way, Kearney, MO 64060
Phone: (210) 410-3514

Contest Host
Dr. Travis O'Quinn
Extension Specialist, Meats
Assistant Professor
Animal Sciences & Industry – Weber Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-0201
Phone: (785) 532 - 3469

Rev 01/2022