Stafford County Fair carcass show provides interesting results for 4-H members and public

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
A meat judge explains carcass placings to Stafford County 4-H members who took part in an after-the-fair contest  to see how their projects hung out on the rail.

One of the lesser-known contests at the Stafford County Fair (at least by the general public anyway) is one that comes after the fair is over – the carcass show.

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – the judging of the beef or pork carcass, or rather the quality of meat, from the animals that were shown at the county fair. Each year, carcass show results give local 4-Hers something to consider as they think about choosing next year's project animals.

Sometimes the animal picked as grand at the live show, may not place as well at the carcass show. It’s a combination of several factors, like ribeye/loin eye size, percent of fat, marbling score, etc. Once this is measured, it’s calculated so each carcass can be placed. From the time these calves/pigs hit the ground, the ultimate goal is to raise an animal that will perform well in both live and carcass shows. For 2021, Lance Lickiss, a 10-year 4-H member of the Cloverleaf 4-H club, did just that. He won the Grand Champion Market Steer award at the live show and also grand champion honors at the carcass show.

About six years ago, Lance and his brother Kaleb, picked out two Charolais heifers to add to their family's Angus herd. They said they wanted to one day take a smoke-colored calf to the fair. While it’s always a great feeling to win at the fair, the carcass show is just as important because it shows the true end product and allows the producer to better understand how the genetics in their herd are performing.

Animals shown at the fair can come from just about anywhere. They can be purchased from producers that raise show stock or they can come from the families own herd. This year, all beef shown at the Stafford County Fair were from family-owned herds, and while that’s not unusual here, it can really differ in other counties.

In Stafford County, 4-H project leaders and extension agents work hard to make sure that 4-H members understand from a young age they are raising these animals to go into the food system. They are raised to feed the world – and it’s important to get that right! 4-H members start out showing bucket calves at a young age and eventually graduate to showing steers/heifers as they get older. There are several years in between where families start thinking about what genetics they want to use to better their herd, hoping one day their decision making skills help them to not only raise great beef but also win the coveted grand champion award.

The Stafford County Carcass Show is held at Ellinwood Packing each year and it takes place a week after the fair ends. A meat judge is hired to judge the carcasses and then talk to each 4-H member about their animal carcass, what they liked and improvements they’d like to see. Some of the kids participating in the carcass show are also on the Stafford County Meats Judging Team so maybe one day, they’ll have the opportunity to judge the Stafford County Carcass show and pass on their knowledge to those 4-H members that come after them.

The top five placings for both beef and pork at the live show and the carcass show from this year were as follows:

Beef Placings at live show: 1. Lance Lickiss 2. Preston Dunn 3. Ian Dunn 4. Madelynne Siefkes  5. Garrett Dunn

Beef placings at carcass show: 1. Lance Lickiss 2. Garrett Dunn 3. Braxton Alpers 4. Preston Dunn 5. Madelynn Seifkes

Hog Placings at live show: 1. Kalla Foote 2. Liddy Axman  3. Kolson Foote 4. Kaden Foote 5. Braxton Alpers

Hog Placings at carcass show: 1. Paisley Byer 2. Easton Alpers 3. Rylee Ferguson 4. Kolson Foote 5. Liddy Axman

Paisley Byer was the Grand Champion pork carcass owner from the Stafford County Fair.
Lance Lickiss won the Grand Champion Carcass award in beef from the 2021 Stafford County Fair.