Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alone in Australia....But Meats Judging is Fun

To our dedicated readers,

Unfortunately for you, the much better looking and significantly better writer of the Frobuzz moniker has decided that she's had enough of Australia for about 6 weeks and has returned home to Kansas for some amazing sunshine and 98 degree, 110 heat index August temperature back in the USA. That leaves yours truly, Hyatt, alone at the helm of the Oz to Aus blog.

The good news is, there is and has been alot going on lately in Australia. About one month ago, I had the privilege of coaching the University of Melbourne Meats Judging Team at the Intercollegiate Meats Judging Competition that was held in Armidale, NSW (about 15 hours drive from Melbourne).

This was the first time that Melbourne Uni (as it is referred to in Australia) has fielded a Meats Judging Team, as the competition has only been around for the past 20 years. As a team, we spent two months training for the event, both in the classroom and at local abattoirs (slaughterhouses). I had approximately 10 students train and travel with us during this time period, but due to time conflicts and winter classes, only 4 students were able to travel with me on the weeklong trip for the competition.

We started out travelling up to Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales late Sunday night where we met up with the team from Charles Sturt University as well as the visiting Japanese National Team, to train on Monday at a beef and lamb plant prior to the long drive to Armidale.

On Tuesday, we began the long drive where we got to see such Australian national landmarks as the Parkes Radio Telescope, a huge satellite dish they used to help broadcast live images of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969. I'm sure you can imagine the excitement!

Upon arrival in Armidale, we all got to take part in a 3-day training program where the students continued to train on beef, pork and lamb cut and carcass evaluation, as well as listening to prominent industry speakers like the CEO of JBS-Swift Australia and a speaker from Cole's Supermarkets, one of Australia's biggest retail grocery chains. The students also got to talk to employers at a half-day Career Fair.

Finally, the event culminated in a 2-day competition at the University of New England Meat Lab and the Cargill Beef Abattoir in Tamworth, a nearby town. My students did really, really well and I was extremely proud of them, coming in 4th out of 12 teams including a Texas Tech from the USA. Two of my four students placed in the top 15 individuals overall, with Lucy Collins placing the highest of any Aussie in the competition.

While we were pretty focused on the competition during the week, we still made sure to have a good time the evening after the awards. We took a party bus out to the pubs and the Americans showed the Aussies how to two-step! Afterwards, we continued the evening with some authentic Aussie-planking.....

All in all, we all had a great experience, learned alot and made a ton of new friends.

Look forward to more news coming in the near future,


1 comment:

  1. Love the post Hyatt, and congrats on the team's success. It is funny that people are just starting to talk about planking over hear now. I remembered when I was in Australia last September is was in a lot of the media.