“The biggest rib eye is not what the industry needs at all. I’ve always preached that, and I wrote this competition based on the wishes of consumers and restaurant chefs.”
Lloyd Halstead of Carbon, Alta., has emerged as the overall winner of the Calgary Stampede’s extremely competitive 2009 Carcass Competition. Halstead’s 15-month-old Angus steer beat out 46 other entries in the annual post-Stampede competition at XL Beef, earning the title of Grand Champion and making Halstead richer by $3,000, plus the value of the carcass. His entry narrowly edged out a Shorthorn steer owned by Brent Stewart of Russell, Man., who collected $2,000 plus the value of the carcass as Reserve Champion.
“The winning carcass had an 87-square-centimetre rib eye, which is exactly what we want,” says Fred Taylor, the lead judge of the Carcass Competition. “And it had nine millimetres of back fat, which is good. “Of the 47 entries, 15 of them qualified as ‘AAA’ beef, and 14 of those 15 were high enough ‘AAA’ to qualify for all branded beef programs,” says Taylor, “which is a nice thing to have happen.”
Bruce Knight of Beiseker placed third with a Murray Grey steer, winning $1,500 plus the value of the carcass. Suzan Moore of Airdrie was fourth with another Murray Grey, taking home a $1,000 cheque in addition to the value of the carcass.
The ’09 Carcass Competition saw seven breeds place in the top 15, which bodes well for the industry, says Taylor. “There were Speckle Parks, Murray Greys, Simmentals, Angus, all in those top 15, and that’s a very important factor. That is a big fact,” says Taylor. “We’ve got such a great variety of breeds that win.”
Taylor adds he was impressed with the fact that nine of the top 11 entries either hit or just missed the competition’s 80-to 89-square-centimetre rib eye window. Only one entry out of 47, he noted, was underfinished.
“The biggest rib eye is not what the industry needs at all. I’ve always preached that, and I wrote this competition based on the wishes of consumers and restaurant chefs,” says Taylor. “They are the bosses of cattle producers. We have to raise what they want. And they want their steaks tall and small.
“What we want today is not the biggest rib eye, but the right sized rib eye with marbling in it,” adds Taylor. “And that’s what we offer our prize money for at the Stampede’s Carcass Competition. Based on the results of this year’s competition, we’re doing that.”