Graduate School

IMG_1545Graduate school. My next big step.  Grad school officially started last week and I was a big ball of emotions. First of all, I was relieved that I was accepted.  I was also ecstatic that I can continue my education in the field that I love and am passionate about.  I was nervous.  I am the new kid on the block so to speak.

As I sat in class that first day and looked around, everyone seemed to know everyone else.  I could almost feel myself withdrawing, but NO, not this year!  This year is about meeting new people and trying new things.  This year is about continuing to step out of my comfort zone. How else can you get better if you never challenge yourself?  It looks like I will have quite a few people to meet.

DSC_0504Almost on cue, I began having the “questioning” feeling.  Am I doing the right thing?  Am I supposed to go to graduate school?  Is this all part of my plan?  While I pondered my whole ball of feelings last week, I was really stuck on this last feeling, questioning.  I sat down and decided to write out my goals and dreams. Here is a trick I learned from Gary V……… Write out the top goal you have, no matter WHAT it is.  From there, work backwards until you get to the present time.  You then have somewhat of a schedule or agenda on the steps you need to take to get you to your ultimate goal. After writing everything out and working through it in my mind, I do feel that graduate school is a step in the right direction for me.

I think we all want great things in our life and we often question whether we are making the right decision or not.  I, however, got the message I needed as I sat in church.  Listen for Gods call.  The immediate thoughts that went through my head were something along the lines of; How am I supposed to hear God? How long do I have to wait to hear Him? What am I supposed to be doing in the mean time? Then I went back to, how am I supposed to hear Him?  If you can imagine, all of these thoughts were going through my head at the same time as I was trying to listen.  It was very interesting to listen to other people and how they have felt God speak to them.  For some, they were awakened in the night and heard Him speak to them.  For others, it was not until after the fact that they realized that this is what God intended for them to do.  Still for others, it was just a nudge in a general direction, a gut feeling.  This left me to do quite a bit of thinking.  I think it comes down to prayer.  If you include prayer in your life, especially when it comes time to make those big decisions and whether you can actually hear Him or not, He will be there with you.

DSC_0289I know that all of the decisions I have made in the past have led me to right where I am today.  However, I feel that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.  I am super excited about the amazing things that are coming this year and I know He has so much more planned for me.

As always, spread some love.

2018

IMG_1436             Wow! I am having trouble coming up with the words!  My trip to Ireland was simply amazing.  I do not think it was from all of the beautiful sights or the wonderful food that I tasted.  I think stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something new made it exciting.  I think being able to disconnect from the phone, social media, people in general from time to time helps.  While I did not unplug as much as I wanted too, I did some.  I do not think people realize how hard it is to unplug until they actually try and do it.  Give it a try, it does put things in perspective.

IMG_1269               Hanging out with the locals, meeting new people and just listening to what people had to say made the trip worthwhile.  My favorite part on every tour we went on was learning about all the history.  Most importantly though, I had the time away to think and re-evaluate my goals, my passions, what I want in life, and what I want for Mattie.  While there was no ringing in the New Year, I welcome this New Year with a huge smile on my face!

DSC_0332              2017 was one of those years to remember and to cherish. It was a year where I felt accomplishment, many blessings, joys, along with heartache and disappointment. 2017 was a year where I took a chance and decided to step out of my comfort zone. It was a year where I learned that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to not know ALL of the answers. I learned to trust and have faith in a plan that is bigger than me. It was a year full of being able to spend time with the people who mean the most to me. 2017 was a year of learning and discovering my passions, and taking those passions and making something out of them despite how crazy they may seem.

IMG_1486                Most importantly, 2017 was a year of a tremendous amount of growth.  Growth in being able to look at yourself in the mirror and love the person looking back at you.  Growth in knowing that despite the past, you are right where you were supposed to be.  Growth in knowing that the future is bright and there is so much more out there for you.  Growth in learning to love here, and now, in the present.  2017 was a hell of a year and here is to 2018!

IMG_1463              I started 2018 off with a bang and am looking forward too many more new adventures. I’m going to take more chances and continue to step more and more out of that comfort zone. I’ll be taking extra time to cherish all of the little things. Honestly, they are the only things that matter. I’m going to follow my passions, even if it means going against the grain. My passions burn like a fire in my heart and given enough time I can explain why they matter to me. I’m going to laugh every day and multiple times a day.  Laughing is good for the soul. If you do not laugh, you definitely need to start.  Most importantly, one has to love.  Love as often as you can and as deep as possible.  And pray.  Pray hard and pray often.  Only the Big man upstairs knows what plans He has for me.  However, I am betting that it is something spectacular.

IMG_1573Smile-Laugh-Love.  We could all use a little more love.

December 15, 2017

Today is the day……My Graduation from College. Who would have thought?  I remember envisioning this day and all the emotions that would come with it.  However, I never imagined that it would come with these emotions. I’m not sure what they are yet…. maybe it hasn’t hit me yet?

IMG_0043It has been quite a journey, even though I probably took twice as long as the average student.  The last four years have done some amazing things for me along with a lot of growing.  I worked three different jobs continuously over the last two years and my home and school life is anything but “Normal”.  I’m a single parent doing my best to make every performance, every parade at school, every Christmas program, and being there to walk her into her “Big Kindergarten School” every morning. I am so thankful for the amazing teachers that have touched my life and always understood and done anything they could to help. Cheers to the countless late nights and projects that were done under crunch time. Oh how many times I wanted to throw in the towel and just succumb to the tears. Cheers to the many tears shed not knowing if I was doing the right thing or what I was supposed to be doing. Cheers to my parents, who no matter the day or time where there for me.  To my Mom, who would pick me up along with all of the pieces during those tearful nights and tell me that everything would be okay.  Cheers to discovering a passion that was buried deep downside and to learning about myself all over again.

IMG_3355College not only gave me an education, it gave me a dream and a new meaning to life. I am immensely thankful for the amazing people I have met on the journey; The ones that I cannot thank enough for the support they have given me along the way.  To the awesome friendships that I have developed and to my old friends (more like “family”) who rooted for me no matter how often or how little we spoke.  I thank each and every one of you.

Today starts a new day, but on the other hand not at all.  I am not quite ready to leave Aggieland just yet, and I have some more growing to do.  Graduate school is calling my name.  I simply did it. I finally accomplished a Major goal that I set for myself.  I finished one semester later than I wanted, but hey I could not pass up the internship of a life time!

IMG_3152While some people may not think that Graduation is a big deal, that is okay. Everyone has their own story and this is mine. Everyone has hardships and tribulations.  I would just like to give myself a little pat on the back. I have been at rock bottom and slowly but surely crawled my way back up to where I am today.  I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be, but I know I can get there. I have made it this far, nothing is going to stop me now.

To everyone else graduating today, Congrats! To the rest of the students, hang in there. Finishing is possible, it just takes time.

As always spread some love, we always can use some more love in this big ol’ thing called Life.

Family

IMG_1840Mmmm the Holidays!  Some of my favorite times of the year.  A time where you can hopefully sit back and relax; Where you can spend some time with your family.  A time where you can watch football, eat too much, have multiple desserts and everything be just gravy.  A time where you can get a jump on Christmas shopping for a discount!  Also, for all my customer service people out there, a time when the restaurants and shops will be filled with people who are out and about shopping.

IMG_1572This holiday is going to be a little different for me.  Sometimes we have to break tradition, not because we want to but because we have too.  My grandparents’ house was flooded in the recent storms, so this year Thanksgiving will be held at a different place.  This made me stop and think about how my family has grown over the years.  My Cousin, my brothers and sister have gotten married and started their own families.  Not everyone can be every place at the same time, so you miss seeing them during the Holidays when you used to be able to catch up.  That is Life though right?  Things change, people change, and you make the best of every situation you can.

IMG_1582   I am hoping to start a new tradition this year.  I haven’t been home that much at all this year due to life. Everyone knows how it can get crazy busy.  I however, have a date with the man (my dad) and we are putting a brisket on for Thanksgiving. My Dad is normally always on the grill cooking, but I thought I would try my hand at it this time.  I am super excited about it as it has been quite some time since we have gotten to have some quality Pop and daughter time.  Regardless of how it turns out, nothing can beat being at home and around family.

DSC_0813  I am also fortunate to be able to spend some time at one of my most favorite places, our deer camp in Sandy Creek.  I love being there and every stress and worry is thrown out the window as soon as you hit the gravel road.  It is also nice to get to sit in the deer stand, finally! I know! I am horribly late getting out there this year.

Whatever you do, take some time to enjoy the Holidays.  Reach out to those loved ones and give them an extra hug.  We are never promised tomorrow, so make sure to make the most of today.

Thoughts for the week:

Showing Love and Kindness can go a long way, why don’t we show more kindness?  Have you ever thought about going out of your way every day, or twice a week, heck even once a week and doing something nice for a stranger?  Even the smallest act can make the biggest impact on someone.  We all have trials and tribulations, it is how you look at them that determines your outcome.  Look on the bright side and go out of your way for someone else.

Book Review:

“The 5 love Languages- The Secret to Love That Lasts” – Gary Chapman – this book is very interesting.  It is amazing how people need different things from other people to feel loved.  Everyone is built differently and if you do not know your love language, or what fills your love tank, or what makes you feel loved, this is a must read for you.  It is a fairly easy read and even comes with a built-in quiz in the back.

Enjoy the Holidays and spread some Love…

 

Goals

unnamedPlan for the future, but stay in the present.  This thought has been staying with me this week and I felt the need to go into more depth with it.  People always ask me, “Well, what do you want to do after you graduate?”  In years past, the first thought that would come to my mind would have been, I have no idea.  Lately I have been figuring myself out and getting to know “Me” all over again.  I have discovered the things that bring me happiness and joy, besides my family.  Cows, Traveling, Reading, Writing, and Photography…….. Pretty plain and simple.  Now that I know these things, I can make the right steps in the present to plan to hit my future goals.  I know that they are not going to happen overnight, and I truly know that they will not happen at all if I do not put in the work or make the effort.  The thing that I love most is that I know my future goals and I have put the pen to paper and that will only drive me to accomplish more.

  • Run my own cattle operation
  • Write a Book
  • Travel to every State in the United States
  • Travel to every Country
  • Read as many books as possible/ have a library in my home

 

blog 14 picThese are the top 5 things that I want to accomplish, nothing too crazy right? I know they can be obtained but I also know that it is going to take hard work and a lot of patience.  However, if you want something bad enough anything is possible.  The best part about all of this is, my path to get there is going to be amazing and I am so excited to see where it takes me.  You never know, a year from now I may find something else I want to add to my list.

In my mind, the hardest part was figuring out what I truly loved. I really enjoy a lot of things; Fishing with my dad, being a Mom and seeing that smile come across my baby’s face. I love listening to my grandparents talk about how things were back “in the good ole days”.  Heck, I even enjoy working out (Once I actually make it to the gym; The hardest part is getting there).  While I love and enjoy all of these things and more, I really had to sit down and figure out what made me the happiest. Figure out what makes you happy and what drives you and go for it.  Will I hit my goals?  Only time will tell but you can bet I a plan on getting there.

unnamed (1)Thoughts for the week:

“Everyone wants happiness and no pain, but you can’t have a rainbow with no rain” – Dolly Parton

 

Book Review:

“Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion” –  Gary Vaynerchuk

I just finished Gary’s first book and I thought it was great!  If you are into creating a business or already have one and do not use all platforms of social media, I highly recommend reading this book.  This is basically a step by step guide on how to get on all social media platforms and why they are important.  It is an easy (must) read with roughly 140 pages in the book. If you have thoughts of being an entrepreneur- pick this book up.  As Gary says – “You aren’t only building a brand, you are building a legacy.  Legacy always wins”.

 

What are some of the top goals you have?  What are some top book suggestions for me to read? Let me hear your feedback.  Email me at caslmatzke@gmail.com.

Patience

IMG_3455It has been quite some time since I have written.  I have wanted to write, but I was a little unsure of my desired topic, when in reality I know that I just need to start again.  I had an amazing Spring semester and I was involved in a lot of Beef Industry activities.  Now, I am back at home and finishing up with school and I have not felt like I have been making the impact that I want.  They say that your Senior year is supposed to be the easiest, HA!!  This semester has been one of my most challenging.  I credit a lot of that to my own undoing by taking on a little more than I could handle. In less than 40 days I will be able to walk across that stage having accomplished one of my goals in life.  Who would have thought that the day would ever come?  I know that I have often wondered if it would EVER happen and I was the one pursuing the degree.

It has been a long journey with some bumps and hills and rough patches along the way, but one thing I have learned is that the journey made me the person I am today.  I am so grateful for the journey; It has made me understand that hard work, determination, and more hard work can help a person overcome anything.  The choices that I made when I was younger were not always the right ones. While some set me back, others helped me push forward.  I know that your past makes you who you are but it does not define you.  You have the choice and the opportunity to look back to the past, but also make different choices to change your future.  I recently came across a motivational speaker named Gary Vaynerchuk and I was struck by his relevance.  I have listened to most of his material and one thing that has stuck with me the last couple of weeks is PATIENCE.  I need patience. I have so much time left and instead of trying to do it all over night, I need to be patient and let it all play out.  If you have not heard of him before, be sure to check him out.  While his language may not be appropriate for all ages, his work is on point and I really enjoy it.

IMG_3905

I am so thankful that Mattie is here on this journey with me as well. She is the one that has helped push me to make changes for the future without even knowing it.  I cannot wait until she gets a little older and then she can understand that getting out there and pursuing your dreams is possible. One day she can look back (or have me tell her) on the things that I have done and know that even when you think all is lost, there is still hope. If you keep pushing and working hard, things will fall into place.

I have tossed the idea around for the last two years, but I do believe that I am going to try and stick around in Aggieland for a couple more years and get my Master’s degree. I have officially submitted my paper work, so we shall see what happens.  I have grown so much here in the last three years, why not grow some more and get a little more out of my comfort zone?

Thoughts for the week:

So many times, and over so many things, I analyze and stress about things that have not happened yet or could potentially not even happen at all.  I have been working so hard with staying in the present; Yes plan for the future, but do not agonize over what is not even known.  Appreciate every day that you get and make the most of that day.  Most of all keep pushing, the best things are yet to come.

 

GaryV

Mountain Tops & Belt Buckles

IMG_3456Words cannot describe the beauty seen from the top of a mountain. It seems as if you can see the whole world from up top on that mountain. The beauty and love that God put into making this land is incredible. Peace is up there and it surrounds you and wraps you up tight like a blanket. Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine walking a trail in the mountains. Imagine the sun rising up over the mountain tops and bouncing off the lake hidden in a valley. The birds are chirping and flying around and as you glance over you can see a herd of elk grazing peacefully. Now just take a moment and let it all sink in. Let that peace come over you and settle way down deep inside you. I know I did.

IMG_3505My trip to Colorado was one of the best trips I have had in a long time. Any trip where you get to meet with your CattleWomen friends is awesome, but this one was different. I took the time to appreciate all the amazing things around me and came back with that peace. I came back knowing that there is so much more to life. There is so much beauty around you but people fail to see it as the daily grind overtakes them. Take that time and see that beauty and find that peace.

IMG_3542In Colorado, I attended the American National CattleWomen meetings. I love going to these functions and meeting and learning from all the women across the United States. It is so motivating to see how many passionate women there are who support the Beef Industry. Many of them are Ranchers themselves. One of the exciting new programs that they have out is the National Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program. This is a wonderful program that takes Collegiate Leaders and helps them develop their leadership skills as well as giving them educational opportunities. An added bonus is introducing these young people to industry professionals. This is one program that if you are in College you do not want to pass up. There is even a scholarship associated with it. If you are wanting more information on this program be sure to check out ancw.org and click on the “Programs”. The deadline is October 31st, so make sure you get your application in soon.

IMG_3543Needless to say, I was not ready to come back home. I was not ready to get back into that daily grind. I was having a hard time (again) adjusting back to the daily grind knowing that there is so much more out there. This time I decided to do something about it. Do you know how powerful it is to watch the sunrise every morning? Taking in all that beauty has really grown on me and I do my best every morning to make sure I am up to see that sunrise. It puts a whole new perspective on my day and something that I am very grateful for.

IMG_3455This past week the Texas Aggie CattleWomen, held our annual Steak Dinner and Dance the night before Beef Cattle Short Course began. The event turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. The Texas A&M Hall of Champions was immaculate. We more than tripled our attendance from last year, and as always, the food was amazing. Nolan Ryan himself supplied the tenderloins and he was kind enough to attend! My fellow CattleWomen gave me the honor of being named, “Texas Aggie CattleWoman of the Year.” It is truly an amazing feeling to be acknowledged for doing something you love. However, every one of the girls from the officer team deserved this award as well. We all put in a lot of hard work and not because we had to. We did it because we love doing it. We have this passion for the Beef Industry that is indescribable. It is a fire that burns deep down in our bellies and all we want to do is teach and educate people as well as learn ourselves. This week was a great opportunity for learning. If you have never been to Beef Cattle Short Course and you want to learn, this is the best place to go. The classes are all spectacular and they feature some of the best speakers in the United States. This course happens once a year and will be held again in August 2018. I was unable to attend the classes this year, but I was there as a displayer and I loved every minute of it. The people you meet are brilliant and the networking opportunities are endless.

Belt BuckleNo matter which path you take in life, make sure you find something that you love doing. Make sure you make time to find that peace and to stop and appreciate the beauty around you. Take a chance and watch that sunrise, I know I will be.

From the Ukraine to Good Ole’ Texas

IMG_2983

I know it has been a while since I have written, but I have taken some time to get used to the transition of being at home all the time. Things have gone very well; I do think being on the road all the time has helped me realize how special children really are and how much you can miss when you are gone. That being said, Mattie and I have become closer than ever these last few weeks and we have had lots of fun together. I still miss being on the road and my friends at Beef Council, but I do know that I will be seeing them in the future!

As I was driving to our camp house the other day something hit me. Besides seeing all the glorious countryside, I remembered another reason why I enjoy driving in the country. Every single person I passed waved at me……… every single one. It did not matter if it was a man or a woman or what they were driving, they all waved. Granted I was driving in the country and I did not pass that many vehicles but every single person waved. Just think of what an amazing thing that would be if we all waved to people we passed everyday instead of getting road rage? How different would the world be?

IMG_2946While at Beef Council, I got to dive into one of the most unique experiences I have probably ever been involved with. The Texas Beef Council works with export teams from different countries, so the staff at TBC is accustomed to meeting people from other countries; well I was not! I was privileged to work with the export team of chefs that even came over from the Ukraine! It was such an amazing experience! Jerry and I met the export team in College Station at Texas A&M University. The export team was there to work with- Dr. Cleere and Dr. Griffin about beef cattle production, yield grade, and various cuts of meat while Jerry and I grilled up some of those fabulous flat irons. If you have not tried them yet, you really should. It’s a great cut! After lunch that day, Jerry and I headed back to Austin but the Ukrainian’s stayed and where able to tour through Texas A&M’s Rosenthal Meat Center and watch some meat cutting demonstrations.

IMG_2938That evening we met up with the export team at The Salt Lick BBQ outside of Austin. If you have never been there before, I suggest going for the experience. Just make sure you have cash because it is cash only. The food is great and the atmosphere is amazing! The evening was a fun filled session. Learning some of their language along with the translator was a blast! We were also given a tour of the restaurant. My favorite part was the giant barbeque pit in the middle of the restaurant that is prominently displayed when you walk in. I have seen a lot of cooking areas but Salt Lick is very unique.

IMG_2949The next day the export team was welcomed at the Beef Council office after they had breakfast at Rudy’s and toured their place as well. Jason Bagley, whose program involves the export teams, went through a cutting demonstration on a variety of different whole cuts and broke them down to selling cuts. We wanted the Chefs to see what kind of cuts are sold here in the United States in hopes that they will consider using some of those cuts in their own places of business. Some of the Ukrainian chefs own restaurants, some hotels, and one even has his own television show. While there was a bit of a language barrier, good food and fun needs no translation. It was great getting to know the chefs and learning about their culture.

This was my last day with the export team, but their trip to Texas was not over yet. They traveled up to the Panhandle where they were able to see some cattle feedlots along with some beef processing plants. This was such a great opportunity and experience for me. It opened my eyes to another country and it increased my sense of adventure. I’m so anxious to travel, explore and see all that the world has to offer. I am still very thankful for all the opportunities I received at the Texas Beef Council.

IMG_2951This week I will be traveling to Colorado to attend the American National CattleWomen meetings. My mother and I are driving together and I am excited for another adventure. Until next time…

 

James 3:18 – “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness”

 

Beef Bootcamp 101….

Bootcamp 1As my last few weeks are winding down at Texas Beef Council, time seems to be going by even faster! Thankfully, I have been involved in so many wonderful events over this semester that I will be able to write about new events and reminisce over the next month.

Texas Beef Council and H-E-B have a great relationship. Quite a few times over this semester I have been able to participate in the H-E-B Bootcamp which is sponsored by the Texas Beef Council. This is an amazing program and every time I was involved I learned something new!

Bootcamp 2Different H-E-B’s Stores from across the State of Texas will bring in close to 20 different managers from their stores to spend a day at the Texas Beef Council. They arrive early in the morning and walk into the joy of breakfast pizza. I will never forget the first event I worked and walking into the office to the smell of the breakfast pizza. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it. If you have never made a breakfast pizza before, you should definitely try it! On our pizza we included hamburger meat, black beans, corn, pico de gallo, eggs, and lots of cheese!

After breakfast, they are given an introduction to what the Texas Beef Council is and what it is that we do. Next, our amazing Chef Tiffany comes in and does some cooking demonstrations. This part is really fun because I learn something new every time. Chef Tiffany does a pan broil, a pan fry, a stir-fry, a Mexican pot roast, and an oven finished demonstration. All of these are done with different cuts of meat and all cooked differently. Let us just say that my family is very thankful for these demonstrations as I am cooking a lot more at home now.

Bootcamp 4The participants are split up into separate groups and each group has their own work station set up. They each have different recipes on their stations and have to work together to cook it and have everyone sample it! This is also a lot of fun, as you get to watch how the members interact with each other and even get to taste and see how their final product came out.

After this, the groups are moved outside and given a Grilling 101 lesson. I promise I will write a blog about the famous Grilling 101, but our Grill Master Jerry McPherson does a phenomenal job with this, so first I have to make sure I have all the steps down perfectly! While the groups are letting their grills burn down, Chef Tiffany sits down with them and talks to them about marinade and rubs. There is a really awesome test that she does with jelly beans. The jelly bean test shows them how you can taste something first and then when you smell it, you can actually smell what it is you are tasting. For example, you can taste a sweet jelly bean, and after holding your nose, you can breathe in and know that it is a cherry flavored jelly bean! It is really neat how it works out!

After their Grilling 101, the participants go back to their groups and work stations. They have another recipe to make, which is normally a salad with Beef of course! This recipe is also for a contest, so the groups must make sure that their presentation looks amazing as well as being able to explain it really well. They are then able to eat the goodies for lunch. After the amazing lunches, they are introduced to the nutrition aspect of the program. Normally after this section, the day is over. Every participant has a full belly and definitely full of more knowledge about Beef.

Bootcamp 3Some may ask why we do this program with managers who are not in the meat department? Well, every person that we interact with can impact a potential customer. There could be times when someone who works in the floral department sees a particular cut of meat in a customer’s basket and they can offer a recommendation on how to cook that particular cut of meat.

I feel that the more promotion of beef the better. At the end of the day, it all comes back to supporting the producers that we represent. Without them, we would not be able to have the fine beef products that we currently have.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – ” For we live by faith, not by sight”

 

“The Rarest of Them All”

If you have never been to Austin Food & Wine Festival, I highly recommend making the trip and trying it out. I was able to attend this year with the Texas Beef Council and it was quite an eye-opening experience. There were so many different types of food and so many things that tasted so GOOD! One of my favorites had to be the pork and waffles. Yes! You read that right…… it was delicious! My reason for being at the Festival was even better.

IMG_2848This event is a brand-new event that the Texas Beef Council sponsored and we were looking for the “Best of the Best” Butcher in Texas. Not only were we able to showcase butchers and their amazing talent, we were also able to shed some light on the industry. All of the activities help consumers become aware that butchers are still out there and they are a very important part of the meat business.

IMG_2846This contest started back in March where we had three regional semifinal rounds. These rounds took place in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. At each of the rounds there were four to five contestants competing. For the competition, the contestants were first given a whole shoulder clod and a top sirloin with a time amount of thirty minutes to break the meat down with cuts that they would merchandize in their store. These were cuts that would fall into the full service and self-service case. This was very interesting to watch as each competitor did different cuts because of the different types of cuts their clientele ask for. For the second part of the competition they were given a wide range of cuts that had been laid out and then they had to properly identify the cuts. For the last part of the regional they were given a whole strip loin and had a small amount of time to cut out ten 12oz strips that were cut to order. The contestants had a scale that they could use to weigh them if needed, but the ones that were weighed could not be counted. This was remarkable to see how many actually hit 12 oz. exactly.

IMG_2845The top winners of each regional moved on to compete in the finals. The finals were a two-day competition and took place here in Austin at the Texas Beef Council office and at the Austin Food & Wine Festival. The top three contestants were; Michael Majkszak from Majkszak Meat Market, Shawn Knowles from Old Town Market, and Bryan Butler from Salt & Time Butcher Shop. These contestants had already won $2,500 at the regional events but they were competing for $5,000 and the title of Best Butcher in Texas.

IMG_2844For the final competition the contestants were given a full loin and had an hour to break this down to cuts that they would merchandize to their customers. This part was done at the Texas Beef Council office, where they also had to have an interview done as well. At the Austin Food & Wine Festival the contestants were given a 103 Rib, or a bone-in ribeye and they also had to break this down into cuts that they would sell to their customers. Each time this was done they had to explain to the judges exactly why they used those particular cuts versus other cuts. Once again, the contestants did a wide variety of different cuts all based on their clientele. It is pretty amazing to watch them in action and if you have never seen it before, I suggest finding some way to watch. It truly is a work of art!

IMG_2849One of the best things that came out of this contest was all the beef that was donated! After ever regional and the final, all of the beef that was broken down into cuts was then donated to the local community. Not only was the contest fun and enjoyable but we were also able to give back to the local community.

So, who won you may ask? Well, while all of the contestants are winners in my book, the best butcher is Texas is Bryan Butler from Salt & Time Butcher Shop. If you are in the area of any of these butcher shops, I suggest you stop by and meet these gentlemen, they are truly great at what they do! In the meantime, support your local butcher shop!

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”