• Two local ranches ranked in Top 10, state-wide.
Two local beef production ranches have been invited to enter the 4th Annual Rendezvous City Beef Roundup taking place Saturday, August 26 at the Central Wyoming College Ag and Equine Center in Riverton. Circle H Ranch in Smoot, and Jacknife Ranch in Freedom, are listed among ten competing Wyoming beef production ranches honored with a seat at the table.
According to a press release issued by the contest organizers, “the Rendezvous City Beef Roundup is designed to bring beef producers and consumers together to celebrate beef, to educate the public on the benefits and sustainability of beef production, and to showcase the exceptional flavor of beef. A ticketed VIP steak tasting dinner will ultimately crown a producer with “Best Beef in Wyoming” and an open division featuring producers from across the U.S. will declare a “Best Beef in the West” winner determined by a Celebrity Judge panel.”
As the only event of its kind, the Roundup is intended “to help build awareness and access for consumers to local beef, and to create new markets for producers.” Classes are offered to producers and consumers that present information on various topics related to beef production and marketing.
Victor Hardesty, with Circle H Ranch, is pleased that their Wagyu Beef has been included in the top 10 in Wyoming for the second year in a row. “Last year, we got second place. I’m hoping we take it home this year. I think it’ll be fun. We take over 8 lb. of New York Strips and they cook it up. We decided we’re going to go again this year and hopefully win it. That’s our plan anyway.”
Victor’s operation involves his entire family with his wife, Dani, and four children – Ari, Ian, Vincent, and Ziva. “It’s a whole family thing. We have the kids out here bailing hay, raking hay, cutting hay, changing pipe, moving cows, riding horses, doing all the ranch stuff, so they might as well enjoy the fruits of it, too.”
The Circle H raises all-natural Wagyu Beef that is entirely grass and forage finished. Most of their product is sold to a private buyer in New York, and the Hardesty’s recently visited the kitchen where their beef is prepared and served. They feel very good about the quality of their product and look forward to this weekend as they learn and compete with high quality producers from throughout Wyoming.
Jacknife Ranch is owned and operated by Johnny and Corelia Robinson, with feed support from Johnny’s father, JD. They are the 5th generation of ranchers on their land in Freedom and they produce Angus Cross Beef. This is the Robinsons’ third year competing in The Roundup, and they feel honored to have been invited year after year.
Jacknife Beef is primarily marketed to local, private buyers, including restaurants and households. Corelia keeps freezers stocked with their beef at Etna Trading Company and the Alpine Chevron, so local folks can enjoy their beef on whatever level they choose – purchased in whole or half animal directly from the ranch, or in specific cuts from the freezers.
“We just sell a lot of our beef to folks that know about us and want to support local ranching, and know where their beef comes from,” Corelia shared with SVI News. “We keep all of our business, in terms of buying feed and vet services, we just keep it local. We are just trying to promote our local economy and keep it all here,” Corelia shared with SVI News. “It’s really caught on. There are a lot of folks who start eating our beef who don’t really go back to the grocery store after they start eating ours. It’s been a good little niche that we found here.”
Corelia described The Roundup as a place where producers can glean information and ideas, where they can network and make friends with other producers, and where they can see how their beef stacks up against beef produced throughout the state.
Judging consists of 100-150 producers and guests gathering to enjoy a two-course meal with numbered pieces of steak all prepared the same way. “Nobody knows, except the chef, whose beef is whose,” said Corelia. “You rate the beef on taste, texture, and smell. Last year, I happened to pick our beef, which was number five, and I thought that was cool that I liked our beef the best. It’s very random and just judged by everyone.”
The educational and networking aspects of the event are very valuable to Corelia. “It’s amazing the things you learn from people. Who knows what I’ll learn this year?”
Stay tuned at SVINews.com or check out next week’s issue of the Star Valley Independent for contest updates and final placements results for these two Star Valley Beef Producers.
The public is invited and tickets to the event can be purchased online at bit.ly/rcbrtickets.