The wind was blowing, and the snow was falling at the Middleton, Wis. Marriott Hotel in early April. Fortunately for the meat processors who had come from across the state for the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors annual convention, there was plenty to do and plenty to eat without having to step outside.

WAMP’s annual convention was held April 5-8. The opening event was a bus trip to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat Lab for a day of seminars and a tour of the new meat science building that is under construction. For those attendees who couldn’t make the tour, Dr. Jeff Sindelar of the University of Wisconsin provided an overview of the project the following day. He also had several of his graduates from UW-Madison’s Master Meat Crafter program discuss their plant projects. Speakers included Jacob Dayton of Dayton Meat Products and Ben and Robert Gehring of Gehring’s Meat Market.

Along with a line-up of speakers and a busy trade show floor, WAMP’s convention also boasted the largest state meat products competition in the country. This year’s Meat Products Show brought in 869 products from 44 plants. Forty-one of those 44 plants had at least one Top Five placing, demonstrating the level of tough competition. The grand champion from each category is as follows:

  • Fresh Breakfast Sausage Links: Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly, Oconomowoc
  • Fresh Dinner Sausage: Maplewood Meats, Green Bay
  • Fresh Specialty Bratwurst: Hoff’s United Foods, Brownsville
  • Fresh Traditional Bratwurst: Trig’s Smokehouse, Rhinelander
  • Bacon: Lake Geneva Country Meats, Lake Geneva
  • Bacon, Flavored: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing, Elmwood
  • Boneless Poultry Products: Northwoods Locker, Clayton
  • Bratwurst, Traditional (Cooked & Uncured): Brandon Meats & Sausage, Brandon
  • Bratwurst, Specialty (Cooked & Uncured): Falls Meat Service, Pigeon Falls
  • Bratwurst, Traditional (Smoked, Cooked & Cured): Wyttenbach Meats, Prairie du Sac
  • Bratwurst, Specialty (Smoked, Cooked & Cured): Geiss Meat Service, Merrill
  • Braunschweiger: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing
  • Cured & Smoked Poultry: Brandon Meats & Sausage
  • Cured Specialty Meat Products: Lake Geneva Country Meats
  • Dried or Smoked Beef: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing
  • Frankfurters/Wieners, Natural Casing: Haen Meat Packing, Kaukauna
  • Frankfurters/Wieners, Skinless: Maplewood Meats
  • Ham, Bone-In: Haen Meat Packing
  • Ham, Semi-Boneless: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing
  • Ham, Boneless, Commercial: Westby Locker & Meats, Westby
  • Ham, Boneless/Traditional: Lake Geneva Country Meats
  • Specialty Meat Entrée: Louie;s Finer Meats, Cumberland
  • Jerky, Reconstructed: Lake Geneva Country Meats
  • Jerky, Whole-Muscle: Northwoods Locker
  • Large-Diameter Luncheon Meats: Louie’s Finer Meats
  • Luncheon/Jellied Loaf: Leroy Meats of Horicon, Horicon
  • Ring Bologna, Emulsified: The Meat Market, Baraboo
  • Ring Bologna, Coarse-Ground: Wyttenbach Meats
  • Specialty Ring Sausage: Gempler’s Supermarket, Monticello
  • Small-Diameter Smoked & Cooked Sausage: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing
  • Smoked Kielbasa/Polish Sausage: Brandon Meats & Sausage
  • Snack Sticks, Traditional: RJ Meats & Grocery, Hudson
  • Snack Sticks/Sausages, Flavored: RJ Meats & Grocery
  • Cooked Summer Sausage: Lake Geneva Country Meats
  • Traditional Summer Sausage: Lake Geneva Country Meats
  • Old World Dried or Semi-Dried Sausage: RJ Meats & Grocery

The Product Show Excellence Award went to Lake Geneva Country Meats for the best overall performance at the Meat Products Show. The D.R. Buege Award of Excellence, which is presented to the most outstanding sausage product, went to Trig's Smokehouse for its Fresh Traditional Bratwurst. The R.W. Bray Award of Excellence, which is presented to the most outstanding whole-muscle product, was awarded to Sailer's Food Market for its Semi-Boneless Ham.