Farm Talk

Front page stories

November 12, 2013

Meats coach hanging up the hard hat

Parsons, Kansas — His breath froze in the air as he entered through the cooler door. Skillfully, he stepped his steel-toe boots through a moving line of hanging beef carcasses known to knock passerbys to the ground.

Turning around, he yelled to a small army resembling the Michelin Tire Man in knee-length coats and bright white frocks, “Practice with your quality grade cards while I number off a yield grade class.”

For the past 11 years, this has been a familiar scene to Ryan “Edge”   Edgecomb, Meats Coach at Fort Scott Community College (FSCC) in Fort Scott, Kan. He coached a Reserve National Champion team in 2006, National Champion teams in 2010 and 2012 and the 2013 Reserve National Champion team.

In December, Edge is hanging up his hard hat and turning the meats team over to new leadership.

“I always said when I lose the burning passion to get on the road, I would step down,” Edge explained. “I’m still going be excited about contests and the team, but it’s time to let someone new take over and focus on other responsibilities.”

Edge started meats judging in high school at Williamsburg, Kan. In 1993 he took a judging scholarship at Coffeyville Community College before transfering to Kansas State University and competing on their 1996 meats team. He went on to teach high school ag and coach meats for five years in Quinter, Kan., before coming to FSCC in 2003.

With an average of 40 days on the road a year and a 20,000-mile beaten path, Edge can easily navigate his way from Texas to South Dakota over to Wyoming without glancing at a map.

He’s been inside 13 beef, pork and lamb packing plants and 11 university meat labs, knowing his way around every one.

“The Tyson plant in Amarillo or the Cargill plant in Schuyler, Neb., has the best cafeteria food,” he said. “Amarillo sure can make a good plate of nachos.”

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