Local News

April 18, 2014

Butchers to bone up on skills

Man hopes to bring meat-cutting competition to Dalton

Leon Wildberger has watched as the meat cutting industry has changed during the last several decades.

He believes it’s important to “pass the trade on to the youngsters.”

“I’d like to show them how to cure ham, bacon and make sausage. It’s a lost art,” said Wildberger, who worked as a meat cutter for several grocery stores during his 51 years in the business. His last job before retiring was at Save-A-Lot.

Now that he’s retired, Wildberger runs an online community, the Meat Cutters Club (meatcuttersclub.org), to help pass the trade down to the next generation. Since 2002, the club has grown from four members to more than 1,000 in several different countries, he said.

Wildberger has plans to expand the club and offer workshops and competitions in the Dalton area.

He hopes to see a large statewide meat-cutting competition, with the finals held in Dalton, later this summer. The winner of the competition will be named Georgia Meat Cutter of the Year. There is also a competition for apprentices.

Competitors must work as a professional meat cutter to enter, and Wildberger believes spectators will enjoy watching the competition.

The state will be divided into regions where competitions will be held at that level beginning June 1. Then region winners will come to Dalton for the state finals tentatively set for Aug. 26. Wildberger hopes to eventually expand the competition to the South, then the entire country, but for now he’s working to get it off the ground statewide.

“My goal is for it to go country wide, but I’m 70 years old now,” Wildberger said. “I don’t know if I’ll see it.”

Competitors will be given a set amount of time in which to prepare several cuts of beef, and they can also “merchandise it,” he said.

“I liked to merchandise meat, take it and make something new out of it,” Wildberger said. “Being a merchandiser, you might take a rib roast and make a crown roast out of it — stuff it and arrange it and put booties on it.”

Having a competition is a way to promote meat cutters, honor them and show the public what it is all about, he said.

The winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize and $850 worth of meat-cutting supplies, he said.

There will be a sausage-making class at The Chop Shop in Bry-Man’s Plaza on Tuesday. Jason Davis of Ellijay, who has more than 18 years in the business, will conduct the workshop.

Wayne Sosebee, who cuts meat for The Chop Shop, is glad to see an organization geared toward meat cutting planning events for the community.

“It gives these young boys an opportunity to show their art,” said Sosebee, who has been in the business for 33 years. “We’ve always had to work every day so we haven’t had time for the fun and games part.”

The Chop Shop is providing the “atmosphere, the product and display” for the sausage-making workshop. The public can come by to sample the products, Sosebee said.

Professionals participating in the workshop will be charged $30 to cover supplies, Wildberger said.

For more information on the sausage-making workshop or to register, visit tinyurl.com/nacp22o.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local congressmen agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014