When Dr. Andrew Clarke judges a beauty contest, he looks for eye appeal, skin smoothness, firmness and trim.

Last but not least, judge Clarke’s make-it-or-break-it category requires his contestants to smell just right.

“Well why wouldn’t any beauty contest judge require those things?” you might ask. Clarke was judging the Boone County Fair Ham contest – squeezing, sniffing and examining 199 hams delivered by 4H members that had been dressed and set in barns back in December.

Clarke, of Ashland, a food science professor at the University of Missouri, might be more well-known as the father of two former SoBoCo Eagles soccer players, but he is a veteran ham judge at the Boone County Fair – he estimates this is his 14th or 15th year – and he has also judged the ham contest at the Missouri State Fair and the Kentucky State Fair.

Clarke said he uses a checklist of criteria, including eye-appeal, color, smoothness of skin, fitting, trim, firmness, meatiness and aroma.

He said the appearance characteristics were important in many ways.

~ Find out more in today’s Journal ~

By Bruce Wallace