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Ray's Market Wins Again at the Wisconsin State Fair
Wisconsin State Fair 2013

Ray's Market placed high again at the Wisconsin State Fair. Ray's Swiss Landjaeger captured 2nd place - Reserve Grand Champion and placed 3rd - Champion with their famous Smoked Brats w/Cheese!
Ray's Market Wins Best in Show for Bone-In-Ham
Wisconsin State Fair 2012

Tribune-Phonograph: Local meat processor Ray's Market made a big first impression at this year's Wisconsin State Fair, taking home that top trophy for their bone-in ham while also raising thousands of dollars for Wisconsin 4-H programs.

The Colby store's wood-smoked ham earned a championship ribbon earlier this summer as part of the 2012 Wisconsin State Fair Meat Products Contest. The ham was one of eight finalists out of 120 entries to earn a spot at the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction at the state fair Aug. 7.

Al Gurtner owner of Ray's Market, said this was the first time his family-owned business has submitted entries to the statewide contest. He also submitted summer sausage, smoked turkey brats, and pepper bacon, for which they got a fifth-place award.

Al said they had to deliver their products to the state fairgrounds back in June. then, after the judges went through all the entries, the Gurtners got score sheets back, one of which had "Best in Show" written on it. Al said he was told to keep that a secret until they went down for the auction in August.

At the fair, Al said he talked to a couple of judges on the six-judge panel, who told him that the selection of the Ray's Market ham as Best in Show was unanimous. One of the judges told him it was the "best ham I ever ate."

Al said the award-winning ham has been prepared the same way since his father started the business in the1970's.

"I think the main thing is that it's got a lot of wood-smoke flavor," he said.

Besides bragging rights, the ham also earned over $10,000 for Wisconsin's 4-H programs. A loaf of the man was auctioned off for $8,700 to a consortium formed by Country Fresh Meats, Egg Innovations and Hartman Sand and Gravel. The consortium donated the ham back to the auction and it re-sold for $1,800.

Al said Gov. Scott Walker helped work up excitement in the auction crowd, urging the bidders to up the price for their award-winning ham. Auctioning off all the top entries raised a record-setting 488,300 for Wisconsin 4-H activities, including conferences, teaching materials and workshops, and youth development.

Al said his family is looking forward to submitting more entries in 2013.

"The pressure is on for next year," he said.

Wisconsin State Fair
BEST IN THE STATE - Members of the Gurtner family, owners of Ray's Market in Colby, accept a Best in Show trophy for their bone-in ham at the Governor's Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction at the state fair. Al Gurtner is seen holding the trophy, next to his daughter, Emily, holding the ham, and his wife Connie, mother Janet, and daughter Hannah. To their left is Gov. Scott Walker and on the far left is Jeff Sindelar, UW meat science specialist. Also in the photo are two 4-H members who helped with the auction.


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