The Hellers Sharp Blacks have won third place at the World Butchers’ Challenge in Sacramento held in September. The team, made up of six Kiwi butchers, travelled to the USA to compete against 12 other countries in a three-and-a-half-hour showdown at the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento.
Reuben Sharples from the local store, Aussie Butcher New Lynn, competed in boning and trimming. He is a stalwart of the butchery competition scene. Though this was his first tour with the Hellers Sharp Blacks, Reuben took out the title of Alto Butcher of the Year in 2017 and competed in Butcher Wars at Meatstock. His team at Aussie Butcher New Lynn have won numerous awards for their sausages and hams, and Reuben brings a wealth of experience to the team as well as his famous charisma for the cameras.
Team captain of the Hellers Sharp Blacks, Riki Kerekere says that after two years of covid cancellations it was amazing for the team to finally be sharpening their knives and competing on the world stage.
“To come third is a massive achievement and I am really proud of how well the team performed on the day,” says Riki.
The competition was held on Saturday 3rd September, Californian time, and saw the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento transformed into the world’s largest butchery. Local and international visitors were treated to a spectacular three and a half hour cutting competition where each team had to turn a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added cuts. Teams had to demonstrate their carving, boning, and finishing skills, underpinned by their own creative and cultural flair.
The winners were announced at a black-tie gala dinner held at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento on Sunday evening local time. Team Germany won the competition taking out the coveted Friedr. Dick Golden Knife Trophy, with the Australian team claiming second place and the New Zealand team placing third.
The competition started out as a trans-Tasman test in 2011. It grew in 2013 with a UK team travelling downunder. Then the competition started moving worldwide and this year attracted teams representing 13 nations. Read more about the competition at www.worldbutcherschallenge.com/about-us