The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) announced the creation of three new awards to recognize leaders who have contributed to the growth and advancement of the World and U.S. Championship Cheese Contests.

“Our Championship Cheese Contests would not be possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of our judging team and volunteers,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA’s executive director. “As we break records for contest entries and celebrate tremendous public interest in the competition, our members wish to salute the individuals who have made that success possible.”

The new awards and their 2018 recipients include:

  • The Eggebrecht Award. Named for Brian Eggebrecht of Welcome Dairy, contest chairman for 26 years, this award pays tribute to industry volunteers — members of the famed “B-Team” — who have gone above and beyond to support the contests, WCMA said. In this inaugural year, Brian Eggebrecht selected Mary Lou Eggebrecht and Nette Schlinsog for recognition. These two women were integral to the Championship Cheese Contests for more than two decades, spending countless hours tabulating and verifying judging results by hand as the contests grew.
  • The Schlinsog Award. Named for Bill Schlinsog, current contest chief judge emeritus, the award went, posthumously, to Al Breseman. Schlinsog himself made this inaugural selection, as a salute to Breseman for his leadership as the contests’ first chief judge and for his 20 years of service as a judge and chief judge. Born into a cheesemaking family in Granton, Wis., Breseman was cheese grading supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, judging around the world and serving as a global ambassador and marketer of Wisconsin cheese, WCMA noted. He was integral in the establishment of the Wisconsin organization that became the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association. Breseman passed in 2010.
  • The Aschebrock Award, named for Bob Aschebrock, current contest chief judge. The award went to Stan Dietsche of Oshkosh Cheese Sales & Storage. Aschebrock selected Dietsche in consideration of his three decades of work as a contest judge, including — since 2005 — his work as a “Red Hat” or assistant chief judge. Known for his tireless work to organize contest activities behind the scenes and for his warm, friendly spirit, Dietsche is an irreplaceable member of the contest judging team, WCMA noted.

These contest leaders were recognized at the International Cheese Technology Expo, held in Milwaukee this past April, during the World Championship Cheese Contest Awards Banquet.