When Gabriel Romero from Springfield hits the rink at Wichita Ice Center later this month, he won’t need skates or hockey sticks to score. To prove he’s a cut above the competition, Romero will compete on ice against 32 professional meat cutters from across the midwest in the Texas Roadhouse Meat Cutting Challenge.

The top scores for filet, ribeye, sirloin and top overall winners in the competition will receive a cash prize with each participant receiving 30-40 pounds of beef, consisting of one sirloin, one filet tenderloin and one whole ribeye muscle to cut. 

Meat cutters are judged on quality, yield and speed in this timed cut-off, Texas Roadhouse Product Coach John Head said. The winner is the cutter who yields the most steaks with the highest quality cut in the least amount of time.To assure the best, freshest quality meat, all cutting is done at a chilly 34-to-38 degrees. 

Top scoring challengers in the region will advance to the semi-finals where they’ll compete for the opportunity to participate in the 2020 national competition. The semi-finals and final competition will be held in March in Nashville. The winner of the national competition receives a grand prize of $20,000 and is crowned Meat Cutter of the Year. 

“At Texas Roadhouse, our professional meat cutters hand-cut every steak in each restaurant daily,”  Head said. “This meat cutting challenge recognizes the significant contributions of our talented meat cutters and we’re proud to reward and honor these individuals through this national competition.”

The Texas Roadhouse Meat Cutting Challenge takes place on Monday, Aug. 26 from 11 a.m. to noon in the Wichita Ice Center at 505 West Maple St.Each Meat Cutter is responsible for hand-cutting every steak served at their local Texas Roadhouse. In an average year, they cut about $1 million worth of meat and spend seven to eight hours a day cutting meat in the 35-degree walk-in cooler, according to Head.

The National Meat Cutting Challenge is part of the Meat Hero program, created in 2001, to recognize daily efforts of Texas Roadhouse meat cutters. Meat cutters hand-cut each steak served at the restaurants, Head said. Their work is displayed in the lobby where guests are invited to hand pick their steak.