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MADISON -  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 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.” 

Eggebrecht Award 

The Eggebrecht Award, named for 26-year Contest Chairman Brian Eggebrecht of Welcome Dairy, pays tribute to industry volunteers — members of the famed “B-Team” — who have gone above and beyond to support the Contests.  

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. 

Schlinsog Award 

The Schlinsog Award, named for current Contest Chief Judge Emeritus Bill Schlinsog, will be given, 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 a total of 20 years of service as a Judge and Chief Judge.

Born into a cheesemaking family in Granton, Wisconsin, Breseman was cheese grading supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and judged around the world and served as a global ambassador and marketer of Wisconsin cheese. He was integral in the establishment of the Wisconsin organization which has become the International Dairy Deli-Bakery Association. He passed in 2010.

Al Breseman’s son Bradley Breseman and daughter Bonnie Macklin will accept the Schlinsog Award on behalf of their father. 

Aschebrock Award 

The Aschebrock Award, named for current Contest Chief Judge Bob Aschebrock, will be given to Stan Dietsche of Oshkosh Cheese Sales & Storage.

Aschebrock selected Dietsche as the first recipient, giving a nod to his friend’s 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.

Recognition of these Contest leaders will take place at the International Cheese Technology Expo, set for April 17-19 at the Wisconsin Center, as part of the World Championship Cheese Contest Awards Banquet.  

For more information and to register to attend, visit CheeseExpo.org. 

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