MADISON, WIS. – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) awarded individuals and an organization for their respective contributions to the World Championship Cheese Contest.

WCMA, which hosts the biennial international dairy products competition, recognized on March 6 contest judge Russell Smith, volunteers Kevin Thome and Bruce Workman, and the Danish Dairy Board.

“Our passionate, dedicated judges and volunteers are an essential part of our championship cheese contests,” said the event’s director, Kirsten Strohmenger. “We’re deeply grateful for their commitment to growing these events and ensuring their continued success, year after year.”

Smith, a longtime judge for the contest, is a cheesemaker, consultant and educator who works with cheesemakers in Australia and New Zealand. Smith received the Aschebrock Award, which the WCMA said goes to an outstanding contest judge and mentor.

The Eggebrecht Award, presented to outstanding contest volunteers, went to Workman, owner of Edelweiss Creamery, and Thome, of Cheese Reporter. A Wisconsin master cheesemaker, Workman has volunteered at the competition for 23 years. WCMA noted Workman crafted the special wire tools needed to cut entries as large as 200 pounds. Thome, a volunteer for 30-plus years, produces the contest’s definitive historic record, WCMA shared.

WCMA selected the Danish Dairy Board as the recipient of the Schlinsog Award for helping “build and support the excellence” of the World Championship Cheese Contest. Lars Johannes Nielsen accepted the award on behalf of the board. WCMA said products from Denmark have received four world champion titles, 54 gold medals, 44 silver medals and 42 bronze medals through the years at the competition, while Danish dairy manufacturers have secured medals in 39 different classes.