Tuesday, June 25, 2024 Jun 25, 2024
84° F Dallas, TX

Inside the State Fair Spam Judging Fraternity


“It was as if a silent specter in a hooded cloak had tapped my shoulder at darkest midnight. I was in.”

That’s how Jacquielynn Floyd describes being chosen to be one of this year’s judges in the Great American Spam Championship at the State Fair, in this rather entertaining (but paywall’d) column. Apparently, it’s just about impossible to break into the Spam judging game. Here’s how she puts it:

“Years ago, when I half-jokingly mentioned to officials of the fair’s Creative Arts competitions that I wanted to try judging the Spam contest, they behaved as if I had casually suggested that I might like a seat on the Supreme Court. I was advised to recalibrate my goals.”

There are eight spots, and judges from the previous year get first dibs. There hadn’t been an opening in a while. There are several judges who’ve judged Spam for more than 20 years. Floyd only got in because someone else died. She never actually says how she was chosen — especially since she’d only consumed Spam twice in her life. (Maybe the column was part of the deal?) Or what it is about this particular cuisine that creates such loyal judges. Or how these other judges got their gigs. Or how much Spam they eat a year.

There’s so much more I want to know about this salty group.