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Are non-competitors encouraged to attend competions?
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mkevenson
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 2:51 am    Post subject: Are non-competitors encouraged to attend competions? Reply with quote

Being new to BBQ competions I was wondering if there is a place for non-competitors at BBQ competions. I was thinking that maybe it would be an interesting and educational experience, but don't know the protocol. I see in Redding CA, that there is a peoples choice category. Are the people who judge these catagories, non-competitors, or are they fellow contestants and support crew?
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peoples choice is open to the public, they purchase tickets that entitle them to a taste from those taking part, mostly pulled pork, but if you are going to compete in the peoples choice, make sure you do enough extras, if people don't get to eat yours you won't win... no matter how good it is.

Peoples choice also appears most of the time to matter for your positioning, location being everything, if you are near the entrance or the voting box you've a chance to do well, if you are tucked away out of sight you wont do well.

If you've an interest in taking part and or being a spectator, then if you live close enough, go on the day before the contest, wander around and introduce yourself to some of the teams, take pictures of their pits, set ups, etc, Don't be pushy but be enthusiastic.

Then turn up on the day of, but stay out of folks way as much as possible if they look busy, 9:30 - 1:45, then hang out and cheer the winners at about 5:00.

It only takes a couple of trips and folks will wave at a friendly face, and perhaps invite you to sample as a friend, in which case you might end up with anything!

You can also take a judging class and get to judge contests, a real cheap way of tasting some of the good, the bad, and the ugly!
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WhiskeyBentBBQ



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We always welcome non-competitors. During turn in times and prep it is very tough but after turn-in's or on Friday night, we like to entertain and share with non-competitors whatever they are curious about or just give them the Competition BBQ 101.

Hit a couple events in your area on Friday night or around 2 PM on Saturday, walk around, introduce yourself and you should be able to find some teams that will be open and talk to you about competition BBQ.
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JimmieOhio
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoEzzy wrote:
You can also take a judging class and get to judge contests, a real cheap way of tasting some of the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Gas money $100.00
Hotel $100.00
Taking time off from work $250.00
Getting to taste award-winning BBQ Priceless!!!
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Soybomb
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My college town was just a few minutes away from murpshyboro and had a bbq competition every year. I don't think I've ever felt like I wasted more time than going to a town "event" than that one. No one selling any q, no one talking. Certainly take them with a grain of salt. Maybe if I'd known more about cooking then I could have struck up some conversations but at the time as your average bbq loving guy I felt like it was a huge waste of my time.
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Spanx
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soybomb did you try to talk to any of the teams (not during turn in time). Most teams love to talk with the spectators, maybe you just went at the wrong times. And at BBQ events competition teams are not supposed to sell to the public, you can only buy from vendors. Some teams will let you sample but it is not allowed in the rules.
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thooks
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20 10 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soybomb,

I understand your frustration. I would blame the promotion of the event...generally they don't inform the general public that they aren't going to come to the event, pay $10 to get in and have it be an "all you can eat BBQ" from the competitors.

That is what 90% of the public thinks is going on. Blame the city/county/whoever is organizing the event for NOT spelling that out plainly. Email them and complain.

I see both sides...the organizers want every person within 50 miles to come and give them $10 to get in the gate and listen to some band(s), while placing that carrot out in front of them.

I think many of the teams would not mind giving free samples out after turn-ins. But then you'd have folks lined up 30 deep and 4 wide to get some. What are you supposed to do when you put a plate of 8 ribs out there and the 9th person in line says "where's mine??"
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Soybomb
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21 10 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No I don't blame any of the teams, it was just an ancdote from a guy who loved bbq and saw an ad in the paper for some bbq event downtown and wound up wandering around trying to figure out what was going on, not knowing anything about competitions at the time. Knowing what I know today I'd probably enjoy it more. And yes the organizers could have done much better at making it clear that it was really a music event and there was no point in going during the afternoon.
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MemphisHog
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21 10 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thooks wrote:
I would blame the promotion of the event...generally they don't inform the general public that they aren't going to come to the event, pay $10 to get in and have it be an "all you can eat BBQ" from the competitors. I think many of the teams would not mind giving free samples out after turn-ins. But then you'd have folks lined up 30 deep and 4 wide to get some. What are you supposed to do when you put a plate of 8 ribs out there and the 9th person in line says "where's mine??"
Wow, this is it in a nutshell. I attend only one show a year, and that's Memphis in May. I lived under the wrong assumption for years (6 years in Memphis this May) that this was as described above, "come in, pay your money and get a chance to taste alot of great BBQ." I mean why publicize it at all if it is REALLY "come on in, pay your money, walk around in the blazing sun smelling smoke and fat all day and not get a single bite of BBQ" I think the gate would be pretty slim if they said what is actually going on out there.
Who would give a $}{I+ ?
But sure enough, this is what is happening out there. Now if you know people on some of the teams, you engage them in convo the week or two before and get them to tell you to "come on down and have some beers and eat and hang out and smoke cigars" and you can usually get hooked up. But these people are busy and need to be left alone, as they have a big investment on the line before judging. We usually go late Sat afternoon, all the pressure is off, many already know the results, and there are ALOT of coolers to be emptied before the pack out. I get blitzed and full every year now. And when I worked at the TV station, I could flash my badge and get in free, lol.
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DawgPhan
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21 10 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

basically for a competition to be even remotely interesting to the average person off the street, you need one of 2 things...

1. A strong love of bluegrass music or

b. know someone on a team.

Now the knowing someone is easy if you post on a message board. Just hang around the roll call threads and you can get a feel for who is going to be there and all that. Walk up to the tent after turn ins on saturday and drop a name or the message board and you are getting your BBQ.
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Forkin Pork
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21 10 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd have to agree with those of you who say walk around and talk with teams at the comps and to become a BBQ judge.
I have not competed yet, but have been spending a lot of time visiting and talking to teams a BBQ competitions.
I have also become a KCBS judge.
Between the two I have had a great time and really learned the competition game.
Now... if I can just learn how to cook Shocked
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BRBBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22 10 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure not all teams will want to spill their guts, so be ready for the cold shoulder.
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swinebuck
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22 10 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Memphishog about Memphis In May. It is a party if you know someone on a team. We are already getting ready. One thing MIM has is call the Cooker Carravan. Teams sign up with the contest organizers to give guided tours of their booths. It is free to the public and generates alot of interest from the general public. We give tours every year and will again this year. We like talking BBQ and showing off the Stump's Smoker. We give everyone a taste of the BBQ and our sauces. We always get good feedback and happy guests. We also participate in the Peoples Choice contest. Thousand of people are served and the best part MIM gives you the meat to cook. Stop by and see me if you attend.

Thanks
Mike
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TooSaucedToPork
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24 10 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to put my 2 cents in here Very Happy

In my youth (uhhh 12 years ago) I developed a fullproof plan to get you into any BBQ Booth at any contest. Girls. At least 2, but 3 is better... They must be cute and dressed in revealing clothing. This is your free pass.

In case you do not have access to hot women, I have another plan.

Since the rise of the Internet Forums, webpages and Facebook, the ability to find someone you know on a team has gotten alot easier. In high school and college I remember calling around to my freinds and asking them whose dad or brother was on a BBQ Team. Those days have gone the way of the dinosaur. Now the best way to get into a booth is research. Research that will take you maybe 2 hours of your time...

1. Search the internet forums for contest anncouncements- Post that you will be attending and make some freinds

2. Search Facebook for BBQ Teams, many have accounts - Friend them and ask if there is a time you can drop by and talk to them at a contest.

3. Go to the KCBS website and sign up for a judging class. Then look on the database and find teams in your area...Google them and after taking said class, find their websites, follow their comp. schedules and go to the ones near you. Go up to teams and tell them you are just getting into BBQ and you just took the judging class, (which you have just done - do not lie) Make Friends.

Or...Get on Facebook and find some hot girls to hang out with you. Rolling Eyes
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Last edited by TooSaucedToPork on Sat Apr 24 10 8:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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SteevieG



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24 10 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been to several as a spectator only. I hope one day soon to compete and I'm there simply to look at the rigs and set ups teams have and to see what I need to acquire to be able to do with a reasonable expectation of minimal success. I never expect to get "samples" but I do get them on occasion. Plus, I just love the smell of the smoking food. I'll be driving 2 hours tomorrow to Barnesville, GA just for these reasons. I love the atmosphere surrounding a competition and will continue to spectate until I pull the trigger and put my hat in the (smoke) ring.
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Kteedid63
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24 10 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok on friday night I set up a buffet of BBQ we do a few contest a year so its a good size expence. My girl friends made a tip jar to defray the cost. I have never turned anyone away. i have had strangers say nothing to me but go threw the line with their familys make a plate to go and leave. I do not provide drinks of any kind for people. They are to hard to keep cold bring your own cooler with your drinks. This also cuts down on how much I spend. I always talk to anyone that wants to talk BBQ. I love it. Men always talk to my brother/partner he will tell them he doesnt cook the butts or brisket or my smoker isnt his to ask me about it. But if you come Saturday to ask me questions or get in my cooking area wanting to taste real BBQ yikes you get the stink eye. I just cant take the time to do it. Last year some strangers hanging around took the cutco scissors I borrowed, yeah cha ching 80 extra dollars spent, Lesson learned I bought my own, So talk to the teams on friday , they probally will toss you some que, But be understanding on Saturday.
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Pkerchef
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25 10 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can vouch for the Cooker Caravan tours at MIM . They are great the teams are very knowledgeable and don't mind spending the time to talk to the spectators. I spent one whole day doing nothing but going on the tours,many of the teams would break out a rack of ribs for tasting during these times and you get to make contact with them and many will invite you back for later.I will attend as a spectator again this year and you can bet i will be in the Caravan tours again. Great way to meet and greet and score some good Q.Hoping one day to put together a team but till then spectating is not so bad.
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Big Tom
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26 10 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lots of good advice from everyone on how to get inside the fences.

Before we got into the cooking & judging side of competitive BBQ we made the mistake of wandering around at MIM on a hot Saturday afternoon, thinking it would be a smorgasboard of food (NOT).

When we used to cook MIM we participated in the cooker caravan. Our two-story trailer was also an attention getter & conversation starter. At an event such as MIM with 100K+ spectators the teams will get badgered by many just wanting to mooch, some wont even make eye contact with people at their fence.

Hot chicks and the internet forums are good ways to make the connection to get inside the fence, if y ou dont know someone.
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26 10 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see alot of people talking about becoming a judge. I was just certified a couple weeks ago and I have a question.
If you attend as a spectator, should you wear you KCBS CBJ badge around, or is that only for when you are a judge for the event?
SoEzzy I want a Smoke Ring T-Shirt Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26 10 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jarhead wrote:
I see alot of people talking about becoming a judge. I was just certified a couple weeks ago and I have a question.
If you attend as a spectator, should you wear you KCBS CBJ badge around, or is that only for when you are a judge for the event?


I only wear mine when I'm judging, JM2C

Jarhead wrote:
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Me too if they do them in Big Top size! Rolling Eyes Wink Laughing

I'll ask Garry about them!
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