View Full Version : Question from an organizer-to-be, what do you look for?

07-20-2011, 12:55 PM
I am working on organizing a contest for July 2012 in Norman, OK, on the south side of Oklahoma City. I'm interested in hearing from teams about what attracts you ta the contests you go to. Is it prize money, entry fees, location, freebies, special events, entertainment, or what?

Lake Dogs
07-20-2011, 01:51 PM
There have been a few posts here regarding this. I suggest running a search.

In the mean time, as best I recall, it's mostly:

1. Sanctioned competition
2. Prize monies to entry fee ratio
3. Amenities, like power availability, water, ash disposal, porta-potties, showers
4. Space (for your stuff, like RV's, etc)
5. Then came location/distance

The entertainment and special events didnt rate very high. Honestly, I cook at one that has really good bands almost 24x7 for 2 days and it's rare that I have even a moment or two to go see them.

Things like Friday night ancillary events and group cooks are always fun to have.

Some of these may be helpful:






07-20-2011, 04:38 PM
KCBS sanctioning is a must, as well as reasonable entry fees to start.conveinient water,electric,ice,those are all good things that teams need readily available for a good comp,oh,and again did I mention reasonable entry fees .

Butcher BBQ
07-20-2011, 07:11 PM
We are always glad to see new contest come on board in this area. The entry fee is a big deal for most cooks. Check around in your area at other contest and see what they are charging. If you plan on marketing to locals you need to know what hasn't scared them off and what has.

07-20-2011, 10:00 PM

First is going to be distance traveled and prize money. I'll look at what contests I could go close to in the same time period before I will drive a long distance to another contest. Given that you're looking at July and its in Oklahoma, thats a busy time around the KC area where I can tend to pick from a large pool of contests to go to. Yes, the prize money might be bigger for your contest, but if I'm looking at a larger entry fee and a much higher cost of getting there, it might not offset enough.

From there its looking at what the contest offers. I prefer 20 x 30 spots to start with - it lets a smaller utility trailer setup in the space, have space to setup cookers and still have a little room left over to sit / hang out in. Basic power is almost a must - up to 20 amps on your own breaker. If you're sharing a breaker, you'll see problems with flipped breakers too often. An upcharge to 30 AMP isn't a problem - a $25 upcharge for that is still cheaper than running your generator on current gas prices.

1 or 2 bags of free ice are nice, and then a reasonable charge for ice. $2, you bet. $4 bucks for a small bag? Excuse me? I realize you're trying to make money for a cause, just don't expect to bleed your contestants dry. Also have water easily available or be willing to have carts run us to the water faucet. Few things worse than having to cart heavy water jugs a long distance.

From there, the extra curricular activities aren't usually a big draw - it can be enough to get there, get prep done, grab some dinner and catch-up with friends. Let the Friday night activities be the reason the public is drawn in. Also, don't expect teams to stay after awards on Saturday. Most of us can have long drives / things to get done, and for us to have to stay to keep the public there, etc., will cause cooks to not come to the contest due to delays in their travel schedule.

Also, July in Oklahoma is hot. I did Art of BBQ in July in 2009 and it was 115 in the shade. Did I mention hot? I would consider looking at some other months where its not as hot and possibly not as "crowded" for contests (March, April, May, November). You could get a bigger draw from cooks looking to cook "one more" or kick the year off. Just a thought.

07-21-2011, 11:36 AM
I have to agree. I've been in Tulsa in August and the heat is incredible. Anything closer to July 16th (the statistically hottest day of the summer) means even worse heat.

For those of us who are not accustomed to it (and I would say that BBQ cooks, for the most part, are not accustomed to it) it makes the event less attractive.

Late March or late October would be a better time in the Tulsa area for a competition, I would think.

07-21-2011, 11:38 AM
Free beer...

07-21-2011, 12:30 PM
All, or an extremely high CBJ percentage.

Lake Dogs
07-21-2011, 12:32 PM
Ice available either free or at a very reasonable cost.

The best one I've ever seen, they had Hooter's girls driving a golf cart starting Friday afternoon through Saturday around noon. You've never seen so much ice purchased in your life! They made it around to us at least once every hour. :-)

Lake Dogs
07-21-2011, 12:33 PM
All, or an extremely high CBJ percentage.

Yep, should've said sanctioned WITH high CBJ percentage.

Another thing helpful at a fairly large competition where we were parked about 1/2 mile away from the turn-in location; they had multiple golf carts making rounds taking people with turn-in boxes to the turn-in location (and back).