View Full Version : Contest decisions

09-12-2011, 05:40 PM
I'm starting to get into the competition scene after my first one last weekend and can't really figure out which cookoffs to sign up for. What makes for a good contest? Pot size, event size, proximity to home or just one that you know your friends will be at? Any other factors I'm not thinking of? I chose the Bedford cookoff a couple weeks ago because it was right down the street from my house and I ended up having a blast. It was more expensive than most of the other ones I've seen, but it was worth it for the good time.

Thanks for the help, guys.

Lake Dogs
09-12-2011, 05:48 PM
It's really up to you and what you enjoy. I dont even consider unsanctioned comps. I dont really care about the size, but I do care that it's attended by very accomplished teams, because I enjoy the competition level. I would like to say that all the events going on around me, but truthfully I usually dont have the time to spend doing those things to appreciate them. Otherwise, the size of the pot matters.

However, that's me. Go to what you enjoy.

09-12-2011, 05:52 PM
Contests that have free beer

09-12-2011, 05:55 PM
All of the above?

Cooking in Wisconsin, we don't have near the number of contests to choose from that a team from Kansas City does.
Location-We like to have contests close to home just to save on the gas money and will choose one of those over another if a choice has to be made.
Entry fee-Most contests charge about the same for an entry fee, so that doesn't play a role too often, but a handful of contests can be found on both ends of the cost spectrum.
Outside influence-Knowing which contests other cooks like also helps. If an experienced team has fun and enjoys the atmosphere, then you may as well. That kind of insight can help you avoid a contest that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Prize pool-If there are two contests that charge about the same entry fee and one has a much higher prize pool than the other, then we'll choose the higher prize pot. It makes more sense for us to win more money if we can.

Hope this helps and good luck to you.

Jason TQ
09-12-2011, 06:02 PM
We started out this year too and just got done with our 5th competition over the weekend. Initially we did some backyard competitions to keep costs down and have now mixed in some pro. Since we are rookies this year it is a lot about just going out and learning. We have gotten a few call and won a little prize money, but every dime spent so far has been worth the experience. But as the year goes on and next year comes our priorities are changing. First is was all fun and that will always be a part of it, but now we constantly look to improve.

None of that totally answers your question. Most competitions around here are KCBS and they all have been great (we have done a few backyard MBN). We do look for ones 2hrs or less drive time. A lot of the same teams compete and we are finally getting to know some of them. Mostly now it is just trying to learn and improve and from what I have experienced you can find help at all the competitions from the other teams.

That might not be a ton of help from a fellow rookie, but always glad to talk about this stuff. Never gets old.

Fat Freddy
09-12-2011, 06:18 PM
A couple of other things we consider when entering contests
1) electrical hookups
2) water hookups
3) is Ice furnished----several contests do

Some contests are held in campgrounds while others are held on city squares and everywhere in between so I pay attention to these 3 things along with the other things mentioned by others

Butcher BBQ
09-12-2011, 06:20 PM
This was pointed out to me a little while back in time and I have used it to gauge the importance factor of a contest to me. Take the cash payouts for a 3rd place finish in a category and see if it equals your entry fee.

I also after cooking a contest a few times decide that area likes or dislikes my flavors I use.

09-12-2011, 07:06 PM
At the start of each year we look at entry fee, plus fuel cost, plus meat cost, etc as a ratio to total prize money. Then after playing with that we usually toss it and go where we think we will have the best time. Once you've done a few you find the ones you like and don't go back to those you don't like. We call it voting with our dollars!

09-12-2011, 07:27 PM
If I have to choose between two or more on a weekend, it comes down to reps and organizers and which I know run a good comp.

09-12-2011, 07:50 PM
Contests that have free beer

um, where are those?

09-12-2011, 08:03 PM
Contests that have free beer
Which one is that?!?!?!??!

09-12-2011, 08:11 PM
Which one is that?!?!?!??!

BBQ for a cure in hatfield...

I Had a blast, LOL

09-12-2011, 08:46 PM
um, where are those?

Which one is that?!?!?!??!

Boston Hills NY!!! One of the best!

09-12-2011, 09:06 PM
um, where are those?

Minnesota in May gave away a bunch of free beer at the cooks meeting !

09-12-2011, 10:41 PM
Until this year it never really mattered, but I now look at distance, payouts (thanks for the above insight Dave), and KCBS rep. There are 2 reps that I will avoid like the plaque!!! There are also 4 that I'd travel near or far to cook with!

09-13-2011, 01:02 PM
We go mostly to ones we've enjoyed in past years, and that are within 2 or 3 hours. I might go further if we had a better trailer. Farthest we've gone is about 5 or 6 hours, and that's because we have freinds in the area, and because the organizers (Hog Wild, Kingsford, MI) do such a nice job.

If you tent, or sleep in your truck, or like us, cook out of a pop-up, it's nice to have a place that offers somewhere with showers. Some provide free ice, charcoal, etc.

I prefer comps that also include water and electic in the entrance fee, instead of as an up-charge

09-13-2011, 03:30 PM
um, where are those?

Which one is that?!?!?!??!

Some like harpoon has free beer. others that I wont mention have it available for free, they just don't know it :wink: