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View Full Version : jack, sam's, royal. which would you choose?


boogiesnap
04-10-2012, 08:34 AM
hi guys, just opening a discussion. if you were invited to all three, but could only do one, which would it be and why?

myself, i just don't know!

looking for others' thoughts.

EarlyBird
04-10-2012, 08:44 AM
The Jack! Those invites are special.

Candy Sue
04-10-2012, 08:46 AM
American Royal -- where else you going to see 400+ barbeque competition competitors?

deguerre
04-10-2012, 08:46 AM
Memphis In May.:becky:

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
04-10-2012, 08:48 AM
The Jack. Getting into the rest are easy in comparison.

Fatback Joe
04-10-2012, 08:48 AM
Sams for the $$

sfisch
04-10-2012, 08:49 AM
The Jack because of what you have to do to get there. But, driving to KC and looking down from the exit ramp of the e-way and seeing all those teams set up at the area is an awesome site at the Royal.

Slamdunkpro
04-10-2012, 08:50 AM
If I had to pick one I'd pick the Jack.

We had to make that decision already as our local Sam's qualifier is after the deadline for the Royal.

dmprantz
04-10-2012, 08:55 AM
The Jack is closest to home. Easy decision.

dmp

boogiesnap
04-10-2012, 09:00 AM
thanks everyone!

rexbbq
04-10-2012, 09:01 AM
The Jack!

K-Train
04-10-2012, 09:05 AM
The Jack, but as long as I'm dreaming I'd also like to marry Elle McPherson

tnjimbob
04-10-2012, 09:12 AM
The Jack.

That's a long ways off, as I just got started in comps. I would love to compete there someday.

Ford
04-10-2012, 09:16 AM
SAMs for the money. But somehow I'd find the funds to also do the Jack because it's special.

Smokin' Joe
04-10-2012, 09:20 AM
The Royal is my favorite weekend of the year - a great experience with the best of the best teams in the country with all GC's invited.

The Sam's final has the advantages of having huge $$ and master judges.

The Jack is an experience all in its own - the holy grail of bbq competitions because of its history, the expeience when there, and how hard it is to get in.



They are all wildly different animals - figure out what you want most - the experience, the money, the prestige, etc

Podge
04-10-2012, 09:58 AM
I'd like to go back to the Jack, but blew all my luck the first time.. so, I'd like to do the Sam's series once they have qualifying contests closer to home.

Alexa RnQ
04-10-2012, 10:06 AM
It's been a decision for us every year we've competed. We can do only one "big trip" in October -- the distances involved mean we lose a week minimum.

So far, we've chosen the Jack. From the excitement of being drawn from our first GC, through the years when we ground ourselves into the blacktop to get seven and avoid the angst of Draw Day, something has pulled us back to The Barbecue every year. It's not because it's a money show, it's not because it's the biggest, it's because the contest and the people we met who love it so much touched something in our hearts. We "grew up" in BBQ hearing people talk in reverent tones about the Jack, in those days a team had respect for having been to the mountain -- or in this case, the hollow.

Sam's is epic for a different reason, it's the closest thing to a playoff there has been in our experience. The first year, it was an incredible experience for us to be on the same field as teams who we had previously only known as rockstar names high up in the rankings. While last year it was just a week off from the Jack, and we could lengthen our trip a bit and do both, it was a hell of a stretch for us.

This year, I believe the two are two weeks apart. For teams far away, that presents a tough decision. We don't know yet if we'll advance past the Sam's regional; we do know that our circumstances this past winter won't allow us to make a campaign to qualify for the Jack, so it'll be draw if we even have anything to get us a bung.

Someday, I'd love to be able to spend the entire month of October on the road and do all three, how awesome would that be?

Jorge
04-10-2012, 10:31 AM
The Royal. The Royal and the Jack are special for different reasons.

At the Royal I get to see so many more friends from across the country. There is the opportunity for redemption the second day, even if I'm not able to take advantage of it. We had TheSlabs.com on one side, Belly Bros. across the street, and so many friends close by. The other thing that makes it special is that if you have qualified, you get your invitation. It's not about luck of the draw. You have the opportunity to cook against anybody else that's willing to show up.

The last two years, I've been to the Jack with Smoke on Wheels. That alone made it special because the Groneman family are special friends. Seeing Andy win pork the first year was huge! I cooked Cook's choice with help from Muzzlebrake and others, and ended up 5th. To this day I still haven't asked Andy how close we came to a call. This past year I turned it over to Mr. Muzzle and he made some changes. The picture attached is very special to me. Not because we won the category, but because my friends thought enough of my contribution to have a duplicate barrel head made for me. We've had great neighbors too. The first year we had Boondoggle BBQ on one side, and Habitual Smokers on the other. Great times! Last year we had Myron Mixon and crew on one side, and my good friend Craig Sharry from Texas Pepper Jelly on the other. Hard to go wrong there.

The Royal wins, but it's a conversation!

Scottie
04-10-2012, 11:06 AM
The Jack. If you have been through the draw, nothing beats the excitement of hearing or finding out your name has been called. Lynchburg is an idealistic setting for a BBQ contest in a park that is home to a major distillery. Down home country charm. the others are on black top.

Now I know I am prejudiced and so i should be, just as the guys that have won the Royal should be prejudiced. But I don't remember anyone lying on their app to get in the Royal... ;)

luckyduk
04-10-2012, 11:32 AM
The Royal, more competitors/friends and less drive.
It was nice to see the distillery and everything though

Plowboy
04-10-2012, 11:43 AM
The Jack. If you have been through the draw, nothing beats the excitement of hearing or finding out your name has been called. Lynchburg is an idealistic setting for a BBQ contest in a park that is home to a major distillery. Down home country charm. the others are on black top.

Now I know I am prejudiced and so i should be, just as the guys that have won the Royal should be prejudiced. But I don't remember anyone lying on their app to get in the Royal... ;)

Cause they don't have to lie to compete at the Royal.

The Royal has a more competitive field because all champions can come. In 2009, 20 of the top 25 KCBS at the time were at the Royal. The same year, only 9 of the top 25 were at Lynchburg. The Royal invitational sees nearly 150 teams these days. The Jack has roughly 80. In the Sam's series, you have to beat 22 teams, then 20 teams, then 49 teams to be the champion. Different dynamic and different numbers. Three small contests compared to one big one.

I've never understood why making it difficult to enter a contest makes it special.

Oh, I'd pick the Royal. Going to the Jack is nothing I lose sleep over. We'll probably never get a chance to go. Way over hyped in my opinion. I do love the Sam's series, though.

ique
04-10-2012, 12:22 PM
Cause they don't have to lie to compete at the Royal.

The Royal has a more competitive field because all champions can come. In 2009, 20 of the top 25 KCBS at the time were at the Royal. The same year, only 9 of the top 25 were at Lynchburg. The Royal invitational sees nearly 150 teams these days. The Jack has roughly 80. In the Sam's series, you have to beat 22 teams, then 20 teams, then 49 teams to be the champion. Different dynamic and different numbers. Three small contests compared to one big one.

I've never understood why making it difficult to enter a contest makes it special.

Oh, I'd pick the Royal. Going to the Jack is nothing I lose sleep over. We'll probably never get a chance to go. Way over hyped in my opinion. I do love the Sam's series, though.

Todd, If you finally got drawn to go to the Jack and you could only swing 1 contest in Oct you would choose the Royal?

Anyone can enter Sams Club and all you need for the Royal is a Grand. If you get the shot you have to cook the Jack at least once imo.

rawtalent
04-10-2012, 12:26 PM
Never been to the Jack but it is alot closer. Been to the Royal Invitational tho and that was the best comp/party I even participated in. I think the Royal Invite is more prestigious because alot of great competitors are shut out of the Jack because of the draw.

nukenight
04-10-2012, 12:27 PM
The Jack..... closest to my house and going actually means something. The Royal is probably second and is more of a party contest. Dead last in my pick would be Sam's... with no water for cooks, not a good time.

Candy Sue
04-10-2012, 12:40 PM
I have a bit of a different perspective. I've been lucky to be asked to participate at the Jack (as a Jack Daniel's vendor) since 1999. I started cooking because I wanted to cook the Jack at least once. I've given that goal up for a number of reasons -- if I'm lucky enough to win a GC, I won't apply to be in the draw.

Last year was my 3rd year at the Royal. When I won a GC, I was so excited that I called the AR the next week to get a spot. I like my spot (how can you beat being in between Wood Bros and Big Woody?), I love the event. I'll go back every year I can and may buy my spot to keep it when I can't.

Sam's is a true tournament. You've got to earn entry by winning your way to get there. I'd say it's the hardest field of competition (based on the field in Bentonville last year) I've ever seen. Getting all the way to the Jack takes alot of luck, getting to the finals in Sam's takes consistency and skill (and maybe a Jambo!), the American Royal open takes everyone! I love them all, but I'll cook the AR!

Scottie
04-10-2012, 01:00 PM
Cooking in any of those contests take a lot of luck..... from qualifying to cooking it.

I just don't get that the competition is harder. Everyone at the Jack is a GC, right? To me, its a bunch of whiners who didn't get in. ;) and yeah, I have had more letdowns trying g to get in the Jack than successful times. I'm not complaining though.

Iamarealbigdog
04-10-2012, 01:02 PM
We had the choice to do the American Royal, the Best of the Best and the Jack, we picked the Jack.

There is nothing like walking up on the podium for a call at the Jack and to do it two years in a row, just incredible. The atmosphere down in the holler (sic) is something that is a life experience and does not diminish year after year. That is why this event, in my humble opinion, is the Super Bowl of BBQ.

Memphis in May, American Royal, Sam’s Club just to name a few are fantastic events but just not “The Jack”

Mike
The Black Pig BBQ

Bentley
04-10-2012, 01:14 PM
American Royal -- where else you going to see 400+ barbeque competition competitors?

That is my feeling...

ibrisky
04-10-2012, 01:26 PM
I'm not picky.......

I'd like to qualify/cook them all (this year) :thumb:

huminie
04-10-2012, 01:26 PM
I would consider myself very lucky and privileged to cook in any one of them. Maybe some day...

SHBBQ
04-10-2012, 02:08 PM
In '07 I was the dish *itch on a team who had to make that decision. The decision was made to do the Jack because that opportunity comes up less often. We could only do one or the other for financial reasons and to us picking the Jack was a no-brainer.

This year we were fortunate to be able to go to and afford both. Had sooooo much fun at both. The people are amazing at both. No matter where you cook it is one big extended family anyway.

Although I enjoyed both, to me it is still a no-brainer, the Jack everytime. The real trick is getting to the point where you actually have that choice!!!!

Coz
04-10-2012, 03:55 PM
I dunno but if that damn draw goes our way one day you can bet your ass I will find a way to the Jack ! We have been to the Royal and will go everytime our lives permit but if that rare bit of draw magic ever smiles on us we will get there one way or another. This will be our 5th year in the draw and if we dont get drawn we will be holding the 9:22 on the next day wishing luck to our friends who did get drawn.

Smoke'n Ice
04-10-2012, 04:40 PM
Bucket lists are what BBQ is about. I got lucky and cooked the Jack and got a walk. I also cooked the AMR invite and open and enjoyed them both ane got a walk on beans. I've tried for the Sam's but for some reason, I make rookie mistakes and get a real loud thud (add an r if you like) at the end. If it comes to it, I will choose the Jack again because of the ambiance and folks there but if I never get another opportunity, I won't be disappointed.

G$
04-10-2012, 05:26 PM
Why do I have to chose
See everybody lose
And walk around and sing the blues
Well, darlin' I refuse.




So that is why I avoid the whole conversation by staying away from those pesky GCs.

Meat Man
04-10-2012, 05:44 PM
We're a new team, 3 comps. My goal is to earn an invitation to the AR someday. I think of the AR as the Superbowl of BBQ. But if we won a draw to the Jack I'd be there in a heartbeat. The Jack is all about prestige. We are cooking SAMs at the end of the month in SLC. To win the SAMs it all about consistency, 3 great cooks, and one really Great Cook. It's neat to read about all of your past adventures, hopefully we'll be able to relate someday.

Brew-B-Q
04-10-2012, 05:47 PM
Probably the Jack since it is a dry county and allowed me to focus more by not drinking.

YankeeBBQ
04-10-2012, 06:51 PM
The first time we won a qualifier (it was a Jack automatic) we chose to go to the Royal and skip the Jack. I've never regretted that. I chose to compete in Sam's last year and missed the Royal. I regretted that. Don't get me wrong I think the Jack is great but I really enjoy the Marathon that is the Royal.

JD McGee
04-10-2012, 06:52 PM
The Jack...there's something special about that place...:cool:

YankeeBBQ
04-10-2012, 07:04 PM
What contest did you win ? Was it an auto ? Congrats

hi guys, just opening a discussion. if you were invited to all three, but could only do one, which would it be and why?

myself, i just don't know!

looking for others' thoughts.

boogiesnap
04-10-2012, 07:06 PM
wow, such great responses! i love it. excellent, passionate, discussion.

so, if i read right, y'all would take the magic and majesty of the jack and royal over the money of sam's?

despite the fact that if you make it to bentonville you have a better chance of GC than either of the other 2?

i love how deep the river runs.

boogiesnap
04-10-2012, 07:12 PM
What contest did you win ? Was it an auto ? Congrats

none, just for discussion.

Gowan
04-10-2012, 07:38 PM
The Jack, of course.

Why? Because it's magical, plain and simple. If you've never been, it can't be explained - just come once and you'll be hooked.

YankeeBBQ
04-10-2012, 08:14 PM
The Jack, of course.

Why? Because it's magical, plain and simple. If you've never been, it can't be explained - just come once and you'll be hooked.

Eh. Go a few times and deal with it's shortcomings like poor power and an endless awards ceremony. It loses it's charm.

Coz
04-10-2012, 08:25 PM
wow, such great responses! i love it. excellent, passionate, discussion.

so, if i read right, y'all would take the magic and majesty of the jack and royal over the money of sam's?

despite the fact that if you make it to bentonville you have a better chance of GC than either of the other 2?

i love how deep the river runs.

Being a relative newcomer (This will be season 5) We have been to the Royal a couple times and have unused Invites there due to our poor economy here. Had the thrill of a call at the Royal . Love that place and all the tradition there but if I have to pick and choose one or the other the Jack has a calling all its own . If and when we get there maybe I will feel different.As far as Sams at this point it is a great tourney that has fabulous payouts but after the ash barrel debacle at Indy I will do it as far as we can but to choose it over the Jack or Royal not so much .

NorthwestBBQ
04-10-2012, 09:02 PM
The Jack! :thumb:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7121/7066353291_f94db782f2_c.jpg

Scottie
04-10-2012, 10:48 PM
Eh. Go a few times and deal with it's shortcomings like poor power and an endless awards ceremony. It loses it's charm.

Bring a bigger cooler to rewards. Or win a bottle and consume. I saw other teams doing that...

indianagriller
04-10-2012, 10:49 PM
I went to the Jack my first year cooking as a spectator and took in all the sights and sounds. I have told myself that I wont go back until I am invited to come back and cook. Every year since then I want to go back to the Jack just to walk around the hollar and soak in the experience. I would like to cook the AR Invitational and Open, and the Sams, but my sights have been set on the Jack since 2009.

Plowboy
04-10-2012, 11:30 PM
Todd, If you finally got drawn to go to the Jack and you could only swing 1 contest in Oct you would choose the Royal?

Anyone can enter Sams Club and all you need for the Royal is a Grand. If you get the shot you have to cook the Jack at least once imo.


I'd go to the Jack over the Royal if I knew I was drawn and could only do one. In Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa where I mainly compete, your chances of being drawn are the worst in the country. I live 20 miles from the Royal. I can go for the next 30 years if I wanted to. Missing one isn't a big deal. The reality is that I could do both. Logistically, the Royal is just another local contest for us.

I'd make the same decision if I got into the Sam's finals and had to decide between it and the Royal. I'd pick Sam's.

If I had to pick between the Jack and Sam's.... well... we'll see if that ever happens.

all you need for the Royal is a Grand.

Anymore, that's harder and harder to do. So many competitive teams these days.

Slamdunkpro
04-11-2012, 12:23 AM
So many competitive teams these days.
If only all these smart cooks would stop teaching all these classes........:mrgreen:

Big George's BBQ
04-11-2012, 07:27 AM
The Jack

ique
04-11-2012, 07:37 AM
Anymore, that's harder and harder to do. So many competitive teams these days.

No doubt.

SHBBQ
04-11-2012, 09:59 AM
In 2009, 20 of the top 25 KCBS at the time were at the Royal. The same year, only 9 of the top 25 were at Lynchburg.



Being in the top 25 rankings for KCBS doesn't mean you are a top 25 cook. It doesn't mean you are not either, just saying that is not the best measuring stick of the talent pool.

Slamdunkpro
04-11-2012, 10:19 AM
Anymore, that's harder and harder to do. So many competitive teams these days.

No doubt.

If only all these smart cooks would stop teaching all these classes and writing books........:mrgreen::-P:mrgreen:

Kit R
04-11-2012, 12:06 PM
I'd take any of the three, but we were fortunate to make it into the Jack in our second year of competititon and so it will always be special for us. We never got our invite to the AR last year, but we wouldn't have gone anyway since it was the same weekend as our Sam's Club Regional Final. We DID make it to the Regional Final, but we were in Chambersburg PA on National Finals weekend. If we make it to one or both of the other two events someday then I'm sure many new and great memories will be made.

CBQ
04-11-2012, 12:54 PM
Having never been to the AR even to watch, I am unqualified to say, but that never stops me from posting :becky:

I have to say that going to the Jack last year as a spectator, I did get a sense of the magic of that contest. Most of the time I wonder "Why do spectators even come to watch people cook meat?" but even just watching The Jack it seemed...different from other contests. Seeing many of our NEBS friends get walks added to the magic.

At the moment we appear to be qualified for both <crossing fingers>, and if that remains the case we are planning to cook both this year.

Smokedelic
04-11-2012, 01:41 PM
We were fortunate enough to cook all three last year. Of the three, I most enjoyed being at the Jack. While all three have their good points and bad, the Jack still holds the most sway in my opinion. We hope we are lucky enough to have the opportunity again this year to do all three, but if I could choose only one, it would be the Jack.

Plowboy
04-11-2012, 01:46 PM
Being in the top 25 rankings for KCBS doesn't mean you are a top 25 cook. It doesn't mean you are not either, just saying that is not the best measuring stick of the talent pool.

That logic doesn't compute. "Being number 1 doesn't mean you are number 1." :crazy: How can you not be a top 25 cook if you are in the top 25?

Maybe what you are trying to say is that it doesn't mean you are THE BEST COOK because you are in the top 25 and vice versa. If that's what you mean, agreed. However, it is a pretty good indicator of talent on the cometition KCBS circuit and one of the very best measures we have available.

Plowboy
04-11-2012, 01:49 PM
Being in the top 25 rankings for KCBS doesn't mean you are a top 25 cook. It doesn't mean you are not either, just saying that is not the best measuring stick of the talent pool.

Conversely, making it into the Jack doesn't mean you are one of the top 80 teams in the world.

Gowan
04-11-2012, 02:49 PM
Eh. Go a few times and deal with it's shortcomings like poor power and an endless awards ceremony. It loses it's charm.

<shrugs>

Not everybody gets Christmas either, I suppose.

YankeeBBQ
04-11-2012, 03:24 PM
<shrugs>

Not everybody gets Christmas either, I suppose.

I guess expecting a world class event to have world class amenities is too much to ask. I mean really why should all contestants expect to have adequate power at the 'Super Bowl' of bbq. I spent half a day last year looking for a reliable power source just to have some bozo run over the junction box with his truck. That really wasn't my idea of a good time and it made it really hard to see the 'Magic'

I love Christmas by the way.

Lynn
04-11-2012, 05:20 PM
I'd go to the Jack over the Royal if I knew I was drawn and could only do one. In Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa where I mainly compete, your chances of being drawn are the worst in the country. I live 20 miles from the Royal. I can go for the next 30 years if I wanted to. Missing one isn't a big deal. The reality is that I could do both. Logistically, the Royal is just another local contest for us.

I'd make the same decision if I got into the Sam's finals and had to decide between it and the Royal. I'd pick Sam's.

If I had to pick between the Jack and Sam's.... well... we'll see if that ever happens.



Anymore, that's harder and harder to do. So many competitive teams these days.

you think it is difficult to get drawn - come to Texas where last year there were 75+ qualifiers and we only get 1 draw - now that's difficult

JD McGee
04-11-2012, 09:17 PM
Conversely, making it into the Jack doesn't mean you are one of the top 80 teams in the world.

True...more like top 90 if memory serves...:twisted:

SHBBQ
04-12-2012, 12:48 AM
Conversely, making it into the Jack doesn't mean you are one of the top 80 teams in the world.

I never said it would mean you were a top 80 cook, nor would i make such an assumption.

SHBBQ
04-12-2012, 01:15 AM
That logic doesn't compute. "Being number 1 doesn't mean you are number 1." :crazy: How can you not be a top 25 cook if you are in the top 25?

Maybe what you are trying to say is that it doesn't mean you are THE BEST COOK because you are in the top 25 and vice versa. If that's what you mean, agreed. However, it is a pretty good indicator of talent on the cometition KCBS circuit and one of the very best measures we have available.

What I mean is, that using a team of the year rankings for KCBS is not a measure of talent, it is a measure of talent based on the limited number of teams that cook at least 10 KCBS sanctioned contests per year.

To say that because there were more "top 25" teams at the royal as an arguement to choose the royal over the jack does not compute. All teams that are GC's at any event sanctioned are considered at both events as equals. The Jack has limited space, the royal does not. That is why they have to do a draw.

example, the team next to me at the jack this year Brew-B-Q won GC at each contest they entered last year and took first place in brisket at the jack. I would put them against any team talent wise in the top 25 in KCBS team of the year rankings any day of the year.

Crash
04-12-2012, 03:34 AM
For us...The Jack.

Unfortunately, for the teams out here, there is currently only one Jack Draw available.

If you really step back and take a look at it, if a Hawaii team grabs that Jack Draw...it's going to sting! That team would then have to arrange really expensive flight arrangements and then beg friends or the Brethren for equipment and cookers.

We'd still say: The Jack. Just to go once would be enough for us.

BBQCure
04-12-2012, 05:52 PM
The Jack would be my choice. It is the reason I compete and the reason I got into this.

Jorge
04-13-2012, 07:29 AM
We'd still say: The Jack. Just to go once would be enough for us.

When the second opportunity comes around it's difficult to say 'no'. I'd told Andy that if he was drawn I just didn't see a way to make it based on my schedule. I think I committed after the Royal? The more I thought about not being there, the more difficult it became.

On the other hand, the expense of getting off your island could help instill some discipline! My wife and I were talking about Giovanni's Shrimp truck last night...stop by and say hello for us:mrgreen:

Sledneck
04-13-2012, 07:51 AM
This entire thread and still no real solid argument for the royal. To me it was an oversized contest. Fri nite was fun to watch sat night was the quietest 400 + team contest ever