PDA

View Full Version : opinions wanted


big piggin bbq
06-26-2012, 05:56 PM
when should a "backyard team" turn pro?

Vince RnQ
06-26-2012, 06:27 PM
Honest answer: Whenever they want to take the plunge.

And, to be even more honest, a "pro" team would be someone who derives all or a significant part of their income from their barbequing/competitive endeavors.

Many of us who compete in sanctioned events are doing so more as a hobby than as a profession regardless of how often we are able to compete. In fact, most people who are really good at competitive cooking are damn happy if they can simply break even over the long haul.

Sign up, compete and have fun!

Lake Dogs
06-26-2012, 07:34 PM
I would say just before you compete in any unsanctioned comp you should consider change and competing in a sanctioned competition. There's nothing much to learn in an unsanctioned comp.

+1 there really aren't many if any teams that derive most of their annual income in competition winnings. The better ones make a few dollars ate it, averages being averages, but it's still a hobby (or a marketing endeavor for their restaurant, etc.)

boogiesnap
06-26-2012, 07:51 PM
pro? well, we're not there yet as a sport. there are but a few who are.

as far as when to go to all 4 categories sanctioned? right now! the sooner the better. the learning curve can be steep so might as well jump into it as soon as feasible. the clock never stops ticking and there's alot to learn, and fun to be had.

Lake Dogs
06-26-2012, 08:17 PM
when should a "backyard team" turn pro?

I see you're in Huntsville, AL. Some/many of your answers here may be KCBSesque (reference the all 4 events). You have MANY choices of sanctioning bodies in and around your area, and they're VERY different.

That said, other than learning a little about hitting a turn-in time, there's not much to be learned at an unsanctioned competition. Your BBQ might even get scored badly at an unsanctioned competition that in the sanctioning body that suits you best might be scored very well.

Some sanctioning bodies you can participate in only 1 event and still qualify for and win GC for the whole competition. While you wouldn't be learning how to do multiple meats, you would be learning how to hit the mark and be judged against the standard set-forth by the sanctioning body.

DawgPhan
06-26-2012, 08:21 PM
can we all agree that we dont need to have the "nobody is a pro" conversation every time someone mentions being a "pro".

boogiesnap
06-26-2012, 08:23 PM
agreed. my apologies. i'm very KCBS skewed up here, sometimes i forget about the other bodies.

nonetheless, you're not going to learn about competing in any of them unless you start competing in them. if your Q is good, have at it!

gooose53
06-26-2012, 08:35 PM
I never did a backyard event. I started competing with a friend who had competed and that's where I learned timing and such. Nothing wrong with just jumping in and taking the plunge.

boogiesnap
06-26-2012, 08:45 PM
can we all agree that we dont need to have the "nobody is a pro" conversation every time someone mentions being a "pro".

no, because not everyone knows.

big piggin bbq
06-27-2012, 10:41 AM
thanks for the replies... i started competing last year in backyard. and have done well, came in 5th overall out of 75 teams my first time out... i have competed about 7-8 times and have had several calls in both ribs and chickens, have had one RGC and missed one RGC by .0002... anyways... i feel like some teams are "professional backyarders" and im not sure why they wouldnt want to step up... i myself feel like i need to step up after completing this "season" as a backyarder....

athenslb57
06-27-2012, 11:05 AM
thanks for the replies... i started competing last year in backyard. and have done well, came in 5th overall out of 75 teams my first time out... i have competed about 7-8 times and have had several calls in both ribs and chickens, have had one RGC and missed one RGC by .0002... anyways... i feel like some teams are "professional backyarders" and im not sure why they wouldnt want to step up... i myself feel like i need to step up after completing this "season" as a backyarder....

Last year was our first year to compete and we started in the backyard division. We won the AL governor's cup and moved up to pro this year. We always wanted to move up but there are teams that have no intention of moving up.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus

big piggin bbq
06-27-2012, 11:07 AM
Last year was our first year to compete and we started in the backyard division. We won the AL governor's cup and moved up to pro this year. We always wanted to move up but there are teams that have no intention of moving up.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus

yes i know who you are!!! i didnt realize last year was your first year competing...

Lippy
06-27-2012, 11:59 AM
We jumped right in. Never did a backyard.

DawgPhan
06-27-2012, 12:40 PM
no, because not everyone knows.


there is nothing to know.

please stop acting you are providing some public service every you or anyone else rambles on about not being a pro.

Besides the fact that everyone on the "not a pro" crusade is simply wrong about the nature of being a professional. Professionals are not simply people who make their living doing something. In the context of amateur or professional, which is the case for bbq as many contest refer to those designations and the context of the original question, professional is often defined as someone who receives payment for their work.

Unless you are Cam Newton, if you get paid for something, you are a professional at it. Regardless of if you have net revenue or not, when determining amatuer status one of the most frequent things to look at is have you ever received payment for that activity. If you have and there are not extenuating circumstances then you are more often than not considered a professional.

On top of all that everyone should be encouraging all teams to, regardless of skill, compete in sanctioned or "pro" events. If the term "pro" has the extra benefit of conveying the benefits of sanctioned competition to new teams then all the more reason to refer to sanctioned events as "pro events" and by extension all teams that compete in them as professionals.

boogiesnap
06-27-2012, 12:48 PM
i wouldn't consider 9 words on the subject a "ramble".

but, anyway, my suggestion WAS to move into sanctioned events, whether it be KCBS all 4 categories or whathaveyou.

and i'll leave it at that.

The Cosmic Pig
06-27-2012, 12:52 PM
Some sanctioning bodies you can participate in only 1 event and still qualify for and win GC for the whole competition.

How is this possible? Highest individual score of the competition? :confused:

Lake Dogs
06-27-2012, 01:20 PM
Dawg, I do see what you're saying, and it has quite a bit of merit. And you're certainly very correct in that most of us that have been around competition BBQ for any time know that the term Pro is meaningless really...

Honestly, and personally, I've never cared for the term Pro when referencing BBQ teams. I'd never heard it until hanging around KCBS stuff... The term has gotten more popular in the last few years.

But, using your definition above, I'm a pro card player (particularly poker, spades, and bridge [I'd won enough by the time I was 16 that I purchased my hot rod cougar convertible with my winnings]), professional chef, pro chili competitor, pro bbq competitor, pro water ski dude, oh, pro race car driver (won a few races with my old cougar way back when....), pro at lots of other stuff that I've done as a hobby along the way where at one point in time I received $$$ one way or another. Thinking back, if we consider payment in beers and tequila, I'm also a pro lover (only my wife and a few others know this story, but it is TRUE). Honestly, I'm not a pro at any of these, and my wife will surely agree on the lover aspect (again, any more is TMI). I've competed now in probably 25+- BBQ comps, funded 100% via. yours truly, and while I've won money along the way I've only had 1 competition where I walked away with a few more dollars than I actually invested (it surely didn't pay me for my time or effort). I would not say I'm pro by a long shot. I am and was a much better chili competitor and won MANY, made a few bucks along the way, but I cannot think of a time where it actually put food on the table. Mind you, this is using my definition, by yours I'd be "pro" at all of these...

I dont know... It doesn't make much sense to me. I dont think of myself as a pro at much of anything except what I do as a profession, and in that I'm a professional. I am a professional tax preparer. I am a long time professional developer. Those two professions have paid for all my other hobbies...

Otherwise, I agree with you, only I think using the term Pro actually prevents some first-timers and otherwise new competitors away; them thinking it is something that it's not. All it is about is trained and certified judges, standards to judge against, and going against some very practiced (and in some cases very accomplished) cooks.

Lake Dogs
06-27-2012, 01:24 PM
How is this possible? Highest individual score of the competition? :confused:

Yes.

In at least 2 that I know of, being MBN and GBA, if you're in the top 3 after the initial scoring (in each category) you go on to finals. Highest overall score from finals wins GC.

I like competing in MBN, but I dont have 2 cookers large enough to do all 3 categories, so I skip whole hog. I just do whole shoulders and ribs. I could GC the competition with either one of those.

Where other sanctioning bodies, like KCBS for example, GC is determined by the total of all your scores.

I surely wasn't trying to imply that one was better than the other; just that there are very different ones out there and that in some of them you could just, as an example, enter ribs only and compete, and IF you end up having an awesome outing you could GC the whole thing...

The Cosmic Pig
06-27-2012, 01:43 PM
Yes.

In at least 2 that I know of, being MBN and GBA, if you're in the top 3 after the initial scoring (in each category) you go on to finals. Highest overall score from finals wins GC.

I like competing in MBN, but I dont have 2 cookers large enough to do all 3 categories, so I skip whole hog. I just do whole shoulders and ribs. I could GC the competition with either one of those.

Where other sanctioning bodies, like KCBS for example, GC is determined by the total of all your scores.

I surely wasn't trying to imply that one was better than the other; just that there are very different ones out there and that in some of them you could just, as an example, enter ribs only and compete, and IF you end up having an awesome outing you could GC the whole thing...

Oh, no, I didn't think you were implying anything, I just didn't know that was possible. Interesting! I like! Thanks for the explanation!

Outnumbered
06-27-2012, 07:08 PM
We jumped right in. Never did a backyard.

Ditto.

Still not sure I'll ever really consider myself a pro, but I did compete in contests for money. Lifetime winnings to date: $150. :clap: Average of $75/contest. At this rate, I'll reach the $100,000 winnings mark by the turn of the next century.

DawgPhan
06-27-2012, 08:14 PM
my point is that "pro" in BBQ is here to stay. It is part of the nomenclature of sanctioned bbq. It is on the entry forms, engrained in the slang of bbq, and frankly when you look around at a big time sanctioned KCBS contest most observers would consider the teams pros.

having these "nobody is a pro" PSAs, which typically come in the "should I turn pro" threads seems a little much for me. When someone asks about turning pro, the answer should be yes.

but maybe I was just grumpy this AM.

Lake Dogs
06-28-2012, 07:44 AM
I mean, you're right, the best answer is the "Yes, go for it" stressing the benefits of competing in a sanctioned comp vs. unsanctioned without the other explanations.

Hey, grumpy happens! No worries. Wait, there's a bumper sticker there!

Lake Dogs
06-28-2012, 08:02 AM
when should a "backyard team" turn pro?

Big Piggin, sorry for taking your thread another direction.

I'd earlier interpreted your question to be "when should I start competing in sanctioned contests", when if I read correctly you were really asking "after having some success in unsanctioned comps, when should (and why wouldn't) a team stop and only compete in sanctioned comps".

I've had quite a bit of personal experience at getting both chili competitions and bbq competitions change from unsanctioned to sanctioned. Looking back, I'm not sure it helped much. Some contests did well with this change. Others didn't, and of those 1/2 have gone away, the other 1/2 went back to unsanctioned.

The reason(s) for those not doing so well is that the unsanctioned competitions had a following, mostly folks who were local back yarders and it was mostly a local competition. The organizer wanted to bring in outsiders, and to attract them they'd need to be sanctioned. *voila* it happened. Their lesson: careful what you ask for, you might get it. In every single contest like this I've seen the local teams get trounced, and in some cases very badly, in their newly sanctioned competition. Between adding rules and structure, and bringing in seasoned teams from around the area, they just weren't able to compete. Right off you say "so what". Well, those teams were kinda the heart-and-soul of the contest before this. For those where this worked, those teams stepped up their game the next year and continue to come back and get better and better every year. For those where it didnt work, those teams largely didn't come back the next year. The unique festival atmosphere that they brought with them is and was GONE.

What I'm saying is this: for many of those teams they have no real desire to compete outside of their world. They enjoy the venues that they cook in and have no desire to beat Myron some day. They are having fun and enjoying it this way and probably wouldn't enjoy it any other way. Mind you; it's not me, but I surely appreciate that this is what they enjoy and to try to change it is likely to produce undesired results (in my experience).

Verdict is still out with one of my more recent converts. They'd been doing a GBAesque competition for years, before GBA existed. They were assisted by MBN folks, and had finals and everything, but no on-site, so it was much like GBA. They had 3 local teams that pretty much dominated year in and year out. I got to judge (being of the MBN ilk) every year for them and I enjoyed seeing the BBQ get better and better every year. Well, last year they went sanctioned, GBA. Sadly, none of their core 3 teams that had done so well before made finals in anything. Matter of fact, only 1 of the teams got a call at all. It was ugly... I mentioned ahead of time, with warnings etc. to the organizer and the head cook for one of the teams that this is a whole new level of competition; WAY up from what they were accustomed to seeing. They still didnt perform very well. They're having the competition sanctioned again this year, but I wonder where it goes down the road. Jury still out on this one.

Q-Dat
06-28-2012, 09:27 AM
Some teams stay in the backyard division because its cheaper to compete. The entry fee is usually $100 less, and you probably save another $100 by not buying butts and a brisket.

However, if you are competing backyard, and trying to win people's choice you will probably spend more on that than you would competing in "pro".

TooSaucedToPork
06-28-2012, 10:41 AM
I won more than a couple dance contests in my youth and was paid...I was by no means a "pro"

And like Lake Dog, I have won a few chili contests and was paid, Am I a "pro"...no.

Just as I am not a "pro" bbq'r.

These are contests, not jobs...at least not for 98% of us. We are MEATHLETES. (thats meat and athlete combined for those of you not hip to the whole creating new words craze nowadays)

We all compete for prizes in a competition, if you consider yourself a "Pro" then you are a "Pro"

If you don't then you don't.

The "Pro" teams in NASCAR have guys that change the tires on the track then go back to work in the office pushing papers on Monday...Sounds familiar huh?

Its a chicken or the Egg question...all depends on your personal opinion of yourself.

What you should ask is not whether to turn pro, but do you, in your heart, feel comfortable going up against people with more competition experience? If the answer is yes then jump in with both feet. If you feel you are not ready then practice until you feel you are...

nmayeux
06-28-2012, 02:10 PM
We compete for fun. It is something that can be done with family and good friends, and it lets us know where we stand in the crowd. I guess that when we decided to compete, we just decided to go pro. No reason, just seemed the place to be. Anyone can do it, so just go for it.

Crash
06-29-2012, 04:34 AM
Without going into the whole "pro" debate, my advice is......Just go for it dude, roll the dice.

The Backyard events aren't that much different...it's still a competition. I think competing in anything is the biggest hurdle...i.e. "how will I stack up".

It can be intimidating, but honestly it's not that bad. BBQ folks are cool. Roll with it and have a good time. Trust me, you'll be happy once you step into the proverbial "deep end".