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View Full Version : Too many judges for a comp


Chenernator
07-02-2012, 12:21 PM
I recently attended a comp where almost twice as many judges as needed showed up. It was a two day event, so some were convinced to return the second day, some volunteered to leave altogether and let others judge, and some were used for renumbering and manning the turn-in table. The end result was that some Master CBJ's ended up not judging at all while some rookies did (which hurts scores). Some of us that drove over four hours and paid for a hotel for the chance to judge twice, only got to judge one day, also resulting in a less experienced judges pool.

I don't know that there is a good solution for this, but what do you think should have happened? What sort of prioritization should have taken place?

dmprantz
07-02-2012, 12:30 PM
Lots of things to consider, balance of experienced/master CBJs across tables. Those who drove far and had lodging expenses, etc, but one thing that comes to mind, space and supplies not withstanding, I don't think there's anything wrong with having twice as many judges as cooks. As long as each box is scored by six judges, all is good, right? Does each table need to judge 5-7 boxes? Of course the other side is that the organizer might have not done the best job, but I don't know the details.

dmp

JS-TX
07-02-2012, 12:33 PM
Depends on what you mean by priority.. the judges that drove far to help or from a competitor perspective. One way to look at it is that a CBJ is a CBJ, rookie or not. How do you know for sure that this hurt the scores? Not having enough CBJs for a 2 day event obviously wasn't a problem so perhaps next year they can plan better.

The_Kapn
07-02-2012, 12:49 PM
Having judged along side Master Judges and new ones, I think both have their strengths and weaknesses.
I do not assume that the title has anything whatsoever to do with the quality of the decisions made.
The quality depends on the attitude/ openness/ and adherance to the rules and principles of judging.

I think it is a good thing to have a few judges in reserve and have been to events where that happened.
I have always helped in any way I could if asked, even if I was "surplus".
If I could not be used, I just hung out with the teams and had a great time anyway. :grin:

To schedule a massive amount of extra judges is simply poor organizational skills and will probably "bite" the organizer in the future.

TIM

Bentley
07-02-2012, 01:08 PM
As a cook, you bet I want the best judge in the seat...but since I have no clue who that is, given the choice between the guy with 0-2 contests and the MCBJ...I am gonna ask for the MCBJ everytime. Sure, there are some bads ones out there, but from what I have seen, judging in CA, NV, AZ and NC...Most are dang good, take it very seriously, and have left most if not all their personal bias regarding BBQ on the table, some 10 to 15 contests ago...

motoeric
07-02-2012, 01:28 PM
That's a sticky situation for organizers. There's almost always (in our area at least) serious attrition rate between the judges who sign up and those that show up. We've had events where we've had more than 1/3 of the scheduled judges not attend.

I've changed the wording on our judging applications to say that the application is to 'assist with judging' as opposed to straight up 'judging' in an effort to have judges understand that they may work turn-in tables, be table captains, etc.

If I was the organizer, I would have tried to create as many ancillary jobs as possible to utilize everyone that came and cut back on the number of boxes each table received so you could create more tables of judges.

I feel for the judges and the organizers (and the teams if any less than optimal judges got through).

If people had to be sent home, I think the three priorities in the decision would be who signed up to judge first, who has the most experience judging and who incurred the most expense in traveling.

Eric

Chenernator
07-02-2012, 03:32 PM
We had 18 CBJ's judging, another 3 as table captains, 2 re-numbering boxes, and 2 on the leftovers table, plus the two KCBS reps. And people still had to leave, even with some judges on the list who no-showed.

More judges than less is clearly preferable, but this was obviously an organizational snafu, and that makes me less likely to volunteer for the next contest run by the organizer.

Fortunately, my family stuck around and we headed to the beach. If I had come solo and had to leave, I would have been PO'd.

Rookie'48
07-02-2012, 04:17 PM
Did the organizer expect way more teams to show up than actually did? You're saying that there were 18 CBJs & 3 TCs so that makes 3 tables. How many teams were there at the contest verses how many they expected? Did each table receive 6 boxes, more, less?
KCBS rules say that there must be six judges per table but there's no hard and fast rule on how many boxes hit each table - I've had anywhere between 4 and 8 boxes at different times. The ideal is one judge for each team as long as there's 6 judges per table - sometimes there's more judges or not enough.
Bottom line is that it's up to the organizer on how they get their judges. Maybe he got burned before by a bunch of no-shows and overbooked judges to be safe, maybe more teams signed up than showed up. Right now there's not enough info for anyone to make an informed opinion.

Bunny
07-02-2012, 04:35 PM
The ideal situation is for the organizer to contact every judge he/she needs and confirm them that they will be judging on the day of their contest. When he/she starts to overbook for "no shows" they need to explain to those judges that they will be alternates and may not judge. A contest organizer usually knows how many judges they need at least 2 weeks out. In North Carolina every judge that was an alternate knew what the contest organizer expected. We still used about 3 extra judges (CBJ's) to help out.

When it gets sticky is if we have a lot of judges expecting to judge and no where to sit because they have been way overbooked. Reps cannot use that many extra hands. So you pick the first alternates and hope you have some understanding judges. Reps have no control over how many judges will show. That is an organizer department.

carlyle
07-02-2012, 05:36 PM
I do not want to be critical of the organizer of that contest - not enough info to draw good conclusions.

Matching the correct number of CBJ's with the number of teams who actually show up on contest day is a tricky dance. There are several ways to do this dance, and no single right way.

After having to send some judges home without judging a few years ago, and feeling really bad about it, I decided that micro managing the list was best for me and our contest.

Judges apply early, like 6 months before the contest, and teams register and pay late.
That is the difficulty. And I understand both groups doing that.

So in the last weeks before contest, bringing on judges a table at a time when registrations indicate from a pool of judges on the waiting list who are willing to work on short notice works for us.

The key is communications with the judges. So easy in this era of email. Reminding accepted judges and keeping the wait list informed is well worth what ever work it takes.

Must be doing something right, zero no shows for the last 3 years.

Do not know if the organizer of the contest in question will have trouble attracting judges next year. Time will tell.

Pre assigning seating for the judges to get a good mix of experience and inexperience plus encouraging mentoring between categories gives all the teams the best chance to have a fair judging of their entries.

Chenernator
07-02-2012, 05:42 PM
Did the organizer expect way more teams to show up than actually did? You're saying that there were 18 CBJs & 3 TCs so that makes 3 tables. How many teams were there at the contest verses how many they expected? Did each table receive 6 boxes, more, less?


We didn't really get an explanation from the organizer. I never saw him for more than five minutes, and it was left to the reps and us to sort out who would judge. Usually the organizer at least comes by to thank the judges for their time and effort, but even that didn't happen. There were some allusions to the fact that a few teams pulled out, but my impression is that it was no more than three or four. The first day of the comp had 18 teams, the second had 17. Each table got six boxes on day one. This was a first year contest, but not the first contest run by this organizer. I specifically sent a email to him to confirm both days (since I was traveling), and received a confirmation in response. Then when I showed up, my name and about 10 others weren't even on the list.

dmprantz
07-02-2012, 05:53 PM
Looks like the organizer or organizing company in question has another event in October. I wonder if there will be enough judges for that one...

dmp

jketron
07-02-2012, 06:46 PM
I was one of the CBJ's that didn't get to judge. I think the event coordinator could have called or emails the night before. They sent home judges because there was several teams that cancelled. As soon as he got that word he should have asked the last in line judges to not attend.

Funtimebbq
07-02-2012, 08:44 PM
I signed up to be a table captain. I arrived about an hour earlier than requested and found out there were 17 judges more than needed. I voluntarily dropped out to let others participate. What I would have done as a rep would have been to seat more tables of judges and give each table only 4 or 5 entries.
Most of our contests here in CA will have 40-50 judges sign up before there are any teams listed. What I believe organizers should do is acknowlege a judge's application but not confirm until they have a matching number of teams. That can be a burden for the judges who have to make travel plans but it would prevent the situation like last weekend.

bookie
07-02-2012, 11:06 PM
I recently attended a comp where almost twice as many judges as needed showed up. It was a two day event, so some were convinced to return the second day, some volunteered to leave altogether and let others judge, and some were used for renumbering and manning the turn-in table. The end result was that some Master CBJ's ended up not judging at all while some rookies did (which hurts scores). Some of us that drove over four hours and paid for a hotel for the chance to judge twice, only got to judge one day, also resulting in a less experienced judges pool.

I don't know that there is a good solution for this, but what do you think should have happened? What sort of prioritization should have taken place?

I'm may be out of place asking this, but how does one become a Master CBJ, if experience is a criteria how does one get it if no one wants rookies to judge?

Sylvie
07-02-2012, 11:18 PM
I competed at this comp. More frustrating to me was that my boxes were at the same table for two meats. How do I know this? I received two comment cards with the same handwriting for pork and brisket. Each comment that said the same thing-"it's got that phosphate texture. Also don't like the chemical aftertaste of phosphate injection."

My pork has no phosphates, brisket does. Obviously this judge thinks they know phosphate taste. My concern is many other competitors received this same judges comment card saying the same thing. How many of us were judged low because of this one judges likes?

Sorry if I hijacked this thread but just needed to know your opinions.

Chenernator
07-02-2012, 11:32 PM
I was one of the CBJ's that didn't get to judge. I think the event coordinator could have called or emails the night before. They sent home judges because there was several teams that cancelled. As soon as he got that word he should have asked the last in line judges to not attend.

More communication throughout would have improved the process.

I signed up to be a table captain. I arrived about an hour earlier than requested and found out there were 17 judges more than needed. I voluntarily dropped out to let others participate. What I would have done as a rep would have been to seat more tables of judges and give each table only 4 or 5 entries.

That was definitely appreciated. I'm not sure what would have happened if people had been stubborn. Gene Goycochea addressed the idea of more tables, but he said it's not done with less than 18 teams. I know reps try to avoid having judges evaluate a team's submissions in more than one category. As it was, the judges saw six team's entries twice. More tables would have reduced this.

I'm may be out of place asking this, but how does one become a Master CBJ, if experience is a criteria how does one get it if no one wants rookies to judge?

I wouldn't say no one wants rookies to judge, but there's some belief, among cooks especially, that a higher concentration of rookies leads to more disparity in scores (both high and low). Aside from the Sam's Club series final and maybe the Royal, I don't know of contests that only use Master CBJ's. Organizers do like to advertise 100% CBJ's, but most don't ask you how many comps you have done.

Chenernator
07-02-2012, 11:50 PM
I competed at this comp. More frustrating to me was that my boxes were at the same table for two meats. How do I know this? I received two comment cards with the same handwriting for pork and brisket. Each comment that said the same thing-"it's got that phosphate texture. Also don't like the chemical aftertaste of phosphate injection."

My pork has no phosphates, brisket does. Obviously this judge thinks they know phosphate taste. My concern is many other competitors received this same judges comment card saying the same thing. How many of us were judged low because of this one judges likes?

Sorry if I hijacked this thread but just needed to know your opinions.

I didn't judge Day 2, but before I left, some judges had a conversation about phosphates prior to judging. That's the kind of conversation that gives judges a bad name. It's just like someone saying they don't like thighs/legs/sliced/chopped, etc. I understand your frustration. How many times do we have to say, it's not what you like, it's whether it meets the standards?

Bentley
07-03-2012, 12:00 AM
I competed at this comp. More frustrating to me was that my boxes were at the same table for two meats. How do I know this? I received two comment cards with the same handwriting for pork and brisket. Each comment that said the same thing-"it's got that phosphate texture. Also don't like the chemical aftertaste of phosphate injection."

My pork has no phosphates, brisket does. Obviously this judge thinks they know phosphate taste. My concern is many other competitors received this same judges comment card saying the same thing. How many of us were judged low because of this one judges likes?

Sorry if I hijacked this thread but just needed to know your opinions.

Same comment I got in Sanata Anita in March on my Brisket...Said mine tasted like Deli meat...LMTO...Got 9th with the brisket, but it did not taste like capracolla or mordedella to me, so I was perplexed...

big brother smoke
07-03-2012, 12:10 AM
One team got a comment card about phosphate in their brisky and assured us they did not use the stuff. But as you know, I got a walk in brisky Saturday for a chitty box and good brisky. On Sunday I had a 8-9 box and better tasting brisky and was 6th versus 5th. I quit trying to figure it out, before I go :loco:

dmprantz
07-03-2012, 09:17 AM
Gene Goycochea addressed the idea of more tables, but he said it's not done with less than 18 teams. I know reps try to avoid having judges evaluate a team's submissions in more than one category. As it was, the judges saw six team's entries twice. More tables would have reduced this.

I would think that less than 24 teams would be the ideal time to have less than 6 boxes hit a table. That's the only way that you can ensure that no team's box hits the same table more than once. I'm neither a rep nor an organizer, but from a math stand point, I'd ask how, in a four meat comp, you can attempt to prevent a team from hitting the same table twice if you don't have at least four tables. I would suggest that every comp have at least 24 judges if available.

For the phosphate thing, I think there's a line to walk: If a judge truly does not like the taste or texture of something, then score down appropriately. The thing that bothers me is to hear of judges who think they can detect phosphates and punish teams for it. Next it'll be judges trying to taste MSG and punishing for use of it. Judge as presented and leave the detective work to Top Secret Recipes.

dmp

Big Poppa
07-03-2012, 12:58 PM
sylvie I snuck some phosphates in there because I thought you forgot them Sorry...

Just kidding...

Andrews
07-03-2012, 01:55 PM
I competed at this comp. More frustrating to me was that my boxes were at the same table for two meats. How do I know this? I received two comment cards with the same handwriting for pork and brisket. Each comment that said the same thing-"it's got that phosphate texture. Also don't like the chemical aftertaste of phosphate injection."

My pork has no phosphates, brisket does. Obviously this judge thinks they know phosphate taste. My concern is many other competitors received this same judges comment card saying the same thing. How many of us were judged low because of this one judges likes?

Sorry if I hijacked this thread but just needed to know your opinions.

There were two other teams that got the phosphate comment including the GC and as far as I know neither team use any phosphate...
This judge has to be stopped!

Lake Dogs
07-03-2012, 02:07 PM
Too many judges? Line 'em up, have teams pick judges one by one. The remaining judges, just take 'em out back and shoot 'em. Bunch of darned eaters anyway....

:tongue:

Seriously, organizers need to be informed and prepared, and then be responsible for managing the numbers. Probably something like the number needed plus 10% (factoring in fall-out) or 20%, then others given a polite rejection.

The_Kapn
07-03-2012, 02:13 PM
If I read it correctly, only 3 tables were used.

One of the things I like, or liked, about FBA is that there is always 4 tables minimum.
Each team WILL get all four entries judged by a different table.
Even if there are 15 teams---judges just get less than 6 entries.

Works for me.

TIM

JerryA
07-03-2012, 02:27 PM
I think four tables were used. Saturday I believe 2 tables had 5 entries and the other 2 had 4, and they alternated with each category. Not sure for Sunday.

Chenernator
07-03-2012, 04:09 PM
If I read it correctly, only 3 tables were used.

One of the things I like, or liked, about FBA is that there is always 4 tables minimum.
Each team WILL get all four entries judged by a different table.
Even if there are 15 teams---judges just get less than 6 entries.

Works for me.

TIM I like it.

I think four tables were used. Saturday I believe 2 tables had 5 entries and the other 2 had 4, and they alternated with each category. Not sure for Sunday.

Nope. Three tables each day.

Drh7003
07-04-2012, 07:32 AM
I'm may be out of place asking this, but how does one become a Master CBJ, if experience is a criteria how does one get it if no one wants rookies to judge?

I don't want to hijack this thread, because there is a lot of good information, but I have a similar concern. I am a new judge, and a buddy of mine told me to sign up to judge immediately to get some experience. I did, and haven't been accepted to any at this point, but was told to show up just in case there was an opening. I signed up for local contests because I figured if I did not get a spot, at least all I was out was gas money.

I have no problem volunteering, because that is one of the reasons why I decided to become a CBJ. I am a backyard cook in BBQ, I have cooked in other competitions and judged other types of cooking also. I just want to gain more experience and be the best judge I can be.