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View Full Version : Competition Cost !!!


Doorbusters
02-06-2006, 11:47 AM
I have been "smoking" for going on 10 years now, and have just recently started competing. I must admit, I love it, I love the people I get to associate with, the entire experience is worth the work involved. I am beginning to have difficulty with entry fees. I compete by myself usually. I have 2 wonderful kids who do everything they can to help, and a couple of friends who help when they can. Entry fees are getting so expensive, coupled with rising meat cost (and everything else) it is becoming damn near impossible for "average Joe" to compete. I do not have an expensive rig, yes I do have to hitch it up, but by no means expensive.
I have gotten to the point where I am picking up sponsors for each comp. Luckily that has worked out well. I know the huge prizes are wonderful, but honestly, how many of us have seen one of those? Each comp. is approaching $500 for me, I cannot continue to unload that kind of cash just to cook, socialize and have fun. Granted I have won a few hundred here and there, but few and far between. In my opinion, I think more prizes, so more people have an opportunity to break even.

With the elections coming up, I would love for this to be an issue, as I do not want to be priced out of my one and only hobby.

Smoker
02-06-2006, 01:07 PM
I agree with you but I think it will only get worse. The KCBS is growing rapidly and they know they can raise their fees. The best thing u can do is find someone local who is willing to split the costs and compete with you.

I believe u r in the K.C. area so there must be someone out there u can hook up with.

Jeff_in_KC
02-06-2006, 01:45 PM
You are paying $500 every contest? :eek: :shock: Most contest entry fees are around $125 to $175 around here (Royal and GAB excluded). Add in $125 for meat costs and maybe $10 for garnish and I'm still not there. I guess it also depends upon how much gas it takes you to travel to contests. I suppose I'm lucky on three counts: 1. I've been able to find a few sponsors here and there to cut down on costs. 2. I get a bonus at the first of each February in my current job that I set aside a couple of grand for to go only towards contest entry fees and meat. And 3. Throughout the year in my job, I get mileage reimbursement which some months is $300 to $400 and I don't go through anywhere NEAR that much gas! So I make a profit to put into my contest account.

chad
02-06-2006, 01:49 PM
Tim and I split costs - and it's been averaging probably $700 to do a contest. Fuel has been really biting us the last few contests -- Mobile, AL; Dillard, GA and Key Largo, FL were all probably closer to $1000 each.

I wouldn't necessarily blame KCBS or FBA or such for a lot of the increased entry fees...there is a set sanctioning fee but the rest of the $$$ goes to the promoting organization or promoter for prize money, charity donation (seems almost every contest is for some community charity - which is a good thing!), rep fees, etc.

It's true that as the contest have gotten more TV time and press the fees are going up -- hey, somebody has to be making money from these things, I know Tim and I sure haven't gotten much of it over the last 18 months!!

The entry fee for Saturday's FBA event was $300...and then comes the meat cost, prep supplies, food for us for the weekend, fuel, etc.

The main aggravation for us is low pay outs (not that we've won much!)...we've just about stopped looking at events that don't have a reasonable expectation of getting costs back if we can hit top five in a couple of meats...in my opinion, the payouts have lagged the entry fee costs...but then, you gotta play to win!!

I will note that my que habit isn't any more expensive than a regular golf outing (clubs, green fees, carts, memberships, etc.) assuming you play like a lot of people around my area -- they play at least once a week, sometimes more often. Or a boat, or fishing (not the kind I do!) with charter fees or club memberships.

Of course I gave up golf many years ago, sold my beachcat a couple of years ago, and haven't owned a power boat. I still managed to sink about $8K into bbq this last year...a large part was the cooker cost, but it is an expensive hobby if you do more than a couple of events a year.

Competition is open to everyone, but it isn't cheap. That's one reason I have so much respect for the folks that do the circuit on a full-time basis. The winnings, for the most part, just cover costs for each event. You have to have sponsors or deep pockets to stay out there 40 or so weeks a year - but then, that's why the top pros are so consistent, too. They are cooking for the judges almost every weekend.

smokincracker
02-06-2006, 02:38 PM
Thanks for making me think about this one guys!!! Nice you guys are the best!!

Last weekend
Contest was only 70 miles round trip from my door.
Costs
Entry $200.00
Fuel $40.00
Meat $125.00 2 briskets / 4 butts / 4 slabs / 2 packages of yard bird.
Hotel $95.00 Best Western
Beer
Food $40.00
--------------------
Costs 500.00
There's your $500 in costs and I know I'm missing expenses.

Pay-out
3rd overall $ -0-
3rd in Pork $200.00
5th in Brisket $50.00
--------------------
Winnings $250.00

Still in the hole $250.00 after a good showing.....Nice
I have to admit this has taken a toll on my entertainment funds.

No matter what anyone says it will never be about getting paid.
Unless you have a business that befits from the exposure I just don’t see it.
I have a good friend that won many grand’s last year, perhaps more than any other team in FL. He won a lot of cash but his expenses are staggering.

Later
Cracker

kcpellethead
02-06-2006, 02:42 PM
My average cost per contest is $500 - $700. That is all expenses. Well, unless we travel any distance. Then is really gets expensive.

Although I realize the fee raising talk is only speculation, KCBS is not raising their fees because they can. KCBS is raising fees because they have to. In a different thread started by Doorbusters, it's discussed how the cost of EVERYTHING is going up. Well, guess what, that includes goods and services for the Kansas City Barbecue Society as well.

Doorbuster you should feel lucky if you're anywhere near KC. Entry fees are usually $125 to $150. That often includes power. Venture very far from this area and entry fees are $225 - $250 and more. The number of teams entering contests grows significantly each year. That includes last year when we saw fuel cost jump horrifically. So, folks are finding ways to pay for competition barbecue.

Doorbuster, what is your team name? We've surely crossed paths this past year.

smokincracker
02-06-2006, 02:56 PM
Just looked at the Entry Form for Smoke On The Water this weekend in WinterHaven, FL FBA event.

Entry fees are 75.00 per or 300.00 for all 4

pay-outs
Grand = 2000.00
ReGrand = 1500.00

Each Category
1st = 500.00
2nd = 300.00
3rd = 200.00
4th = 100.00
5th = 75.00

better than most.

Jeff_in_KC
02-06-2006, 03:25 PM
So...correct me if this is a bad analogy: BBQ teams and contest organizers are kinda like the NCAA, the colleges and the individual athletes... the athletes are making little if anything other than room and board and the schools are making money on fielding NCAA football and basketball teams. I realize that's extreme because most contest organizers aren't getting wealthy on this but I also have heard there are some who only organize contests to make money.

chad
02-06-2006, 03:28 PM
I wouldn't use an analogy that even attempts to color the organizers or promoters as "getting fat".

If the organizers, sponsors, promoters or whoever is in charge don't make a buck - the whole thing dies. Also, don't forget the charities that benefit from these events - often the cook off is just a part of the overall picture.

As always, this is just my opinion.

scottyd
02-06-2006, 03:50 PM
Hey but it is fun. if it costs to much don't do it. everything has a price!

Jeff_in_KC
02-06-2006, 03:54 PM
I wouldn't use an analogy that even attempts to color the organizers or promoters as "getting fat".

If the organizers, sponsors, promoters or whoever is in charge don't make a buck - the whole thing dies. Also, don't forget the charities that benefit from these events - often the cook off is just a part of the overall picture.

As always, this is just my opinion.

Yep, I realize the promoters aren't and that charities are sometimes the beneficiary of contests. But when I was writing that, I was thinking of an article I read either on the KCBS site or the Bullsheet or somewhere about how to get started organizing an event and part of it included a lecture (so to speak) about how if you're only looking to make a profit by organizing a contest, you might want to think about trying something else. Whoever wrote it obviously had some experiences with some organizers/promoters who's sole purpose was to make some cash.

Ron_L
02-06-2006, 04:57 PM
And 3. Throughout the year in my job, I get mileage reimbursement which some months is $300 to $400 and I don't go through anywhere NEAR that much gas! So I make a profit to put into my contest account.

Hey Jeff... Are you suggesting that you write off the mileage to and from the competitions? I sure wish my employer would let me do that... :smile::icon_smil

smokincracker
02-06-2006, 05:37 PM
Hey but it is fun. if it costs to much don't do it. everything has a price!
Amen Bro

Sawdustguy
02-06-2006, 07:40 PM
I hear ya loud and clear brothers but the long and the short of it is that contest costs will keep on rising. I really enjoy contests so I guess I will have to pay if I want to play. No use complaining, no one ever listens anyway.

Jeff_in_KC
02-06-2006, 07:53 PM
Hey Jeff... Are you suggesting that you write off the mileage to and from the competitions? I sure wish my employer would let me do that... :smile::icon_smil

Actually, no, Ron. But that ain't a bad idea for the events that my employer sponsors me! :wink: I already have them convinced that because I talk up my employer at contests (if the subject comes up at all) and hang their banner that the Fridays I need off for those comps, I shouldn't be charged for a vacation day! :mrgreen:

Actually, what I was getting at on the gas thing was that I travel for work anywhere from 300 to 1,000 miles per month. At the mileage reimbursement I get, that's anywhere from around $185 to $500 per month. Out of that, probably half or less (depending on gas prices per gallon) is actually spent on gas originally. The rest is profit! So, my wife doesn't even care about me just using it to blow. That means more money for BBQ! :mrgreen:

MilitantSquatter
02-06-2006, 08:21 PM
Jeff - I'm sure you realize the balance that you call profit, actually is not profit at all. That difference is the added wear and tear on your car, the increased frequency for oil changes, new tires, brakes, misc. repairs etc.

Maybe some one can correct me on as I'm not sure - I've seen a few KCBS contest applications online and just got one in the mail. I was under the impression that at least one member of the team needed to be a registered member of KCBS to compete in their sanctioned contests. The application made not mention of this. If this is the case, that's great, but I'm just wondering how many teams compete that are not members and what type of $$ KCBS is leaving on the table that is actually getting passed back on to the contest organizer to get the contest sanctioned.

I'm OK with the current costs I've seen and someone making a profit too. I know going in my first year, that it's about fun first. Although high cost, I don't think the fees are totally off the wall especially if any cash prize in on the line. If it were not for the promoters, the contests would not be happening to the degree they are today. If costs increase at abnormal rates, the option for some teams may just be to cut out 1-2 contests a yr. for those who compete many times to offset the increased costs per contest.

parrothead
02-06-2006, 08:32 PM
That's not profit. The cost of operating a vehicle is real. You are paying for it with the diminshed value in your vehicle.

I have ended up around $600 per contest that includes entry fee, meat, food for the guys, drinks, (water and pop), etc, etc,

Kevin
02-06-2006, 08:42 PM
Not a competitor and shouldn't be posting here but here is my analogy: I used to race stock cars before I got married. The cost was way more than the payout. It was just fun. A lot of fun. When it got to the point that it cost too much I quit. Ya gotta pay if you want to play.

BrooklynQ
02-06-2006, 09:18 PM
I also have heard there are some who only organize contests to make money.

Hell, why shouldn't they get paid - someone is making money on the event, even if it's a charity and many if not most charities have people working as fund raisers. Hell, Just doing this event in Brooklyn is quickly turning into another full time job.

spicewine
02-06-2006, 09:30 PM
No matter the cost!! We are doing what we love and that is Q'ing. It doesn't get any simpler than the fact that no matter the cost---we will be there to try and prove , who is the best . It is a part of us --Man or Woman-- this is what we love and no matter the cost this is what we do.

Nuff Said!!

Spice

Jeff_in_KC
02-06-2006, 10:56 PM
Jay's right... regardless of the costs, this "hobby" we have is a blast! :-D I'd find a way to pay whatever I had to to continue to be able to do what I love to do. And I didn't mean to come across as anything other than surprised on some of the dollar amounts spent on contests but maybe I take for granted the number of local contests in my area and that MAYBE the reason most are cheaper to enter is that there are so many, they are in competition with each other for teams to attend. I don't know... just a theory I suppose. :wink:

On the "profit" on my mileage reimbursement, if I had a new car that I was wanting to make last for awhile, I would agree with you. But my car is thankfully finally paid off :grin: :grin: :grin: , has 166,000 miles on it and has had minimal maintenance. I plan to trade it in within the next year so as long as it lasts (knock on wood), wear and tear aren't big issues here. I'm still gonna claim it as profit, if only to justify sticking it into BBQ contest funds! :lol:

BBQchef33
02-07-2006, 12:15 AM
Just to throw something else into the equation, for the benefit of members starting out, there are startup costs. Tents, tables, kitchen equiptment, trailers, etc. If you dont have an RV, there could be lodging involved.. I know i go a little overboard with the "extra" food(prime rib, breakfasts stuff, etc..), but then there is the general grocery bill to replenish supplies(paper goods, juices, contiments, pans, foils, etc).. i was shocked that to replenish my kitchen between contests last year ran over 300$, then before leavin, 30-40$ in ice to pack the coolers before you get to contest sites. Contest here run me well over $1000.

add in the cost of the family attending... additional hotel rooms, and leisure money for them... Ouch.

ique
02-07-2006, 06:20 AM
I do not want to be priced out of my one and only hobby.

Work on expanding the size of your team. Or find another team with the same concerns and 'merge'.

We have a six person team and at the beginning of the season we each put $500 in a team bank acccount. Some sponsor cash on top of that and all prize money goes back into the account. My wife likes very much that all expenses come out of the team account!

With a larger team you need clear roles - cooking a competition category by committee is usually a bad idea. But more team members means less work.

kickassbbq
02-07-2006, 06:52 AM
Phil is right!!! If you go 1st Class with all the trimmings, a comp will cost $1000.00. Hey, it is only green paper. You get some, you get rid of it, you get some more. It's called work!!!! and play!!!!!!!
Work hard all day, play hard all night.
Ah, life is good!!!!
Smoke On!!!!
Ed

lunchlady
02-07-2006, 07:18 AM
Agreed, contests costs are rising, but I also remember when smokes cost less than a buck, and you didn't have to pay for radio. If you want to play, you need to figure out how to do it, the earlier in the year, the better. We average about $500 for a one day BBQ comp. If you add in a grilling day, the cost practically doubles. This also depends on where we travel to for an event. Like iQue said, teammates are the key here. We take on all application fees (in NE, that can run you upwards of $200 per easily!), transportation costs for our pick-up, and meat/garnish costs, but our teammates really got our back with food and beverages throughout the weekend, and anything else we ask of them. If your mates love to Q, usually they are more than willing to help defray costs. Hotel ? What the hell is that? We just sleep under the EZ UP, even in Georgia, by the side of the road, and even when my kids come. There are ways to cut costs that won't hurt the style in which you are accustomed to living, it just takes some research, better planning, and lots of asking questions. This forum, and others) is extremely helpful, and full of people who are willing to answer questions and go ON and ON and ON about stuff.....heheh....
One suggestion ... this has worked out well for us...we do our taxes, EARLY, figure out what is BBQ expendable, and that part of the refund goes into the lunchmeat account. Any prize money that we may win also goes in, and at the end of last year we took our "profit" (for lack of a better word) and competed in Douglas, GA. Granted, it took a BUNCH of out-of-pocket cash also, (gas especially) but just to go and compete, and end up doing well against the best of the best in the country.....SO WORTH IT!
Good Luck, and keep on Q'in'~
michelle

Jeff_in_KC
02-07-2006, 10:51 AM
As Chris and Michelle have both mentioned, there are some good ways to cut your costs to compete. It seems there's some significant interest here to learn more about that. I am also one who would be interested to learn more ideas from experienced competitors. If any of you with cost-cutting ideas would chime in with your suggestions, this would make a nice thread to bookmark in the roadmap IMHO.