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motoeric
08-07-2006, 05:18 PM
Hi,

Long Island, NY

I certainly seemed to have come to the right place for advice on cook-offs. I hope you don't mind if I pick your brains a bit.

My niece is going to be running a cook-off for her Girl Scout Gold Award (the equivalent of the Eagle Scout for Boy Scouts). She has a large amount of people who are going to be helping her, myself included (I work in event management and run large events, but I've never been involved in a cook-off).

We want to ensure that this is done right, so we are planning this at least one and maybe two years out. I anticipate no problems with the logistics, having run multi-tiered events for hundreds of competitors in the past, but I will need to know exactly what is expected and preferred.

All of the money raised will be donated to charity or given back to the competitors. As a matter of fact, all the money taken in from the competitors will be given back as prize money. The stipulations by the Girl Scouts won't allow a profit to be made (which we arent interested in anyway.

My problem lies with whether or not we should have the event sanctioned by the KCBS. We would like to, but they require us to let them know how much money we will be giving the winners in each competition in advance. We won't know that in advance but ALL of the proceeds from people paying to compete will be going back to the competitors.

We will be 'charging' a fee for vendors and will not be taking a 'cut' of their sales. We will be asking the vendors to donate a given amount to a registered 501 c charity that is related to 9/11 relief and that will be their fee. That will allow them to help out a great cause and will also be tax deductible.

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated. We have read through the KCBS rule books and guides and have attended a few cook-offs (and will continue to do so), but YOU, enthusiasts and competitors are our best resource.

Our goal is to raise money for a good cause while promoting camaraderie and good will in the bbq community.

Seriously, any advice would be great. A small snippet to a huge treatise, whatever you can offer would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Eric Devlin

cmcadams
08-07-2006, 06:35 PM
I would say that if it's a charity event, tout is as so and don't do the KCBS sanctioning. If I'm going to a KCBS comp, I'm doing so thinking I may win an amount of money. If it's a charity event, I'd expect much smaller awards but be ok with it since it's for charity. You're likely to just get locals, but that can be a good turn out depending on where you live.

Pork Avenue BBQ
08-07-2006, 07:05 PM
Why don't you set it up and operate it as if it was a KCBS event. That way you don't have to reinvent the wheel . The cooks will know what to expect as far as rules etc and you can get as many KCBS Judges as possible. Also since you are planning so far in advance it might work out where it would be sanctioned at a later date. If you go down a few pages you will see a lot of comments on a contest recently that did not go well . If you see what everyone was complaining about it would help you do one the right way (as far as teams are concerned).
I recently was very involved in a first year contest in Alabama(Florida BBQ Association) and I know how much work and planning that goes into a contest. Good Luck
Walt
PORK AVENUE BBQ

Sawdustguy
08-07-2006, 09:47 PM
There are a few problems with not being sanctioned. The first is that you may not get alot of teams. KCBS Sanctioning lends credibility to your contest and guarranties that the money will be paid out. Alot of teams will not attend a non sanctioned contest or a contest without a guarantied payout. The Grill Kings NYS Championship is sanctioned and had a grand prize of $5000 and was only able to attract 39 teams. I think the answer to your plight is in gathering sponsors so you can have a decent prize fund. A non sanctioned event my only draw a couple of teams. I would love to see another contest on long island. I recommend you go the Grill kings website, get Dean's phone number, give him a call and ask him for advise.

BrooklynQ
08-07-2006, 09:55 PM
There's a lot of things to consider if you're doing a true BBQ contest.

The first and most plaging issue on Long Island is where can you let people setup and cook overnight? I would imagine that you can get a Girl Scout campground to handle that.

I'd highly recommend getting the KCBS certification. You'll get a lot more of the serious cookers. As for the money, my understanding is that you don't have to offer money as prizes for KCBS cert. But if you do offer money it needs to be in escrow before they'll sanction the event. They're just making sure that the contest gives the cookers what they were promised. Offer some really hot and unique trophies.

Also, look into NEBS for sanctioning. They're looking to grow.

Next, look at the contest schedule, you don't want to compete with any of the established contests in the North East. Look at NY, NJ, CT, MA, PA, MD, VT.

Make sure you have some amenities for the cooks. Bathrooms, electricity, running water, shade.

And last but not least, if you don't go the sanctioning route, at least follow the KCBS rules for judging.

PM if you have any other questions.

motoeric
08-08-2006, 12:18 AM
Hi,

Thanks for the suggestions, please keep them coming.

To a few specific points:

1) We shouldn't have a problem finding a location. We are looking in the Babylon area now. My sister (mother of the girl scout) is very active in the community and knows people at the parks dept and in local govt.

2) I was at the event at Belmont on that Sunday. From the perspective of someone just strolling around (a non-competitor) it seemed to organized but had absolutely nothing happening for visitors. Why didnt they have cooking demos, activities for kids, lectures, etc.

I would have LOVED to have attended a seminar run by one of the competitors. On pretty much any topic. Best fuel to use, how to get crispy skin, injecting flavor, etc.

It seemed that you just walked around the competition area, bought some food from the vendors and left. Were there activities on Saturday?

3) Maybe I misunderstood the requirements for sanctioning. Is it feasible to say something along the lines of "Plaques and trophies for 1st - 4th and all cash paid for competing to be paid out to Grand, Reserve and 1st - 3rd place finishers"? Or is a specific dollar amount required?

4) How much money is usually raised via the fee that competitors have to pay? If 100% of that is used for prize money, would that be 'fair'?

5) How do competitors feel about having other cooking events being held simultaenously? For example, would anyone be put off by a chili cook-off happening at the competition?

6) Are there a reasonable amount of KCBS judges in the tristate area (who would be able to make it to Long Island fairly easily)?

Thanks a great deal. I really appreciate your time and comments.

Eric

jminion
08-08-2006, 12:58 AM
Eric
I'm the chairman of the Sanctioning committee for KCBS and would be happy to talk about a way to make your contest happen. I also organize 5 to 6 contests a year, if I can help please let me know.
Jim

Westexbbq
08-08-2006, 09:56 AM
I am a Certified Judge, KCBS, and you should have no problem finding more in the area. Count me in when the details start finalizing.
Wes

PimpSmoke
08-08-2006, 01:34 PM
Don't know if it would fly for KCBS but, in my experience with tournament type events:

If you put on the flyer "100% payback" the competitiors know that all the entry fees go to the prize pool, mention the percentages you brought up.

Just an idea.

motoeric
08-08-2006, 05:44 PM
Hi,

I have a few more questions.



1) How do competitors feel about having other cooking events being held simultaneously? For example, would anyone be put off by a chili cook-off happening at the competition?

2) Are there a reasonable amount of KCBS judges in the tristate area (who would be able to make it to Long Island fairly easily)?


3) What sort of side activities do you think would go over well with attendees? We were thinking about cooking seminars, cooking demos, giveaways, activities for children, etc.

4) Is there anything that competitors would like to see that is not being done? Like maybe organized activities during the overnight just for them or a recipe swap or something?

5) Would competitors enjoy or object to talking to the public about how to bbq at home?

6) I saw numerous signs at the Grill Kings event mentioning that competitors were not allowed to give away food. If there were no restrictions, would people mind giving away a small sample? For example, someone who is really proud of their sauce could give away some meat on a toothpick with their sauce from 1:00 to 1:30. Someone else who is really proud of their chicken could give away some from 2:00 to 2:30. Is something like that reasonable?


We really want to make the event as appealing as possible to both competitors and attendees.

Thanks again. I really appreciate all the help. Especially since Iím such a novice at this.


Eric Devlin

motoeric
08-08-2006, 05:51 PM
Hi,

A few more questions. Sorry to be bombarding you guys.

What induces you to compete in a given event?


How important is it for the event to be sanctioned?


How important is it to be 'courted' by an event organizer? ie. with updates, info, call backs, blatant pleading : )


What have you seen your favorite events do that others do not?


What do you consider the premier cook-off in the north east? We definately plan on attending as many as possible and we want to learn from the best.


Thanks again,


Eric Devlin

Pig Headed
08-08-2006, 09:45 PM
Eric,

New Holland, PA is a large very well run event. It's being held 8/25-8/26.

MilitantSquatter
08-08-2006, 10:06 PM
Eric,

It may be worthwhile for you to check out some of the posts in the last month regarding amenities, payouts etc...The goal seems very noble (and a second LI contest would always be welcome) but will require a ton of work to pull off all the extras(like misc events,demos etc) that would make the "perfect" contest.

Also - in regards to samples - It is not possible for teams to serve the public if they are not liscensed to do to. That's why you saw the signs at Grill Kings.
In regards to talking to the public - it all depends on the timing... as you get closer to turn in time, there's less talking or desire to talk. Some teams love to ham it up with strangers, others like to be left alone to so their thing...



(PS - Just curious...: Is the requirement of the Girl Scouts to acheive the Gold Star that they do all this planning on their own ? Seems like it's a pretty big task for a kid to "run" a cook-off without a ton of grown up help like your doing. I would have imagined that the scout would need to accomplish something totally independently to get the value out of the award..)

Sawdustguy
08-08-2006, 10:45 PM
Also be aware that contracts will need be be entered with vendors, the venue etc. Unless your daughter is over 18 years of age she can not validate a legal contract.

parrothead
08-09-2006, 04:35 AM
Hi,

I have a few more questions.



1) How do competitors feel about having other cooking events being held simultaneously? For example, would anyone be put off by a chili cook-off happening at the competition?

That's a mouth full of questions. I'll take them one at a time answering to the best of my knowledge and my opinion.

Number 1 I have seen a couple of combo comps with a chili cookoff at the same time. They are usually seperated a little, and I have never heard a bad word about the two going at the same time. It probably helps draw a croud to the event as well.



2) Are there a reasonable amount of KCBS judges in the tristate area (who would be able to make it to Long Island fairly easily)?




I belive that there is a good sized pool of judges in the area. Probably larger than the gene pool. Just kidding.

3) What sort of side activities do you think would go over well with attendees? We were thinking about cooking seminars, cooking demos, giveaways, activities for children, etc.



Seminars and demos may be an excellent thing to help draw people to your event. Children stuff may be good, but needs to be done in a way that the child is "checked in" to the children's area and can only be "checked out" by their parent. THis would probably require a good number of volunteers.


4) Is there anything that competitors would like to see that is not being done? Like maybe organized activities during the overnight just for them or a recipe swap or something?



I have never seen anything organized for the competitors in the evening, but we are usually pretty busy prepping or chatting. I have seeen people throw together card or dice games to pass the time, but there probably would be no need for somethingpre-organized.



5) Would competitors enjoy or object to talking to the public about how to bbq at home?




This tends to be a personal thing. Some people love it, some people hate it. At crunch time almost everybody hates it.


6) I saw numerous signs at the Grill Kings event mentioning that competitors were not allowed to give away food. If there were no restrictions, would people mind giving away a small sample? For example, someone who is really proud of their sauce could give away some meat on a toothpick with their sauce from 1:00 to 1:30. Someone else who is really proud of their chicken could give away some from 2:00 to 2:30. Is something like that reasonable?


We really want to make the event as appealing as possible to both competitors and attendees.

Thanks again. I really appreciate all the help. Especially since Iím such a novice at this.


Eric Devlin

I think that it is illegal in Long Island to give away samples.

We usually give away lots of food to the people passing by in this area. I don't want to lug it home and the people are very grateful for the most part.

parrothead
08-09-2006, 04:40 AM
Hi,

A few more questions. Sorry to be bombarding you guys.

What induces you to compete in a given event?
For me it is location


How important is it for the event to be sanctioned?

Very


How important is it to be 'courted' by an event organizer? ie. with updates, info, call backs, blatant pleading : )

I appreciate a steady flow of information from the organizer. E-mails are sufficient.


What have you seen your favorite events do that others do not?

There are five threads either on this page or the next that tell a lot of good info from a competitors point of view. They all start with, "things that make a competition great". Check them out for incite into a copetitiors head and some good stuff that is found at contests. In fact I will find them and give them all a one time bump for you.


What do you consider the premier cook-off in the north east? We definately plan on attending as many as possible and we want to learn from the best.

This one is best left for the guys in the area.


Thanks again,


Eric Devlin
Greg