View Full Version : Grill Kings 2007 - The Facts.

12-12-2006, 09:02 PM
On Edit: *** The previous threads with assumpions, accusations, whining, complaining and continous bashing has been taken down. *** It served no purpose to beat this up over again and again.
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I’m not going to sugar coat this post. I just spent several hours on the phone with grill kings. I’m going to present the facts either as presented to me, or what I have seen first hand.

If Grill Kings was a regular business as people perceive, the business would take any losses in stride, and continue to try to grow the business. Any business model has losses built in for the first 5 years.

Well, that is the assumption, and most damaging. Grill Kings is NOT a business.

We will call Grill Kings founder, Mr. X. Mr. X owns several high $$$ ventures. Real businesses. However, Grill Kings, to Mr. X is a hobby… A persons hobby. It is basically one man and some trusted help. That one man funds the event for love of the sport, and the fun of it. He could give a rats ass if Grill Kings makes any money. He funds his hobby the same way we do, out of pocket, but on a grander scale. I have known this man for 3 years, as I know others involved in Grill kings since 2004. Mr. X is quiet, laid back and usually just stays in the shadows and enjoys himself. Dean, everyone knows. He’s the front man. They have never shown interest in making money, in FACT THEY HAVE REBUFFED IT FOR THE FIRST 5 YEARS. And I have heard it every year since Grill king began. They hoped after 5 years, it would grow on its own. Now, if someone came into your yard, ate your food, spit it out, left and trash talked it to everyone. Even if you knew the food sucked, would u invite them back? I know I would not. Anyway..

Liken the founder of Grill Kings as being the owner of a minor league team.

He rents the fields, buys the equipment and watches the game and to some extent pays the players. For the big game, all initial expenditures come out of HIS pocket. He sells hot dogs at the game and charges admission to maybe offset some costs. On game day, he gets blamed because the weather sucks, and the stadium has plumbing and security problems. He is being blamed, WTF. So to him, its personal. He is NOT a business.

Mr. X knew there were problems at the event, and was willing to work to fix them.. After the event, I scanned thru the thread of all the venting and complaining that came with some offers to help fix it. Anyone who offered to help in that original thread, was invited to a meeting with Grill Kings organizers. Most attended, some remained bitter but those that continued to attack and were outright counter productive, were not invited. We addressed all the issues, and came up with solutions for each. Letters explaining some of these solutions were sent out to all the teams. GK was taking a course of action for 2007 of which WillyB, myself, and 7 other members of this group were directly involved in. As experienced competitors, we knew we would make things better for all the teams. However, a short time after our meeting, Mr. X read one specific, targeted attack on the event and took it VERY personally. Then he watched a BBQ forum(not this one) as another individual, fueled the flames and started a pile on by a small amount of others.

Here it is. Plain and simple. Mr. X, the man that bankrolled Grill kings is justifiably pissed off. Period. It is HIS pen that makes the stroke, and he has taken his pen and left. Pissed off and fed up. This is Long Island, everything is expensive, and paid for up front. Grill kings was predominately privately paid for. Now, no one is left to fund the event.

Regardless of the support he received from many of us, and our offers to help this year. He IS pissed. He/they stewed for months. Last month they came to a decision.

“The voices of those few that attacked us were much louder than those that helped or thanked us. We know there were problems, but people were vicious in some of the accusations. They do not know what happened and published their versions of what they think happened. Our friends, family, employees, sponsors all saw those attacks. That event took months to prepare, my family helped, my friends helped a lot of people worked very hard, and yes, their were problems. But we were kicked when we were down. We tried our best and some things went wrong. We wanted to fix them but were beaten down for weeks. We regret that this will hurt all those that supported us, but we need to take a break and concentrate on other ventures. This was a very difficult decision and not made lightly. Grill kings may be back next year.”

So, the people responsible for bringing us Grill Kings has said “f*ck it”. YES!!! They took their toys and went home. That’s all there is to it. They were relentlessly and publicly attacked, justified or not, and have turned and walked away. It is their right to do so. They need no vote and no ones permission. They did the event out of enjoyment of the sport and the enjoyment was taken away by a small, yet vocal few. Internet sites fueled the flames without regard to those people that worked to make Grill Kings happen. “I’ll never go back”, “it sucked”, “all they wanted was money”, yada yada yada... Those words stung and they were dominant on several internet sites.

Even after things cooled, and we met with them and had a game plan, the attacks continued. Weeks later, Mr. X read things from a couple of people that they think they can do it better, so he has decided “They want to do it, let them try.” Those are his words. Call it a punishment, call it a wake up call, call it a challenge, call it fed up.. but I call it screwed. This was brought on by the bombardment of bad press.

Here is an idea of the expenditures it takes to run a contest on Long Island.

Grounds: $27,000 Belmont or $8,000 (Hecksher)
Insurance: $15,000 either
Electric: $15,000 belmont or 7k (hecksher)
Permits: $6,000 either
Advertising on WBAB $10,000 (needed in order to get sponsors to agree)
Incidentals: Ice/Water/Trash about another $10,000.
Prize Money: $15,000 (estimate)
Nearly 0$ was collected from the sponsors. They ALL supply product instead.

So, do the math. $50-$100K is needed to run an event out here on the scale that Grill King tried to do. Thats is not in our cards here, thats for sure.

Bottom line, Grill Kings IS gone for 2007. Some of those involved in Grill Kings plan on doing some competitions this summer, others will concentrate on other ventures. They may be back in 2008. I will try to meet with them one more time in the coming weeks.

There were two camps after Grill Kings. Those that offered solutions and those that caused more problems. The later won. The reaction to all the bad press was not the reaction I would expect from a business. A business would let trash talk bounce off. This is the reaction of a person, who tried to do the right thing and was abused when it didn't go right. Abused by people he thought he knew, and knew them personally, some he even considered friends, some he has known since the very first event.

A business may stand up to a drop in stock prices, and try to recover..

A person doesn't have to. Right, wrong or indifferent, he has walked away.

Now, we all lose.


My biggest fear is that this post gets copied, edited and misquoted to other forums or media. These are cold hard facts. Nothing more, nothing less, and not to be taken out of context.

12-12-2006, 11:40 PM
While this doesn't affect me personally since I don't compete in the northeast, I think it hurts all of us who would like to see BBQ competitions become commonplace and abundant nationwide. I never was a part of Grill Kings but you guys have my sympathy and Mr. X has my respect for doing what he needed to do after getting no respect for the good he tried to do. I hope for the entire BBQ community's sake that one day Grill Kings makes a return. Thanks for your work, Phil.

12-13-2006, 01:31 AM
Those damn apples! I wish they(GK) would see it as an opportunity to show those with negative opinions that it is worth having. I am still very dissapointed that it is not happening. Very surprised to see what power these forums have as i apparently dont take it that seriously. My son is bummed also. Crossing my fingers and hoping their will be a change of heart.

12-13-2006, 02:30 AM
I got into BBQ around the time of GK and didn’t find out about it until after it happened.
I was really looking forward to going to it in ’07. I personally believe in ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything’ But what are ya gonna do. Just hope for the best I guess.

12-13-2006, 10:01 AM
Well said, Phil. I can't blame them, but hope for all your sakes in that area that some good can come from the event at some time whether it be grill kings again or someone else.

Grill Kings was my first competition ever that I participated in and holds some good memories for me.

12-13-2006, 02:29 PM
I guess this goes to show that you really don't know how good something is until it is taken away from you. Yes, grill kings had some problems but those problems were small compared to the good things. Like being able to get together with all the other crazy barbecue people from the area who love barbecue so much that they spend too much money (if that is possible) to compete and hang out with our fellow brethren. I bet I could speak for a lot of people on this forum and say that we looked forward to grill kings all year because for some of us it was our only home game. Dean and Mr. X, I would like to thank you for everything you did for the Long Island barbecue community. To all brethren, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything, and if you must say something, make sure it is constructive and not destructive.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good smoke.

12-13-2006, 02:49 PM
That's really too bad. I hope that after a year away they make the decision to bring the event back.

After this past contest Dean and Mr. X took responsibility for the problems, asked for solutions, and accepted some help to improve things for next year. I don't know that anyone can ask for much more than that. If Grill Kings does come back I hope they get the support that they need, because everyone in that area deserves it.

12-13-2006, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the facts Poobah

12-13-2006, 03:22 PM
Really unfortunate but it does none of us any good to point fingers after the fact.

People were pissed and shared their opinions. It wasn't vulgar, pornographic or physically offensive, it was just a little "constructive" criticism. Was I one of them? I don't think so, but I do know that I sympathized with the frustration they were feeling and understood the need to vent. So you can blame me for the death of our only LI event, as well.

Thanks Poobah for spelling out the facts. Maybe things would have played out differently if we had known them in July, but I doubt it because we're an opinionated bunch of SOBs who like to type!

But we're also willing to jump through hoops if someone asks for our help. Too bad it came a little too late this time.

12-13-2006, 03:33 PM
Very fair and balanced, SmokeInDaEye....http://www.clicksmilies.com/s1106/aetsch/cheeky-smiley-006.gif

12-13-2006, 03:54 PM
It doesn't take long for word to get out in NYC

12-13-2006, 06:32 PM
My biggest fear is that this post gets copied, edited and misquoted to other forums or media. These are cold hard facts. Nothing more, nothing less, and not to be taken out of context.

Well it certainly didn't take long for your biggest fear to be realized.


Even though I have never competed, and don't intend to ever do so, what has happened is a shame.

The only bigger shame would be if nobody learns anything from this. For my Brethren, I hope that the BBQ world is smart enough to not let this pass without notice.

12-13-2006, 07:04 PM
Well it certainly didn't take long for your biggest fear to be realized.


Even though I have never competed, and don't intend to ever do so, what has happened is a shame.

The only bigger shame would be if nobody learns anything from this. For my Brethren, I hope that the BBQ world is smart enough to not let this pass without notice.

Nice edit :biggrin:

12-13-2006, 08:00 PM
Thanks for looking into this and getting the facts out, Phil.

If you or anyone else is interested in setting up any sort of voluntary brethren board to offer assistance to Grill Kings if they return in '08, please add my name to the list of those willing to help.

I don't believe in 'if you have nothing to say don't say anything at all' but I do heartily believe that if you are going to criticize you had better be prepared to offer suggestions on how to improve. I don't think that empty ranting and vitriol have any place in a reasoned discussion.

I hope that Mr. X will be reinvigorated after a year off and bring back Grill Kings bigger and better than ever.

Eric Devlin

12-16-2006, 06:12 AM
If you start a list add my name please, I would gladly help out anytime! I understand why Mr. X left, I am sooo disappointed though and still hope he will change his mind, I was looking forward to competing in this years event :(

12-16-2006, 07:48 AM
This is very sad.
The cooks around the country are very spoiled and most of them have no idea what goes in to putting on an event like Grill Kings. As soon as there are some problems they go to the net and bitch like crazy and it hurts. Armchair organizers never have any problems but real organizers do.

I've been involved in two events and completely understand how Mr. X feels. After the event when you're getting reamed you wonder why you bothered.

I hope this will be a wake up call and it will never happen again. I've had the same thoughts about the BBQ Championship Series. There's a lot more nasty stuff being typed than good stuff. If everyone hates it why bother doing it.

12-16-2006, 12:18 PM
True, although the BBQ Championship is definitely a business opportunity for Versus, as opposed to the intentions of Grill Kings' organizers.

In both cases, however, me and many others would love to offer our advice and assistance - good, bad or indifferent - to help make the show (and hopefully Grill Kings 2008!) even better for the world of BBQ. It's in all of our interests to get out of the armchairs and support our sport however we can.:grin:

Al Dente
12-16-2006, 01:35 PM
I was one who was very upset with how the event was run and the lack of communication between organizers and teams when problems arose. What transpired could have been avoided had teams been made aware of what was going on. After the event, I was asked by a member of this forum to relate what happened on this forum which I did. Everyone was upset, so to feign ignorance now as to what happened is ridiculous. No body wanted to see the event turn out how it did, and justifiably, the teams were still upset days after. We all prepared for weeks ahead for that weekend, not just them.

I beleive that on this forum a lot of folks responded to offer remedies to what had happened to make sure that these problems never occured again.

12-16-2006, 02:12 PM
What a shame. To think that this all could have been avoided by either a thicker skin, a bit more diplomacy or a combination of the two, again, what a shame. I, (along with my cousin/Godson Willy B), have competed in Grill Kings every year. We've watched it go from a half-arsed grilling comp. to a bonafide KCBS sanctioned event on an impressive scale. I've met alot of great BBQ'rs there, made some friends and was looking forward to '07. Were there mistakes made? Hell yeah, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. Remember, 4 years but only the 2nd year as a sanctioned event, and it grew fast. I, for one, would have been amazed if there weren't any problems but there were and apparently these issues afforded some the excuse to trash Mr. X and Dean, two guys who as has been pointed out, put a great deal of funds and energy into this endeavor. Slack, for lack of a better word, should have been cut. Constructive offers to help resolve these issues, rather than finger pointing, this is where we, the local BBQ community should have been at the forefront. I hope Mr. X and Dean still check in here and see that there are many who are thankful for the job they've done and hopeful that they reconsider for 2008.

12-16-2006, 02:41 PM
I wasn't going to chime in and beat a dead horse to a second death and I won't... but at the very least it is only right for me to express sincere thanks to Mr. X and Dean for providing a venue that in spite of some fixable problems made our first contest experience memorable. At the end of the day it was still BBQ contest, it beat mowing my lawn that day and I had fun, we walked and more importantly I was with other Brethren.

I don't think anyone is justified to say that Grill Kings is wrong to not proceed in 2007 or beyond. It's their decision and no one else's and they do not need to explain their actions to anyone. I know Dean had the mindset weeks after to correct the issues as I was one of those to meet with Dean, Phil and Willy to offer positive feedback and suggestions...

Putting a contest together is a huge endeavor. I strongly feel that if and when Grill Kings decides to come back, there will be many who will be there to support it and make it better than ever. The best way to get back at the naysayers is to prove them wrong and let them hear about what they missed out on...

Just my .02 cents..

12-16-2006, 04:53 PM
Well its too bad Grill Kings is not going to happen this season, but I don't want the belt to just gather dust in my basement. I'd be happy to put the GK belt up for grabs at another NY contest of the Brethrens choosing.


12-16-2006, 05:36 PM
hey chris.. hold onto that belt. That event may not be happening, but GK is not going away..

You'll be needing it soon. :wink:

12-16-2006, 06:06 PM
Well its too bad Grill Kings is not going to happen this season, but I don't want the belt to just gather dust in my basement. I'd be happy to put the GK belt up for grabs at another NY contest of the Brethrens choosing.


You're a better man than I. I'd have been happy to just keep it.
But I do appreciate another crack at it.

12-17-2006, 07:27 AM
Well its too bad Grill Kings is not going to happen this season, but I don't want the belt to just gather dust in my basement. I'd be happy to put the GK belt up for grabs at another NY contest of the Brethren choosing.

Yeah like Phil says there be a day when you will need to defend that title and a chubby man from South Dakota will be doing his best on one given day to take it from you. Or something like that.

That belt is one awesome traveling trophy.

this is just another one of those things that you don't realize what you have got until it's gone!

I have never been to a Grill Kings Event thanks for providing us a place to play. Someday I hope to play on your play ground. And Thanks