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View Full Version : BBQ Comp Growth: Chicken or Egg?


Plowboy
01-09-2008, 12:56 PM
The Poll/Thread on contest fees for non-KCBS got me thinking about the growth of the "sport". In the last ten years, there has been a charted explosion of new teams and new contests. The two go hand in hand in that more teams on the scene drive demand for new contests. Conversely, more contests inspire new teams to jump into the fray and encourage emerging teams to stick with it.

So which is the primary driver of this equation of teams and contests for growth of the sport?

From my experience as a competitor in the Midwest, I think its the supply of contests that has the most affect on the size of the "sport". It is true that we can have more contests on a given weekend than other parts of the country. The contests sizes can be fairly large even with competition from other contests in the same weekend. A new team that has to beat 50 or 100 teams for a GC or even a ribbon may be discouraged and quit. I've seen it. So, the more contests that spring up, the ratio of contests to teams reduces and gives newcomers more of a shot at "success" as they hone their skills.

Could NEBS, as example, have a different view of this dynamic where more competitors are needed to justify the need for more contests? I don't know.

This is important for folks like KCBS to understand where to focus attention for growing the sport. It could be a different focus for different regions. I wonder if our BOD members and those seeking BOD positions have a perspective on this. Would be an interesting question for them.

Or is it all about financial sponsorship of teams and contests that drives growth?

Discuss...

Scottie
01-09-2008, 02:59 PM
I think that sometimes, they need to also address where the pool of cookers are coming from as well. Just because contests are more than 50 miles apart, both contests will be drawing from the same pool of cookers. So I really think that that has to be taken into account. My guess would be a pool of cookers would be a 200 mile radius or 3 hours of drive time... If contests are competing for the same cooks, not sure if that is good either for the growth of our "sport"?

Scottie

Wizards of 'Que
01-09-2008, 03:36 PM
I agree Scottie. Take 10 contests with 25 teams vs. 5 contest with 50 teams. The larger contest should bring greater prize money and more attention. I think too many of the new contests don't have a prayer of growing and will end up folding.

arlieque
01-09-2008, 03:52 PM
I think that sometimes, they need to also address where the pool of cookers are coming from as well. Just because contests are more than 50 miles apart, both contests will be drawing from the same pool of cookers. So I really think that that has to be taken into account. My guess would be a pool of cookers would be a 200 mile radius or 3 hours of drive time... If contests are competing for the same cooks, not sure if that is good either for the growth of our "sport"?

Scottie

They used to have a mileage limit. Some one wanted to do away with that.

ThomEmery
01-09-2008, 04:15 PM
Out here we dont have too many contests
The teams need to support the contests that they can
I have done limited prize money contests and we really have fun with them
We try to have Peoples Choice pay backs at all contests so everyone can make a few bucks
This year I have two with very nice prize money
and 3 smaller ones.
If you want it to grow you have to do your part cook, judge, organize, promote what ever it is

I have seen small contests grow into mid size and large with planning and old fashioned luck.
My Stagecoach contests were the same weekend as Modesto. makes it tough on the new guy (me)
but I got lucky in 2008 they needed to move back a week to get the top track stars for the companion Track Meet :)

butts a fire
01-09-2008, 04:15 PM
For me as a cook the avaliability of contests in my area and also the avaliability of contests on the smaller side has allowed me to do more and less expensive contests as I ramp my self up to the eventual entry into larger contests. I have done several contests with between 25 and 30 contestants and those are exactly what I was looking for to get my feet wet and learn what I was doing. If there were less contests the attendance numbers at those would probably go up for a while but I could see them dropping off in the long run. I think that the expansion and number of contests is a good thing for the sport and does help to increase the number of compititors which is also good for the sport.

txschutte
01-09-2008, 04:31 PM
I thimk the availability of contests is a key factor. I enter many small local events that don't have many teams, but as my ability grows, so does the size of comps I would like to enter.

sampson
01-09-2008, 05:40 PM
As Thom pointed out, I think the answer given to this question has a lot to do with where you live. Out here in Utah, I think that more contests would help generate more interest. Some of our members drive many hundreds of miles to compete. Having said that though I should point out that the Utah BBQ Association (utahbbq.org) and it's members are doing a great job of growing the sport out here in the West. I'm not sure what the official count will be but I think we're looking at four or five contests in Utah itself. The first is in my town then two in Salt Lake City, one in Provo, one in St George and maybe another in Park City.

Coz
01-09-2008, 07:22 PM
First let me state that as yet I have not competed.But I will do 2 comps for sure next summer.I travelled to 3 or 4 comps this year to spectate and get a slight idea of what I am in for.I went to Princeton Wi,around 40 teams farthest team entered was Indiana I think?Then we went to racine,wi.Not sure how many teams similar to Princeton and lots more of out of state teams that I recognized from various websites.I know there was a team from Michigan that we talked to.Then Menominee Falls.Lots of Mid West heavy hitters here.Spent the morning observing 2 Fat Bikers routine.Talk about info overload on the fly?At every contest we were at competitors were willing to talk technique and give lots of advice and of course great samples of their product.Almost all the teams we talked to were more than encouraging us to jump into the deep end of the pool.I think out of the many Sports/hobbies that I have competed in the teams here have been friendlier and more encouraging than any other.I certainly helps the imagine that as your bsing with some one who is competing they tell you that 3 or 4 years ago they were just starting and how great everone else was to get them started.( I am thinking that its just another pocket for the usual winners to pick mod)But they seem a lot more sincere.In my limited experience the atmosphere at the few comps I have attended is very freindly to the newbies and that drives more people to say hey I can do this?If I lived in Iowa or Missouri I am sure that I would have been in this a while ago as there isnt near the amount of comps here that there is there.I also think that the organizers could do a better job of local advertising to let more of the BackYard guys know that theres a doings in there area.I live 15 miles from a comp and didnt know it was there.

ThomEmery
01-09-2008, 08:14 PM
When I started in this sport 3 years ago there where no competitions within 130 miles of us
Now we have 4 within 4 miles :) Ya got ta work it brother

The Pickled Pig
01-09-2008, 08:19 PM
The two go hand in hand in that more teams on the scene drive demand for new contests. Conversely, more contests inspire new teams to jump into the fray and encourage emerging teams to stick with it.

So which is the primary driver of this equation of teams and contests for growth of the sport?



The question is slightly flawed. Both the growth in the number of contests and the number of teams competing are symptoms of the growing popularity. One doesn't necessarily cause the other but both increase the reach of the sport.