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Babyboomerboy
11-01-2008, 09:28 AM
Hello, I just found this site and have been reading the posts with interest. I have been elected to start a BBQ cookoff in our small town. I contacted the KCBS about being sanctioned and they have sent me their packet of information. My question is first, is this the right forum to talk about putting together a cookoff and second does anyone have information how to go about starting one of these cookoffs so it will be successful, fun and become an annual event? Thank you

eagle697
11-01-2008, 09:46 AM
Good luck. I will be watching this thread, as i have contemplated trying to start one in my home town. I am sure you will get some great help.

Alexa RnQ
11-01-2008, 09:59 AM
I'm not experienced from the organizational end, but I do remember a thread not too long ago along the lines of "What are the 5 most important things you'd like at a comp, and what are the 5 least important?" There were so many good ideas there!

WannaBeBBQueen
11-01-2008, 11:10 AM
yes, you've found the right spot...ask away I'm sure people will chime in with answers...but first go to cattle call and tell us about yourself:mrgreen:

barbefunkoramaque
11-01-2008, 12:01 PM
Hey, How bout writing the IBCA to get them to sanction a contest in your area. LOL

God I would love to see that. A contest in Kansas with no garnish. What would they do?

Glad to meet and see you here. WE will have some fun. This is the best forum on the net for BBQ.

Podge
11-01-2008, 12:34 PM
I'd suggest cooking at least one contest yourself first. Put yourself in the cook's shoes and I think that will give you the best insight.

motoeric
11-01-2008, 12:54 PM
Hi,

Go to www.homeofbbq.com and click on Comp Tools.

You can download a program that will allow you to input how many teams you have and will spit back how much of what that you need to have on hand. How many judges, how many chairs, how much water, how many tables, how many tents, how many saltines, etc.

There is also a fairly comprehensive document that provides an overview of expenses you can anticipate and possible revenue drivers.

Good luck and let us know if you need any help.

Eric

CivilWarBBQ
11-01-2008, 05:20 PM
I'd suggest cooking at least one contest yourself first. Put yourself in the cook's shoes and I think that will give you the best insight.

I agree with Podge - partially. The cook's experience is obviously important, but only one piece of the puzzle an organizer must be concerned with. The perspective of the public, judges, vendors and sponsors must also be understood if you wish to produce a successful event.

You absolutely should attend every nearby contest you can! You'll get all kinds of ideas from this, get to observe first hand what works and what doesn't (be sure to attend the awards presentation) and if you're lucky you can score contact info from one of the organizers. They'll likely be too busy then to really talk with you much, but give them a call a few weeks after the event and pick their brain. Like several others here I am an event organizer and can offer you some help, but there is no substitute for the special insights and local resources other organizers in your immediate area can assist you with.

Best of luck!

-Gowan

Babyboomerboy
11-01-2008, 06:31 PM
Thanks to everyone who posted a reply to my thread. I have never been to a real KCBS BBQ contest before, but will certainly go to a few when they come up in our area. Also we are planning on having a KCBS judging class here in April that I will attend and hopefully get others in this region to go to so we will have certified judges for our cookoff in July. What kind of prize money am I looking at for the first contest? We are building a sponsor list now and it would be nice to have an idea how much money we need to raise so that we can get some of you pro's interested in coming and showing us what a true competition is like. Thanks again, your knowledge is vast and really appreciated.

Bbq Bubba
11-01-2008, 06:46 PM
Doesn't Kansas already have like a bazillion contests? :biggrin:

Bigmista
11-01-2008, 07:48 PM
There a few contest promoters that post here. Arlie, ThomEmery and Jeff-in-KC just off the top of my head. I'm sure they will chime in or you can send them a PM.

motoeric
11-01-2008, 07:51 PM
Feel free to pm me with any questions. I have some experience helping to run the Battle of the BBQ Brethren and a couple of others.


Eric

CivilWarBBQ
11-01-2008, 10:52 PM
What kind of prize money am I looking at for the first contest?

A typical start-up contest computes prize money based on team entry fees. Figure out how many teams you have room for and work from there, making sure entries will more than cover your prize money. For example, if you plan for 25 teams and will charge a 200 entry, you would have $5000 if you fill your contest. (Don't count any funds from extras like private porta johns, electric upgrades, etc.)

Since you can't be certain you will get all 25 teams, back off from that number a bit. You can always increase your payout, but KCBS requires that you guarantee whatever prize amount you declare when you request sanctioning. You don't want to have to come up with the cash to cover your prize money if you don't have enough entries! So in the example above let's say you settle on a $4000 guaranteed prize pool. If you book all your cook team slots you can simply announce that the payouts have increased if you choose to do so. Your cook teams won't complain. :icon_wink

Your sponsors should be covering your other costs of putting on the event. Assuming the purpose of the contest is to raise money for a charity, sponsorships should cover your fund raising target as well. If you will be charging admission, that money is icing on the cake - but don't count on it! There are too many factors that can wipe out ticket sales (especially weather) so you don't want to be depending on the public turning out to keep you in the black.

Bud's BBQ
11-02-2008, 04:58 PM
Good luck on your adventure. We are also trying to start an event in a nearby small town in Michigan. KCBS requires that you work with another organizer and follow the process in person at an actual event. Great experience and one of the sanctioning requirements.

Rookie'48
11-02-2008, 06:54 PM
Just a thought here. When setting the number of teams, how much space are you allowing for each team? One comp that I judged this summer only gave a 20' x 20' area which made it kind of tight (or impossible) for a lot of teams to fit in their own spot. Also figure that you need extra room for late arriving teams to drive to their spots. The guy who has two EZ-Ups & the back of his mini van can get in any where, but some one who has a 30 foot fifth wheeler might have a problem here. :biggrin:

Babyboomerboy
11-02-2008, 07:09 PM
Just a thought here. When setting the number of teams, how much space are you allowing for each team? One comp that I judged this summer only gave a 20' x 20' area which made it kind of tight (or impossible) for a lot of teams to fit in their own spot. Also figure that you need extra room for late arriving teams to drive to their spots. The guy who has two EZ-Ups & the back of his mini van can get in any where, but some one who has a 30 foot fifth wheeler might have a problem here. :biggrin:

Rookie'48
Thank you for bringing the space issue up. We have a football stadium that we are holding the cookoff in. I have been wondering how to mark it off for the cookers. If I mark off each space 20'x20' and someone needs space for a 30' trailer, would they use two spaces, or do we extend the space further into the infield and leave it at 20' wide? Which would be a 20'x30' or 20'x40'? This brings up another question. Since this is our first comp. How many spaces should we mark out? We have no idea how many teams will come. How far in advance do teams sign up for the cookoffs they plan to attend? Thanks again

CivilWarBBQ
11-02-2008, 08:06 PM
Rookie'48
If I mark off each space 20'x20' and someone needs space for a 30' trailer, would they use two spaces, or do we extend the space further into the infield and leave it at 20' wide?

No matter how large you make your spaces you will have teams show up with more cookers, tents, RVs, trucks and cars than will fit. You have to make your best plan considering your available space and utilities and be prepared to be the bad guy when some clown rolls in with a 45 foot gooseneck horse trailer despite the fact that you clearly advertised 20 x 30 spaces for six months.

How many spaces should we mark out? We have no idea how many teams will come. How far in advance do teams sign up for the cookoffs they plan to attend?

Predicting turnout is very difficult. I suggest you first canvas known local teams to get a straw count of how many will attend. Then figure your prize money based on the prize money you can afford to cover out of pocket if no other teams sign up. In the end you're just going to have to make your best guess, because teams are going to wait until the last minute to sign up. A soft economy and/or new contest intensifies this effect, so be prepared for some stressful days leading up to the last two weeks before your event.

Having an expandable site plan is helpful, though this isn't always practical if you are contracting for temporary power.

ThomEmery
11-02-2008, 08:12 PM
Finding a team to work it with you is a huge part of it
Check your PMs

Smoky River BBQ
11-03-2008, 10:41 AM
One thing to keep in mind, also, is that a lot of teams, especially ones that travel quite a distance, want to come in on Thursday night and stay until Sunday. Can provisions be made for this? Since you are in Kansas, that may not be as much of an issue as it is around these parts. Some of us have to drive a long way to get to contests. Although that is improving, lately!

bignburlyman
11-04-2008, 08:29 AM
judges for our cookoff in July.




Make sure you check your dates for competing contests in Kansas in July. Great Bend is the weekend after the Fourth, Dodge City is July 25, 2009, Anthony Downs contest is in the middle of July. Just outside of Kansas Tulsa Art of BBQ and Warrensburg MO are on the same weekend as Great Bend. KCBS may not sanction the contest if it is too close to an existing contest.

LindaM
11-04-2008, 10:05 AM
I found that if you put a deadline for applications with an extended date surcharge the majority of your teams will sign up early. Give the teams the option of larger spaces, at addtional charges, that will give you a better idea of what is needed. Don't EVER measure exactly 20 X 20. Go at least 22 X 20 in case someone doesn't quite make it into the spot it does not make eveyone else wrong. PLENTY of Porta Potties....... Lessons well learned......

Babyboomerboy
11-04-2008, 11:42 AM
I found that if you put a deadline for applications with an extended date surcharge the majority of your teams will sign up early. Give the teams the option of larger spaces, at addtional charges, that will give you a better idea of what is needed. Don't EVER measure exactly 20 X 20. Go at least 22 X 20 in case someone doesn't quite make it into the spot it does not make eveyone else wrong. PLENTY of Porta Potties....... Lessons well learned......

Linda,
Thank you for the great information. We have a whole football stadium with a 1/4 mile track around it to use so hopefully space won't be a problem. But the heads up to add a little to each one is something that we will certainly do. I am going to start a new thread on what is the average prize amount for a first year cookoff. We are all batting our heads against the wall trying to figure out how much to give away since we have no idea how many will sign up. Thanks again for the great suggestions.

lunchlady
11-05-2008, 07:22 AM
Prize money is something that is totally up to the organizer, which would be you.

In the NorthEast, many organizers try to give back all entry fees to the prize pool, if at all possible. If you have sponsors, even betterer.

BE aware of your football stadium... find out what the stadium people expect as far as wear and tear on their field.
Then, I would be very vocal, even putting it in your cook's packet, about what you expect from teams as far as clean up goes. I know of some events that have taken a clean-up deposit, $50 or so per team, and not returned it until they have 'checked you out'. There ARE going to be scorched areas in the grass, along with MAJOR tamping down of it as well, due to foot traffic - within teams sites.
One other thing, there were some issues at another event that was held in an oval, with teams getting in and out if the outer sites were already full up.

GET AS MANY VOLUNTEERS AS YOU CAN TO HELP YOU AND PRACTICE DELEGATING!

Babyboomerboy, I would be happy to help you with anything I can, my husband and I run a small-ish event and I like to think I have an organizer's perspective, as well as a cook's and a KCBS CBJ's. If you take your time, find out as much as you can, and basically attempt to do right by everyone, teams and judges will come. There are going to be speedbumps, and everyone expects them at a first year event.

Regardless... listen and learn from others, be available, and communicate to everyone involved and it will be successful...

Feel free to PM me anytime...

STX Cue
11-05-2008, 09:06 AM
Here is a website I found sometime back about running a KCBS event...hope it helps.

http://www.thebbqshack.com/cookoff.htm