PDA

View Full Version : Handling Defeat...?


volkanator
06-29-2009, 11:00 AM
I just competed in my first ever BBQ cookoff. It was a small even run by a hardware store in Port Washington, NY. There were 10 teams and the events were pork ribs and chicken on the bone. We took second in ribs and didn't place on chicken.

During the course of the day we received rave reviews from all who sampled.
Despite hearing from everyone we were the best the judges didn't agree. It's funny because both of the parents of the winner came up to us individually both before and after the winner was announced and they both said hands down we were by far better.

I guess my question is...how do you handle losing when you feel you totally deserved the win? Do you go back and change things up that you don't necessarily feel need fixing? Do you keep doing what you are doing and hope that next time the judges feel differently?

I felt we nailed it but it'd be a shame to keep competing if we're doomed to never win.

Although I will say it was a good time.

Sledneck
06-29-2009, 11:02 AM
Need more info on the judging process. Was it peoples choice? scored judging> what criteria> did you get score back?

Jorge
06-29-2009, 11:03 AM
You don't make drastic decisions, based on one result.

Jeff Hughes
06-29-2009, 11:10 AM
You don't make drastic decisions, based on one result.

Especially in a little non sanctioned contest...

Ron_L
06-29-2009, 11:12 AM
You don't make drastic decisions, based on one result.

Good advice.

Personally I do a slow burn over it for a day or two, making sure to kick myself in the pants hourly so I don't forget that I blew it. :rolleyes:

Divemaster
06-29-2009, 11:18 AM
First of all, this was your first comp. Give your self a break! There are literally a ton of things to think about and figure out. I wish I had money every time we thought that we had nailed it only to find out we didn't... Worst one for me was at a comp last year... Tasted others ribs, ours were hands down better... We ended up DAL (out of 50+ teams).. Thats when I came up with my 'Winning List'. It's my list to determine if we really did win or not. I always ask the following questions before the awards...

1) Did every one come back healthy, with no injuries.

2) Did you have Fun?

3) Did you do your best?

4) Did you make some new friends?

5) Were you able to pass on your passion for Que to some one else.

If I can answer all of the above questions with a 'Yes', I've already one my version of a GC... If not, I know what I need to change.

Harbormaster
06-29-2009, 11:26 AM
The Divemaster is wise! Great advice, and worthy criteria for what determines a true champion.

I am not an avid competitor, having only done one comp, so weigh my thoughts accordingly.

At a small comp like that, the first thing that comes to my mind:

Was it double blind turn-ins?

Don't beat yourself up. Based on the feedback you received from the public, I wouldn't change anything. There is way more to a comp than winning, although it does help.

Plowboy
06-29-2009, 11:28 AM
Give yourself more than one contest and you'll learn...

You don't always win on your best days, and sometimes you win on your worst days.

dreed
06-29-2009, 11:28 AM
The hardest part of your first comp is actually winning, because you know there are improvements to be made but where do you start if you win your first comp. Beside it is a lot harder fall from grace when you start out on top and blow subsequent comps.

Enter a larger sanctioned comp, with some CBJ's and see where you place, and make changes based on that. That should be your jumping point not a 10 team local comp.

Now that your feet are wet, enter a KCBS and run with the big Hogs, I find those contests to be humbling . and you learn how to deal with defeat. But there is only one place to go from last.......

Plowboy
06-29-2009, 11:29 AM
Need more info on the judging process. Was it peoples choice? scored judging> what criteria> did you get score back?

NOTE: Answering these questions may get the contest sued by KCBS. :wink:

j/k

Sledneck
06-29-2009, 11:29 AM
The Divemaster sounds like hes had a lot of practice at losing :rolleyes::biggrin: (i call no burnt ends joke haha:tongue:)

Alexa RnQ
06-29-2009, 11:36 AM
Honestly, the best way we have at present to evaluate our results is predicated on a few different things:

~ Cooking KCBS sanctioned contests. It's the best system currently available, and gives us feedback in the form of raw scores from the judges. We weigh this against...

~ Did we hit our marks and cook our best food? Most cooks are their own sternest critics. We know when our food falls short. Every cook will tell you they've had a time when their best food went unrewarded, and an inferior product got a call -- that's just part of the law of numbers. Which is why we...

~ Don't make changes until we observe a trend. If one contest gets wonky results, we continue with consistent product until a couple-three shows with a decent percentage of experienced CBJs tell us they're not feeling it. With repeated input, we make changes.

Finally, you can't peg everything on a particular win. Each contest has one winner, and a lot more teams that aren't them. Was their time and effort wasted? Not if you have other criteria for success. We're going through a drought now, and it's humbling, but a "bad" day can be completely redeemed by going to awards and yelling as hard as we can for all of our friends. The round of congratulations afterward is just as fun on either side, when you're backslapping your BBQ buddies.

tonto1117
06-29-2009, 11:40 AM
Honestly, the best way we have at present to evaluate our results is predicated on a few different things:

~ Cooking KCBS sanctioned contests. It's the best system currently available, and gives us feedback in the form of raw scores from the judges. We weigh this against...

~ Did we hit our marks and cook our best food? Most cooks are their own sternest critics. We know when our food falls short. Every cook will tell you they've had a time when their best food went unrewarded, and an inferior product got a call -- that's just part of the law of numbers. Which is why we...

~ Don't make changes until we observe a trend. If one contest gets wonky results, we continue with consistent product until a couple-three shows with a decent percentage of experienced CBJs tell us they're not feeling it. With repeated input, we make changes.

Finally, you can't peg everything on a particular win. Each contest has one winner, and a lot more teams that aren't them. Was their time and effort wasted? Not if you have other criteria for success. We're going through a drought now, and it's humbling, but a "bad" day can be completely redeemed by going to awards and yelling as hard as we can for all of our friends. The round of congratulations afterward is just as fun on either side, when you're backslapping your BBQ buddies.

:eusa_clap:eusa_clap:eusa_clap........Nicley said!!!

musicmanryann
06-29-2009, 11:43 AM
Finally, you can't peg everything on a particular win. Each contest has one winner, and a lot more teams that aren't them. Was their time and effort wasted? Not if you have other criteria for success. We're going through a drought now, and it's humbling, but a "bad" day can be completely redeemed by going to awards and yelling as hard as we can for all of our friends. The round of congratulations afterward is just as fun on either side, when you're backslapping your BBQ buddies.

This was what I was going to say as well. My advice would be to meet as many fellow competitors as possible and make lots of friends. I find it very rewarding to hear my friends' and fellow brethren names called and cheer them on, even if I don't hear my own. That is what makes this sport so unique and so awesome!

G$
06-29-2009, 11:51 AM
I guess my question is...how do you handle losing ...

Like this:
say it was a good time...




Anyway, I am not qualified to answer your question, because I have never felt we deserved to win anything, even our first place categories. The advice you received above nails it IMO.

People compete for different reasons. If you are out there to WIN each time (and there is nothing wrong with that), then you will have to give yourself more experience than a small, apparently unsanctioned contest. You should understand that this competition stuff is a process, and the best you can do is alter the learning curve in your favor for that process.

Good luck, I am glad you had a good time.

chad
06-29-2009, 12:01 PM
Not winning (as opposed to the non-PC verbage of LOSING!) is a part of competition.

You either learn from it, get over it, and get back to it -- or you don't. Lot's of backyard guys "think" their que it the best - and will tell you how lousy someone else's is, but don't venture out to compete.

It's like having a fast car and never "running" anyone!

The best I've ever done is 3rd overall and a few 2nds and 3rds in individual categories. I always competed in contests where somebody like Jack's Old South, HomeBBQ.com, Dr. BBQ, Trigg, Mike, Chris Lilly, name anyone in the "top tier", showed up. It's like running dirt track modifieds and having Tony Stewart show up.

Not winning is part of the deal.

Bbq Bubba
06-29-2009, 12:11 PM
All of the above.













BTW....

Jacked UP BBQ
06-29-2009, 12:55 PM
You actually defeated others with your rib call. You cannot win them all and never will. Dust yourself off, and do it again, keep your head up. I always walk away wondering what happened, especially this weekend. I turned in awesome food and only got one call in pork. I got 33rd in chicken and thought it was awesome. I said oh well it can only get better from here. On my way to lake placid next week to try and win somemore hardware.

BobBrisket
06-29-2009, 01:19 PM
Many years ago my dad and I entered a Cook Off(grilling only), contest sponsored by a local Radio station. The entrants were all listeners, and the first 50 or so teams go in. They no longer allow listeners, just big restaurants. ANyhow, I looked forward to this contest for months. It wasn't a sanctioned thing or anything, just for prizes, plaques, etc. I think we paid like 75 bucks to enter and got the meat included(usually chicken, and beef), free beer till it lasted, two tickets to the concert that was held at the end of the night, and all sorts of freebies from the sponsors, aprons, spices, rubs, etc. They usually had local tv personalities do the judging. We did this for 3 years and one of the first years got like a 4th or 5th in ribeyes and won a gift cert. to the local grocery store that helped sponsor. Our last year we took 3rd overall and won about 200 bucks in free groceries, and other goodies.
I guess for me, the prize was getting to spend a whole day cooking and drinking with my dad. Trying to jinx the other competitors next to us with trash talking to one another. Helping each other out. Swapping samples of food. Feeding samples to the public. Hearing their compliments and the whole experience in general. Strategizing with my dad and experimenting weeks in advance with him. In the end, it's the FUN time we had that we remember most. Winning anything, is just icing on an already big, and delicious cake!!:wink:
Funny thing was people would also tell us our stuff was the best they ever tasted, then we'd see the same people sampling the stuff from the team right next to us and say the same thing. My dad and I joked that the reason everyones was the best ever was because it was FREE!:lol:
In the end it all came down to what the judges preferences were that day. One year they liked sweet, one year hot, and the others.......who knows.
Don't beat yourself up over it. Just stick to your game plan and it will eventually pay off.

Divemaster
06-29-2009, 01:48 PM
The Divemaster sounds like hes had a lot of practice at losing :rolleyes::biggrin: (i call no burnt ends joke haha:tongue:)

I could say some thing like "I learned it from you Sled..." but that would be wrong... You are so much better at loosing that I am, I could never reach your level... lol... (BTW, no burnt end recipe for you!:eek:)

And for your information... I've lost more than I've won.

moocow
06-29-2009, 02:57 PM
You get used to it!

CivilWarBBQ
06-29-2009, 03:05 PM
Despite hearing from everyone we were the best the judges didn't agree......how do you handle losing when you feel you totally deserved the win?

As my buddy Johnny would say: "Welcome to the NFL".

The majority of cooks feel exactly like you do after their first contest. After all, "everybody" says you make the best BBQ they've ever tasted, right? Unfortunately, the fact is that none of this means a thing on the circuit. Producing winning competition BBQ is a very specific and moving target, defined by a quirky and ever changing group of judges. What you, your family, friends and catering customers like is irrelevant.

This is the hardest lesson to learn, and some folks refuse to accept it. If you believe that you know the way to make the best barbecue and changing your methods equates to compromising your standards then by all means keep doing what you are doing, but spare yourself unneeded expense and frustration and stop entering competitions.

Winning at this game involves a lot of research, followed by deconstructing your current procedures and then creating a new routine that hopefully balances conformation to the standard judges are looking for with just enough of your own uniqueness. It's not easy, inexpensive or predictable, so if you decide to continue on the circuit you have to let go of that "we deserved to win" sentiment and accept the fact that the winner best captured what the judges were looking for on that day and roll with the punches.

JD McGee
06-29-2009, 03:07 PM
Losing sucks for sure...but not competing would be worse for me. To me it's a major league rush to get your name called...kinda like smackin' a walk off home run to win the game. You can't win them all but if you keep pluggin' away and listen to the folks that have been there before you...you'll win your fair share. :-P

The_Kapn
06-29-2009, 05:46 PM
All of the above guidance is "right on".

I now have a standard that says,
"Am I happy with the entry? "
If I am, that is enough for me.

The judges are liking our stuff more and more each contest--so I guess they are "trainable"! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Hang in there and just have FUN!!!!

TIM

McClung
06-29-2009, 05:56 PM
I finished next to last over the weekend. Forgot stuff, changed stuff, DQ'd a piece of chicken and just plain wasn't happy with anything but my sausage (which took 5th). But, read my comment cards from the judges, sought out feedback from others, breezed through a HD inspection, had fun and learned. To top it all off I got a check for $15!!!!!

Poker Smoker
06-29-2009, 06:53 PM
Clark (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000331/): Our holidays were always such a mess.
Clark Sr. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0709907/): Oh, yeah.
Clark (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000331/): How'd you get through it?
Clark Sr. (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0709907/): I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels.