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rftek
01-30-2011, 08:16 AM
Howdy all,

New to the forum & competition BBQ.

Question regarding finances: Is it common to sell samples at a competition?

How do teams compete when only the 1st-3rd places payback entry fee (not to mention supplies, fuel, travel etcetc)?

Are the competitors 99% in it for fun?

Thanks brethren, trying to justify it to my wife :)

Location: Central Texas (IBCA country?)

thillin
01-30-2011, 08:37 AM
Most IBCA comps pay 1-10th in each category. There are enough comps to choose which pays the best. Only way is to get a sponsor or win. No selling that I'm aware of. Work deals out with family and friends to sell your leftovers.

Best way is to look at it as your weekend outing. Golfing, fishing, hunting all cost $ and you never break even. And IBCA comps have cheap entry fees compared to KCBS. Most are $65-100.

Ron_L
01-30-2011, 09:09 AM
As far as selling samples, you should check with the organizer. Most competitions are in conjunction with another event and have food vendors. Those vendors pay a fee to the organizer and sometimes a portion of their take, so the organizer may not want someone else selling food, or they may want to make you a vendor. In addition, if you are selling samples to the public you will probably have to be certified by the local health department.

txschutte
01-30-2011, 09:12 AM
The money that most teams recupe is from the aluminum cans they recycle on Monday....

altomari8868
01-30-2011, 04:10 PM
By the time you facor $3.50 a gallon gas, meats, fuel, rubs, sauces, etc etc... you never break even. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to rain on anyones parade. I look at it like this. I could spend my money on junk I will never use or have fun and meet some great people and MAYBE if I am lucky, to walk with a couple of bucks. The last event I did, my wife and kids had more fun than I can remember. Do not take it too much to heart and be so competitive that you do not have any fun if you loose...Have fun and treasure the time with family and friends...
Each and every event I learn something new and share something with someone I did not know... It is much like this site. Sharing information and ideas is part of the fun... The competition is also fun. But what I have found is the folks you are competing against each event are the same folks that cheer the loudest if you win...:thumb:

Rookie'48
01-30-2011, 05:50 PM
On this past year's Pitmasters show they asked Shad Kirton (who ended up being the winner) what he would do if he won the $100,000 grand prize. His answer was that it would help him break even for his BBQ conests.

monty3777
01-30-2011, 07:54 PM
I usually recoup the cost of the meat by selling it before the contest. Basically I am selling the leftovers. Using Facebook I usually have stuff spoken for within an hour of posting. This by no means pays for the comp, but it does help keep expenses a bit more in line. Besides, the last thing I want to eat is my BBQ :)

JD McGee
01-30-2011, 08:31 PM
I usually sell my comp leftovers to my neighbors and co-workers for cost...it pays for the meats, charcoal, spices, and sauces. But to answer you question...no...we are not allowed to sell personal samples of BBQ at our PNWBA comps...it's a health dept. thing. :becky:

HoDeDo
01-31-2011, 10:05 PM
I've always said, when it becomes cheaper to own a boat, I will.... LOL
I dont see that happening.

HBMTN
01-31-2011, 10:25 PM
In 3 full years of competing I have spent around $7000 in 9 competitions (that price includes the beer and all) and have won about $1300 and had $20,000 worth of fun.

Maddog's
01-31-2011, 11:44 PM
The other bros are doing a great job of answering the bulk of your question but the part of your original query that troubles me is "...trying to justify it to my wife".

Hmmmm Troubling indeed. Here are just a few semi-associated thoughts that come to mind...
What?!? Is there a major part rattlin' around loose up there?!? Justify it?!!!!?
Is your charcoal soaking in apple juice while your pork marinates in diesel?!?
Does your team chant end with..."How do we like it?" "RAW, RAW!!"
Do you come home from competitions only to find your wife trying to get your
attention by putting on a curly tail and whispering "How's your ole hickory?"
Are you trying to market your secret brisket rub based on licorice, curry and Vicks?
When the judges said your chicken should be browner why did you think of your
undershorts?
Do you actually plan to singlehandedly revamp competition BBQ as soon as you can
figure out how to smoke JELLO?!?

"Justify it to your wife?!?" Are you out of your pork-pullin' mind?!?
Here's the deal bucko and I really am trying to offer something helpful. If she wants to come, get involved, spend time with you, meet your new friends, stink like you do when you come home, camp out in a not-so-parklike parking lot, wake up smelling God-only-knows-what, cower under a table when you cuss and sprint to get that damned temp back up quickly, start drinking before she even thinks about lunch and occassionally win a goofy little colored ribbon and maybe a $40 check, well then buy her jewels, roses, take her on a cruise, go to a sappy chick flic with her...anything just to say THANK YOU in big capital letters because not all of the guys out there stoking their fires can say their wives will sacrafice what they would REALLY like to be doing in favor of coming with you where they can wonder first-hand at the marvel of you fretting over an ultra-clean, even straight cut of meat, while rain runs down the inside of your shirt and you secretly worry that somebody will find that empty bottle in your trash labelled "Hunts". Not all of the guys on the circuit even WANT Mama along.
It's not about justifying it to her but maybe, just maybe, it's about exposing her to it. Maybe you oughtta consider showing her the fun side of unloading in the cold at 0-dark-30. Perhaps she might be the kind of lover who just loves hanging around with you while you do what you choose to do.
Have you ever stood back and watched us at work in a competition? The action can actually be pretty entertaining. Maybe she'll watch you and grab some laughs along the way. OK OK it's not for everybody but the point is that you CAN'T justify it to her. Can you justify to her, you spending $1400 on a new set of irons? Can you get her to understand why you're writing a $1950 check to the snowmobile repair shop in August? Can you get her to gladly accept that you just got that new fly reel on sale at only $440? If she comes out with you and SHE GET'S IT. You don't need to. On the other hand, if she comes out with you and she DOESN'T get it, she'll probably just be happy that you don't press her to go again.
Justify fun? Why do we spend money on it and why do we do it over and over and over again? Because we want to. Because it makes us feel good. Because it's BBQ and WE LOVE BBQ!
Now, in closing, if you forget to get her flowers and jewelry and candy and take her to chic flicks and tell her you LOVE HER, then you're not gonna get the chance to come out with us and love that Q. So, first things first. She doesn't have to GET IT. She doesn't even have to appreciate it. She just needs to not be bothered by it. So, go - do the Q, be happy but first, make her happy. And after all, who knows, that curly little tail thing and "old hickory" might actually be fun!

TN_BBQ
02-01-2011, 06:43 AM
Howdy all,

Are the competitors 99% in it for fun?

Location: Central Texas (IBCA country?)

I'm with thillin on this.

Pretty much got to treat it like a hobby. Sorta like golf, hunting and/or fishing.

Brauma
02-01-2011, 07:40 AM
In order to compete, you have to, or you should, practice - a lot! I will announce to family & friends that I'm doing a practice cook and the food will be sold out almost always in advance. My partner & I have also done some catering to help pay for comps. But we have never paid for them in full.

It's our hobby and we love it even if we lose. We love the fellowship of the smoke. You'll be hard pressed to find better people than BBQ people.

Stoke&Smoke
02-01-2011, 12:40 PM
I've seen it posted here somewhere that the best way to make a small fortune in barbece is to start with a large fortune. I believe it's in someone's signature here, and in most cases, that's likely a very true statement.

I have to think that there are very few competitors turning a profit, or even breaking even.

I'll be the first to admit, we are small timers compared to most we compete against. we've done 6 comps each year for the last 2 years, and only 4 the year before that, our first year.

If I added up what we'd spent on this hobby run amok, vs what we'd won, it'd take a VERY large bucket of red ink I'm sure to write it all down. But as much as everyone likes to win, as others have said here, we do it because we truly enjoy the company of our fellow competitors.

There are lots of guys out there that go out and compete with a couple of thier male freinds, and their spouses, if they show up at all, only come out on Saturday for turn-in's and awards. It's how they blow off steam, and the wives are probably in many cases having girls night out while the guys are competing. And for them, and their marraiges, it apparently works.

There are also lots of husband wife teams, but I think in those cases the wives, at least those I've met, are every bit as into it as thier husbands.

I'm fortunate enough to be married to someone who had a WSM for years before I'd ever seen one, and who not only doesn't frown when we add to our collection of cookers, she encourages it!

For us anyway, competing is the way we use the bulk of my vacation days. Every contest, we look forward to seeing old freinds, and making new ones. Friday nights we spend walking around sharing apple pie shots with the other teams. When we first started, it was a way of meeting folks, and hopefully making them comfortable that we weren't shigging, and just wanted to say hi and get to know them. Now, there are a lot of people that are not happy if they don't see "the shot fairy" as at a couple of comps she didn't make the rounds due either to weather issues or in one case, coming down with a bug.

To us, comps are like some kind of twisted family reunion, but we have them more often than once every few years thank god!

Having said all that, it is truly a great feeling to go to the bank and deposit a check from bbq winnings. But to me, it's nothing compared to the thrill of hearing your team name called at the awards. Especially if it's for first place in something. (something we experieced for the first time last summer, and that I will NEVER forget!)

But we've been skunked a few times too, and last summer had the unpleasant distiction of being DAL in two categories at the same comp!:mad2:

Didn't matter. We still cheered for our freinds who heard the call that day, including freinds who heard their name called for the first time!

Barbecue people are the best, bar none, that I think I've ever met. Almost all will do whatever they can to help one another out. Forget to bring something? Someone will have it and lend it gladly. Wind storm trying to launch your EZ-up? Someone will be there helping you without you having to ask.

If your getting into it for the dough...that's probably a mistake. If you want to have a great time with some great people, and don't mind dropping some cash to do it, you'll find few things more fun

OK, I'll get down from my soapbox now....:rolleyes:

RangerJ
02-01-2011, 05:50 PM
Just moved back to Texas and i will dispute the comment "most IBCA pay 1 -10". Unless you consider a jr. high school track meet ribbon saying "6th place' as payment.

Ensure you research each event and see what the payout is.

HOWEVER - I'll take that ribbon every time over staring at a ticket and getting nothing. You can't be in this for the money, you have to be in it for the joy of smoking meat and creating a product better than most people in the world can.

If you get some dough or a ribbon, thats a plus.

rftek
02-01-2011, 09:58 PM
Wow that's some passion. Thanks all for sharing your opinions. That's what makes this forum so great.

Just Smokin' Around
02-01-2011, 09:59 PM
Are the competitors 99% in it for fun?



Lot's of really great answers, so I won't repeat, but I agree. Just want to say that the answer to your above question is Absolutely YES!! Do we go out and try are hardest to win? Absolutely YES. They are not mutually exclusive. BBQ comps are a lot of work, planning and a good amount of money. The fun, friends and enjoyment - priceless. Getting that first call - beyond priceless.

MattCom
02-02-2011, 08:50 AM
Just go into it counting on losing the money, don't use your rent check for comp fees. You'd be better off putting in on Tails this weekend.
One of the best ways to reduce the expense is to get some partners involved, I couldn't compete with out my bros. Although, if you win. Splitting the cash is only fair.
If you have a chance to get a sponsor, do that as well. Even if you're just getting free wood or meat near cost, That's great. Mention to EVERYONE what your plans are and friends will/should come out of the woodwork to help out.

bbq.tom
02-02-2011, 10:25 AM
All of the previous posts are pretty accurate. I just want to add that my wife sees how excited I get about competing and she likes to see me happy, so I don't have to "justify" anything to her. Fortunately, I'm not in the position to have to borrow money to compete - as long as I keep my competing resonable.

biggs98
02-02-2011, 04:58 PM
See if you can start a team with 2-4 other people. It'll help offset the all the costs and the labor.(setup, breakdown, cooking, night firewatch, coctails, and all other things). Plus you'll have a great time with friends.

CivilWarBBQ
02-03-2011, 04:23 AM
To offset costs, try bringing a bunch of empty drums and a hose to contests you haven't entered. When all the cooks are up at the awards, make the rounds of all the duallies and siphon off all the diesel you can. At four bucks a gallon, you'll raise a nice grubstake quick!

If anybody catches you at it, just drop a Fast Eddy cap on the ground and run.

Zombie Barbecue
02-03-2011, 08:05 AM
By the time you facor $3.50 a gallon gas, meats, fuel, rubs, sauces, etc etc... you never break even. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to rain on anyones parade. I look at it like this. I could spend my money on junk I will never use or have fun and meet some great people and MAYBE if I am lucky, to walk with a couple of bucks. The last event I did, my wife and kids had more fun than I can remember. Do not take it too much to heart and be so competitive that you do not have any fun if you loose...Have fun and treasure the time with family and friends...
Each and every event I learn something new and share something with someone I did not know... It is much like this site. Sharing information and ideas is part of the fun... The competition is also fun. But what I have found is the folks you are competing against each event are the same folks that cheer the loudest if you win...:thumb:

Amen Big Bob. We do this for the love of bbq, the comradery of fellow bbq nuts, and of course for all the hot bbq groupies! If you're doing this for money, you're better off setting up your smoker on the side of the highway and selling sandwiches.

jbrink01
02-03-2011, 08:27 AM
Comp BBQ is an expense. Period. I have a meat and entry fee sponsor this year. I also cater A LOT. The comp side costs me money, even with sponsors. BUT my wife loves it. She is anxious to go again this year. Why, you ask? To see the GREAT people we have met and continue to meet. Involve your wife.

Is there money in BBQ? Only if you sell something, then it becomes work and opens up a whole new discussion on if it's even worth it.

Jorge
02-03-2011, 08:37 AM
Most contests in Texas will also have a Calcutta, which will give you a better opportunity to get some of your $ back.

Big George's BBQ
02-03-2011, 09:00 AM
It is an expensive hobby but it is fun Meet a lot of great people who will offer help and suggestions during the competition. Have seen people give meat and charcaol to fellow competitors

Candy Sue
02-03-2011, 10:17 AM
After 7 years of doing this thing we do, I can proudly declare I was in the black one year out of those 7 and I was very, very lucky that year!

Present it to your wife as a hobby for both of you. You might find that she enjoys it as much or more than you (be prepared for her to start competing too -- that happens often down there in Texas!).

It's really more about the fun of it than anything else. The thrill of having your ticket number called (IBCA/LSBS) at awards! Your team name called at a KCBS. It's all good!