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-   -   First time visit to a competition. (

Kevin 06-06-2005 01:25 PM

First time visit to a competition.
I want to ask what to look for when attending a competition. I've never attended one. Cabela's Bar-B-Cue challenge is coming up on June 24/25 in Owatona MN. KCBS rules. About a 2 hour drive for me. The closest one will be, as far as I know this year. What I think I know so far:

Attend friday night and/or early saturday to see the nitty gritty of prep.
Watch the techniques used and what seems to score higher.
Definately want to check out the different pits.

Hate to ask a newbie question, but I would like to do a little research and make the most of the trip.

Cecil 06-06-2005 01:49 PM

BBQ competition isn't much of a spectator sport. You might have more fun asking a team to be there runner or dish washer. Some of the teams do all their prep work away from spectators so no one steals their secrets.

midnight 06-06-2005 02:25 PM

Try to get friendly with some cooks on friday night and they might invite you back to lend a hand or be a taste tester on Saturday. Most teams are very focused on the job at hand on Saturday and don't have alot of time to be chatting.

If your realy adventurous, call the person in charge of the event and ask if any teams need help. They can almost always hook you up with some team that wont mind an extra pair of hands helping out.

chad 06-06-2005 04:36 PM

Look for a team name you "recognize" (maybe from FoodTV) and just talk them up. Friday is a good time for this. Another tact is to find a team using a cooker you're interested in and, again, talk 'em up! Most guys will definately talk about their cookers.

Tell them you're interested in competing - ask whatever question is on your mind - they've probably heard the all but that's part of being out in the public.

If some of the rub and sauce vendors are there talk to them about their rub, sauce, etc.

DO NOT offer any suggestions! :D

spicewine 06-06-2005 06:31 PM

Friday evening is your best opportunity to talk with the teams. Some will be very nice and some will not want you around (too bad ) As long as you stay upbeat and don't ask too many personal questions, you will meet some mighty nice people that are more than willing to share ideas with you. Saturday is "Crunch Time" and the cookers are focused on the task at hand. After the final turn in is also a good time to meet with the teams. Most always you will hear the stories of what went wrong with their turn ins and will learn alot from their mistakes.

chad 06-06-2005 08:38 PM

You have to move and visit while you can. Remember that even after last turnin there's lots of work left to do. Some teams will depart immediately after the awards ceremony and so start clean up and teardown as early as the organizers allow.

Others are going to stay overnight and are more relaxed -- look for the teams with motorhomes - they'll usually be staying over - and they often have the best bar!! :D

Everybody is pretty tired - look around at the awards cermony. Lot's of tired faces.

Competition, while not truly a sport, in an active and stressful undertaking. Long hours, deadlines, uncontrollable variables all come into play as well as the individual personalities!

For example: if you come by our site after 10 a.m. I will probably talk to you and then excuse myself to "take care of business" and then come back to you. Tim, on the other hand, will tell you in no uncertain terms that we're busy and don't have time for you! :D We're team mates but completely different in that area!!

Just don't take "rejection" personally! Odds are if you come around later when the pressure is off you'll get a taste!! Oh yeah, do not ask for samples before turn-in!!

Also, at most events it's better if you bring a lawn chair for the awards presentation. A lot of venues are parks and such that don't have bleachers!!

Don't be afraid to enter an event, soon. You'll get more "inside" info since most (again, most) teams will help a rookie! They won't loan you their secret rub but they will keep you from getting DQ'd for the wrong lettuce. You would be amazed at the tips passed along to new teams at, say, 3 a.m.! When you're there cooking you are one of the guys even if you don't know what you're doing!! :D

Kevin 06-07-2005 08:39 AM

Thanks to you all. Good advice.

BBQchef33 06-09-2005 03:27 PM

i find that the most relaxed time is between 8PM and 3AM. fom 8-11 there may be swome prepping going on, but for the most part, Briskets and butts are in, and most of the prep work is done. thats kickback time where you can wander around and talk to people. At every event i have been at, that is chat time.

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