Wow, you're definitely in the right place. Welcome to bbq-brethren.
Search & read particularly in Competition BBQ and then the Q-Talk too. You'll
find great stuff in both places.
For starters, they'll all say practice practice.
Without this forum years ago, I learned on my first comp that I needed 2 lists:
1. packing list, listing everything we'll need, down to the smallest detail
2. schedule of what to do when. We're a stay up all night team, you may have
a set-it-and-forget-it-cooker. Even so, it's tough to remember all the things
you want to do and when you want to do them when you've had little or no
You'll find examples of both around here.
You'll want to look at turn-in boxes. I suggest starting by looking in the
"Worst Turn-In Box Ever" thread. There's as much to learn about what NOT to
turn in as there is in what to turn in.
Read KCBS's rules. For example, you'll need a minimum of 6 identifiable pieces
in your box. Some didn't know this, and their efforts go for naught... I'd hate
to have you DQ'd for a simple rules violation.
Did you have an opportunity to see BBQ PitMasters on TLC recently? While it's
not intended to be instructional, you'll get small tips by watching closely and
seeing what they're doing and why.
Best of luck. Welcome.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.