Practice a comp at least 1 full run through, all the way through making turn-in boxes,
etc. Make a list (as you go) of everything you touch; that'll be your list of what to
bring to the comp. Make a list of cook times; that'll be the beginning of your schedule.
You can find some samples of both here (schedule and packing list).
Look at the pics of turn-in boxes. There are hundreds here, varying from fantastic
to a item by item list of what not to do.
Like they said, practice, then frankly just jump on in. You'll learn more from your
first comp than anything we could describe or tell. I dont know of any two teams
who do exactly the same thing at the same times. You'll find what works (and
doesn't) for you.
BBQ folks are generally the kindest most friendly group I've ever participated with.
Hope to see you 'round.
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.