I did not read every response here. I tried to, but damn you guys are serious about this topic (read Ė long winded), so forgive me if I duplicate somebody elseís answers or ideas. Iím excited that this topic has created such interest and discussion, because I believe itís all about making competition barbecue better.
First off, every situation is unique. A couple things that make Philís experience different from others is wearing a logo that is common to a couple teams and prepping & cooking in a contest site. I realize it wasnít either teamís actual logo, but two teams where flying these logos. I am a firm believer that perception is greater than reality. As cooks, we understand that judges make friends with teams. It happens quite frequently. Itís become common to see some judges out on Friday evening enjoying the camaraderie of the cook teams.
If a judge decides to hangout with one team on Friday night, they should use their best discretion in deciding when it might not be appropriate to be there. For example, when the team is prepping meat or putting meat on the cookers. It goes without saying that judges should not be involved in prepping or cooking in a teamís space. However innocent, if a team unfamiliar to the situation saw Phil prepping ribs on Friday night in a contest site and entering the judging tent on Saturday, I can see where they might express some concern.
For those of us that donít feel a judge in our camp on Friday evening is a problem, would it be different if it were three judges? How about six judges or even a dozen judges? If your answer is ďyes,Ē you should probably rethink your opinion on a single judge in your spot. We should all use our best judgment in these situations and try to see these situations in the eyes of an outsider.
If I do everything half ass, how can I be a "full fledged" anything?