Hi, fellow boston area person!
You're about where I was a year ago. I spent money on both of those. I can't say what is more important. Sometimes you have to stick your head out and see what you can see.
I don't plan on competing any time soon (need a truck, cookers, $800-900 a competition for fees, meat, and gas), but I think there is value in trying new flavor profiles, networking, and talking to other BBQ people. It definitely gave me a few new ideas for my backyard cooking.
If you want to talk BBQ anytime, PM me.
"In order to make delicious food, you must eat delicious food." -Jiro Ono