I don't think of myself as a professional when I enter contests because we don't sell BBQ for money -- we don't cater or vend or have a restaurant etc. -- as a means of supporting ourselves on a daily basis.
I am not even sure I am a competitor. I don't invest a lot of time practicing or trying to develop sauces and brines and rubs. I use to, but it didn't help, so I don't bother any more. :-) I do give it my all when I go to a competition and try to the best of my abilities, but since I don't study and practice am I really that dedicated a competitor? My honest answer to that would have to be "no".
So, I guess that I have begun to conclude that I am a hobbyist. This is an activity that is different from other things which I do in life and so provides a nice break/release from everyday worries and boredom, provides some nice conversation starters with non-BBQ friends, and always has the possibility of providing a thrill if the judges do like what I do and give me a walk!!
"When you're a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail."