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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 01-26-2008, 02:36 PM   #1
CrackerJack from KC
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Default How do you afford to compete?

Just wondering how you finance doing 10-20 competitions a year. A friend of mine competes, and usually has an insurance company sponsor him at one of the local events, they in turn invite all their customers and he doesn't pay a cent for the food or entry fee.

My question is, if you aren't winning every event, and you don't have book revenue coming in (Dr BBQ), are you forking out all the dough yourself as a labor of love, or do most teams have sponsors at every event?
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Unread 01-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #2
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Three ways basically... a very unpredictable bonus annually. Never know til it comes if I'll get a thing. Second, we get meat sponsors from brokers in towns we compete where my company has offices. Third, at 50.5 cents per mile reimbursement for work travel, I can afford to replace my gas and add the rest back to the BBQ account. If I'm lucky, I can put back a few bucks in winnings plus swipe a little out of the house account when the short woman isn't looking!
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Unread 01-26-2008, 02:49 PM   #3
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I pay some out of my own pocket and I have a sponsor that puts up some money.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 02:50 PM   #4
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This just amazes me no end. Since getting involved by judging I just can't believe how much money, time and family involvement you all put out. Between entry fees, meat costs, equipment, and fuel etc. without a really great sponsor I don't think I could do but two or three a year.
I keep this in mind when I show up to judge. You really do deserve my very best attention to your efforts.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 02:57 PM   #5
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The majority of teams are not cooking 10-20 events/year and don't have sponsors. Not sure what the avg. # is but I know it is much lower than 10-20 which makes the total cost a lot more palatable to most teams.

Some of the well known teams that consistently compete/win have some form of sponsorship and are dedicated to the activity. The degree of sponsorship varies. I'm sure some of these teams are also fortunate enough to finance their hobby independently & partially through their winnings. There are costs to pursuing any hobby. Each person must decide whats financially feasible, how hard they are willing to work to seek out sponsorship and what that will involve providing in return. It's not always as simple as just hanging a banner on their canopy.

I'm sure there are many that can finance 10-20+ contests a year but don't, just because they don't have a desire to compete that frequently as it does take up a substantial amount of weekends in a year.

I don't think it's fair to single out Dr. BBQ here either as for him, those books are part of his occupation to earn his income. That's no different than a writer who writes mystery books or a tradesman who also enjoys competing.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 03:31 PM   #6
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Like Vinny aid most teams probably do less than 5 events a year. It's a hobby. I try to do between 5-8 each year. I figure cost to me is about $5k. Last year I only did 5 and cut cost a bit and broke even with my GC and a few 1st calls. I use between 5-12 vacation days a year to compete. So I consider it part of my vacation budget. I have no sponsors. This cost does not include equipment.

And a lot of teams will do a little informal "personal chef" work on the side to make some cash. One good party on a weekend can bring in $500 to 1k. I do not cater as that require permits and inspections. Of course that's another weekend cooking so it usually means 1 less contest.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 04:10 PM   #7
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Last year we competed 5 times and it all came out of our own pocket. The way that we afford it is by having 6-7 teammates that split the cost. When it is all said and done we all end up chipping in about $75.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 04:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
The majority of teams are not cooking 10-20 events/year and don't have sponsors. Not sure what the avg. # is but I know it is much lower than 10-20 which makes the total cost a lot more palatable to most teams.

Some of the well known teams that consistently compete/win have some form of sponsorship and are dedicated to the activity. The degree of sponsorship varies. I'm sure some of these teams are also fortunate enough to finance their hobby independently & partially through their winnings. There are costs to pursuing any hobby. Each person must decide whats financially feasible, how hard they are willing to work to seek out sponsorship and what that will involve providing in return. It's not always as simple as just hanging a banner on their canopy.

I'm sure there are many that can finance 10-20+ contests a year but don't, just because they don't have a desire to compete that frequently as it does take up a substantial amount of weekends in a year.

I don't think it's fair to single out Dr. BBQ here either as for him, those books are part of his occupation to earn his income. That's no different than a writer who writes mystery books or a tradesman who also enjoys competing.
Not singling him our per say, I am a newbie, Dr BBQ is the only famous BBQer I know who isn't Steven Raichlen. PS, ordered two of his books yesterday.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 04:21 PM   #9
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This is our 2nd year. We did 2 last year and plan 4 to 6 this year. There is just my wife and I and no sponsors. We also use vacation budget. Another thing that helps is we save all our change and it goes into the BBQ piggy bank. Sounds silly but it pays for most of the meat for at least one cometition and every little bit helps.

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Unread 01-26-2008, 04:22 PM   #10
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I started competing last year and did 4 comps. The team consists of me and my wife, so all costs come out of our pocket. This year I will probably only do 4 or 5 comps, mostly because of work constraints. I have been fortunate enough to get sponsored for one of my comps this year(entry fee paid). Hopefully I will be able to add to that.

ModelMaker,

We cooks appreciate your attention. Thank You.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 06:43 PM   #11
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We do 10-12 competitions, usually more if you count grilling events, in a season. We have no sponsors, but we have the best teammates in the entire WORLD!
This is the greatest sport (hobby) there is... I wouldn't want to do anything else. We bring our kids (who also cook), so it's a family adventure. We love to 'roadtrip' with our mates. We make BBQ friends all over the country, and get to see places we probably would never go if it weren't for competing. And winning every now and then doesn't hurt either!

Although, I have to admit, my house is really in need of some paint!
Too bad, it can wait...

To try to get back to your original question... I PLAN well in advance...
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Unread 01-26-2008, 07:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ModelMaker View Post
This just amazes me no end. Since getting involved by judging I just can't believe how much money, time and family involvement you all put out. Between entry fees, meat costs, equipment, and fuel etc. without a really great sponsor I don't think I could do but two or three a year.
I keep this in mind when I show up to judge. You really do deserve my very best attention to your efforts.
ModelMaker
Thanks for thinking of us and recognizing it.

All of our expenses come out of our pockets. It is just my wife and myself, as our daughter will come along, but doesn't want to help, so she makes herself scarce as much as possible... teenager.

We only ended up doing 2 comps last year and paid out about $1100 total. Not counting all of the equipment. That includes entry fees, meat, garnish, sauces, rubs, gas, our personal food and drinks, etc.

We try to save as much as we can and pay as we go. We will not go into debt for a comp. and put it on plastic.

I am looking at possibly 4 or so this year....
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Unread 01-26-2008, 09:29 PM   #13
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I think I'm going to start a spreadsheet with ALL my expenses and income from BBQ for 2008 and just see how badly I take a beating! Might make me re-think 2009.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 09:31 PM   #14
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I look at it as a hobby. I enjoy meeting and hanging out with all sorts of folks at events and find that there is no monetary substitute for this brotherhood/sisterhood. My husband likes to deep sea fish. I spend less per year on BBQ events, supplies and meats than he does on fishing equipment and trips. It also helps that we divide the cost for entry fees between our team mates and that I have a full time day job with great vacation benefits. Currently we are only doing 4-6 events per year and that's limited to Southern California. We have no sponsors at this time though we welcome any.
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Unread 01-26-2008, 09:34 PM   #15
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We did 13 last year. Being that this is a hobby, it is gonna cost money, before this there was motorcycles (2-Montessas and 1-SWM for the vintage class), and before that there was sailboats (2-windsurfers, 1-16' racing boat and 1-26' which slept four). This is a cheap hobby, plus my wife enjoys it and my daughters can compete too. We got better throughout the year and made enough to cover in four of the competitions.

I can tell you one thing, the more you do, the better you will get and you could probably afford to compete in more. By only doing a few a year, your chance of improving greatly will be at a minimum. That is not to say that you wont luck out once in a while. I do have a sponsor for this year, but it will not be much, I'll post how that works out. I could have a sponsor (my wife's company, whom I have cooked for gratis on several occasions) who would pay the whole cost but then I would be beholden to them and it isn't worth it to me. Then again, the way I look at it they are already sponsoring us when she gets her paycheck.


BTW, I know some folks who are writing this off on their taxes. You can probably write off every visit to the supermarket and half your gas for the year. Plus cell phone, plus any kitchen supplies....etc etc etc
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