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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 02-06-2006, 11:47 AM   #1
Doorbusters
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Default Competition Cost !!!

I have been "smoking" for going on 10 years now, and have just recently started competing. I must admit, I love it, I love the people I get to associate with, the entire experience is worth the work involved. I am beginning to have difficulty with entry fees. I compete by myself usually. I have 2 wonderful kids who do everything they can to help, and a couple of friends who help when they can. Entry fees are getting so expensive, coupled with rising meat cost (and everything else) it is becoming damn near impossible for "average Joe" to compete. I do not have an expensive rig, yes I do have to hitch it up, but by no means expensive.
I have gotten to the point where I am picking up sponsors for each comp. Luckily that has worked out well. I know the huge prizes are wonderful, but honestly, how many of us have seen one of those? Each comp. is approaching $500 for me, I cannot continue to unload that kind of cash just to cook, socialize and have fun. Granted I have won a few hundred here and there, but few and far between. In my opinion, I think more prizes, so more people have an opportunity to break even.

With the elections coming up, I would love for this to be an issue, as I do not want to be priced out of my one and only hobby.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 01:07 PM   #2
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I agree with you but I think it will only get worse. The KCBS is growing rapidly and they know they can raise their fees. The best thing u can do is find someone local who is willing to split the costs and compete with you.

I believe u r in the K.C. area so there must be someone out there u can hook up with.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 01:45 PM   #3
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You are paying $500 every contest? Most contest entry fees are around $125 to $175 around here (Royal and GAB excluded). Add in $125 for meat costs and maybe $10 for garnish and I'm still not there. I guess it also depends upon how much gas it takes you to travel to contests. I suppose I'm lucky on three counts: 1. I've been able to find a few sponsors here and there to cut down on costs. 2. I get a bonus at the first of each February in my current job that I set aside a couple of grand for to go only towards contest entry fees and meat. And 3. Throughout the year in my job, I get mileage reimbursement which some months is $300 to $400 and I don't go through anywhere NEAR that much gas! So I make a profit to put into my contest account.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 01:49 PM   #4
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Tim and I split costs - and it's been averaging probably $700 to do a contest. Fuel has been really biting us the last few contests -- Mobile, AL; Dillard, GA and Key Largo, FL were all probably closer to $1000 each.

I wouldn't necessarily blame KCBS or FBA or such for a lot of the increased entry fees...there is a set sanctioning fee but the rest of the $$$ goes to the promoting organization or promoter for prize money, charity donation (seems almost every contest is for some community charity - which is a good thing!), rep fees, etc.

It's true that as the contest have gotten more TV time and press the fees are going up -- hey, somebody has to be making money from these things, I know Tim and I sure haven't gotten much of it over the last 18 months!!

The entry fee for Saturday's FBA event was $300...and then comes the meat cost, prep supplies, food for us for the weekend, fuel, etc.

The main aggravation for us is low pay outs (not that we've won much!)...we've just about stopped looking at events that don't have a reasonable expectation of getting costs back if we can hit top five in a couple of meats...in my opinion, the payouts have lagged the entry fee costs...but then, you gotta play to win!!

I will note that my que habit isn't any more expensive than a regular golf outing (clubs, green fees, carts, memberships, etc.) assuming you play like a lot of people around my area -- they play at least once a week, sometimes more often. Or a boat, or fishing (not the kind I do!) with charter fees or club memberships.

Of course I gave up golf many years ago, sold my beachcat a couple of years ago, and haven't owned a power boat. I still managed to sink about $8K into bbq this last year...a large part was the cooker cost, but it is an expensive hobby if you do more than a couple of events a year.

Competition is open to everyone, but it isn't cheap. That's one reason I have so much respect for the folks that do the circuit on a full-time basis. The winnings, for the most part, just cover costs for each event. You have to have sponsors or deep pockets to stay out there 40 or so weeks a year - but then, that's why the top pros are so consistent, too. They are cooking for the judges almost every weekend.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 02:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for making me think about this one guys!!! Nice you guys are the best!!

Last weekend
Contest was only 70 miles round trip from my door.
Costs
Entry $200.00
Fuel $40.00
Meat $125.00 2 briskets / 4 butts / 4 slabs / 2 packages of yard bird.
Hotel $95.00 Best Western
Beer
Food $40.00
--------------------
Costs 500.00
There's your $500 in costs and I know I'm missing expenses.

Pay-out
3rd overall $ -0-
3rd in Pork $200.00
5th in Brisket $50.00
--------------------
Winnings $250.00

Still in the hole $250.00 after a good showing.....Nice
I have to admit this has taken a toll on my entertainment funds.

No matter what anyone says it will never be about getting paid.
Unless you have a business that befits from the exposure I just don’t see it.
I have a good friend that won many grand’s last year, perhaps more than any other team in FL. He won a lot of cash but his expenses are staggering.

Later
Cracker
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Unread 02-06-2006, 02:42 PM   #6
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My average cost per contest is $500 - $700. That is all expenses. Well, unless we travel any distance. Then is really gets expensive.

Although I realize the fee raising talk is only speculation, KCBS is not raising their fees because they can. KCBS is raising fees because they have to. In a different thread started by Doorbusters, it's discussed how the cost of EVERYTHING is going up. Well, guess what, that includes goods and services for the Kansas City Barbecue Society as well.

Doorbuster you should feel lucky if you're anywhere near KC. Entry fees are usually $125 to $150. That often includes power. Venture very far from this area and entry fees are $225 - $250 and more. The number of teams entering contests grows significantly each year. That includes last year when we saw fuel cost jump horrifically. So, folks are finding ways to pay for competition barbecue.

Doorbuster, what is your team name? We've surely crossed paths this past year.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 02:56 PM   #7
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Just looked at the Entry Form for Smoke On The Water this weekend in WinterHaven, FL FBA event.

Entry fees are 75.00 per or 300.00 for all 4

pay-outs
Grand = 2000.00
ReGrand = 1500.00

Each Category
1st = 500.00
2nd = 300.00
3rd = 200.00
4th = 100.00
5th = 75.00

better than most.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 03:25 PM   #8
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So...correct me if this is a bad analogy: BBQ teams and contest organizers are kinda like the NCAA, the colleges and the individual athletes... the athletes are making little if anything other than room and board and the schools are making money on fielding NCAA football and basketball teams. I realize that's extreme because most contest organizers aren't getting wealthy on this but I also have heard there are some who only organize contests to make money.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 03:28 PM   #9
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I wouldn't use an analogy that even attempts to color the organizers or promoters as "getting fat".

If the organizers, sponsors, promoters or whoever is in charge don't make a buck - the whole thing dies. Also, don't forget the charities that benefit from these events - often the cook off is just a part of the overall picture.

As always, this is just my opinion.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 03:50 PM   #10
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Hey but it is fun. if it costs to much don't do it. everything has a price!
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Unread 02-06-2006, 03:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chad
I wouldn't use an analogy that even attempts to color the organizers or promoters as "getting fat".

If the organizers, sponsors, promoters or whoever is in charge don't make a buck - the whole thing dies. Also, don't forget the charities that benefit from these events - often the cook off is just a part of the overall picture.

As always, this is just my opinion.
Yep, I realize the promoters aren't and that charities are sometimes the beneficiary of contests. But when I was writing that, I was thinking of an article I read either on the KCBS site or the Bullsheet or somewhere about how to get started organizing an event and part of it included a lecture (so to speak) about how if you're only looking to make a profit by organizing a contest, you might want to think about trying something else. Whoever wrote it obviously had some experiences with some organizers/promoters who's sole purpose was to make some cash.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 04:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_in_KC
And 3. Throughout the year in my job, I get mileage reimbursement which some months is $300 to $400 and I don't go through anywhere NEAR that much gas! So I make a profit to put into my contest account.
Hey Jeff... Are you suggesting that you write off the mileage to and from the competitions? I sure wish my employer would let me do that...
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Unread 02-06-2006, 05:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottd
Hey but it is fun. if it costs to much don't do it. everything has a price!
Amen Bro
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Unread 02-06-2006, 07:40 PM   #14
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I hear ya loud and clear brothers but the long and the short of it is that contest costs will keep on rising. I really enjoy contests so I guess I will have to pay if I want to play. No use complaining, no one ever listens anyway.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 07:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L
Hey Jeff... Are you suggesting that you write off the mileage to and from the competitions? I sure wish my employer would let me do that...
Actually, no, Ron. But that ain't a bad idea for the events that my employer sponsors me! I already have them convinced that because I talk up my employer at contests (if the subject comes up at all) and hang their banner that the Fridays I need off for those comps, I shouldn't be charged for a vacation day!

Actually, what I was getting at on the gas thing was that I travel for work anywhere from 300 to 1,000 miles per month. At the mileage reimbursement I get, that's anywhere from around $185 to $500 per month. Out of that, probably half or less (depending on gas prices per gallon) is actually spent on gas originally. The rest is profit! So, my wife doesn't even care about me just using it to blow. That means more money for BBQ!
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