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Old 12-12-2006, 08:02 PM   #1
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Default Grill Kings 2007 - The Facts.

On Edit: *** The previous threads with assumpions, accusations, whining, complaining and continous bashing has been taken down. *** It served no purpose to beat this up over again and again.
************************************************** *********************************************

I’m not going to sugar coat this post. I just spent several hours on the phone with grill kings. I’m going to present the facts either as presented to me, or what I have seen first hand.

If Grill Kings was a regular business as people perceive, the business would take any losses in stride, and continue to try to grow the business. Any business model has losses built in for the first 5 years.

Well, that is the assumption, and most damaging. Grill Kings is NOT a business.

We will call Grill Kings founder, Mr. X. Mr. X owns several high $$$ ventures. Real businesses. However, Grill Kings, to Mr. X is a hobby… A persons hobby. It is basically one man and some trusted help. That one man funds the event for love of the sport, and the fun of it. He could give a rats ass if Grill Kings makes any money. He funds his hobby the same way we do, out of pocket, but on a grander scale. I have known this man for 3 years, as I know others involved in Grill kings since 2004. Mr. X is quiet, laid back and usually just stays in the shadows and enjoys himself. Dean, everyone knows. He’s the front man. They have never shown interest in making money, in FACT THEY HAVE REBUFFED IT FOR THE FIRST 5 YEARS. And I have heard it every year since Grill king began. They hoped after 5 years, it would grow on its own. Now, if someone came into your yard, ate your food, spit it out, left and trash talked it to everyone. Even if you knew the food sucked, would u invite them back? I know I would not. Anyway..

Liken the founder of Grill Kings as being the owner of a minor league team.

He rents the fields, buys the equipment and watches the game and to some extent pays the players. For the big game, all initial expenditures come out of HIS pocket. He sells hot dogs at the game and charges admission to maybe offset some costs. On game day, he gets blamed because the weather sucks, and the stadium has plumbing and security problems. He is being blamed, WTF. So to him, its personal. He is NOT a business.

Mr. X knew there were problems at the event, and was willing to work to fix them.. After the event, I scanned thru the thread of all the venting and complaining that came with some offers to help fix it. Anyone who offered to help in that original thread, was invited to a meeting with Grill Kings organizers. Most attended, some remained bitter but those that continued to attack and were outright counter productive, were not invited. We addressed all the issues, and came up with solutions for each. Letters explaining some of these solutions were sent out to all the teams. GK was taking a course of action for 2007 of which WillyB, myself, and 7 other members of this group were directly involved in. As experienced competitors, we knew we would make things better for all the teams. However, a short time after our meeting, Mr. X read one specific, targeted attack on the event and took it VERY personally. Then he watched a BBQ forum(not this one) as another individual, fueled the flames and started a pile on by a small amount of others.

Here it is. Plain and simple. Mr. X, the man that bankrolled Grill kings is justifiably pissed off. Period. It is HIS pen that makes the stroke, and he has taken his pen and left. Pissed off and fed up. This is Long Island, everything is expensive, and paid for up front. Grill kings was predominately privately paid for. Now, no one is left to fund the event.

Regardless of the support he received from many of us, and our offers to help this year. He IS pissed. He/they stewed for months. Last month they came to a decision.

“The voices of those few that attacked us were much louder than those that helped or thanked us. We know there were problems, but people were vicious in some of the accusations. They do not know what happened and published their versions of what they think happened. Our friends, family, employees, sponsors all saw those attacks. That event took months to prepare, my family helped, my friends helped a lot of people worked very hard, and yes, their were problems. But we were kicked when we were down. We tried our best and some things went wrong. We wanted to fix them but were beaten down for weeks. We regret that this will hurt all those that supported us, but we need to take a break and concentrate on other ventures. This was a very difficult decision and not made lightly. Grill kings may be back next year.”

So, the people responsible for bringing us Grill Kings has said “f*ck it”. YES!!! They took their toys and went home. That’s all there is to it. They were relentlessly and publicly attacked, justified or not, and have turned and walked away. It is their right to do so. They need no vote and no ones permission. They did the event out of enjoyment of the sport and the enjoyment was taken away by a small, yet vocal few. Internet sites fueled the flames without regard to those people that worked to make Grill Kings happen. “I’ll never go back”, “it sucked”, “all they wanted was money”, yada yada yada... Those words stung and they were dominant on several internet sites.

Even after things cooled, and we met with them and had a game plan, the attacks continued. Weeks later, Mr. X read things from a couple of people that they think they can do it better, so he has decided “They want to do it, let them try.” Those are his words. Call it a punishment, call it a wake up call, call it a challenge, call it fed up.. but I call it screwed. This was brought on by the bombardment of bad press.

Here is an idea of the expenditures it takes to run a contest on Long Island.

Grounds: $27,000 Belmont or $8,000 (Hecksher)
Insurance: $15,000 either
Electric: $15,000 belmont or 7k (hecksher)
Permits: $6,000 either
Advertising on WBAB $10,000 (needed in order to get sponsors to agree)
Incidentals: Ice/Water/Trash about another $10,000.
Prize Money: $15,000 (estimate)
Nearly 0$ was collected from the sponsors. They ALL supply product instead.

So, do the math. $50-$100K is needed to run an event out here on the scale that Grill King tried to do. Thats is not in our cards here, thats for sure.

Bottom line, Grill Kings IS gone for 2007. Some of those involved in Grill Kings plan on doing some competitions this summer, others will concentrate on other ventures. They may be back in 2008. I will try to meet with them one more time in the coming weeks.

There were two camps after Grill Kings. Those that offered solutions and those that caused more problems. The later won. The reaction to all the bad press was not the reaction I would expect from a business. A business would let trash talk bounce off. This is the reaction of a person, who tried to do the right thing and was abused when it didn't go right. Abused by people he thought he knew, and knew them personally, some he even considered friends, some he has known since the very first event.

A business may stand up to a drop in stock prices, and try to recover..

A person doesn't have to. Right, wrong or indifferent, he has walked away.

Now, we all lose.


My biggest fear is that this post gets copied, edited and misquoted to other forums or media. These are cold hard facts. Nothing more, nothing less, and not to be taken out of context.
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:40 PM   #2
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While this doesn't affect me personally since I don't compete in the northeast, I think it hurts all of us who would like to see BBQ competitions become commonplace and abundant nationwide. I never was a part of Grill Kings but you guys have my sympathy and Mr. X has my respect for doing what he needed to do after getting no respect for the good he tried to do. I hope for the entire BBQ community's sake that one day Grill Kings makes a return. Thanks for your work, Phil.
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:31 AM   #3
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Those damn apples! I wish they(GK) would see it as an opportunity to show those with negative opinions that it is worth having. I am still very dissapointed that it is not happening. Very surprised to see what power these forums have as i apparently dont take it that seriously. My son is bummed also. Crossing my fingers and hoping their will be a change of heart.
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Old 12-13-2006, 01:30 AM   #4
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I got into BBQ around the time of GK and didn’t find out about it until after it happened.
I was really looking forward to going to it in ’07. I personally believe in ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything’ But what are ya gonna do. Just hope for the best I guess.
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Old 12-13-2006, 09:01 AM   #5
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Well said, Phil. I can't blame them, but hope for all your sakes in that area that some good can come from the event at some time whether it be grill kings again or someone else.

Grill Kings was my first competition ever that I participated in and holds some good memories for me.

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Old 12-13-2006, 01:29 PM   #6
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Default Thank you Dean and Mr. X

I guess this goes to show that you really don't know how good something is until it is taken away from you. Yes, grill kings had some problems but those problems were small compared to the good things. Like being able to get together with all the other crazy barbecue people from the area who love barbecue so much that they spend too much money (if that is possible) to compete and hang out with our fellow brethren. I bet I could speak for a lot of people on this forum and say that we looked forward to grill kings all year because for some of us it was our only home game. Dean and Mr. X, I would like to thank you for everything you did for the Long Island barbecue community. To all brethren, if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything, and if you must say something, make sure it is constructive and not destructive.

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Old 12-13-2006, 01:49 PM   #7
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That's really too bad. I hope that after a year away they make the decision to bring the event back.

After this past contest Dean and Mr. X took responsibility for the problems, asked for solutions, and accepted some help to improve things for next year. I don't know that anyone can ask for much more than that. If Grill Kings does come back I hope they get the support that they need, because everyone in that area deserves it.
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for the facts Poobah
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:22 PM   #9
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Really unfortunate but it does none of us any good to point fingers after the fact.

People were pissed and shared their opinions. It wasn't vulgar, pornographic or physically offensive, it was just a little "constructive" criticism. Was I one of them? I don't think so, but I do know that I sympathized with the frustration they were feeling and understood the need to vent. So you can blame me for the death of our only LI event, as well.

Thanks Poobah for spelling out the facts. Maybe things would have played out differently if we had known them in July, but I doubt it because we're an opinionated bunch of SOBs who like to type!

But we're also willing to jump through hoops if someone asks for our help. Too bad it came a little too late this time.
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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Very fair and balanced, SmokeInDaEye....
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:54 PM   #11
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It doesn't take long for word to get out in NYC
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BBQchef33
My biggest fear is that this post gets copied, edited and misquoted to other forums or media. These are cold hard facts. Nothing more, nothing less, and not to be taken out of context.
Well it certainly didn't take long for your biggest fear to be realized.


Even though I have never competed, and don't intend to ever do so, what has happened is a shame.

The only bigger shame would be if nobody learns anything from this. For my Brethren, I hope that the BBQ world is smart enough to not let this pass without notice.
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by timzcardz
Well it certainly didn't take long for your biggest fear to be realized.


Even though I have never competed, and don't intend to ever do so, what has happened is a shame.

The only bigger shame would be if nobody learns anything from this. For my Brethren, I hope that the BBQ world is smart enough to not let this pass without notice.
Nice edit
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:00 PM   #14
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Thanks for looking into this and getting the facts out, Phil.

If you or anyone else is interested in setting up any sort of voluntary brethren board to offer assistance to Grill Kings if they return in '08, please add my name to the list of those willing to help.

I don't believe in 'if you have nothing to say don't say anything at all' but I do heartily believe that if you are going to criticize you had better be prepared to offer suggestions on how to improve. I don't think that empty ranting and vitriol have any place in a reasoned discussion.

I hope that Mr. X will be reinvigorated after a year off and bring back Grill Kings bigger and better than ever.

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Old 12-16-2006, 05:12 AM   #15
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If you start a list add my name please, I would gladly help out anytime! I understand why Mr. X left, I am sooo disappointed though and still hope he will change his mind, I was looking forward to competing in this years event :(
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