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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 06-10-2008, 09:55 PM   #1
MilitantSquatter
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Default Has anyone thought of "retiring" from contest cooking ?

I thought I would post this question to see where some other teams/cooks heads are at. I could have used the word "quit" but "retire" seemed like a good euphemism.

Many of us have shared the reasons we got into contest cooking (ex. natural progression from the backyard, love of competition, travel, meeting new people, seeing familiar faces etc.) Not many of us have shared their experiences on thinking about or actually stopping their participation in competition BBQ.

I'm only in my third year at contests. By my own standards, I think I've been fairly successful in a relatively limited time. No GC's or RGC's but typically high placings in almost all contests either overall and/or specific categories. It's a good feeling when it happens knowing you gave your all.

I finished last season in late October. My next contest was this past weekend. During that seven month gap, I planned out my '08 schedule while simulataneously lamenting if I wanted to do it any longer, why it was important etc. I also spent some time talking privately to several members on this site whom I respect their opinions and who know me personally to get their input.

So, I cooked this weekend. It was fun. We did well with a top 10 overall (7th). I enjoyed the prep, the fast pace at turn in time etc. I had laughs with lots of good friends. Another plus was the group effort.

Still - I have several other events lined up for '08 and I continue to question my desire to compete when looking out longer term. Still haven't pinpointed the exact reason. It could be the time away from home, increased costs, work involved leading up to event, traveling to and from events etc.... not sure. It's not about the winning for me although I do enjoy it. A part of me just wants to get back to basics of cooking more often at home for the enjoyment of the process without the whole hoopla of the contest scene and some of the BS that goes on relative to organizations etc. I'd also think I'd get just as much satisfaction cooking with Brethren friends & hanging out, attending a contest or two and lending a hand to other head cooks, attending BBQ related events etc. Time will ultimately help me answer this question.

So, I'll throw it out there - Has anyone been there ? Are you there now ?
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Unread 06-10-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
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I think about it all the time. I got into comp BBQ on a lark. I spend a ton of money on it but I have a great time. I'm sick of driving to Houston to cook but I never regret going when it's all over. I think I may get my own rig and go solo some day. For now I'm still having fun, I win a little money now and then and I always have fun. Craig and all the Houston regulars are great folks. If your having fun then keep it going. For me it's all about the social network, even hanging around Dustaway is worth the trip sometimes.
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Unread 06-10-2008, 10:26 PM   #3
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Of course its fun getting together for a bash or just a backyard session.... but something about midnight at a contest.... or that 6am flurry of activity. Cooking in torrential rain with 30 other certifiable nuts, you just dont get that at anything but a comp.

In addition, I would say some of my best friends, and a few folks that have made a HUGE impact on my life, not just my BBQ - have come from the world of competitive BBQ. Some of my girls best friends... and wonderful families...

Would I rather spend that money on a boat at the lake.... or a country club membership.... not on your life. Would I rather the girls be at home playing a Wii or on a soccer field watching parents berate thier kids, and argue like kids themselves... heck no. Competitive BBQ also brought me here...and I have made some pretty amazing connections here as well. I can't see competition not as part of my life. Even if I pare it back considerably, I guess after a while there isnt any "hoopla" anymore, it is more like a family. You set up group dinners, breakfasts, on weekends you arent competing you are calling folks to see how weekends are going etc... or maybe drinkin a cold beverage with them at someones home. It just becomes part of your weekends/life. Kinda like a guy that owns a lake home and a boat... you have lake friends that you see every weekend, cookout with, etc... and eventually the "hoopla" of the lake wears off, and it is just families enjoying time on the water as part of thier lives. Don't know if I am making sense or not Vinny, but you know I'd love to sit out on the patio and discuss it.... or maybe we just have a late night Amer. Royal discussion on it. I'll tap a fresh keg. ;o)
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Unread 06-11-2008, 07:55 AM   #4
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Let me sum it up this way . This past weekend at Yardley my 6th place overall could of been DAL at 56th and I don't think it would of made a difference. I do not enjoy it like i once did.Crazy as it might sound the only time i do still enjoy is turn in time. I don't cook at home as much as I used and would like to do more of that.
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Unread 06-11-2008, 08:05 AM   #5
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yes, every single Saturday at a contest about an hour or two before turn-in.
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Unread 06-11-2008, 08:16 AM   #6
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I retired after three years because it was not fun anymore,more like work. i had placed in the top ten eight times out of ten contest. I spent big bucks the last year to make it easier and more comfortable. It didn't help, it would take me four or five days to get over a contest. I still smoke several times a week for family and friends and i'm having fun again.
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Unread 06-11-2008, 08:45 AM   #7
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I decided to quit competing and just hang out at Dover.


i think we all go thru it.. Its a burn out.


Also i think it depends on what one has competing for that time. In my situation, thats the biggest issue. i have atained critical mass. Theres is NO room. If one is at a stage in life where you can kick back and dedicate the time to the hobby, it easier and less stressfull, but if you have to 'insert' the time to setup, shop, and spend time away from family, into small slots in a day, it makes it more difficult. I envy those whose entire families go to the events and spend the weekends together. With family members all being part of the event. I saw it at the MoFo contests under so many tents that I was green. Husband and wife teams, Kids Q's, etc..

I am sure thats is the biggest factor that allows one to keep going. But since events take my son and I AWAY from time with my wife and daughter, it makes it difficult to do as often as we would like. Couple that with 2 full time jobs, house/yard work, schooling, after school events, shuttling, boy scouts, civic association meetings, etc...its at a point where sleep is the only expendable option. And with all that stuff going on, even a backyard BBQ with friends is difficult because the time is at a premium.
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Unread 06-11-2008, 09:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
I thought I would post this question to see where some other teams/cooks heads are at. I could have used the word "quit" but "retire" seemed like a good euphemism.

Many of us have shared the reasons we got into contest cooking (ex. natural progression from the backyard, love of competition, travel, meeting new people, seeing familiar faces etc.) Not many of us have shared their experiences on thinking about or actually stopping their participation in competition BBQ.

I'm only in my third year at contests. By my own standards, I think I've been fairly successful in a relatively limited time. No GC's or RGC's but typically high placings in almost all contests either overall and/or specific categories. It's a good feeling when it happens knowing you gave your all.

I finished last season in late October. My next contest was this past weekend. During that seven month gap, I planned out my '08 schedule while simulataneously lamenting if I wanted to do it any longer, why it was important etc. I also spent some time talking privately to several members on this site whom I respect their opinions and who know me personally to get their input.

So, I cooked this weekend. It was fun. We did well with a top 10 overall (7th). I enjoyed the prep, the fast pace at turn in time etc. I had laughs with lots of good friends. Another plus was the group effort.

Still - I have several other events lined up for '08 and I continue to question my desire to compete when looking out longer term. Still haven't pinpointed the exact reason. It could be the time away from home, increased costs, work involved leading up to event, traveling to and from events etc.... not sure. It's not about the winning for me although I do enjoy it. A part of me just wants to get back to basics of cooking more often at home for the enjoyment of the process without the whole hoopla of the contest scene and some of the BS that goes on relative to organizations etc. I'd also think I'd get just as much satisfaction cooking with Brethren friends & hanging out, attending a contest or two and lending a hand to other head cooks, attending BBQ related events etc. Time will ultimately help me answer this question.

So, I'll throw it out there - Has anyone been there ? Are you there now ?
I stepped back form comps this year for two reasons:

1) devote more time to my sauce business (product demos, outdoor)
markets)
2) It stopped being fun and started becoming work.

also it seems once we won our first GC it was all anti-climactic after that

I have only been competing 4 years but i know where you are coming from.
Doesnt mean you cant still engage in and enjoy the comraderie on Fridays though

I did do Westmont IL comp this year though as I had the weekend open and really wanted to support hometown KCBS comps as there are so few in the Chicago area. Dont want to see them go away.
But by Saturday I remembered why I decided to step back :)
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Unread 06-11-2008, 09:30 AM   #9
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Been doin it for eight years now and I'll die before I retire from competition. Just can't do it. There's a big 'ol bbq family out there I'll miss too much. Plus......I need the adrenalin rush....I'm too old to get it any other way!!
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Unread 06-11-2008, 09:39 AM   #10
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I gave it some serious consideration after winning the JAck. What more can you accomplish was my point of view? But instead of quitting, I decided to go at it full strength and try and use the platform that I was lucky enough to be on... To use it and go out and raise awareness about cancer and to raise money for cancer research.

I am too much of a competitor to just quit anything... There is always another hurdle to clear. So that is the way I look at it...


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Unread 06-11-2008, 09:39 AM   #11
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I guess that is what I was getting at in my response. A lot of times, it becomes like a job. A job you have no idea if you'll break even, lose money, or make a buck. Not a nice job to have, but a lot of the times, that's what it feels like. It's the spirit of competition that drives me to keep competing, and getting to be with my freinds keeps me going to BBQ contests. If BBQ competition gets old to me, to where it's not personally fulfilling, then I'll quit competing. But I'll see myself still going to BBQ competitions to be with my freinds and drink their beer.
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Unread 06-11-2008, 09:50 AM   #12
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I have been competing for about three years, not a lot though. They are not really contests anymore, they are a crap shoot or a lottery, throw your foor in a box with some lame garnish and hope the guy in the tent likes your sauce and texture, oh yeah and that fancy garnish! I believe these are sauce contests, they are not really judging the meat. They should not allow sauces and see what kind of food they get. I would love to stop but my competitive nature will not allow to!
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Unread 06-11-2008, 09:53 AM   #13
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I'm to new to the contest scene to consider 'retirement', but wanted to say, Scottie, that I like the logo...haven't seen this design until now.

Carpe 'Que,
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Unread 06-11-2008, 10:01 AM   #14
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I will have to admit that at Yardly I thought is this treally worth it- because of the heat. I have been lucky so far not to have to deal with rain. I am sure that will come. My team is made up of my sons and one of their friends. I get enjoyment spending time with them at the cooks. My wife has joined us also. Not ready to quit yet. I have only been doing it for a year
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Unread 06-11-2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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Vinny,

I am glad you brought it up because I have been thinking about this for a long time. If I could sell my trailer I would give it up tommorrow. We out commited ourselves and can't wait until next year when we will only do two or three contests. We are having a built in pool and outdoor kitchen installed and want to have some time to enjoy it. I will never give up BBQ but the competitive aspect I could drop in a heartbeat.
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