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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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Old 02-01-2009, 10:05 PM   #1
Just Smokin' Around
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Location: Frederick County, MD
Default What's Cook Friendly Mean to You?

I'm a little curious. I see a lot of folks mention "cook friendly contest" or other ways of saying that it's a good comp for cooks. What do folks mean when they say it is cook friendly? Is is payout? Electric, ice and water available? breakfast in the morning? Nice goodie bag? large space? Or something else?

What do you look for in a competition and what makes it friendly to you as a competitor?
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:19 PM   #2
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Location: Orange County, CA

Anything that makes life easier for cooks. Here's a few to start:

Water nearby
Electricity nearby
Real bathrooms, deluxe porta potties (the kind with running water & sinks), regular porta potties in that order. Shower facilities would be extra sweet.
Grey water, hot ash disposal nearby
Frequent emptying of trash containers
Wash sinks provided with running water
Easy load-in and load-out access for vehicles
Nearby parking for team vehicles
Well lighted area at night
Plenty of shade by the team area would be nice

I don't really care about swag bags. A decent payout would make it worth everyone's time. We're pretty self sufficient on meals - I don't expect anyone to feed me.

Lastly, a People's Choice contest is something we do in So Cal. Being able to sell off extra meat to the public gives everyone a chance to make back some of their expenses. It's a win for the teams, a win for the public, and because the public loves PC, it's a win for the organizer & event sponsors. The only down side is meeting local health dept inspection, but it's not that difficult to do.
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:10 AM   #3
The Virginian
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Default Here are a few of my favorite things

1. prompt meat inspection
2. adequate security (especially in city comps)
3. quite time that is enforced by organizers
4. reliable electric (no circuits blowing in middle of night)
5. good coffee and some breakfast starting around 6:30 am
6. trophies and payouts through 5th place for Overall category
7. Ice that is still available after the last turnin so we can cool down our leftovers for taking home.

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Old 02-02-2009, 08:18 AM   #4
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Clean bathrooms
Clean bathrooms
Clean bathrooms
should I go on?
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:19 AM   #5
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You know all the above would make it cook friendly. Another thing for me, is where you set up. I know a lot contest in central Mo is with a fair. I just do not want to be in the smack dab middle of the fair.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:36 AM   #6
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Easily accessable reps, organizers and volunteers
Delivery of water and ice
Good supply of electrical power
EZ in and out for trailers

Coffee and donuts in the morning are nice, but that alone isn't going get me back or keep me away.
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:43 AM   #7
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Other than what has already been brought up... I guess in general where the Organizers are willing to work with you as opposed to working against you and when they are willing to do as they promised.

Example, we did a comp last year where there was supposed to be two locations for water... There were none... We were told to climb a rather unsteady set of stairs to get water. We ended up having to run our own hose for 25 teams and then we had to ask for OUR hose back three times... There was also going to be ice, first time they came around we were limited to one 7 pound bag and weren't able to get any more the rest of the time (lucky for us we had brought enough but for others they were making runs to the local liquor store).

This would not be a 'Cooks Friendly Event'...
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:43 PM   #8
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Ditto to most everything said above.

To me, an organizer needs to realize that there are 4 elements necessary to a successful comp.
Sponsors, Staff (normally volunteers), the public, and the teams.
Ignore or mistreat any of those and the comp will fail.

There is one event in this region that is a kinda "historic" event. Everyone wants to be there for the "prestige".
But, they basically ignore the teams and their needs for water, electric, etc because teams will come anyway.

I relish:
Dependable water and electric.
Large spaces with room to maneuver.
Good communication starting with a decent web-site to answer questions or rapid response to emails.
Staff on hand to meet arrivals and get them into sites.
Occasional visits by staff to see if all is OK.
Ice on Sat afternoon to freshen coolers for left-overs.

Basically, just feeling that the organizer cares and is trying.

My biggest turn-off (other than lack of one or more of the above) is an organizer that wants lots of money for entry fees and is paying out only a small portion of it.
Then, when you ask, they say--"It's for charity"
Excuse me--"I give heavily to the charities of my choice and do not intend to support yours at the cost of having little chance to break even!"
I have to "hold my nose" and enter one of those shortly for other reasons.
Still pisses me off.

Just my thoughts.

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Old 02-02-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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Yup, I agree with all the above. Being a newbie to comps, my first was last year at Dover, DE, and I had no idea of what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with running water and electric on every site, and good lighting at night. We had plenty of ice and all the sites were very roomy. The downside was that the bathroom facilities left much to be desired IMHO... smelly porta-pots and no showers anywhere that I knew of.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:13 AM   #10
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The payouts are a general complaint. I think they shoudl be totaly advertised before entering a contest - plus the time of the awards.

I knwo one contest the award time was normally 3:00 - but then one year he moved it to 5:00 - becuase when we left the festival looked bare. That is not my fault - I still have to drive home and unload!
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:47 PM   #11
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We added 10 feet to our spaces this year at Stagecoach to help make it more cook friendly. 20x 40 for EZ up teams and 30 X 50 for RV teams
Catering, Contests, and Community Service

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Old 02-04-2009, 11:33 AM   #12
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Hi Bill! Hope all is well. Hope to see you Saturday.

Pretty much agree with all of the posts but below is my .02

Ability to arrive Thursday night (if you so choose)
Decent space and the ability to buy additional for a nominal fee (not another entry fee!)
Friday early morning meat inspection
Security (especially in cities)
Real quite time
Easy access to ash and gray water disposal
Aisles large enough to allow you to turn a vehicle around
Payouts through 5th place (preferably 10th) and at least a ribbon or acknowledgment for teams 6-10 in each category and overall.
Ice upon arrival and until you leave
clean restrooms (preferably with showers)
Turn in location centrally located

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Old 02-04-2009, 08:02 PM   #13
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team friendly to me is to let me do what I am there to do, cook....and having the regular things that are needed....information, feeling of welcome rather than approached by a person who basically wants their hind kissed for putting on the is nice and needed.....
but, basically, a contest that at least makes me feel like they are glad that I am there as part of their event.....not that I should be grateful that the event is there.....if that makes sense?
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:05 PM   #14
Just Smokin' Around
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Thanks for all of the feedback. While my needs are rather basic, it seems most of us want just that - nice basic facilities and amenites. Water, electric, ice, decent size space where your not packed in like sardines. I've generally not had an issue with those. Some things are hit and miss like grey water and ash disposal and clean bathrooms since that is usually porta-pots. Getting out can be a hassle sometimes as well. I think ice should be mandatory throughout since we all have beverages that need ice - and I need to keep my meats cold too.
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Old 02-06-2009, 10:32 AM   #15
Rolling Smoke
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There are a lot of good specific answers here. This might not be what you're looking for but a cooker friendly contest to me is one where the teams and the contest are the main focus of attention by the orgaizer and their committee. There are some contests out there that are only there to supplement an already existing event such as a festival or fair and based on past experience, I try to shy away from these. I don't want to invest all the time and money to cook an event just to find out that we are also the local entertainment or we have been brought in to help offset their losses on the tilta-whirl.
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