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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 01-22-2014, 09:54 PM   #1
Q-Dat
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Default Cost Of Competing: At What Point Is It Too Much???

I know this will be different for everyone, but I'm just curious. We have a new contest down here on the coast this year. Now I'm not knocking the people putting this contest on, because I have no idea what their overhead is. That being said I'm used to seeing $250 entry fees in the limited amount of KCBS contests that I cook. This particular comp has an entry fee of $285 then with additional charges turnoutd $20 for electical and water respectively. For most cooks that travel from any kind of distance this is going to put them over $500 after fuel at least before even buying a single piece of meat. For many more that travel even longer distances it will be over $600 I know that in the grand scheme of it, the extra $35 for the entry fee and the $45 for water and power are not much money, but does it really have to cost this much?

I guess what I'm really wondering is how many people don't compete because of the high cost, and how many more WOULD compete if the cost was lets say abou half of what it is now. I'm not saying that there is even a practical way to get the cost down that low, but I do wonder what it would do to turnout numbers if it were MUCH more affordable. I hear a lot of talk about contests that are suffering for turnouts much more so than they used to. I'm sure that has more to do with the economy than increases in entry fees.

It also makes me wonder what the true motivation for competing is for most. Most of the people I hear talk about it say that you don't compete to make money. You do it because you enjoy it. That is certainly the case for me. I definitely enjoy getting a check for a high finish, but its not my main focus.

So how about it? At what point does it become more money than you can stomach to compete in a BBQ cookoff even if you can afford it?
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Unread 01-22-2014, 10:13 PM   #2
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Depends on who you are asking. I just filled my freezer with brikies that cost me an average of $160 apiece. I've driven down to your neck of the woods (800 miles+) just to get out of the cold. I've also driven 75 miles to comps just to get pi$$ed at the judges. If $45 made me question my hobby and where I'm going to compete........well I would probably just stay home and take advantage of the golf course membership and cart fees that I pay every year..and don't use and stay home.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 01:00 AM   #3
JazzyBadger
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While competition BBQ interests me in the sense that it's interesting to see what people would do, I could never see myself getting into the practice of it if it was for anything other than to win the competitions, mostly because of the crazy costs involved.
I cannot picture throwing that much money into something just for the thrill of the cook.
The thrill for me that comes from cooking is seeing my family or friends enjoy the things I make.

If I were running a business that catered BBQ food, or I ran a BBQ restaurant, I'd be more inclined to run the competition circuit as well, at least throughout Texas, but just for the fun of it all? It's not for me. Perhaps if it were substantially reduced it would be more tempting, but in all honesty I'm not sure I'd want to take vacation time, or add that many miles to my vehicles just to sit around in parking lots cooking up some meat for strangers.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 02:33 AM   #4
EverettBBQ
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I have competed for 1 year now.
Our team pays it own way.
About $100 per person per event
We did 7 events with calls in 5 ea.
The motivation was not the money.
There is no bigger rush than hearing your team name called.
The second reason I compete is for the fun time.
Is there a point of to much money to pay?? Yes. What is that amount?
If I had to put out say $200 per event, well may stay home.
You can compete and keep the cost under control.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 06:24 AM   #5
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I raised my fees to add more prize money, to draw bigger names and to even the field on space. I honestly think fees can go much higher. My contest takes around 25,000 to put on.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 06:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EverettBBQ View Post
The motivation was not the money.
There is no bigger rush than hearing your team name called.
The second reason I compete is for the fun time.

Yup...This is why we have always done it, we have a good time, meet some new people, and go home happy (hopefully with some new hardware)

We started out cooking MBN Comps...this was long before they added the Challenger Division making it the cost of a KCBS comp. Entry Fee + meats (6 whole shoulders, 12 racks of Ribs) etc was $650-$750 plus booze, gas, etc...

Then we do Memphis in May every year on which we spend about $15,000.


So we have a different outlook than most teams
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Unread 01-23-2014, 06:33 AM   #7
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It depends on the payouts IMO.

We've regularly competed in the past at a $300 entry fee (w/ elec and nearby water) for a 5k payout contest with 16-30+ teams.

Our main motivation was to have some fun with friends and break even. At least 50% ROI guaranteed....but the walks and cash were definitely icing on the cake.

I'd say if a team is paying 200-300$ after entry fee, they're doing a good job on their competition budget.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 06:58 AM   #8
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We budget $800 per KCBS, GBA, etc. style cookoff. Yes, for us, this is too much. I haven't competed in these in a few years now. I miss it, but just cannot afford it. The last MBN competition we did all the ancillaries but not whole hog, cost was right at $1500. Luckily placed high enough and won a few ancillaries to make most of it back...
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Unread 01-23-2014, 07:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzybadger View Post
but in all honesty I'm not sure I'd want to take vacation time, or add that many miles to my vehicles just to sit around in parking lots cooking up some meat for strangers.
...in the rain!!! you forgot to say in the rain!!!
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Unread 01-23-2014, 07:44 AM   #10
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I limit myself to two or three comps a year due to cost. I could afford more, but that would be at the expense of other hobbies. But to me, the whole "we have to raise entry fees to raise prize amounts" is counter productive. If it were not so expensive, more people would participate, and more teams paying less is better than fewer teams paying more. As it is, Competition BBQ is seemingly a rich man's game and intends to keep itself that way. Sure, you can compete on a shoestring budget with homemade cookers etc, but you're still looking at $500.00 weekends.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 07:54 AM   #11
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Some contests I guess take more to put on that others. Charging for water is very rare from what I've seen so that would be a turn off for me. Was the electric charge for basic electric?

There was a competition in TN I was going to do, but then saw the entry was $300 for a 20x20 spot which I haven't seen that much for a small spot. The upgraded spot was another $75 and to travel that far would have been about $120 in gas. So just to get there would have been about $500. Then I realized last night sams club signups was happening and there was on about 20 miles from me and signed up for that for $250. The payouts are about the same.

We do a decent amount of competing now so I definitely watch the initial cost to potential payout ratio.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 09:22 AM   #12
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We have a running joke on our team that we "Spend $1000 to try and win $500". We split costs evenly for the most part, and are actively looking for sponsors going forward. With that said, this year is the first year we are thinking of cutting back some just because of the cost/economy. Half to do with the cost, and a bigger half to do with making less money at my "real job".
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Unread 01-23-2014, 09:27 AM   #13
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If you have to ask..........
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Unread 01-23-2014, 09:29 AM   #14
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The thought of competing has entered my head a time or 2, but never investigated costs. Pretty sure it is well out of consideration now...
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Unread 01-23-2014, 10:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peeps View Post
The thought of competing has entered my head a time or 2, but never investigated costs. Pretty sure it is well out of consideration now...
Tag along with a local team to see if you like it...don't judge it by $. You can get friends together to offset costs.
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