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In Reply to: bbq passion gone... posted by Kettle on March 15, 2011 at 18:26:39:
This is not easy for me to write and in twelve years of posting, this is the second hardest post I have ever hit the send button for.......
I have been a part of the BBQ contest community for a long time. This is my 25th year on the circuit. This next Royal will be my 23rd. I have made a lot life long friends over the years from cooking in contests. I have witnessed the changes on the KCBS circuit over these years and I do not like the direction the KCBS is headed.
When Dad and I first started, the contest circuit was geared more towards backyarders with their Webers and home-made smokers. There weren't that many commercial smokers out on the market back in early '90s. If you had an Oklahoma Joe and an EZ-Up, you were considered to be uptown. Hardly anybody had an RV. The entry fees were reasonable and the prize money was minimal. You didn't need a sponsor to cook once or twice a month. Most everyone stayed up all night and a lot of us would keep company and exchange stories as we kept the night fires burning. John and Jane Q Public that visited these contests had ready access to the contestants and would come away thinking that this is something that they could do too.
I'll take the onions off my belt and say this. As much as I am glorifying the old days, there was thinking outside the box and bending the rules. There was downright cheating going on too. Nobody complained too much about it though as the money involved was minimal.
Today is a different story. Big money is ruining what used to be a fun time for me. Some of these contests have entry fees that are higher than my monthly rent. For what my double space at the Royal costs me, I could pay almost two months rent. I read on another forum where some guy was complaining that the waygu briskets he wanted to order were going to cost him over two hundred dollars. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS for a piece of meat. I don't even like paying that much to enter a contest, let alone that much for all the meat for a contest.
There are teams now all cook designer meats, not the stuff you buy in the stores. I thought the art of BBQ was to make a CHEAP piece of meat taste good. To me these contests have evolved more into a cooking contest instead of a BBQ contest.
The KCBS lost me as a member two years ago when they changed their team of the year format. The little guy got left behind. It was teams like mine that help build the organization and supported the organization for twenty years. Now less than one percent of the teams in the KCBS are eligible for ToY top standings. The KCBS does not seem to care about the small teams, they only want the big name teams. The way they promote and cater to the ToY teams seem a far step from their stated mission.
Used to, someone could walk around a contest and interact with the contestants, see their set-ups and sites and walk away thinking that they could afford to get into the contest circuit. Not anymore.
I better end this rant now as I am reaching the character limit in my post. It was never my intent to offend anyone associated with some of the top teams. I am not jealous of your accomplishments and I consider you to be my friends. Maybe it is time for a sanctioned backyard circuit to start up as I feel the KCBS circuit has become too rich for my blood.
Crying in my beer,
Juggy D Beerman
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