Getting back in the swing of things?

July 12, 2008 by  

Click Author Nickname for Bio > homebbq

dieselI’m glad to have the blog type of format back on my site, some may remember a few years back when I actually had a blog…

I would like to talk about somethig that has effected us a great deal this year, in the amount of competitions we would normally do, and that is the price of fuel, diesel specifically.

During the summer months we would normally do a minimum of 3 to 4 contests outside of Florida (Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama), during July and August, and this year it will be zero. At $0.60+ cents a mile to tow that trailer, who can afford that? I sure can’t.This has to be at least starting to hurt some contests, especially the ones that don’t have alot of teams real close to them.

But the fuel cost is effecting everything you buy right now. Just about everything moves on a truck, and the cost of diesel is driving, and will continue to drive freight prices through the roof.

But back to barbecue for a moment.. All the bbq competitors need to be concerned with some of the contests just going away, without teams, they can’t have an event, or at least not like they intended. BBQ contests for the most part (at least here in Florida), are good money generators for the charities they benefit. So what is the answer (besides our government, actually doing something about what would appear to be a super inflated price, driven by greed and speculation)?

For the competitors, it’s more prize money evenly spread accross the field, and giving more teams the opportunity to at least break even. But, this then puts alot of pressure on the organizers to increase those prize funds, to make their contests attractive to teams that travel. So, from the organizers stand point, they need more corporate sponsorship, and I’m not talking about Mom’s Garden shop down the street.

It’s about time Corporate America recognize that many charities benefit from what we do, and direct some of the marketing dollars they spend elsewhere into the competition bbq arena. Many contests would give them the same exposure they already get with those dollars, and they would also be able to benefit from the fact those dollars are used to generate income for charities.

Obviously, I would rather be at a competition right now, instead of complaining about why I can’t be at a competition. If your an organizer, and your reading this, think outside the box and take a stab at that big corporation as a sponsor. If your event is next year, you have about 4 to 5 months before those companies finalize those marketing dollars for 2009.

If your one of those large companies I’m talking about, then also think outside the box. Look at BBQ Contests as a viable way to spend those marketing dollars, and also creatively benefit your tax deductions, and then go that contest and eat some GOOD barbecue! And if your the Government reading this, then please, fix this rediculous problem!

Until next time!

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4 Responses to “Getting back in the swing of things?”

  1. TheBBQGuy on July 13th, 2008 6:30 am

    Hi Kevin,

    I have been concerned about the future of bbq contests too. With $4 gasoline we had to sell our bbq trailer. We could no longer afford to tow it to events.

    I think bbq contests are going to need to change dramatically if growth of the sport is to continue. Although most contests are affiliated with charities and charitable causes, most bbq competitors cannot operate as a charitable enterprise for very long.

    I think the key for bbq organizers and sanctioning bodies is getting spectators more involved in the events. It’s kind of like most other sports, without spectators there won’t be any corporate sponsorship. How many people attend a bbq contest expecting to eat bbq and leave unhappy because they can’t?

    I think the solution to the corporate sponsorship issue is somehow incorporating more public participation. Let them somehow eat bbq at a bbq contest. I’ve been to events that didn’t have any bbq vendors at all.

    Maybe using the Iron Chef structure for the chicken or ribs categories would help. Put a strict time limit on things and limit the ingredients that can be used. Then it would come down to the cooking techniques used. Just one suggestion off the top of my head.

  2. homebbq on July 13th, 2008 7:05 am

    Thanks for the comment Brian…

    What your suggesting are all great ideas, and you uncover a whole other side to the viability of barbecue competitions…

    Some contests, just don’t get it… But others, have figured out how to really make theirs work (from the spectators point of view). Those contests should be a model for others to follow, although each is unique in how they approach it. I’m going to mention a few in Florida, that have been successful in attracting and keeping spectators and why…

    Lakeland Pig Festival, Lakeland, FL – This contest opens the door for all competitors to vend their product to the spectator. Over the years, this has been extremely successful. Upwards of 40,000 people come there every year to eat BBQ, buy BBQ products and listen to the music… Their crowds are only affected by weather, their concept is a success.

    Smoke on the Water, Winter Haven, FL – Similar to Lakeland, this contest encourages all teams to vend their product, and really stacks the deck with solid entertainment. This contest has been extremely successful at attracting the spectator, and satisfying them.

    Pig on the Pond, Clermont, FL – This contest hand picks a few select bbq vendors, and brings in a huge carnival, and an extreme amount of local vendors and sponsors to display their wares, and sell to the public. This one has also been extremely successful.

    Grant BBQ Fest, Grant, FL – This one is similar to Lakeland, and Winter Haven in regards to allowing and encouraging all teams to vend, and solid entertainment. But they also have a huge play area for kids.

    The contests I mentioned above combined, generate in the area of a half million dollars for their respective charities. Thats impressive.

    But as you suggest there is room for more in regards to the spectator interacting with the cook teams, in an entertaining and educational aspect.

    The National Barbecue Festival in Douglas, GA this year has apparently cut their entertainment mostly out, and will be offering cooking demos from chef’s, cook teams, etc… We will see how this goes.

  3. BBQ Freak on July 15th, 2008 4:14 am

    While I can appreciate every one’s concerns over higher gas prices I also think this issue has been over blown — primarily by the media.

    Now I’m not going to pretend that higher gas prices are hurting some people but I also think people are over reacting.

    I mean before gas prices rose to the $4.00 mark, I was budging about $400 a month for gas. Now I have to budget about $500.00 a month. My gas bill has only really gone up about $100 a month.

    Now I don’t know about you but all I had to do was start packing my lunch more often and stop buying silly things I didn’t need anyway.

    I also started a barbecue business and now any time I travel for a barbecue event I make sure I log the miles and I’ll deduct them from my taxes at the end of the year and anything I earn from my business will help pay my gas bill.

    I think we would all be better off if we thought more abundantly. I think Americans need to open their eyes and minds and ask, “How can I afford to do this instead of, ” I can’t afford this.”

    I’m sorry if this offends anyone but I still believe the United States is the Land of opportunity. I also think Americans have gotten soft and lazy!

    We are too busy hoping that a new president will solve our problems…but hope is NOT a very good strategy.

    Is there any wonder immigrants are 70% more likely to start a business in the US as opposed to natural born citizens?

    Just food for thought.


    Bill Parlaman

  4. homebbq on July 15th, 2008 6:14 am

    Hi Bill,

    I appreciate your comment…

    Mine was aimed at diesel, which reaches a great deal further than gasoline.

    Almost everything in this country is shipped by truck, not only is the pure cost of diesel fuel the issue, but the trickle down of that cost on everything we buy.

    On me personally, this is what it’s done to my contest expenses. Just a little more than a year ago, I was spending $2.69 a gallon for diesel, it would cost me right at $0.30 (just diesel cost) per mile pulling my trailer. Right now, that same gallon of diesel costs $4.89 per gallon, which puts my cost per mile pulling my trailer at $0.54 (just diesel cost) per mile. Thats an increase of $0.24 per mile.

    During the summer months, there is not 1 event in Florida. For me to compete during the summer (and I usually do), I have to travel to do it. the 4 events that I usually do during the summer are at least 500 miles one way. So, last year that cost me about $1200 in diesel for those 4 events. This year, it would be $2160, thats a minimum increase of $960, or $240 per contest.

    For me, that straw broke this camels back! Will it effect the contests I compete in Florida? I will still go, but it will just cost me more… I will get back out in the fall, and hit all the contests in Florida, and likely Douglas, GA as well. And, it will cost me on average of $72 more per contest, and at 3 contests per month average (Sept, Oct, Nov), thats a total of $216 per month… That hurts, but is livable.

    Now according to the OPEC guys, there is no shortage. They say the cost increase in oil has been driven by speculation, and hype. If that is correct, thats a problem.

    Pesonally, I work a full time job, and a small business, and I don’t think I am over reacting.


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