Social Business, Social Media Strategy

What We Can Learn From Me Getting Kicked Out of a BBQ Contest

busted e1348416281599 What We Can Learn From Me Getting Kicked Out of a BBQ Contest badge jay says What We Can Learn From Me Getting Kicked Out of a BBQ Contest If you wanted a group of 50 people to return to a location at a specific time, would you instruct them to “be back here in 10 minutes, at 11:40″ or would you say, “Be here at 20 after. Wait, I mean 20 before which I guess is 20 plus 20.” I was told the latter, which is how I came to be very publicly fired from my first-ever gig as a certified BBQ judge. I’m a big BBQ fan. I have a frightfully expensive Memphis pellet smoker that I use to add deliciousness to all manner of meats. I have watched every episode of BBQ Pitmasters on TV. I read forums like I have no fewer than nine different BBQ sauces in my refrigerator right now. bbq e1348409801977 What We Can Learn From Me Getting Kicked Out of a BBQ Contest Someday, I plan to put together a semi-pro competitive BBQ team with my friends and my son. I don’t have time to compete just yet but I enjoy the subculture, and to get a better feel for the ins and outs of the competitive BBQ circuit I took a class a few weeks ago to become a certified BBQ judge. The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) is the largest governing body for BBQ in the country, with hundreds of competitions annually, and many thousands of people like me trained to pass numerical judgement on chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. You even get an official name badge. Yesterday, I drove three hours to Owensboro, Kentucky for my first contest as a judge. My pal Wade Schultz from RootWorkscame along as wingman.

walrus e1348409576608 What We Can Learn From Me Getting Kicked Out of a BBQ Contest

Walrus approximating Phi Brazier by

Per KCBS rules, there is one judge for each competing team. So at the 6th annual Grillin and Chillin throw-down, there were 46 of us ready to taste and score, with three judges (including me) making their maiden voyage. Each KCBS competition has organizers sent from the home office to make sure the proceedings are smooth and equitable. In this case, the KCBS organizers were husband and wife Phillip and Kathy (removed last name in new version of this post, because it’s not really relevant) Phillip looks something like a walrus, although not in a heavy set way, just kind of in the face.

The Beginning of the End

Phillip welcomed us, played a 15-minute MP3 file of dos and do nots and led us in the official KCBS judging oath (is there any other kind?), which is the same oath we recited in judging school – rendering it slightly less bizarre than it would have been had it been my first time swearing allegiance to swine. At the conclusion of the oath is when we got the very confusing (at least to me) instructions about when judging would commence. I was already thrown off by the time change between Indiana and Kentucky (which I’d forgotten about), and was under the impression that official tasting started at 1pm. So, I didn’t pay much attention when Phil finished his 20 + 20 + minutes + walrus noises description of when to be back in the judging tent, because I figured we had nearly an hour either way. We had 10 minutes. When I headed to the judging area after aimless milling around, I figured I was considerably early – an error that became clear for two reasons: 1. I could see in the judges tent that everyone was seated 2. Phil shouted at me from 50 yards away something like “Aren’t you judging? You better get down here quick. You better hurry!”At this point, I realized I was there five minutes past when Phil had asked us to be in our seats, and 8 minutes before chicken would be turned in for judging. I yelled back at Phil that I was sorry and that I would be there in just one minute. I ducked into the bathroom to wash my hands (since KCBS is not a fork and knife operation). I popped back out and Phil shouted again:

“Forget it. You’re out. You’ve been replaced.”

I traversed the 50 yards and quietly pled my case, as it was a little silly and a lot embarrassing for me for him to be shouting at me from long distance like I was a woebegone 8 year-old soccer player, and he was Will Ferrell in Kicking and Screaming. A couple of the contest volunteers asked Phil for mercy, given that it was my first time and all. But the KCBS court has no appellate branch when the walrus is on the bench. I was out. So, Wade and I packed up the car and headed north for a strange and unsettling three hour drive home. This bothers me, as I am about as far away from lackadaisical as you can get, as a general rule. The last time I was yelled at in public by an authority figure was 1983, when John MacLeod(then coach of the Phoenix Suns) screamed at me at his basketball camp for not taking a shower before bed. There were extenuating circumstances, but I still think about that day, and I suspect I’ll remember Phil for a while, too.

Social Media and Content Marketing Lessons

Once we’d crossed the state line, Wade half-jokingly asked in his best Dad voice “So, what have we learned today?” I replied that I of course now recognized the importance of being prompt at a BBQ competition. But as I thought about it more and more (and continue to do so), I find there are some other lessons that might help us all, especially if you’re working on expanding the social media and content participation in your company. I wrote about 5 Keys to Effective Social Media and Content Insourcing last week. Consider this a companion piece stained with tears and BBQ sauce. Once you decide to expand your programs beyond centralized participants (usually marketing), you must convince, cajole, and counsel people throughout your company on how to use social media and content marketing effectively on behalf of themselves and the organization. In this BBQ allegory, I am your team members across the enterprise, looking forward to embarking on an exciting new adventure, looking to you for guidance. You are the organizer. You are Phil. You are the walrus, goo goo g’joob.

Lesson 1: Communicate with Clarity

Of course, I am ultimately accountable for what happened to me in Owensboro. The brisket stops here. But, Phil certainly did not clearly articulate his expectations. As the organizer of social media participation in your company, it is your responsibility to make sure that your troops understand precisely what is and what is not okay. That’s why ongoing training and scenario modeling are such critical parts of social media and content marketing expansion and insourcing.

Lesson 2: Never Assume Knowledge

I have realized subsequently that perhaps one of the reasons Phil was so loosey-goosey about the time instructions (and also why everyone else was on time) is that ALL competitions sanctioned by KCBS operate on essentially the same schedule. When you’re working to bring new people in your company into the social media and content fold, never assume they know elements of participation that to you are obvious. Don’t assume they know what RT means, for example. Or h/t. Or a hashtag. Or that they know how to create a subhead on a blog post.

Lesson 3: Overemphasize One on One Support

If I recall correctly, Phil concluded the meeting by asking if anyone had any questions. Given that I was really unsure of what time to return, I most definitely had a question. But I didn’t ask it. Why? I was embarrassed. I’d already been identified as a neophyte by having to raise my hand as a first-timer (not to mention the astronomically high judges number on my badge – they are assigned sequentially). This will happen in your company. People will have questions about social media they believe to be stupid, and they won’t get asked. This imperils the entire operation. As I wrote last week: “You absolutely must have resources (internal and/or third party) that can answer questions and provide guidance in a near-immediate, non-judgmental, confidential fashion. The last point is important, as high level employees in particular may not be comfortable admitting in group scenarios that they don’t know how to do something such as change the distribution settings on a Facebook status update.”

Lesson 4: Make Punishment Fit the Crime

When I tardily arrived back at the judges tent, competition hadn’t started, and would not for a few minutes yet. Nothing I had done (or failed to do) had impacted the competition. Phil made an example out of me. He didn’t have to, but he chose to do so.  I’m biased, but I feel the consequences of this transgression were a little over the top. You will be faced with a similar situation, eventually. Someone in your company will do something dubious, deleterious, or even disastrous in social media or content creation. See my post from a while back on the three types of Twitter train wrecksfor evidence. Will you be the Philadelphia Eagles, who fired a long-time employee for a single negative post about the team? Or will you be the Red Cross, who turned lemons into lemonade when faced with an accidentally inappropriate tweet?

Lesson 5: You Catch More Flies With Honey Than With Vinegar

the oath1 e1348414845610 What We Can Learn From Me Getting Kicked Out of a BBQ Contest

Me taking the KCBS oath for the second (and maybe last) time.

Competitive BBQ is soaring in popularity, and KCBS has more members and judges than they know what to do with, I suspect. But even successful organizations need to be mindful of how their actions are perceived. The single most important aspect of business success is underlying corporate culture, and an organization that embues the walrus with judge, jury, and executioner power and facilitates it being deployed maliciously makes me question the values of the enterprise. It is critical to recognize the power of new, and of first impressions. What’s the best time to sell something in an e-commerce environment? First site visit. What’s the best time to cross-sell and up-sell products? On the confirmation email after first purchase. What’s the best time to get a new Facebook fan? On the email sign-up thank you page. The TV show Bar Rescue(one of my favorites) says that we make impressions of a bar in the first three steps in the door. Research in the public speaking field says that the audience makes important judgements about the efficacy of the speaker before he or she finishes their first sentence. When you draft new blood into your social media and content initiative, you have to understand and expect that they are disproportionately likely to make mistakes. In my experience, if you correct those mistakes in a way that’s supportive and instructive, you can actually use them as a mechanism to build loyalty and greater participation. Mistakes aren’t a problem, they’re an opportunity.

To Judge or Not to Judge

They say the best measure of an organization isn’t how it handles its business when times are good, but rather how it handles its business when problems occur. And from that perspective, I’m not sure what to make of KCBS. I was 100% wrong. There is no question about it. But I’m not certain I want to be a part of an organization that employs management principles that are in sharp contrast to what I believe, and what I teach to my clients. What do you think? Should I judge again?

  • susanbaier

    Wow, what an awful experience, Jay. I had a boss once who only cared about the time his employees’ butts were in the seats, rather than recognizing and cultivating their passion and talent for their work.  This sounds suspiciously like that, and you sound suspiciously like I and my fellow workers felt — unappreciated for our contributions and potential.  You could chalk it up to one grumpy administrator, but frankly it sounds like an organization that sees its judges as interchangeable widgets rather than valued individuals driven by their passion for the culinary sport. Why would you want to be involved with an organization like that? Why not find more local BBQ competitions that value your interest, time and expertise? Maybe some day one of the Big Boys will INVITE you to be a valued participant.

    • JayBaer

      susanbaier We’ll see how it goes. I do chalk it up to a grumpy administrator, for the most part. 

  • Ed Tankersley

    Sure, judge again. But stay the hell away from Kentucky and walruses. No good can come from any story with those two nouns in the same sentence.

    • JayBaer

      Ed Tankersley I can try to avoid the walrus, sure. But tough to be a BBQ judge and not go to Kentucky! 

      • paxcpo

        JayBaer Ed Tankersley I’m from Owensboro, KY and the BBQ there is awesome!  I’m curious to know what specific event you were supposed to judge — if you can share that info.  Kentucky is a beautiful and friendly state (Ed Tankersley) although I must say no other area in KY has BBQ as fantastic as the Big O.  Memphis & Kansas City have definitely met their match from this little town.  In addition to BBQ pork, beef, mutton (chopped mutton is yummy) and chicken, you should try BBQ ham.  If interested, let me know and I can hook you up. Keep judging Jay! You learned something so keep moving.  Besides, if you like BBQ what a great gig! 

        • JayBaer

          paxcpo JayBaer Ed Tankersley I’ve been down that mutton road a couple times in Owensboro, most recently at Moonlite BBQ. It’s an interesting taste. Possibly an acquired one, however. 

        • paxcpo

          JayBaer paxcpo Ed Tankersley While Moonlite is  owned by a family I have known my entire life and is the most famous BBQ place in Owensboro & western KY, realize that Brand is what they have over other establishments but not flavor. Seems there are marketing and social media lessons in all this.

  • chuckreynolds

    Aside from my comments on twitter… Judge again. I wouldn’t expect you to quit after one little failure. You get to taste so many different styles and when you begin to discern the differences between them you will learn and your own BBQ can only improve; as will your judging. Just learn first to manage your iphone clock ;)

    • JayBaer

      chuckreynolds Definitely true!

  • ann_m_stone

    Jay: how much more effective would this piece have been if you had removed the references to the walrus? The head judge can’t help how he looks. It would speak better of you and reflect the situation more compellingly.

    • JayBaer

      ann_m_stone Aside from the fact that people can have a significant impact on how they look if they choose to do so, you’re right that it would perhaps be a “cleaner” tale without those references. If you think it would speak better of me to leave that part out, I’ll take you at your word. I believe it makes for a more compelling story to have that characterization, which is why I included it. 

      • mthompson55

        JayBaer ann_m_stone I felt the same way. Not sure what walrus adds and now people commenting are using it in a condescending manner. To me, that’s another lesson here. Your words have connotations and you chose to use “walrus” as a descriptor and now the people you influence are using it as well.

        • JayBaer

          mthompson55 JayBaer ann_m_stone I think it’s perhaps more of a shorthand ID for the commenters than malicious, given that they don’t even know the man, but I take your point. Of course words have connotations. I have revised the post to soften that reference a bit, and have removed the full name of the gentleman in question. 

  • scottcowley

    I’m sure the feeling of driving hours for nothing isn’t pleasant. But the way you’ve framed the story, even in how you admitted your own culpability, is just childish.I remember playing in the state tennis tournament in high school. The top ranked player had been dismantling competitors all morning, and in the afternoon, he showed up 5 minutes late to his assigned match and was disqualified from the tournament. There were a lot of unhappy people at the situation, and people felt bad for the kid, but everybody learned a valuable lesson in precision that day.My advice is to just let it go. Write a post about what you learned from this a year from now and I guarantee you’ll be in a much better position to say you actually learned something.

    • JayBaer

      scottcowley Thanks for the comment Scott. I’m sorry you felt the way I framed the story was childish. Certainly not my intention. 

  • nateriggs

    Dude, really sorry to hear how things turned out. I could tell you were looking forward to this and this Phil guy sounds like a piece of work. I think your close hits the head on the nail. Do you really want to be a part of an organization that is so incredibly ridged? It’s still just BBQ and people do it because they enjoy it. Sounds like Phil has a tendency to suck the fun out of things.

    • JayBaer

      nateriggs Well, I can certainly say that the walrus takes his job seriously. 

  • tammyvt

    Jay, I say give it another try and chalk the walrus experience up to someone having a bad day. Plus, if anything deserves another opportunity it’s whole pig bbq. 

    • JayBaer

      tammyvt True! No whole hog at KCBS contests, however. Only chicken, pork ribs, pork butt (sliced, pulled, and/or chopped), and beef brisket (sliced, pulled, and/or chopped).

  • douglaskarr

    As organizations become bigger, so does the ego of those in charge. And as organizations become bigger, competition arises as well. While the taste of BBQ has changed my life, it’s important to put things into context… War, famine, unemployment… BBQ is pretty far down the “Things to make humanity better” list. So… It’s in the past. Move on, move up! Perhaps a social media BBQ contest that you run? With the agenda in actual HH:mm EST format.

    • JayBaer

      douglaskarr I don’t know if it’s ego so much as that when you get a big organization, just one person can spoil the broth. Think about airlines. How often does a poor experience with one gate agent or flight attendant change the way you think about an entire company with tens of thousands of employees?

  • RogerFriedensen

    Great post, Jay. It reminds me of a great book I once read called “The White House Mess.” In it, there are sprinkled several morsels of wisdom (all appropriately smoked over hickory wood for 24 hours in a pit dug out back), including this one on the three rules of client relations:Rule #1: The client is always right.Rule #2: If the client knew what what best for him, he wouldn’t need you in the first place.And Rule #3: When the client deals you lemons, why stop with lemonade? Go for a Tom Collins.You, my friend, have achieved Tom Collins-status (though for you, I’m guessing we’d be using Silver Patron as the base ingredient). And to answer your question, should you judge again? Most certainly. But you really should come east so you can judge some REAL ‘cue, i.e., eastern North Carolina pork BBQ. We’ll be delighted to host you here in Raleigh and take you on a wondrous journey through the Mt. Rushmore of BBQ here in Carolina: Parker’s in Wilson, Wilbur’s in Goldsboro, Allen & Sons in Pittsboro and The Pit here in Raleigh. There you’ll be schooled in what real ‘cue is from experts who know barbecue is a noun not a verb. And your tastebuds will learn the delectable distinction between authentic pork BBQ and that sliced dead cow flesh slathered with ketchup Kansans call barbecue.The gauntlet has been thrown down.

    • JayBaer

      RogerFriedensen You are ON! Was just talking to my friend here (who has a plane) about a road trip like that. Let’s do it!

    • JenMcGahan

      RogerFriedensen Not so fast, there, Roger. Jay’s judging talent will only be truly honed after he tours Texas. Cheers from Austin! …but only if y’all enjoy the Real Thing.

      • JayBaer

        JenMcGahan RogerFriedensen Hold on Jen. If you’re offering an Austin tour (I have family there), I am totally up for that too. Hmmm. I smell a killer ebook. “Getting Sauced: Social Media Lessons From My Texas and Carolina BBQ Tour.” What do you think? :)

        • JenMcGahan

          JayBaer JenMcGahan RogerFriedensen You are welcome any time! We’d be proud to contribute some smoke and sauce to your book. ;  )

  • BobbieGarner

    Was anyone else late? 

    • JayBaer

      BobbieGarner I’m not 100% sure Bobbie. I don’t think so. Clearly, my fault.

  • freighter

    Here is a lesson we can all learn from, just in case we haven’t already. Public castigation, whether it be in person, online, or whatever, is never cool unless it relates to danger close situations. Thanks for taking one for the team, Jay. I would say that a local BBQ for folks in the “business” is in order. I’ll bring the Bourbon.

    • JayBaer

      freighter I like the sound of that.

  • MarkStallard

    As someone who’s cooked a few KCBS-run contests, I think I can sympathize with your so-called Walrus friend a little bit.  KCBS has a very well established and publicized set of rules that they follow at every single contest world-wide and have done so for many, many years.  All the info was probably given to you when you took the judging class, it’s on the website for download and was stated (albeit not very clearly) at the judges meeting.  Yes, the timing is very rigid and it has to be.  As a competitor, I have to turn in my entries within a 10 minute window for each category.  What happens if I’m late?  I get disqualified for that category.  It’s just the way it is and the KCBS runs 100s of contests a year the exact same way.  I can tell you first-hand, from a competitors standpoint, turn ins are VERY stressful and I’m sure it can get quite stressful when the reps are trying to get all their judges seated and there’s empty seats in the room.  Maybe Mr. Brazier was a bit gruff with you, but he’s really just trying to do his job.  And as you stated, you failed to ask the pertinent questions.  I can totally understand being intimidated and all you really had to do was ask another judge or the rep off to the side.  You will find the BBQ people can be the nicest, most helpful people out there if you give them a chance.  All that aside, don’t let it keep you away from judging or competing, give it another chance and learn from your mistakes.  Good luck!

    • JayBaer

      MarkStallard Thanks Mark. You are 100% right. KCBS runs like a Swiss train. I know that, and I knew that. I was wrong, as I acknowledged in the post. I think they could have handled it better, but that’s easy for me to say from my perspective. Just to make one point clear, however, turn ins had not started when I arrived. And I totally agree about BBQ people in general. That’s why I like it. Great group of folks, generally speaking. 

  • PrinceMongo

    Jay, as an EX original judge from year one of Memphis In May World Champion BBQ Contest, when the fun of the contest stops, the wise seek other venues. Rules are made by men, real BBQ men know how to apply them accordingly. Follow your passion and judge again, but first judge the organization and yourself to make sure it is a good fit. Your article presents a good view of the tails side, a look from the head side would be interesting.

    • JayBaer

      PrinceMongo I’d like to check out a Memphis in May contest sometime. Seems really interesting with the face-to-face element. Thanks for the comment. 

  • SOinc

    @chefgwen Thx for the mention. It is an interesting post!

  • jaybaer

    @amandamaks Thanks Amanda. Weird day, for sure.

  • Catena Creations

    Maybe he sent you home because you look kind of . . . . demented???? with your hoodie up? All kidding a side: Phil the Walrus sounds like a MAJOR control freak.  He should have announced the time, then told everyone what time they should be back. What’s with the 20+20 thing?Excellent points about teaching social media. Whether you’re on a computer or Facebooking, to a novice, it looks like you know exactly what you’re doing. They forget that you used to be there, too, and in some ways, you still are. 

    • JayBaer

      Catena Creations ha! I bought the hoodie before I got booted. I didn’t wear it there. I do look freaky though. Phil is a control freak. But I’d imagine that is PRECISELY the quality you’d want to have in an event organizer. 

  • apierno

    @mikecorak @jaybaer Surprisingly good job relating BBQ and Organizations.

    • jaybaer

      @apierno @mikecorak I learned allegory and analogy at the knee of the master – Maggie Young.

      • MikeCorak

        @jaybaer @apierno No kidding!

  • Bert van Loon

    Hi Jay,First of all, thanks for sharing. And thanks for being successful again in relating (even) this experience to content marketing / social media.All the lessons learned from this humiliating experience are true. Full stop! So once again, a blessing in disguise and a true life story to share during one of yourinspiring keynotes.Please allow me to add maybe one more lesson. If you care to travel six hours to do something you like, would you be discouraged for the rest of your life by this, probably exceptional and once in a lifetime,  experience? That would be like writing and sharing your first content marketing post and considering to discontinue the effort because it was un-retweeted, un-liked, unshared and received only one single nasty comment from a competitor!That is not the Jay Baer I met a few weeks ago in Columbus. He would tell me to swallow my pride , be better next time and most of all enjoy it! Every now and then we come across a walrus and they make us better,…. eventually.Greetings to the man so forthcoming that his iPhone e-mail signature contains the phrase “—- I’m mobile, so apologies for brevity & typos.”.Cheers!Bert van Loon

  • jaybaer

    @ringo66 ha! I’ve been kicked out of a couple of those, too.

    • ringo66

      @jaybaer Fantastic. You just took it up a notch by being “excused” from a bbq competition… you have raised the bar, sir.

  • jaybaer

    @kruehl326 Not really poor Jay. Totally my fault.

  • EdRyder

    Jay, forget the KCBS. Start your own BBQ judging organization. It is totally within your power. Your day of triumph in the BBQ world will come! :)

  • CandySueBBQ

    Dear Jay,I hope you do judge another contest.  Phillip and Kathy are two of our best contest reps.  Timing is everything at a BBQ contest on both sides of the table!  Guarantee that if you turn in late as a cook it’s a very painful experience (been there, done that!).  The contest rep has to have all judging tables set and ready to judge prior to cooks turning product in for judging.Thanks for writing of your experience!Candy Weaver, President, KCBS

  • olioextravergin

    Buongiorno, Martina!! Come stai?! @MartinaMcGowan @jaybaer hi, jaybaer :)

    • MartinaMcGowan

      @olioextravergin @MartinaMcGowan @jaybaer Sono faremo, Antonio. Come lei è questo giorno bello?

      • olioextravergin

        @MartinaMcGowan <doing well Martina(; If @jaybaer

  • margieclayman

    Aw, well I can’t pick on you for that. I thought maybe you had snuck a taste or something fun like that. Boo to walruses. Or walri? How do you make walrus plural, anyway?Glad you could pull a lesson from it. It is amazing how we can think something is SO obvious to people just because it’s obvious to us. Sadly, people aren’t psychic. Yet. Or if they are, they aren’t telling.

    • JayBaer

      margieclayman coven of walrus?

  • chefmarybeth

    Yes, for the free food & great stories! Come east to NC for NCBBQ judging Bootcamp this weekend in Castle Hayne (really close to Wilmington) I showed up for an agent scheduled Gordon Ramsey 11AM audition and stood outside in the freezing cold until 7pm that night only to set up my station and witness a crazy contestant yell & scream at the judge because a deaf Chinese contestant had an interpreter and she swore he was cheating because she couldn’t speak Chinese and thought the interpreter was telling the contestant what the judge’s score sheet said as he wrote! Go for no other reason than the hysterically funny competitors! The organization of the event stunk, but the entertainment was priceless!

    • JayBaer

      chefmarybeth This weekend? Oh man. I would totally have done that. Headed to Chicago for Ryder Cup with my Dad though. Next time!

      • chefmarybeth

        JayBaer There’s always next year! I come from a family where golf is a religious experience so have a blast and thanks for the reminder not to call home this weekend and expect anything other than distracted conversation while the Ryder Cup is on the air! We had to schedule Easter Dinner around The Masters this year! Enjoy! 

  • ChrisQueso

    Judge again so you can possibly influence them to take on some of the ideals that you believe will help them become a better orgsnization. I know there has to be a liiiittle bit of ego involved here (there would be for me); but chalk it up, giggle at the walrus and stay involved with KCBS (for the experience/education alone if anything).

    • JayBaer

      ChrisQueso I don’t know if I can influence anything, but I won’t be deterred! 

  • ParkHowell

    Heck yah. The world is full of walruses. It sounds like you’d love the BBQ judge experience. So don’t let the over bloated squash your dreams.

    • JayBaer

      ParkHowell Word.

  • tdhurst

    I still don’t know what time you were supposed to show up to judge.And I read that part three times.

    • JayBaer

      tdhurst Evidently, 12:40. But I DEFINITELY know what you mean. By the way, I was just thinking about you five minutes ago, so freaky that you commented just now. I want to chat with you for a few minutes about my new book. I know you didn’t love the first one, so want to get some thoughts on how to do better this time. 

      • tdhurst

        JayBaer tdhurst absolutely.

  • G Kriske

    Somewhat understand your frustration, but don’t give up. BBQ judging is more about all the rest of the people than just the KCBS reps. You will meet some great folks, both judges and competitors. And enjoy some GREAT Q!

  • Bill

    Jay. Kind of harsh words and contradiction. You blame the time schedule confusion on Phil, yet state that this is your first time judging and wasn’t sure of the time and you didn’t even ask for a clarification. It looks like from reading your one sided experience, that you are putting the entire blame on Phil. Lighten up some and take the blame as you didn’t know what time to be back, then after being told to get in there, you decided to duck in to wash your hands (good idea but bad timing). What kind of a day has Phil had? What kind of pressure was he under to make sure all the judging spots were filled and then saw that a “newbie” was not back on time? Was he just to stand around and wait for you to decide to show up when you wanted to or fill the spot with someone else? Perhaps with no training at all. Give yourself another chance and be mindful of the rules like the cook teams have to. As a cook, table captain and judge, it takes a few times to get in the groove so to speak.