KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE SOCIETY    
FACT: There's been an 18% increase in contest participation by members in the past year    
FACT: 64% of KCBS members own three or more grills/smokers    
FACT: 70% of our members grill-out/cook BBQ more than 25 times per year    
FACT: 56% of Americans report having a smartphone, 77% of KCBS members do    
FACT: 70% of KCBS members use Facebook    
FACT: 55% of members choose charcoal when cooking for leisure    
FACT: 23% of KCBS members work in the food service industry as a restauranteur or caterer    
FACT: Learning from friends, family and at competitions is the best way to improve cooking skills    
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Joining KCBS has its privileges!
  • The official KCBS monthly newsletter, "The Bullsheet"
  • Save $5 when you buy 3 bags of Adirondack Grilling Pellets
  • Access KCBS Preferred Rates at Choice Hotels
  • 10% off all Creekstone Farms® products
  • 10% off any ICEHOLE Cooler or the option to customize your ICEHOLE Cooler with your team or KCBS logo for $50.00.
  • 15% off your total order from Papa Tony's seasonings and ribs.
  • One-day shopping pass at any Restaurant Depot location when you present your KCBS membership card.
  • $6 mail-in-rebate on premium pit-smoked Whole or Sliced Beef Briskets from Sadler's Smokehouse.
  • $0.50 off TABASCO Chipotle or any pepper sauce flavor!
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Sanctioning Information

What is KCBS?

KCBS sanctions BBQ and Grilling competitions across the U.S. and promotes barbeque as America's cuisine. In addition, KCBS has an extensive Certified Barbeque Judging program.  It is the largest society of barbeque enthusiasts in the world.

Your First Question!

When people call inquiring about hosting a barbeque contest, the first question is always "Why do you want to have a contest?" If it is to make buckets of money the first year, you may be doomed to failure. Chances are much better for a successful contest, if it is to promote community awareness, or for a charity. This is not a one-shot or a one-person deal. Start slowly, keep it simple, and give yourself plenty of lead time. Think of it as a growing process, and you'll be on the right track. Surround yourself with capable and dedicated volunteers that share your passion for the event, delegate, and let them do their job. Is the contest in conjunction with an existing event? It is an attractive addition to a community/charitable festival with other activities. It is also a great main attraction with supporting activities (such as music, arts/crafts, car shows, and/or children's activities). Food, family, friends, and fun make a great combination. Giving the public a chance to sample world-class barbeque via competitor/vendors or tasting kits can be a great draw. (Be sure to co-ordinate with your local health department.)

Types of Sanctioning

Traditional Sanctioned Contest

This is the most popular type of contest KCBS sanctions.  A Traditional Sanctioned Contest requires the teams to cook 4 meats (Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Butt, & Brisket).  The cooking source at a Traditional Sanctioned Contest shall be of wood, wood pellets or charcoal.  KCBS Rules and regulations apply.  Traditional Sanctioned Contests are eligible for the American Royal and the Jack Daniels World Championship.  In addition, all teams who participate in a Traditional Sanctioned Contest earn points towards the KCBS Team of the Year awards held each year at our annual banquet. 

Click here to download the traditional sanctioning application PDF.

Competitors Series

For the Organizer who wants to have a unique barbeque experience a Competitor’s Series may be contest you are looking for.  With a Competitors Series, the Organizer chooses the types of meats to be cooked, instead of the 4 standard meats used by KCBS.  In addition, the Competitors Series contest allows for alternative heats sources.  Traditional sanctioning fees and costs apply.  The Competitors Series Contest is not eligible for the American Royal or the Jack Daniels World Championship.  In addition, teams who participate in a Licensed Contest will not receive KCBS Team of the Year points.

Click here to download the Competitors Series sanctioning application PDF.

Licensed Contest

A licensed contest is for those Organizers who are just getting their feet wet on the barbeque circuit.  It is only offered to first time organizers and is the simplest of three types of contests offered by KCBS.  The purpose of the Licensed Contest is to help an organizer move from a first year contest to a Traditional Sanctioned contest in the following year.  It is designed to help an Organizer obtain the knowledge and success needed to have a successful Sanctioned event.  With a Licensed Contest, the Organizer is required to use the KCBS rules and regulations.  We will ask one of our reps to volunteer their time to work your contest, but you must provide their travel and expenses.  The Licensed Contest is not eligible for the American Royal or the Jack Daniels World Championship.  In addition, teams who participate in a Licensed Contest will not receive KCBS Team of the Year points.  A Licensed Contest can only be obtained once and only for a first year contest.

Click here to download the Licensed Contest sanctioning application PDF.

To sanction or not to sanction?

The benefits of having a sanctioned BBQ contest are numerous. The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) is the world's largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts. KCBS sanctions over 400 contests across the U.S. annually.

A sanctioned contest offers the organizer:

  • (1) Integrity,
  • (2) Experience,
  • (3) A built in base of cookers and judges, and
  • (4) A support system of other organizers and members.

For the teams, it offers the assurance that a contest will be conducted in a professional manner, the prize monies will be awarded as advertised, and that the rules will be followed. Some events start off non-sanctioned and work toward sanction. Generally, if you start off as a KCBS sanctioned event your contest will run smoother, have more trust from the teams, and have a higher success rate. A non-sanctioned event is not highly regarded, nor supported by teams if they are not aligned with a proven entity. However sanctioning alone cannot guaranty the number of teams competing or the success of your event.

Starting the process of having KCBS sanction your contest:

  • Select three or four dates (if possible).
  • Call the KCBS office. 1-800-963-KCBS (5227)
  • READ this Sanctioning Packet CAREFULLY!
  • Call or e-mail the KCBS office with questions or for clarification.
  • Inquire with if there is a conflicting contest on the weekend you have chosen.
  • Complete this Sanctioning Packet and mail it along with the minimum sanction fee of $350 to KCBS
  • The application form along with a minimum of $350 must be the KCBS office no less then 90 days prior to the contest date.

How KCBS Sanctions a Contest:

The KCBS Board of Directors (BOD) meets each month. All completed applications received the past month in the KCBS office with the minimum fee are reviewed and considered for sanctioning. Before sanctioning is granted, the BOD reviews the application. Many things are reviewed and checked, such as conflicting dates, the availability to provide "KCBS Contest Representatives" and others. After a vote of approval you will receive an email with information concerning the next step of the process. Your event will also be listed in the official newspaper of the KCBS (The Kansas City Bullsheet), and on our web site: www.kcbs.us, free of charge. Additional advertising in the Bullsheet or on the KCBS web site may be purchased to promote your contest. If for some reason your application is not approved you will receive a call and/or email as to how this decision was reached and your minimum sanctioning fee will be refunded.

The staff at KCBS is available to answer your questions, provide support and share their knowledge of conducting a successful contest. It's often more about what not to do, than what to do. Once Contest Representatives (Reps) are assigned, they are also available for guiding you on the path for a successful contest.

All first time contest organizers are required to attend and observe all aspects of a KCBS contest a minimum of 30 days prior to their event, and submit proof of attendance to the KCBS Office, or in the alternative write a detail contest plan to be submitted to and approved by the KCBS Board of Directors.

How much does KCBS Sanctioning cost?

Sanction fees are graduated based on the number of entries:

The Base Fee is:

  • 1 - 50 teams = $350 plus $12 per team
  • 51-75 teams = $525 plus $12 per team
  • 76-100 teams = $700 plus $12 per team
  • for more than 100 teams contact the KCBS office for quote.

Extra Fees:

  • Extra categories in addition to the KCBS basic four are $25 per category. Examples of extra categories are sauce, dessert, etc...
  • Ancillary Contests are ones that require additional contest set up. Each Ancillary Contest is $100 per Event + $25 per Category + $5 per team. Examples of an Ancillary Contest is "Backyard Contest."
  • Kid's Q = $50

A minimum Sanction fee of $350 is required with each sanctioning package. This fee is non-refundable unless your contest is not approved for sanction. After approval and sanctioning, the fee is non-refundable for any cause, including breach by organizer of any terms of sanctioning.

The sanctioning cost are subject to change every calendar year, as posted on or before January 1st of that calendar year, regardless of the date you may send in a sanctioning request or confirmation for re-sanctioning of your contest.

The KCBS Representatives' Expenses (for out-of-town travel) include:

Air fare plus ground transportation, and/or personal auto mileage at the IRS standard mileage rate on the day of the contest and/or cost of lodging and meals. Receipts from Representative's will be submitted with the Representatives' invoice. (for the current rate on mileage, please visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov and search “mileage”)

Balance of KCBS fees and KCBS Contest Representative's reimbursements are due at the end of the contest day. KCBS fees due will be accepted by check by the KCBS Contest Representative. Any reimbursements due to the Contest Representatives should be paid directly to them.

In the event of cancellation either by the contest organizer or by KCBS, all previously paid expenses shall be non-refundable. The contest organizer will also reimburse to the KCBS Representative(s) any prepaid expense incurred by them which cannot be recouped.

What does KCBS provide a Sanctioned Contest?

  • Your event will be listed in the official newspaper of the KCBS (The Kansas City Bullsheet), and on our web site: www.kcbs.us, free of charge.
  • Two Contest Representatives will be provided for contest of 49 contestants or less. Three Contest Representatives will be provided for contest of 50 contestants or more. Additional Contest Representatives will be provided based upon the number of teams.
  • All judge's plates and judge's slips will be provided.
  • Computer(s) and proprietary program for tallying scores will be provided.
  • Proprietary uniform rules for the competition.

What do the Contest Reps do?

Contest Representatives:

  • Visit and greet teams
  • Supervise and coordinate the numbering & dispensing of presentation containers to contestants
  • Conduct Cooks Meeting
  • Conduct Judge Meeting
  • Conduct Table Captain's Meeting
  • Supervise the Judging process to ensure rules & regulations are followed
  • Supervise the Tabulation process
  • Attend to the required paperwork: Individual scores, reporting to KCBS, contest settlement
  • Enforce all KCBS rules and regulations throughout the contest

In short, Contest Representatives ensure the integrity of your event. They are your mentors, sharing positive contest experiences. They can be your lifeline in mapping a successful event. If there is a scoring problem, rule interpretation dispute, or question about judging, your KCBS Representatives assumes responsibility.

KCBS right to merchandise and promote sponsors:

KCBS reserves the right to display, promote and sell, KCBS products and services and that of its national sponsors at KCBS sanctioned contests. While it is impossible for KCBS to be at every contest, many contests will be asked to provide space for KCBS to display, promote and sell KCBS product and services and that of its national sponsors. KCBS will not be able to take its marketing promotion to every contest, and it is the exclusive right of KCBS to determine the location of such marketing activities. Organizer agrees to provide a space in a highly accessible area, either in the cook area or the near the judging area, where KCBS may place its official merchandizing trailer and promote, display and sell KCBS products and that of its national sponsors. The Organizer agrees to provide free of charge a space up to 40' x 30' for this purpose.

It is impossible for KCBS to market at nearly 300 contests per year. KCBS reserves the exclusive right to determine the location of KCBS marketing activities. KCBS and its sponsors/partners will be sensitive to any local sponsorship that an event already has secured, and will strive not to create any conflict or situation that jeopardizes that local sponsorship.

Next Step?

If you are ready to get your event sanctioned by KCBS, please click here.



















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