I am Brett Varnell and I am the founder of BBQJudges.org. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about my site.
BBQJudges.org is an international site created by the barbecue community for the barbecue community. I picture it as a central hub where people from all over the world can come together for a free flow of information, and ides. It is a place where you can post news and pictures, create a profile, arrange carpools, check on events, cross reference with organizers and cook teams, write reviews, organize or check on classes, and get to know each other. It is open to all barbecue organizations, nationally and internationally. We are also building a private judges database for every BBQ Judge in the world. All information is kept private, and will only be used to disseminate information that is pertinent to you (i. e. judges needed, new contests, off-season get togethers etc.).
Each state and country has their own page, and subpages. Organizers and cook teams also have their own international, state, and country pages. Organizers can promote their events or classes, post information about the judges check-in and meeting times, and if necessary request more judges if they are short.
Cook teams can use their pages to announce winning Grand or Reserve champion, new sauces, rubs or injections, or any other information they want disseminated. This page can also be used to connect judges with cook teams to complete their cook requirement for Master Judge. We are also building a database of all the cook teams in the world. It contains the team name, members, and links to all webpages including homepages, facebook, twitter, or any other social media your team has.
BBQJudges.org started out as a simple idea, to help KCBS judges organize carpools, and get to know each other. The idea was born at the 2011 American Royal Open Championship. Prior to the competition, all the judges from my area got together, and began talking about how we could have carpooled to the event if we had a place to organize it. The first idea was to start a Facebook page. I started the page KCBS Judges on Facebook, but it was soon apparent that it was not going to be sufficient to accomplish everything I needed it to do.
Due to the limitations of the Facebook page, oklahomakcbsjudges.org was created In November 2011. It started out as a nine page site that allowed judges to arrange carpools, post news and pictures, check events, write reviews, and arrange or post classes. To get the word out about the site I asked the Contest Representatives at the contests I attended in 2012 if I could give a small presentation. They were really supportive, and the site really started to take off. I was approached by judges from other states asking if they could use the site. I was thrilled to add the other states, and by the end of the first season 17 states had joined the website.
Due to the overwhelming support of the site, it soon became apparent that nine pages would not be enough to cover all the people that were now using it. I decided that the best course of action would be to take the site national, and give each state its own pages. In October 2012 I renamed the site BBQJudges.org, and created a page for every state. I also gave each state its own BBQ Forum, Carpool page, Organizers’ page, and a page for the Cook teams. The pages were also changed to allow everyone to post their own information. I wanted to create a site that was truly created by the barbecue community for the barbecue community.
During the creation of BBQJudges.org I started informing people of the changes, and told them about the creation of the state pages. I started to get requests from international barbecue organizations requesting pages of their own. The obvious next step was to take the site international, and welcome everyone in. The first pages added were Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, and England. We look forward to further expansion until we have all countries coming together in one place.
To help defray some of the costs of the website, I have decided to open the pages to sponsorship or advertising. When I started the page I was able to pay for all the costs out of my own pocket, but expansion comes with more expenses. Anyone interested can contact me through the website, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. This way I can keep all the services on the website free for the users.
The site continues to evolve to fit the needs of our visitors. , and hope you find the site to be a useful tool. My goal is to have the site become a central hub where all members of the worldwide barbecue community: associations, judges, organizers, cook teams, and contest representatives can come together for a free flow of information and ideas. I only ask one thing of you. Come to the site, check out the posts, support the sponsors, and add content to any page you wish. To make the site exceptional it needs everyone submitting their ideas, information, and pictures.