If you've ever considered competing in a bbq contest I would encourage you to jump in and try it out. You'll have fun, you'll meet a lot of people, and you'll challenge yourself to improve you bbq cooking abilities. Best of all....it'll give an excuse to cook more often, because you're going to need to practice a lot. The neighbors will love you for it because there will be lots and lots of leftovers from the practice cooks and from the contests.
During a typical bbq contest you will cook a variety of meats for the judges including chicken, pork ribs, pork butt and beef brisket. At a contest I cook 24 chicken thighs, 6 rack of ribs, 2 pork butts and 2 briskets. I cook a lot of chicken because it's cheap and because it allows more selection when picking out the best pieces for the judges samples.
You don't have to spend a lot of money on fancy equipment to start competing. A Weber Smokey Mountain and a kettle grill or two will get you started. A low budget set-up would be to purchase 2 WSM's and use your kettle grill for chicken, or if you're already an avid qu'er, you could purchase a Backwoods Party or Competitor Model.
We hauled everything in the back of our short bed Ford F-150 and still had room in the front for two passengers. Don't get me wrong...it was a tight fit sometimes, but with a little creative packing, we made it work.
I use a Backwoods Party and a WSM, with pretty good results. I've placed well in some contests and can honestly say that I doubt if the cooker has very much to do with the quality of my contest results. I need to better utilize those cookers to their fullest potential.
My wife and I got started with a total cash outlay of about $1,500 and then budgeted about $500 per contest for entry fees, gas, meals, and contest meat.I know it sounds like a lot of money....because it is. You're competing against 20-50 other teams and the odds of winning grand champion are not very good unless you're on top of your game, but....you should have some fun and learn alot.