At the bbq contests we attend during the course of the year, whether in Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, or Michigan, I am often asked how I got started competing and many ask how they can get started out in competition.
You really have several options for learning to compete and one of least expensive is to frequently visit bbq web sites, blogs, and discussion boards on the internet and read everything possible about bbq. It's free, but time consuming and besides that, there's a limited amount of information you can learn from a web site without putting some of the instructions and examples into practice.
A second approach is to plop down anywhere from $250-$500 or so and enroll in one of various bbq classes offered by some most excellent instructors that are also successful contest competitors.
A third approach, and one I hope you'll consider, is to come out and cook with us at an actual KCBS event and gain some first hand experience in an actual contest setting. You'll become an honorary team member for the weekend and be able to observe up close and personal exactly what we do at bbq contests. You're welcome to spend as much or as little time with us at a contest as you want. We usually arrive early Friday morning and leave Saturday afternoon following the awards ceremony.
You'll be our guest for the weekend and "learn by doing". I can't think of a better way to learn the ropes at a bbq contest, get all your questions answered, meet some new people, and eat all the bbq you want.
Drop me an e-mail if this idea appeals to you.