Do you have BBQ contest fever? In some parts of the country, the contests are in full swing and in others they're going to gear up in the next few weeks.
If you've every 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.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to do it either. 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 if you prefer.
I've used a Backwoods Party and a WSM with pretty good results. I doubt that the cooker has very much to do with the quality of my contest results anyway.
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. In the beginning, 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. Best of all, you'll meet a lot of really nice people.
With the price of gasoline, our current budget is closer to $650 per contest depending on how far we're driving to the event, which explains why we've had to cut back on the frequency. During one particular stretch in 2004 we cooked five contests in five weeks and loved it.