My name is Brett Varnell, and I created BBQJudges.org. It 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 page on Facebook, but it was soon apparent that it was not going to be sufficient to accomplish everything Ineeded 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. Today site is the latest in the evolution of BBQJudges.org.
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 websites’ Ad Rates/Purchase page, and attach their ad to a message on the Contact Us page. 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. I 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. You can also get information about the site on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BBQJudges. We are also on twitter, follow us https://twitter.com/BBQJudges. Find us on Tumblr at http://bbqjudges.tumblr.com/