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Old 07-22-2008, 07:04 AM   #1
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Rogue Judges

There is an interesting thread going on over at the BBQ Forum and at the Barbecue Brethren Forum regarding a contest last weekend in which a cook/judge judged his first contest and laid the hammer down to the entries he was judging. I do not have any problem with him giving low scores to bad barbecue but he was repeately pulled aside by the KCBS rep and Table Captain because his scores significantly deviated from the other 5 judges at the table. Where they were giving 8's and 9's he was giving 4's and 5's. The discussion started yesterday on the Brethren forum written by the judge himself who was asking for opinions on his actions. He admitted scoring brisket down becuase the brisket he was given was cut into squares, were burnt, and fatty. Sounds like a burnt end to me. It makes for interesting reading and I have to believe that the incident on the Brethren Forum and the BBQ forum have to be the same.

Greg, I think that this would make an interesting topic for your radio show, kind of a followup to the show on judging bias.

Anyway according to a source on the BBQ forum, after the contest was over the judge was overheard telling several teams how he had laid the hammer down on the entries he scored. Kind of bragging about how tough he was. I hope this guy is dealt with fairly and harshly and is banned from future KCBS judging. Most of the judges take their oaths seriously and give a fair and impartial judging at the comps but many have noticed one judge at a table who severely scores far down from the norm. Rod Gray talks about it on the BBQ forum and says he sees this with cooks who were not competitive in competitions and how they seem to have an attitude to the very cooks they were once part of when they switch to judging. I never really thought about it much until now but it is very disturbing. Read the judges post and see if you don't detect an attitude in his posting. Again no problem with judging down bad barbecue but judging down barbecue because of your preferences and attitude is unacceptable.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:54 AM   #2
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I havent't read the posts, but that's a nice (scary though) topic/story you wrote about. So, if I'm judging, I can't doc a point or 3 if any of the briskets don't have ketchup on them? Dang...I'll stop doing that Acutally, I wonder how much bias exists in judging and how it affects overall scores. That's too bad. I would hope this person would either be banned as a judge if that is actually true, or have to sit through many more judging classes so he can learn something. geesh. Well, good/interesting story. Hope I never run across that.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:54 AM   #3
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I could not imagine how upsetting it would be to fork out the money to enter, the meats and other supplies and then have this guy judge my food. He sounds like someone that could not get over getting bad scores himself and to get even with the bbq world he scores according to hate and not taste. I feel sorry for the team that got him to score. There are only so many events that you can do in a year and this could leave a sour taste in your mouth if this guy got your box. what do you do though. The scoring is by people and is open to interpretation. I was certified last year but I have never judged yet. do the table captains review the criteria for each meat prior to scoring? if so they should. Do they remind the judges how to score properly and remind them of their oath and what it means. the judging is a serious thing and I have no problem being scored down if the food is the issue. I would have a problem if the judge was the problem.

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Old 07-22-2008, 10:09 AM   #4
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Having spent the last while reading all of the threads it was disappointing to say the least that he would have judged based on his personal criteria.

Glad to know that his score would have been dismissed however I think that after the rep spoke with him he should have had a clue.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:27 AM   #5
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The issue here is with the judges character. All we ask as cooks is a fair critique of the product we turn in. Will there be deviations between judges, absolutely as taste is very subjective. But when in this case, the judge is overheard after the contest bragging to other teams on how he laid the hammer down on the cooks, this is where I believe the judge has crossed the line and is now somehow looking to settle a score.

It is good to see however that this judge was questioned by the Table Captain, the KCBS rep and that this incident is being reported to the KCBS BOD. It is comforting to know that somewhat is watching.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:23 PM   #6
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Isn't the low score of the 6 tossed out? If so it would weed-out dorks like this.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:48 PM   #7
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I think the SCBA has a way of dealing with this, possibly throwing out
the scores....maybe Jack or Garland will discuss this here, and if I'm right,
KCBS may want to look into it.

Obviously, we all take a risk in the money and effort entering these contests and want to be treated fairly, but we must realize our scores
are subjective, opinion based, and can't be qualified.

That said, a judge that ruins a teams chances (all those at his table)
because of what I read on Basso's forum should be banned from judging.

He may want to think that all the barbecue on his table was bad, BUT SINCE HE WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT FELT THAT WAY AT THE TABLE, HE WAS WRONG. HE WAS THE PROBLEM.

This needs to be dealt with.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rag
Isn't the low score of the 6 tossed out? If so it would weed-out dorks like this.
Maybe, maybe not. It sounds like he was intentionally giving out low scores and not giving a fair judging of the product. Lets say the other five scores were a 9, 8, 7, 7, 6 and he gave it a 4. Lets also say that if he had judged it objectively he would have given it a 7. In that case the 6 gets dropped instead of a 4, a full 2 point differential and his score of 7 sticks. It can make a big difference in the ultimate outcome of a contest.

This past weekend we missed 7 th place overall by less than a point but we held onto 8th place by .0004 of a point. The cooks at the competitions are getting better and better and the scores are getting tighter. Dropping an intentionally given low score as opposed to an honestly critiqued low score can make all the difference as to who wins and loses at a contest.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:13 PM   #9
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it doesn't matter if he has a grudge...the scores, reasonably, have to be
consistent even if he honestly think the bbq sucks. Perhaps the range
is too wide in the scoring system.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:41 PM   #10
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The range is very wide Cappy. Its actually 2-9 in KCBS because there are no 10's and 1 is a disqualification. In this case the Judge was counseled by both the Table Captain and the KCBS rep because his scores were so out of line with the other judges. He chose to ignore the advice of both the TC and the Rep and continued to score down saying that he was being true to what he believed to be his standard of what good BBQ was and then he bragged about it to other teams at the contest where he was heard by several witnesses. I have less trouble if he is just stubborn/hard headed but remained true to his beliefs. I have a lot of trouble if he intentionally did this to settle a score

Complaints are currently being filed through the local KCBS reps and through the Board of Directors but at least 24 teams were impacted by his scoring. Those that were lucky enough not to hit his table had an advantage at the contest. I'd hate to think that a Grand Championship and a possible trip to Jack Daniels may have ultimately been squashed by his actions.
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:23 PM   #11
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It was the judge's first event and his inexperience was painfully obvious. While it does not make it right, I'm sure he is being educated now.

I purposely avoid the Cooks vs. Judges discussions because most of the time it is bias. As long as there are more winners then non-winners, the non-winners are unhappy and looking to blame somebody, usually the judges. However, it has been my experience that 99.9% of all judges are good, honest judges doing their best to give every team a fair and consistent playing field on which to compete. And as a cooker, that is all I want.

I say this because, like Screamin Nite Hog, I cook and judge. (Not at the same time, naturally) From a cooker's standpoint...When I cook and turn my sample in I put my ego aside and judge my sample honestly. I always have a pretty good idea about where I stand. Ask Cappy, when we cooked together, I called our sample what it was...top five, top ten, middle of the road. So far I have been pretty consistent. The point is, you know when your BBQ is good and when it is great. Cream rises to the top.

From the SCBA standpoint...with rouge judges, the SCBA removes the judge's scores and replaces them with the Table Captain's (TC) scores. Unlike KCBS, the SCBA TC judges the samples also, just incase we have such an issue. I much prefer this system of built-in checks and balances. Therefore the rouge judge’s score has no impact to the team's final score. If a pattern of low balling scores is observed, coaching and education is attempted. If that does not work, it is probation. If probation does not work then the specific judge is no longer allowed to judge any events.

In KCBS, I believe the lowest scores are dropped automatically.

Now from a judge's standpoint...I say to the BBQ judge haters...Learn how to cook great BBQ. Don't come asking a judge what the winning teams are doing to win because the answer is always the same, they made the best BBQ that day. What made it the best, it had the best Appearence, Tenderness/Texture and Taste. If I knew how they did it, I would go cook and win the money myself! AND I wouldn't be posting my winning secrets on some Internet BBQ board either. This board and others are full of great info and it helps with the learning curve, but nobody is giving away winning secrets. Would you?

Ask the people who are winning for some tips. If you ask nicely, they might throw you a bone or two. Or go to a BBQ cooking school. I have some recommendations. Ray Lampe has a good one. Carolina Pit Masters is really good too. Have also heard good things about Myron Mixon's class. Too bad Mike Davis guit teaching Lotta Bull U. It was a good one too.

Here is a secret for you, if you want to become a better BBQ cook, become a judge and see what other teams are doing to win.

Off my soap box and back to my cage now.
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