I’ve been judging for nearly 4 years now in both KCBS and FBA. As KCBS has less than 5 contests within reasonable driving distance of my home, I tend to judge more on the FBA circuit. One of the best parts of FBA to me, is that you tend to get about 60% of the same folks at each event. Friendships build quickly. At one of the FBA events about a year ago, one of the more senior judges (qualified by having judged over 100 FBA events and tons from KCBS and other associations), after we completed scoring each meat we wanted to see how close we were judging to each other. I was very pleased to see that I was consistently within a half point of him either up or down (FBA rates from 5 to 10 by .5 increments). Each time we’ve been at the same table since, we have continued this ritual. This other person was on the Judges Committee and we discussed opening this process up to more judges to more quickly educate the new judges. In early demonstrations of this process, the new judges did in fact become better at their scoring quicker. We are still contemplating making this more widespread within each contest with newer judges. Another point we discussed was cooking with a cook team a second time, once they’ve become Master Judges. Within FBA, to become a Master Judge, one must judge at 25 contests, of which 5 must be as a table captain, and the judge must cook with a cook team. A lot of the judges seem to get the part of cooking with a team done within the first 10 contests they attend. The appreciation for what the cook teams go through is an extremely important part of a judge’s education. Becoming aware of what a team goes through, the amount of time and money they spend on their entries can greatly improve the skill and “fairness” of their scores. Would you, as judges or cook teams see these efforts as good or bad for your BBQ Association?