The ABA turns 4 years old in 2018 and has experienced incredible growth in such a short space of time.
Whilst the ABA is largely recognised as a leader in the area of promoting wood fired barbecue in Australia and New Zealand, the ABA still has it’s eyes and much of its resources set firmly on delivering the highest quality barbecue competition championship series it can.
With concurrent National Championship Series’ in Australia and New Zealand delivering more than 35 competitions in a single season in 2017, the ABA looks to Sanction just as many high quality competitions across both countries again in 2018.
The ABA (non-profit) and now the NZBA largely operate off the income provided by major partners and sponsors of the organisation. Without their strong support and investing into the competition barbecue scene in Australia and New Zealand, the ABA wouldn’t be able to deliver what it does today. The support of these partners allows the ABA to keep fees for competitions as low as possible, allowing more people to be able to afford giving competition barbecue a go.
Team numbers continue to grow exponentially each year with nearly 300 teams having now competed in one or more ABA Sanctioned competitions in Australia or New Zealand, which is up from just over 20 teams in the first year of the ABA in 2014.
The ABA now has more than 25 trained or training competition crew including 9 Head Judges who ensure competitions run to high standard week in and week out. These guys and girls are the backbone of the competition scene, often going unnoticed for the incredible effort they put into their voluntary and often back office roles.
The ABA has enjoyed the support of more than 25 individual promoters over the last two seasons and has adjudicated 63 ABA Sanctioned barbecue competitions in it’s 4 years to date, with 55 of those in the last two years alone. Will we see the ABA’s 100th competition being run in 2018? Only time will tell but it could happen.
The ABA regularly takes feedback from Promoters, Teams and also Major Partners to continuously improve the overall quality of its Sanctioned barbecue competitions and undertakes a Member Survey each year to keep a handle on the general feedback from a wide base of ideas.
In 2018 the Championship Series takes a ‘Consolidation Year’ with minimal changes in favour of refining and improving what already works fundamentally well.
Due to limited resources and many pressures across the range of functions and services the ABA delivers, it will shelve a number of current or planned initiatives such as the VIP Member Rewards Card and the Judges Card programs in favour of strengthening its core functions before re-launching or adding back these or new initiatives.
The 2018 ABA Rules for competitions have been slightly adjusted to further clarify the wording of existing Rules and the Judges Course has undergone a slight amendment which will need to be relayed to all existing judges in 2018.
This does mean that all Judges will need to re-sit the Judges Course in 2018 and for the time being, each time they wish to judge.
Teams will benefit from a refined Scoring Guide where infractions and issues will be more clearly noted, removing the need for the Judge to write a comment on what an issue may have been. Instead of judges scores being sent to teams on request, the Team Captain or team representative booking the competition on behalf of the team will automatically receive scores breakdowns to their nominated email address within 24-48 hours of each event.
With multiple events per month, the Championship Leaderboard will be updated early in the week following the weekend’s events with the teams’ aggregate score now being available on the Official Results straight after each competition for easy viewing and calculations.
The ABA has appointed several new key team members in 2018 including Rachel Davis the ABA Competition Coordinator for all Australian ABA Sanctioned barbecue competitions as well as State Representatives to assist in the communication and processes relating to delivering the Championship Series events each year.
The ABA will fast-track recruiting of potential Competition Crew Members in each State to help support the Championship Series both in Australia and New Zealand, and will hold training days in key locations in the first half of 2018.
New Promoter’s are asked to have a minimum of 12 teams per competition and wherever possible provide 6-9 months notice for hosting an ABA Sanctioned Competition. This is in aid of ensuring the competition scene continues to strengthen and as much notice as possible is given to teams before an event comes up to help with planning, promotion and ultimately, participation.
2018 has already seen a major push to reach new general audiences with the ABA supporting the Beyond the Flame documentary mini-series Produced by ABA Co-Founders Adam Roberts and Jay Beaumont. The Series has been an early hit with more than 500,000 online views in the first 3 episodes alone.
The ABA will continue to share the love of low n slow and wood fired barbecue and promote competition barbecue and to continue to help grow the barbecue scene for the benefit of the whole barbecue industry. A number of awesome new projects promoting barbecue will no doubt be hard to miss – but more on that later..
The ABA again wishes to thank it’s Volunteer Crew, Promoters, Teams an Partners both in Australia and New Zealand for their continued support.
Cheers to another big year in barbecue!
Links to important information below.