1. CBBQA ToY Overview

1.1 What is Team of the Year?
The CBBQA Team of the Year (ToY) is a year-long points chase of CBBQA ToY approved BBQ events from January 1, of a particular year to December 31, of that same year, by CBBQA Member Teams (described in section 2.1 below). CBBQA Member Teams will compete and earn points, as described below in section 4. The CBBQA ToY race is comprised of five (5) categories: Overall, Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork and Brisket as described by any of the Nationally Recognized Sanctioning Bodies at the named BBQ Competition.

To be eligible for participation in the annual ToY race, teams must, among other requirements, be paid members of CBBQA. The annual ToY race incentivizes paid membership through intra-membership competition for awards and prestige, which thereby increases CBBQA revenues and the organization’s charitable contributions. Therefore, the annual ToY race and any investments related thereto, including, but not limited to, marketing, awards, and financial sponsorships of ToY-approved events, advance CBBQA’s enumerated charitable purposes set forth in section 1.3 of its Bylaws.

1.2 What is Rookie of the Year (RoY)?
The CBBQA Rookie of the Year (RoY) is exactly the same but for new competition teams that meet the requirements as set forth in section 2.2 below.

To be eligible for participation in the annual RoY race, teams must, among other requirements, be paid members of CBBQA. The annual RoY race incentivizes paid membership through intra-membership competition for awards and prestige, which thereby increases CBBQA revenues and the organization’s charitable contributions. Therefore, the annual RoY race and any investments related thereto, including, but not limited to, marketing, awards, and financial sponsorships of ToY/RoY-approved events, advance CBBQA’s enumerated charitable purposes set forth in section 1.3 of its Bylaws.

1.3 Definitions

CBBQA – California BBQ Association, a 501c(3) charity.

CBBQA Member Teams – Competition BBQ teams that are members of CBBQA and in good standing with the Association in terms of financial commitment and ethics.

Nationally Recognized Sanctioning Bodies – Organizations that provide rules for competition BBQ teams to follow during a season and individual BBQ events. Examples include but are not limited to KCBS and IBCA.

CBBQA Member – Any person who has paid their yearly dues and is in good standing with the association.

Good Standing – No unresolved Association disciplinary issue(s).

Pro-level BBQ Event – Most Nationally Recognized Sanctioning Body BBQ competitions that could qualify the winner of the event for the Jack Daniels Invitational or the American Royal Invitational. In addition, any event considered a “Pro-level BBQ Event” by the CBBQA Board of Directors that may not have such a qualifier distinction.

Amateur Events – Events held for BBQ pit masters with limited experience. Examples include but are not limited to most 3-meat contests, backyard events and/or events held in conjunction to Pro-level BBQ Events but specifically for amateur competitors. Amateur Events are not considered Pro-level BBQ Events.

1.4 ToY Calendar (Contest Year)
The CBBQA ToY/RoY season will be from January 1st of a given year through December 31st of that same year. In case either of those dates fall on a competition weekend, the day of the first turn-in of the scored ToY event meats will serve as the official day, not the day teams arrive and/or begin to cook at a competition.

1.5 Contact Information
For any questions or inquiries regarding the CBBQA Team of the Year program, please contact the CBBQA ToY Commissioner. The ToY Commissioner can be reached at

2. Team Information

2.1 Team Eligibility Requirements
2.1.1 Teams may be led by one or two Head Cooks.
2.1.2 Teams may have as many Assistant Cooks as the Head Cook(s) deem necessary to compete.
2.1.3 Teams must be registered with the CBBQA ToY Commissioner and at least one of the Head Cooks shall have a current membership in the CBBQA.
2.1.4 Registered teams with at least one Head Cook with current CBBQA membership are considered CBBQA Member Teams.
2.1.5 Teams are noted as Head Cook(s) and Assistant Cooks that have or intend to cook together on a regular basis.
2.1.6 Guest Cooks or Head Cooks from other teams are welcome to assist CBBQA Member Teams when they are not cooking with their own teams.
2.1.7 CBBQA differentiates between assisting a team and cooking with a team. Cooks that are assisting a team are giving advice on how a team can improve their work. Cooking with a team is when a Guest is fully participating in the cooking process of one or more of the competition meat categories.
2.1.8 A certified barbecue judge working with a team in order to become a master CBJ does not compromise the team’s ability to earn points.
2.1.9 To be eligible for the ToY races in Ancillary Categories a team must be associated with a member of the CBBQA in good standing. An individual may only cook in the Ancillary Categories for one team during the ToY Contest Year.

2.2 Team Requirements to Earn ToY Points
2.2.1 All teams at a contest will compete for the championship title at a particular BBQ contest.
2.2.2 However, only CBBQA Member Teams shall be eligible to earn CBBQA ToY points that count toward the CBBQA ToY and RoY races.
2.2.3 As described in 2.1.7 above, teams that are assisted may earn full CBBQA ToY points.
2.2.4 As further described in 2.1.7 above, teams that have a guest cook actually cook and prepare one or more teams competition meats, are not eligible for ToY points for that particular contest.
2.2.5 In the spirit of good sportsmanlike conduct and fairness/integrity of the competition; it will be the responsibility of any team utilizing a guest cook as described in 2.2.4 above to advise the ToY Commissioner as such.

2.3 Rookie Team Eligibility Requirements
The intent of the CBBQA RoY Program is to offer a competitive format for Rookie Teams (defined below) to compete and allows CBBQA to support the growth of the sport.
2.3.1 Rookie Teams are governed by the same team requirements as veteran teams.
2.3.2 Exceptions for Rookie Teams: 2.1.6 & 2.1.7

  • Rookie Teams may not invite any “pro-level” (i.e., non-Rookie Team) pit master to cook with their team.
  • Rookie Teams may seek advice from any team or teams at a contest, but the cooking shall be done by members of the Rookie Team.

2.3.3 Prior to competing as a Rookie Team, no member of the RoY team shall have more than two cooks, in a lead capacity, at any Pro-level BBQ Event, except for those listed below. CBBQA requests that Rookie Teams with past experience beyond the two cook limit at Pro-level BBQ Events give the ToY Commissioner a brief synopsis of their experience so an eligibility judgment can be made based on their involvement in competition BBQ.
2.3.4 Rookie Teams, like other teams, must have at least one Head Cook be a CBBQA Member and be registered with the CBBQA ToY Commissioner.

2.4 Exception to the Rookie Rules
2.4.1 Minor children may assist a team or teams, in any capacity, and maintain their rookie eligibility status without compromise until their 18th birthday.
2.4.2 Children may pair up with other children and compete at no more than one Prolevel BBQ Event per calendar year without jeopardizing their RoY status.
2.4.3 A youth, 18 years or younger, may enter the RoY race and must register their team the same as any other RoY team.
2.4.4 “Backyard” events and any other BBQ contests specifically designated for amateurs would not violate RoY eligibility requirements and are encouraged by the CBBQA.
2.4.5 Judges working with teams to meet the requirements in becoming a master CBJ will not compromise those judges’ future rookie status.

2.5 Two Requirements to Register Your Team, ToY or RoY
2.5.1 Requirement #1: Advise the CBBQA ToY Commissioner or any CBBQA Board Member of your desire to compete in the CBBQA ToY/RoY Race(s).

  • Send an email to the ToY Commissioner: Include team name, team Head Cook(s), contact phone number(s) or:o At your first contest, give the above information to the ToY Commissioner. (NOTE: Must be done within one hour of the completion of the cooks meeting).
  • If the ToY Commissioner is not at your competition, please ask to see any Board Member and they will accept your information on behalf of the ToY Commissioner.
  • In the event there are no Board Members or ToY Commissioner in attendance, please provide your information to the contest representatives in charge of the specific contest.

2.5.2 Requirement # 2: Become a CBBQA Member by paying annual dues.

  • Time frame to complete – Must be completed by noon (PST) on the Tuesday following said contest.

2.6 General Rules for Teams
2.6.1 A Head Cook shall be in attendance for a majority of the cooking process. A token appearance will not be considered enough time to be point eligible.
2.6.2 In the case of unforeseen emergency circumstances that cause a Head Cook(s) to leave or not show for a contest, but Assistant Cooks complete the cook, a written explanation sent to the ToY Commissioner, within 48 hours of the end of a contest, will be considered by the ToY Commissioner as to whether points earned will be awarded to a team. The reason(s) for the absence and who did the cooking should be included in the explanation. The Commissioner’s finding(s) may be appealed to the full Board of Directors.
2.6.3 CBBQA Member Teams may only compete and receive points in one CBBQA Approved ToY event on any given day.
2.6.4 It is the responsibility of a team’s Head Cook(s) to ensure that their CBBQA Membership(s) is/are current and that they maintain their eligibility requirements for ToY. Non-compliant teams will not receive ToY/RoY points.

  • If the membership of the Head Cook(s) expires there will be a 30 day grace period during which the membership must be renewed in order to keep any points earned after the membership expiration.

2.6.5 The registered Head Cook(s) may only score points in a season for one CBBQA Member Team.

3. ToY Event Approval

3.1 Eligibility
For a contest to be eligible for CBBQA ToY approval, all the following requirements must be met: 3.1.1 Sanctioned by a Nationally Recognized Sanctioning Body (e.g., KCBS Championship Series, PNWBA, IBCA, when capped at 32 teams or fewer). Final approval for ToY sanctioning bodies will be voted on by the BoD.
3.1.2 Must be an open and non-invitational contest.
3.1.3 The contest and every integral component of the contest must occur within the state borders of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and/or Mexicali Mexico. Integral components include team and judging parking, judging area, team area, team services and award presentation site.
3.1.4 Must cook all 4 standard competition meat categories – Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork and Brisket.
3.1.5 Must provide overall and individual meat category scoring through the top half (rounded up) of the field or more.
3.1.6 Must not conflict with a previously approved ToY event that occurs on the same weekend and that is within 250 miles measured by a reasonable travel route by vehicle. Any multiple-contest event organized by the same party that occurs at the same location and on the same weekend will count as one single event in regards to these conflict rules. Contest organizers have the right to appeal to the BoD if their event falls on the same weekend as a previously approved ToY event and is within 250 mile rule. Organizers are expected to seek alternate dates and to use the appeal process only as a last resort. BoD decision shall be considered final.
3.1.7 Priority for eligible ToY events, in order, are as follows:

  1. Events promoted/organized by CBBQA Business Members in good standing.
  2. Incumbent CBBQA Events that are approved and posted to the sanctioning body’s web site or calendar 90 or more days prior to the event.
  3. Events within the borders of the State of California.
    In the event that all previous conditions are met priority will be given to the event that received approval from the sanctioning body first.

3.1.8 Toy status shall not be granted to events meeting other eligibility requirements that have less than 12 registered.

3.2 Approval
3.2.1 The ToY Commissioner will begin the approval process for any single or multiple day event by posting it to the Open Board section of the forum. Notice can be communication from the organizer, public posting by the sanctioning body or notice from any individual or organization. . Once the ToY Commissioner has verified that the event(s) meets the eligibility requirements, they will present the event(s) to the BoD who will vote on final sanctioning approval.
3.2.2 Final approval will be provided by the CBBQA Board of Directors at the next applicable BoD meeting. The CBBQA reserves the right to refuse ToY approval for any reason.
3.2.3The CBBQA BoD, at its discretion, may rescind ToY approval for any reason it deems necessary.
3.2.4 The CBBQA BoD, at its discretion, my rescind ToY approval for any reason it deems necessary.

4. The ToY/RoY Points System

4.1 Points per Contest
4.1. It is the intent of CBBQA to model its points system, with slight deviations, on that involved with the Kansas City BBQ Society (“KCBS”). Mimicking the majority of KCBS’ Team of the Year points system will make the accounting of CBBQA’s points system more efficient, streamlined and inexpensive to maintain.
4.1.2 Every team at a ToY-approved contest will receive points, even the last place team. Additionally, every team participating in a contest will be awarded bonus points based on the number of teams at an event, up to a maximum of 35. There are no double and triple points, only the bonus points based on the number of teams competing at each event. While teams will still be rewarded for doing well in large ToY-approved contests, this system helps to bridge the gap between smaller and larger ToY-approved events, rewarding teams for their consistency in qualifying events, regardless of event size.
4.1.3 The following is a breakdown of the points awarded at each event. Take, for example, the third-place overall finisher at a 27 team event. The team will receive 200 points plus 27 bonus points based on the number of teams competing, for a total of 227 points.

  • 1st = 250
  • 2nd = 225
  • 3rd = 200
  • 4th = 175
  • 5th = 150
  • 6th = 140
  • 7th = 130
  • 8th = 120
  • 9th = 110
  • 10th = 100
  • 11th = 95
  • 12th = 90
  • 13th = 85
  • 14th = 80
  • 15th = 75
  • 16th = 70
  • 17th = 65
  • 18th = 60
  • 19th = 55
  • 20th = 50
  • 21st = 45
  • 22nd = 40
  • 23rd = 35
  • 24th = 30
  • 24th and down =25

4.1.4 This points system applies to points for overall finishes as well as within the individual categories. That is, this points system will be used for overall finishes as well as finishes in each of the individual meat categories of chicken, pork ribs, pork, and Brisket at the ToY-approved competitions.

4.2 The Season’s Point Race
4.2.1 The ToY/RoY races will track each team’s results from all approved ToY events.
4.2.2 When a team scores points in more than 5 events, only the top five scores will be used and the low score(s) will be dropped.

5. Team of the Year & Rookie of the Year Awards

5.1 Individual Meat Categories
Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork and Brisket to the top 10

5.2 Team of the Year Awards
Awarded to the top 20 Teams in the Overall category.

5.3 Ancillary Categories
5.3.1 CBBQA will award a Team of the Year in the Dessert Category and a Team
of the Year in the Kids Q Category (Ancillary Categories).
.3.2 Ancillary Categories must be scored by contest judges under the direction of a sanctioning body and posted as official contest results.
5.3.3 Ancillary Categories will use the points system described in Section 4, with the exception that the size of the Ancillary Category field will be utilized to determine additional points based on field size and the Ancillary Categories ToY will track each team’s five (5) top scoring events.

5.4 Steak Category
5.4.1 CBBQA will award a Team of the Year in the Steak Category
5.4.2 The steak category must be scored by contest judges under the direction of a sanctioning body and posted as official contest results (Steak Event or Events).
5.4.3 The top 10 points-scoring teams in the Steak Event field will earn Base Points as follows:

  • 1st = 100, 2nd = 90, 3rd = 80, 4th = 70, 5th = 60, 6th = 50, 7th = 40, 8th = 30, 9th = 20, 10th = 10

5.4.4 The ToY/RoY races will track each team’s results from all approved Steak Events.
5.4.5 When a team scores points in more than 5 Steak Events, only the top five scores will be used and the low score(s) will be dropped.

5.5 Official Standings
5.5.1 The official CBBQA Team of the Year will be the team(s) with the highest point total
in the Overall category.
5.5.2 The official CBBQA Rookie of the Year will be the rookie team(s) with the highest point total in the Overall category.
5.5.3 Ties in any of the pre-mentioned awards will not be broken. Teams will share the title and the CBBQA will issue identical awards to those teams.

5.6 Awards
The CBBQA Board of Directors may issue year-end awards using trophies, plaques,
ribbons or other awards as it deems fitting.

5.7 CBBQA ToY Trophy
5.7.1 The CBBQA awards a Perpetual Trophy to the CBBQA Team(s) of the Year each year. This trophy shall remain the legal property of the CBBQA. Each winning team agrees and acknowledges, by its acceptance of the Perpetual Trophy, that such trophy remains the property of CBBQA and agrees to return possession of the trophy, without damage, to CBBQA by January 1st of the following year, so that such trophy may be inscribed with the name of the subsequent year’s winner and be presented thereto. Each winning team agrees to maintain the Perpetual Trophy in good condition and agrees to reimburse CBBQA for any loss or damage thereto.
5.7.2 In the event of a tie, the Perpetual Trophy will be shared – each team having possession of the trophy for an equal period of time. If the order in which the trophy is shared cannot be agreed upon by the winning teams, the order will be decided by coin toss by the ToY Commissioner.
5.7.3 In addition to the Perpetual Trophy, CBBQA shall present to the winning teams of each of the 5 categories, a Permanent Trophy which shall remain the property of the winning team. The Permanent Trophy need not be of similar value as the Perpetual Trophy.

6. Miscellaneous

6.1 Annual Rules Review
Each year the BoD votes on any changes to the ToY program at or before its November meeting. The CBBQA welcomes and encourages feedback from its members on the ToY program, including suggestions for changes. All feedback and suggestions will be gathered throughout the year by the ToY Commissioner who will present them to the Board for discussion in advance of the final vote.

6.2 Mid-Year Changes
Mid-year rules changes are strictly prohibited without express notification of the CBBQA members and a full and public vote of the BoD. Mid-year rule changes may include, but are not limited to, necessary clarifications or simple error corrections.

6.3 ToY Commissioner
The BoD will appoint a CBBQA ToY Commissioner each contest year. This appointment will typically be made at the first board meeting of the new contest year. Any CBBQA Member in good standing is eligible for appointment, and those who have expressed interest in this post will receive preference. The ToY Commissioner’s responsibilities include:

  • Keep track of and update all ToY scores throughout the contest year.
  • Publish the current standings and points totals not more than five days after a ToY Event.
  • Keep track of the CBBQA Member Teams and update the page as needed to maintain which teams are eligible to receive ToY/RoY points.
  • Bring to the BoD any issues relating to the ToY contests.
  • Make recommendations to the BoD on changes for future year ToY contests rules or process.
  • Respond to member questions on the rules.
  • No later than the end of October, the ToY Commissioner will present to the Board of Directors all proposed changes for their review. Upon approval, the ToY Commissioner will post, no later than early November, the revised ToY Rules and Requirements, as a draft, on the CBBQA forum (Members Only Section). Membership will have time to read and discuss the revisions. These changes will be voted on or before the November BoD Meeting where the rules and requirements will be adopted.

6.4 Interpreting the Rules
6.4.1 These rules have been written with the intent to foster fun competition between members of the CBBQA and its guests. The spirit of these rules is all about good sportsmanship and fair play.
6.4.2 From time to time there will be circumstances that arise that may not be covered by these rules or the interpretation may be vague. In such cases, a written appeal may be brought to the ToY/RoY Commissioner for clarification. A final written appeal may be brought to the Board of Directors in circumstances where clarification from the Commissioner is not to the petitioner’s liking. All findings of the Board of Directors will be final and the ruling(s) will be documented in these rules for the following years revisions.

New content is being added daily. Check back soon for updates.

Want to be notified when updates are made? Join our mailing list to receive news and notifications regarding our website.