he differences between the two KCBS charts
If you started your first steps into the world of competitive KCBS BBQ or even more simply, you came across this blog, leafing through some post-specific, such as our last interview with Richard Wagers, There might be encountered in a particular that there will be appeared as curious: very often the evaluation on the season of a KCBS European team is not made according to one ranking but two, the TOY and EBCC. If there you were to be asked the sense of this, this article is for you.
Let’s start by saying that within the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the true reference chart is since many years the Team of the Year, that TOY stands for. By now you know, as I also said before, the Americans like statistics and the way the TOY is exactly that: in a competitive circuit that was getting bigger (the KCBS sanctions over 450 events in the only US) happened that teams that rarely met on the competition field because they are too far apart, boasted at the end of the season a number of similar victories, or even the same. So who was the best? It needed a tool that concurs on the merits of the individual competitions and attributes a score to the performance of the teams, fueling an overall ranking. Thus it was born the TOY, open to anyone with an active membership, which according to a precise mechanism takes into account the best ten competitions for each team. The one who at the end of the year will have the best ten competitions, will be the team of the year.
The problem for us Europeans is that although the circuit is growing at an exponential rate, the number of events is still ridiculous when compared to the American one. The context is also completely different: in the US barbecue is an economically important sector in which there are sponsorships that allow the most talented team to become professionals, people living with competitive barbecue, competing 45 weeks a year and the TOY is a tool designed just for them. The comparison is stark: in Europe the team can support ten competitions per year are very few and even for most of those few, the ten best coincide in practice with all those seasonal. For a European team it is therefore extremely difficult to place themselves well in the world TOY.
On the free initiative of KCBS European delegation in 2014 has born the European BBQ Challenge Cup, or EBCC, that misures the best three competitions carried out in Europe by each European team, defining a decidedly more reachable target. Realizing the need unmet, the mother house decides to run for cover, setting up last year a TOY entirely dedicated to Europe, in which the reference parameter descends from the top best 10 to the top best 5 competitions of the year.
Well, you may say, why keeping two if now so little changes? The answer is that the judging criteria of the two classifications are very different and they highlight different aspects of team performance.
The EBCC makes of simplicity its point of strength and it limits itself to measure the three best scores of the season. The advantage is definitely as mentioned, to allow to understand their team score just giving a quick look at the Score Sheet, besides the fact of rewarding those who objectively provides the best performances. Its limit instead is to not completely consider the context in which the competitions are carried out. It is a small competition? Big? With an high average score or low? And so on. To understand: last season one of the three scores that for months has contributed to our ranking has come form Italian Barbecue Championship, which is by far our worst performance of the year, simply because the average score was very high and we had taken a good score despite we placed very bad. A bit ‘counterintuitive.
The TOY is decidedly more complex. Its main limitation is cumbersome: after the competition to see your score you need a table in the left hand and a calculator in the right. The advantage, however, is the great meritocratic ability: each team in each competition receives one point for each participant (up to 35 teams) as well as a score to grow depending on the placement, basing on a table. Also to be clear: the larger is the event in which you participate and better your results will be rewarded and your score is by the placement and no longer by the competition score, and where the difference between a third and a second place will be much larger than that between a tenth and ninth.
The EBCC probably rewards more absolute performance, while the TOY constancy of results. Next week, after the delightful prologue of WEST, and after two months of detention, we takes up the season in Wels, in Austria and of course we’re beginning again to measure ourselves with both the EBCC ranking and the TOY. Which you prefer?