Don't waste your time. Most of the contestents are from the NE which is not exactly known for serious BBQ. They were not friendly and their food is nothing special. This event is also poorly managed. For example, they won't let you taste any of the contestants' food till Sunday afternoon after the judgiing. Basically, the event is a scam for you to buy the overpriced and mediocre products from the vendors who aren't involved in the contest. Stay away!!!
Hmmmmm. If your complaint is that the Q from the vendors isn't up to snuff, that's legit.
If NJ is like NY, the teams CAN'T give away or sell their food to the public unless they have a catering license and have all of the required apparatus with them. Some teams do so on the sly after turn-ins on Sunday, but that is entirely up to them and if given away (as often happens) is done so out of generosity.
Competitive BBQ folk are some of the friendliest that I have ever met, so I'm not sure where that is coming from.
While not everyone's 'Q is up to snuff, the NE has been very well represented at major events such as MiM, the Jack, the Royal and the Huston Livestock and Rodeo. They do quite well against the toughest competition in the nation.