Event RULES & Guidelines

 1.        LOCATION:  The Texas Hobo Cook-Off will take place on the grounds of the KOA Kampground in Rusk.   Street address:  745 FM 343 - RUSK, TX - 75785.

 2.      ENTRY FEE:  The 2021 Texas Hobo Cook-Off entry fee is $200.00.  This is a flat-rate fee and covers the team entry regardless of how many of the three IBCA        meat categories (beef brisket, pork spare-ribs, chicken) the team submits plates in.  Teams returning from the 2019 event will receive a discounted entry fee rate of $175.00.  2019 Grand Champion, Allen Freeman (Chickapicow) will receive a complementary entry and 2019 Reserve Champion, Phil Breeden (Lucky Charms) will receive a 50% discounted entry ($87.50).  Longest Haul winner, Del Patterson (2 Boyz BBQ) will receive a 25% discounted entry ($131.25).

 3.      COOK-SITES:  Free standard cook-sites are available in the “Bookdock Area” just outside the park.  HOWEVER, be aware that there is no water, electricity, sewer available in the Boondocks. Boondock spaces will be limited to the standard 40’ x 40’ IBCA cook spaces.  Generators are welcome in the Boondocks and Boondock cookers will be able to purchase day passes to use the showers and pool facilities in the KOA for $8/person/day.

Cooks not wishing to stay in the KOA may camp set up camp for free in the “Boondocks” area (quite a ways from the turn in location). Please understand, rally area sites (with water/elect/sewer) at the KOA are available as low as $30 per night .  In addition, the KOA has created the following sliding scale to discount their regular rates to accommodate our cook-off. 

*  5 – 10 Teams reserving park spaces, everyone receives a 10% discounted rate

*  11-19 Teams reserving park spaces, everyone receives a 15% discounted rate

*  20 & up Teams reserving park spaces, everyone receives a 20% discounted rate

*  Discounts applied at check-in

*  One-night deposit will be placed on your card to reserve your space



*   First register your team to cook:

*   Contact the KOA directly via telephone @ (903) 683-6641.  

 *   Tell the KOA staff that they are registered to cook at the HOBO

*   Give the clerk their entry number (emailed to you upon submission of your online cook-off entry).

 The KOA will apply the HOBO rate at check-in.  Be aware that due to the check-in/check-out times of the KOA overlapping with the cooking schedule, a minimum booking of 2-days will be required. The owner of the KOA lives on site and he & his staff go all out to make sure that our event is exceptional.  The facility has upgraded its electrical capacity, amenities and infrastructure just for our event.  If you have never attended this event, understand that the HOBO is not just your standard parking lot cook-off.

 4.      REGISTRATION PROCESS:  Step 1 - Complete the Online Entry Form (if not staying in the “Boondocks”, proceed to step 2).  Step 2 – Contact the KOA to reserve your camp-site (cook-sites will correspond accordingly with your KOA site reservations).

 5.      REGISTRATION FORM:  All registrations for the HOBO must be submitted online, select the link below to enter.



 6.      ENTRY FEE PAYMENT:  Cooks will have two options for paying their entry fee.  For convenience, we encourage all cooks to pay online via credit/debit card during the registration process.  ONLY CASH WILL BE ACCEPTED @ ON- SITE  (correct change appreciated)

 7.     ENTRY CANCELLATIONS/REFUNDS: Cooks may cancel their entry at any time prior to 12AM, Friday, July 2nd and receive a 100% refund.  Cancellation made on or after this date will not be refunded. (Remember, the purpose of this cook-off is to raise money for the Cherokee County 4-H kids).

 8.     CHECK-IN:  On-site cook-team check-in will run from NOON - 6:00 PM on Friday,  July 2nd and will re-open on Saturday, July 3rd and run from 6:00 AM – 8:00 AM. All cooking teams/pits and equipment must be in their cook-sites and ready to cook by 8:30 AM on July 3rd.

 9.     COOK-TEAM CAP:  Cook team entries will not be capped. However, premium park spaces are limited, as are rally spaces.  Boondock spaces are not limited as we have approximately 10 acres to spread out on.  Register early to get the best spots


     IBCA Categories to be judged are as follows:

>  Chicken (2 half fully jointed chickens - to include wing, breast, thigh & leg, skin intact),

>   9 Pork Spare-Ribs (NO BABYBACKS)

>   9 slices of Beef Brisket.

 Jackpot categories will be:

>   Cook’s Choice (Open-Meat)

>   Dessert (open)

>   Bloody Mary

>   Beans (from dry pinto beans) 

ALL IBCA & JACKPOT entries must be prepared and cooked within the confines of your assigned cook-site (INCLUDING DESSERTS).  All Desserts must be created from a mix or from scratch. No store-bought “heat & serve” desserts will be allowed.  Each Jackpot is 50/50 in nature, meaning 50% of the each jackpot goes directly to the winner with the remaining 50% going to support the Cherokee County 4-H program.

 11.   PIT RULE:  Only one meat entry per meat category per pit and only one team per pit.

 12.   FOOD SAFETY:  Each team is responsible for the safe and proper handling/storage of their meats and supplies.  Meat inspection may or may not be required as per promoter choice.

 13.   PARKING:  All team vehicles (including pits, trailers, campers, etc…) must be parked within the team’s assigned cook-site and in a manner as not to interfere with another cook team’s site or impeding the general flow of traffic.  Hobo promoter and or KOA staff reserve the right to enforce this rule.

 14.   FUEL SOURCE:  Fuel sources for meat categories must be wood or wood-based. Use of gas grills and/or gas cookers of any kind are prohibited in all IBCA meat categories. (Please, save the gas for your beans!)

 15.   COOKING SUPPLIES:  Cook teams must supply all necessary equipment, materials and supplies to meet their own needs (excluding judging containers).

 16.   CLEAN UP:  All cook teams are responsible for keeping their assigned cook-sites clean and tidy at ALL times and also for the final clean-up of said cook-site.  KOA staff does an excellent job of removing trash throughout the event.

 17.   VENDING:  Selling of site-prepared food to the general public from your cook-site is prohibited.  However, teams may offer free samples to the public as they see fit. Teams will also be allowed to set out tip jars but may not require a minimum donation amount.

 18.   COOKS’ MEETING:  The head cook’s meeting will be held on Friday, July 2nd at 6:00 PM @ the Judging Pavilion.

 19.   GENRAL RULES:  The head cook of each team is responsible for the conduct and behavior of his/her team. Quiet time shall be observed from 11 PM, until 7 AM each day of the competition.  LOUD AND/OR INNAPPROPRIATE  MUSIC WILL NOT BE TOLLERATED DURING QUIET TIME!  Only mild-moderate music amplification will be allowed during the cook-off. Cook-off and campground officials will monitor and enforce restrictions on excessive volume and/or inappropriate music selections as needed to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere.  Two (2) warnings will be given for excessive or inappropriate music, mandatory disqualification will occur after the 2nd warning. Let’s keep this fun for everyone! (If your neighbor is complaining, please just turn it down a bit.)   Disqualified teams will receive NO REFUNDS.

 20.   COMMON SENSE:  This is a family-friendly event!  Therefore, excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, public lewdness and/or nudity will not be tolerated on cook-off grounds.  Exercising poor judgment in regards to this rule will result in immediate team disqualification and removal from cook-off grounds. Again, disqualified teams will receive NO REFUNDS.

 21.   DRINKING:  Adult beverages may be consumed and enjoyed on the cook-off grounds in accordance with State Law and KOA policy and are allowed in the “Boondocks”.  However, we ask that you follow the rules and drink responsibly.

 22.   WRISTBANDS:  Cook Teams will receive (4) complementary VIP wristbands based on the number of cooks listed on their respective entry forms.  These bands must be worn at all times during the cook-off and will also grant the wearer complimentary access into any HOBO associated venue or event.

 23.   FIREARMS:  Firearms are prohibited on Texas Hobo Cook-Off grounds except for Law Enforcement Officials and/or as permitted by law to Texas LTC holders in accordance with KOA regulations.

 24.   SANCTIONING:  The Texas Hobo Cook-Off is sanctioned by the IBCA, therefore, it must be facilitated according to IBCA rules.  If you have any questions, please address them to the Head Judge, Lea Anne Lemon.

 25.   BUGGIES:  Golf carts, side-by-sides, 4-wheelers, personal aid scooters are welcomed but all trailers must either be kept in your assigned cook-sites or may be parked in the designated parking area (unsecured).

 26.   WHO SAY, WE SAY: The Texas Hobo Cook-Off grievance committee reserves the right to amend and/or create additional regulations as needed (for the good of the event).  New rules cannot be created without being addressed by a formal grievance.  Any and all decisions rendered by the Hobo Cook-Off Promoter and/or the IBCA Head Judge will be final. Yet again, disqualified teams will receive NO REFUNDS.

 27.   WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO:  Proceeds from the Texas Hobo Cook-Off is are deposited into the General Funds Account of the Cherokee County 4-H Volunteer Leaders' Association (EIN #61-1798200).  From there they are dispersed as needed in support of new 4-H and Youth Development projects, camps, leadership labs and collegiate scholarships.  Remaining funding is set aside each year for seed money for the next Texas Hobo Cook-Off and other fund-raisers.

28.   CYA:  The Texas Hobo Cook-Off is open to all individuals without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, national origin, genetic information or veteran status. The IBCA, The Texas Hobo Cook-Off, The Cherokee 4-H & Youth Development Program, The KOA of Rusk, The City of Rusk and their officials and/or representatives will not be held liable for any accidents, theft or damages to equipment, property or persons competing in and/or attending this event.

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