The annal BBQcontest held at the Ulster county, NY, fairgrounds is a sanctioned event, but most, if not all, the contestants are amateurs or , at best, semi-pro. I guess there’s not enough prize money to attract the pros. There are a half dozen vendors selling BBQ and other items, but it is still possible to get some freebies at the cooking locations.
I guess the NYState laws are in effect as to requiring a license or permit of contestants to vend, even free, to the public, but they seem to be unenforced or laxly enforced. Some contestants don’t exactly offer any freebies – they just leave pans of the stuff out on a counter with forks spoons, etc. conveniently displayed. Some contestants virtually hawk there product and are delighted to share it and talk BBQ with anyone who comes along.