Chism's trademarked motto? "A Little Butt Rub Makes Everything Better."
Chism isn't the only one cashing in big-time. Ray Lampe, a.k.a. Dr. BBQ, also makes his living grilling. He gave up truck-driving, but he's still on the road about eight months a year traveling to tournaments. That's worked out pretty well for him so far. He's won more than 200 awards and more than 10 state championships.
Aside from his book "Dr. BBQ's Big Time Barbecue Cookbook," Lampe sells his Bonesmokers Honey BBQ Sauce and "Dr. BBQ's Crank It Up 13-Pepper Blend." Then he has his sponsorships. Just as you won't see LeBron James wearing Reebok anytime soon, you won't find Lampe cooking on anything that competes with "The Big Green Egg" grill. He also teaches classes and, if his schedule permits, he's available to hire out as a ringer at your next barbecue. It will only cost you $1,500 for two days of cooking, and that's not including transportation or lodging.
"I was once asked to cook a Thanksgiving dinner," Lampe said.
Among the stars on OLN's show is a group of three women amateurs who barbecued their way into the finale. Betsy Coleman, Lana Hall and Alison Murphy call themselves "Squeal of Approval." (Got to be one of the best names in the sport, along with "Dirty Dick's Legless Wonder," "Two Hog Nuts," and "The Staggering Chef."
The "Squeal of Approval" women wear hot pink tie-dyed shirts.
"I actually [stink] at cooking indoors," Coleman said to Page 2.
But outdoors, the "Squeal" can certainly cook a mean chicken, and that means the sponsorship dollars are pouring in. They get free beer from the Boulevard Brewing Co., a microbrewery in Kansas, and free rub from Smokin' Guns BBQ.
If all goes well, they'll be featured in stores soon on cardboard cutouts.
And trading cards could be just around the corner.
Darren Rovell, who covers the competitive eating beat for ESPN and ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.Rovell@espn3.com.