Smoking Contest Preparation

We have provided the following information to guide you through the essentials of preparing to participate in slow smoke competition.
With a little practice, you should be able to increase your time significantly. Each link will display a page on that phase of preparation.
GOOD LUCK!

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Checking the Pipe-1

First you will receive your contest pipe and an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper.

     
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Checking the Pipe-3

A pipe cleaner should fit all the way through the stem and into the bowl.

     
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Preparing the Tamper-1

Now you will be issued your tamper, tobacco and two matches.
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Preparing the Tamper-3

With the tamper fully inserted mark a line all the way around, even with the top of the bowl.

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-1

First fold the paper in half.

* You must wait for the signal from the judges before you open the tobacco. Contestants will have FIVE MINUTES to prepare the tobacco and load the pipe.

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-3

Place some tobacco in the palm of your hand. Make sure your hands are dry as possible at this point.

 

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-5

Rub the tobacco off your hands on to the paper. Keep all the tobacco on the paper, don't let any get away. 

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-7

The tobacco is now ready to load in the pipe.

You should be around the 4 minute mark. The judges will keep advising you of the time. 

     
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Loading the Pipe-2

Tamp it down occasionally to get a good pack. Not too tight, but not too loose either.

     
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Loading the Pipe-4

Pick up the paper and fold up the sides, getting the tobacco in the crease. Ah, now you see the reason for the fold.

Hurry now, time is running out! 

     
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Loading the Pipe-6

Make a final tamp and observe how far it is to the lines on the tamper. There's a lot to smoke! Looks like our contestant has left some tobacco on the paper. Once the judge calls "time", nothing more can be added to the bowl.

 
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Checking the Pipe-2

Check the pipe carefully, making sure the draft hole is open.

     
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Checking the Pipe-4

Check the position of the of the draft hole.

If you are not satisfied with your pipe, you may request a replacement.

     
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Preparing the Tamper-2

Put your tamper to the bottom of the bowl, push hard and rotate. This will round the edge of the tamper slightly, comforming to the shape of the bowl. Turn the tamper around do the the same for the other end. This will allow your tamper to go that extra millimeter deeper to compact the last bit of tobacco when you get to the very end.

   
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Preparing the Tamper-4

Invert the tamper and mark the other end as well.

Your tamper is now ready for use. These marks will allow you to see how much tobacco you have left as you smoke.

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-2

Empty the package of tobacco on the paper.

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-4

Crush, rub, grind, roll the tobacco in your palms to break up the big chunks. Try to get the tobacco to a small grain, uniform size.

The 5 minute clock is running!

     
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Preparing the Tobacco-6

This is why dry hands are important. Leaving this much tobacco could cost you the contest.

Moisture may also adversely affect the lighting and burning characteristics.

     
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Loading the Pipe-1

Start picking up the tobacco and loading the pipe.

     
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Loading the Pipe-3

Make sure you get it all. Near the end you'll have a lot of fine grains of tobacco. You'll want these on top as "tinder" to get a good light.

     
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Loading the Pipe-5

Make a funnel with your hand and pour in the last little bit of tobacco.

     
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When the judges and contestants are ready,
you'll hear that famous announcement:
Smokers, Light Your Pipes!!
You have one minute to light your pipe using one or both matches. If a match breaks or does not light immediately raise your hand for a replacement.

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