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2015 Pipe Competition

In researching “Official Long Pipe Smoking Competition” rules, it seems there are a few ways of hosting such an event.

Some groups provide the tobacco, the tamper, the tools and even the pipe itself.  Different clubs give different amounts of tobacco, or ban certain smoking techniques.   Since the purpose of this competition is fun, I will be setting up the ground rules slightly differently.

Although I agree there is the need for some consistency, I feel this type of challenge likens itself well to golf.  

I would not ask a golfer to purchase the same clubs as everyone else simply to participate in a long ball competition.  
Nor would I require all golfers swing right handed.

Everyone has their own preferred equipment, their own style, and their own technique.  
That’s probably why this type of competition appeals to be so much.

So, without further delay, I would like to outline for you:

The 4th Stem & Briar Pipe Smoking Competition

Sponsored by the Goat Shed!


It is my hope that this will be a great time for pipe smokers to come together and, well, enjoy a pipe or two.  
The idea is to talk, smoke and enjoy!  There also be some food and drink available!

You will need to bring: 
  • You’re pipe of choice.  Makes sense!  You’ve been training on it so, bring your best!

  • Your tamping tools.

You will be provided:
  • Tobacco (3.0 grams).  I am currently narrowing down the exact blend.

  • A clean sheet of paper (8.5 x 11).  This is your place-mat for preparation.

  • 1 wooden tamper.  This will be used to help gauge your remaining tobacco.

  • 1 pencil, to mark your tamper with.

  • 1 pipe cleaner to be used at the start of the competition.

  • 2 official matches.

The Setup:
  1. You will receive all the items listed above except the tobacco. 

  2. Everyone should check their pipe over prior to competition.  You’ll want to make sure you have a good open draft hole along with a clean stem and shank.  A pipe cleaner should have no issue passing through the length of your pipe.

  3. You’ll need to prepare your wooden tamper.  The ends will be rounded to allow it to seat completely in the bottom of your bowl.  If it doesn’t do this, raise your hand and a new one will be handed out.  Once the tamper is fully inserted in the pipe, mark a line with the pencil even with the top of the bowl.  Rotate the tamper and repeat this for the other end.  The purpose of this is to help you and other gauge how much smoking material you have left.  Remember every last bit of tobacco can count!

  4.  At this point, you will be given your tobacco.  Everyone with receive 3.0 grams of the same tobacco.

The Preparation:
  1. After the appropriate signal from the judges, participants will have 5 MINUTES to prepare the tobacco.

  2. First fold the paper in half, and empty the package of tobacco on the paper.  The folded paper will help to load the pipe and make sure that even the smallest amount of tobacco isn’t wasted.  This can be a competition won by seconds!

  3. Break up the larger chucks of tobacco by whatever means you see fit until you have everything small and uniform in size (Note: dry hands are recommended).

  4. Once you are ready to load your pipe, place it down in front of you, and wait for the signal.

The Procedure:

  1. After the appropriate signal from the judges, participants will have 2 MINUTES to load your pipe.

  2. Tamp your pipe as you see fit, hopefully using every grain of pipe tobacco in the process.

  3. After 2 minutes, the judges will call time.  At this point nothing can be added or modified to your packed pipe.

  4. Once everyone is ready, the lighting will begin! You will have 1 MINUTE and 2 MATCHES to light your pipe.   If a match breaks or does not light immediately raise your hand for a replacement.

For added fun, and to keep even the novice pipe smoker engaged till the end, additional matches can be used.  These will be counted at the end of the competition, and for every match used, 5 MINUTES will be deducted to your time.  It’s up to you to decide whether a match will get you more than 10 minutes of puffing.

Other Rules:
  • No pipe cleaner use is allowed during the competition.
  • The winner is the one that keeps the pipe lit the longest.
I expect the actual competition portion to last between 60 and 90 minutes.

Photo above taken from "Big Men On Campus"