Team Rules & Registration

Team Registration!           Register TODAY!

To purchase a T-shirt or Gumbo Art Poster click below


event location & team space

The event is located at Festival Plaza (Upper Pavilion Area) on Crockett Street between Market and Spring Street in downtown Shreveport. Each team will have a 10 x 10 tented space. There will be additional room behind the tented area for storage.  Teams are encouraged to decorate their area with a theme to attract more attention and encourage a fun environment. Two tables and Two chairs per team will be provided and teams must furnish their cooking equipment including gas cookers. Electricity and shared sinks will be available.


Supplied Items

VYJ will provide sampling cups, spoons and napkins. VYJ will not provide rice. Supplies will be provided during the mandatory team meeting Saturday morning. Additional supplies will be available at the RED BUILDING on site and VYJ volunteers will be coming around with additional supplies throughout the event.


Gumbo must be prepared on-site.  There are 3 categories for judging: Seafood, Chicken & Sausage and Lagniappe. Lagniappe will consist of any gumbo that does NOT fall into Seafood or Chicken and Sausage.  The  Roux must be made from scratch on-site. Do not use powdered or jar roux. Other ingredients, such as protein, veggies and stock may be prepared in advance. Spices and secret ingredients may be used for seasoning purposes.

Teams must prepare a minimum of 8 gallons of gumbo and provide your own rice. Teams must bring their own ladles for serving gumbo. Teams are required to provide samples (approx. ¼ cup) of their gumbo to the public (in the provided cups). Teams will collect TWO tickets for each sample given.

Team Captains

Each team will designate a team captain, who is responsible for seeing that each assigned area is kept clean and that the judging sample is taken to the appropriate area. The Team Captain will be required to attend the MANDATORY team meeting Saturday morning at 8:00 am in the Hospitality Room.  Rules and important details will be discussed and each team will receive their supplies.   Teams are responsible for their own garbage and should dispose of the garbage in the designated cans in the cook-off area.


Check in and set up begins at 5:00 am. Please check in with the Gumbo Teams Chairperson. Teams must have their areas ready to go by 11:30 a.m. The Cook-Off will be open to the public at noon and sampling will begin at that time.

Judging Process

Our judging process is double-blind.  Containers for judging gumbo will be provided by VYJ at the mandatory team meeting. Team captains will be responsible for ensuring their team’s gumbo is at the judging station at the designated time (details provided during Mandatory Team Meeting). The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at approximately 4:00 p.m.  The top 10 teams will be displayed after the ceremony.

Judging Criteria

Appearance: has a good gumbo roux color appropriate to the category of gumbo
Aroma: should smell appetizing
Consistency: stirs like a good gumbo (thickness of base, etc.)
Texture: balanced quantity of ingredients.
Flavor: tastes like a well-balanced gumbo, pleasing to the palate
Cooking conditions are subject to inspection.

The People’s Choice is chosen based on the most coins received by the team.  These coins can be purchased with a donation to VYJ.  (REMEMBER this is a fundraiser for VYJ.)

The Team Spirit and Best Booth awards will be judged by team attitude (HAVE FUN!), booth decoration, team costumes or any other form of team flair you can imagine.

Failure to follow these rules will be grounds for disqualification. The Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators Cook-off Planning Committee and Representatives of VYJ reserve the right to make additional regulations as situations warrant. All times stated in these regulations are subject to change. Gumbo Teams will be notified if changes are made. Decisions of the committee and judges are final.


Awards will be given in the following categories:

Judges’ Awards:

  • 1st Place Seafood – $400, plaque, team medals & free 2021 team registration
  • 1st Place Chicken/Sausage – $400, plaque, team medals & free 2021 team registration
  • 1st Place Laginappe – $400, plaque, team medals & free 2021 team registration
  • 2nd and 3rd place winners announced in each category- Trophy, team medal & reduced 2021 team registration

People’s Choice:

  • 1st Place – $250
  • 2nd and 3rd place winners announced

Team Spirit: Trophy

Best Booth: Trophy

Requirements & Safety Guidelines

  • Limited glass bottles and/or glass containers will be allowed in the cook-off area.
  • A minimum of 8 gallons of each gumbo entered must be prepared.
  • Teams may listen to their own music before the event starts but after noon, no music may be played by teams. There will be a DJ or band playing music for the entire festival area.
  • Other than gumbo, no outside food or drinks may be sold to the public by gumbo teams. VYJ will provide concessions for sale during this event.
  • Please make sure your area is clean and all trash has been removed from your site before leaving. Please have your area vacated by 7:00 p.m.
  • VYJ has the right to refuse or accept any application.

Registration Fee

Registration is $100 per team  with an additional $25 fee to enter each additional category (quantity rules apply for each gumbo entered).

Early Setup

Early setup is an additional $25 per team. You will be able to decorate, drop off equipment, and get organized on Friday, March 20th between 4:00-6:00 pm. Please note that NO food preparation is allowed prior to Saturday morning


Registration and payment must be received by March 5, 2020. There will be no refund for cancellation.

Volunteers for Youth Justice, its officers, agents, employees and other representatives shall not be held liable for, and they are hereby released from liability for, any damages, loss, harm or injury to the person or property of the cook-off, any of its officers, agents, employees or other representatives, resulting from theft, fire, water, weather, accident or other cause. Cook-off participants hold VYJ harmless from any claims, demands, suits, liability, damages, loss costs, attorney fees and expenses of whatever kind or nature, which might result from or arise from any action or failure to act on the part of the cook-off participant or any of its officers, agents, employees or other representatives.


October 31, 2020

Festival Plaza - Shreveport, LA

Annual Fundraiser for Volunteers for Youth Justice