A few weeks ago I went to the Ego Clash, an invitation-only hash and flower competition hosted by 3rd Gen Family Farms in Mendocino California. Aside from having the most self-aware name of any pot competition, the Ego Clash has a contestant-based judging process that makes it one of the most interesting contests for small farmers and hash heads. I ran into Brandon, owner of 3rd Gen, while seeking shelter from the rain under the overhang of a barn and asked him how the event was going. “We’ve been doing this for three years and I think it’s going pretty well” he said. Brandon started the event because he wanted to see a competition that made sense to him.
One would be hard-pressed to find mids here, the level of these growers and hashmakers is unreal. It is free to attend and compete with an invitation. The categories are flower, bubble hash, rosin and hydrocarbon. There are head judges for each category, but everyone who enters is also a judge. For example the bubble hash judging was led by Cuban Grower, and was conducted by all the bubble hash contestants together. “Don’t be the guy who says everything but their own stuff is garbage,” said Cuban, emphasizing that everyone was there for an honest competition. As the hashmakers settled down to some tables in a converted barn, he instructed them not to give a bad score simply because the smell wasn’t their personal favorite, “judge it on what it is” he said. Once the judging started, a rope was placed to divide entrants from onlookers, and a long process of very serious dabbing began.
The flower judging was a little more open to non-contestants. I was able to inspect some entries, even smoke with the judges while they filled-in their score cards. Having such a transparent judging process is unusual for these types of contests and honestly I liked it. In a sense, the fact that each judge is inherently biased toward their own stuff is the strength of the system. If everyone is in it for themselves then the group can’t be swayed to favor one thing over the other.
If the Ego Clash continues to succeed rumor has it they will expand to Europe. If they do it will be because of the quality of the competition. Everyone at the Ego Clash is there because they love weed and they want to see who has the best smoke. While the cannabis industry changes becoming more and more corporate, it is nice to see a group of people who just love pot getting together and hashing it out.