Is SugarSlam Rigged?

At first I was a little bummed that I even have to write a post like this – but a handful of nasty emails, tweets and comments have forced my hand. Then I realized its actually kind of flattering that anyone would think 1) that I’m enough of a heel to rig a baking competition and 2) that SugarSlam is big time enough to warrant being rigged. So here’s what you should know about SugarSlam:

SugarSlam is Non-Profit

In fact, SugarSlam costs me money to put on each year. This year I was lucky to have Dani contribute some cash to the contest, which helped to pay for the $100+ printing fees for posters, $100+ Facebook advertising fees and the cost of shipping the championship title to the new winner. I don’t even advertise on my site, so I’m not getting any money for all the traffic SugarSlam drives to my site. See those graphics under “Sponsors” on the right side of the site? Those are my friends’ businesses that I promote on my site for free.

SugarSlam Sponsors Donate Everything

Before I do anything to get ready for SugarSlam each year, I hand-pick cool, indie companies and designers and ask them to consider donating a prize to SugarSlam. Many of them do so simply because they love the idea of a pro-wrestling-themed bake off. Others hope that a few of you will click links to their sites and maybe buy something. But the cost of whatever prize they offer and shipping it to the winner(s) all comes out of their pockets.

I am Not a Judge

Nor have I ever been. When I put on the first SugarSlam in 2008 I immediately saw that there was going to be a conflict of interest if I judges – all the entries were from my friends! So I asked CM Punk to take on the task, and being a true heel, he chose a cupcake dedicated to himself. Oh, and incase you were wondering, the “grand” prize was a book of photos I’d taken, signed by Punk.

How the Judges Choose a Winner

I based his process on the way the winner of Threadcakes is chosen – each judge chooses his or her top five picks in rank order. The number one pick receives 5 points, number two pick 4 points, etc, down to the number five pick receiving 1 point. When all three judges send me their picks, I tally up the points. Last year Melissa’s Gorilla Monsoon cake scored a perfect 15 points, being the top pick of all three judges.

This year, two of the judges selected Nicole’s Kane piece as their top pick, while another ranked it number three (13 points) while Melissa’s Jake the Cake was ranked #1 by one judge, and number two by the others (13 points). I turned once again to my friend Punk. I sent him both photos and both descriptions – no names. I told him they were tied, and asked him to choose the one he felt deserved the title. He chose Nicole, and the tie was broken.

People bitched because at one point, early on in the competition, judge Justin Howard and myself encouraged Nicole to enter the contest via Twitter. I think it’s important to know that all of the judges and myself encouraged MANY people to enter the contest. Here’s another shocker for you, I personally invited two of my friends to enter via YouTube and they didn’t win!

So clearly, being invited to enter the contest by myself or any of the judges does not effect the outcome of the contest, nor does it sway the opinion of CM Punk, who ultimately broke the tie.

People’s Choice is Really Annoying

For last year’s contest I added a People’s Choice Award, and I have been regretting it ever since. Whereas I thought this would be a fun way to give another contestant a shot at victory, it turned out to be a giant popularity contest. I won’t name names, but if you go back and look through the 2011 gallery and posts you’ll see votes for some truly busted cakes. Not only that, but I was allowing people to vote on Flickr and on my blog, so I had to spend hours upon hours sorting through them all and tallying them up and trying to sort out the fakes and duplicates from the rest.

In the end, though, several of the contestants with low-scoring designs rallied around a design by the gal who ended up winning – Jessy. I thought it was really cool to see contestants actually telling their friends, “Don’t vote for my cake, vote for hers!” This year someone complained that I went to Jessy’s victory party last year, so please allow me to clear that up. Yes, I do know Jessy in real life. Most heavily tattooed moms in the Chicago area know each other, it’s a fact. She invited me to her victory party, which was part of her prize package, and I went. I don’t know this year’s champion Nicole, but she is also receiving a party as part of her prize and if she invites me, I will go to that too. So having me at your party after you have already won either because the judges or the people have voted for you, does not effect the outcome of the contest.

Why are There 15 Finalists?

As I sort of implied earlier, people will do almost anything to win free stuff. Even if it means pathetically cheating in a bake off. Originally I’d planned on selecting the five top-scoring designs from the Flickr gallery, and holding a final contest among those here on my site. However, when I started tallying up points (re-read the rules for voting here) there were dozens and dozens of comments that did not qualify. I actually considered disqualifying a few cakes because they had clearly been posting multiple comments from the same IP address, and in some cases, they didn’t even bother to change their user name to do so. 57 comments from WWEgurl4Evr, really? I’ll count one of those and delete the rest.

It got to the point where multiple entries were tied with the same amount of what I could only assume were valid votes. I couldn’t have five finalists because there were sets of two and three cakes that all had the same amount of points. So in the end, I included the 15 entries with the highest number of (what I hope are) valid votes. The final votes are being tallied on my site, automatically, by a plug-in that hopefully keep voting honest.

So that being said, please go vote for your favorite finalist! All of the contestants worked really hard and I wish they could all win prizes. Oh and FYI, I’ve never heard of the people who made the entries that are currently in places 1-4, so please don’t disrespect people I don’t even know with false accusations of cheating on my part.

Will There Be a SugarSlam IV?

I don’t know. I’m really sad about all the negativity surrounding this one. I created this contest to celebrate two of my favorite things, and up until this year it’s been awesome. All of the sudden people are accusing me of rigging it (what exactly I’m getting out of rigging the contest no one can seem to explain to me) and accusing the judges of being unfair. It’s just crappy. Not only is it rude to me, considering all the time and money I put into this thing, but it’s crazy disrespectful to everyone who enters and to our winners. Finally, the prize sponsors put their money and products on the line to give the winners something really cool to show for all their hard work – and when people are throwing around cheating accusations, it’s really cruddy for them.

Look, if I was going to rig the contest, the Sheikie Baby’s Hulk Hogan Raisin Balls would have won. That was my personal favorite entry and I am still considering sending the person who made it a t-shirt because it made me laugh. But the contest isn’t rigged, so let’s move on, shall we?

Thank you to all of this year’s judges, sponsors, contestants and fans.

– Natalie

21 Comments

  1. Maybe people might have expected Jack Tunnel to oversee the judging? On a serious note why would you right the contest in the first place? What’s the advantage of doing that? To borrow a phrase from Sgt Hulka for all those complaining, “Calm down, Francis.”

  2. i hardly pay attention to this contest…mostly because i’m not creative enough to win it….but reading this bullshit really “chaps my ass”, seriously people need to get over themselves…it’s an awesome thing you do and i love that you continue to promote it, even when it’s bumming you out. i would have given it the one, two boot with the first complaint e-mail i got, plus firebombed whomever sent it to me. you rule, people suck and it’ll continue on that way for forever. love you

  3. I don’t think you need to explain anything!
    The whole process was visible and clear from start to finish.
    Pay no attention to the idiots, you organised a fun, celebratory events with the help and support of good friends.
    As a lover of cake and pro wrestling I sure as hell appreciated it. I wish I had the skills to create cakes like that but mine would probably look like a splattered Jerry Lawler after his recent pummelling.
    Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  4. I can’t believe you’ve had to write this. Of all the things to accuse you of! Rigging? Cheeky beggars and I am being polite there. Have you blocked the tweeters? Have you sent suitably worded emails back or were they bounced because the people were too scared to tell you their name Some people would try and cause trouble in a neutral zone.

    My cake was crap I admit but I had great fun baking it, the hot weather and icing just made my life more difficult. I wanted to take part because I like you, you are honest and for me I beleive in supporting great people and its an usuual competition. I have voted for the cakes which I like, there are some which I think are awesome. I didn’t get anywhere near the standard but hey, surely its the taking part that counts. Or am I just alone in that. Congrats to everyone who entered and those of us who didn’t win were beaten by better cakes! END OF.

    I hope the idiots don’t put you off doing this next you although I would not blame you if you decided not to have SugarSlam IV. And if any of the haters and negative posters are reading this, if you haven’t got better things to do then bugger off !

  5. I don’t know you, and I don’t even remember how I started obsessively following you, but this just makes me sad. I took part in sugar slam and your apron contest last year, and it was so much fun that I totally didn’t care that I lost. (And I even injured myself making my cupcake entry!) It seems like a lot of people are REALLY missing the point. Way to ruin a light-hearted good time, jerks!

  6. Well. I am pretty sure you already got enough positive feedback (if not: shame on you guys!) but in any case I want to utter my opinion and hope it will do something good.

    You certainly know how people are: Most of them cannot account for ONE original thought in their life. And even those who can, often lack the guts to go after that one thought, especially if it is something creative, something out of the box, like you do. Then their jealousy gets the best of them and they tear apart something beautiful because they cannot stand the fact that they cannot pull off anything similar. And on top of your brilliant and fun idea you also can talk to The Best in the World?! Come on! Everybody who is criticizing you has ENVY written all over their faces 😉

    I understand that you consider whether you do this contest again next year or if you just let it go. The thing is: Do you really want them to have so much power? Their lurid accusations only reflect their shortcomings, not anything you actually did wrong. What they are throwing at you is their problem, not yours (and by this, I quote The Scary Guy). Those enviers probably were also there when you started the contest. Social media – as great as they may be – simply encourages people to publish each and every thought they have, mainly resulting in complete bull.

    It would make me very sad to see somebody who is as inspiring as you are, dedicated, and visionary, lose (some of) their drive because of some ignorants who simply want to throw you off for throwing off’s sake.

    I understand that you need some time to get past all the hate thrown at you over the last couple of months. But I really hope that you will be back next year and give the people the opportunity to share and participate in these incredible loving tributes to wrestling.

    Love from Germany!

    Ines

  7. Simple Jealousy.

  8. I just wanted to thank you all for your supportive comments. I was feeling a bit like taking my ball and going home, but you’ve reassured me that not everyone thinks ill of my little project. I’m going to take everything everyone has said – good and bad – into consideration for next year’s contest. Maybe there just won’t be a People’s Choice and we’ll post the judge’s score cards on the site. We’ll see. Thank you again!

  9. Hey Natalie,
    I think SugarSlam was a great idea and the time and effort was worth it all the way. It has inspired people to bake and be creative, don’t let haters get you down. Their jealousy should drive you and us readers to accomplish even more in the coming years :)
    Julia

  10. I, like other posters here, was also an entrant this year and I wasn’t a finalist in either the main competition or the people’s choice, but I had a blast coming up with and making my entry. I hate it when I see fun and creative things like SugarSlam get turned into grand quests for free stuff by jackasses who bitch ad nauseum when they don’t win. Jeebus man, it’s just frickin cupcakes and raisin balls not the Nobel prize. I fully intend to shape up and make it to the finals next year, providing that douche nozzles haven’t ruined it for everyone.

  11. Maybe next year instead of “People’s Choice” have a Runner Up prize for the cake that comes in 2nd place and then a small little something for honorable mention for that one special entry that may not be as visually impressive but has the most heart.

    Just my 2 cents since people’s choice does seem like a nightmare. Not calling anybody out- but the prizes should go to the best cakes, not to the people who shill the hardest or figured out how to delete cookies and / or use proxies.

  12. I would like to send the people who are trying to ruin this fun event a giant bag of shiny rubber dicks. Because apparently something is missing in their life that they need to take it out on this fun contest. I really hope these douche canoes don’t ruin the fun for the masses who enjoy not only entering, but being a humble observer to all the amazeballness that is created. Don’t let a bunch of prize happy knob gobblers get ya down Natalie.

  13. I can say I honestly look forward to SugarSlam. I never enter but I always enjoy seeing all the creativity people put into their submissions. For people to say the contest was rigged is annoying because they wouldn’t be saying that if what they submitted won. I think they are just using any excuse instead of just admitting defeat and trying again with even more kick ass ideas. They just want to take the fun out of something that is enjoyable for the majority. You rule Natalie and so does SugarSlam.

  14. I just wanted to let you know, that I love this contest. I didn’t submit an entry (but I want to in the future, if you hold it again!)

    My family and I voted for fan favorite and we loved laughing at all the cute ideas! Thanks for putting something really positive on the internet for people to rally behind. As for the other people who had negative things to say … I hope they find their own happiness in life.

  15. I say if people’s choice is so stressing you should remove it. I didn’t get a chance to participate this year, but I hope you bring it back next year so I can make a super tasty sweet sugar monstrosity. :-)

  16. Glad to see you posted everyone’s comments 😉

  17. Typical. Someone takes the time to create something awesome for the world and a handful of nerf herders lame up the joint with their sucky powers of bitchy douchyness. Chin up Natalie. Even if you decide not to run SS next year we’ll still think you’re the coolest kid in school.

  18. It’s truly pathetic that people feel the need to trash everyone else’s hard work. I’ll take a stab in the dark, but I bet anything that many of the people complaining didn’t even enter SugarSlam.
    People today fail to grasp the notion of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s easy to hide behind their computer screens and hurl nasty comments around. Not everyone can win and people need to accept that and get on with their lives.
    A similar thing happened with Inked Australia Magazine’s Miss Inked 2013 where the Editor was abused by girls who didn’t make the Top 10. Whatever happened to being gracious in defeat?
    There’s already enough negativity directed towards people who like wrestling without us turning on each other. The creativity and talent of the SugarSlam entrants blows my mind every year. It would be such a shame if the contest didn’t run next year.

  19. Wow. People have turned to cheating in a baking contest. Really?
    I freaking love Sugarslam, I could never decorate a cake to the standard some of these guys do and the creativity is amazing, really a cake of Punks arse? Who even thinks of such awesomeness?
    Anyone who thinks this is rigged clearly has no,or little ability to decorate & bake a cake .

  20. Ah, that sucks. You’re just doing a cool, fun thing, but haters gonna hate, I guess. I really hope you do it again next year – even if I ONCE AGAIN fail to get off my ass and enter, I really love seeing what people come up with.

    (OT, but I did not realize most heavily tattooed moms in Chicago know each other…I mostly have other moms sidle away at the playground. I need to move to a cooler neighborhood!)

  21. I love Sugar Slam and wish there were more contests like it. Baking has always been a hobby of mine, but I don’t get the chance to make what some may consider “odd cakes” very often. Even when these creative things get do made, I feel as if I don’t have anyone to show them to, or learn from. Also, I wish there was someone around to help me eat the stuff (seriously, trying to lose weight). It is a ton of work on your part I am sure, but know that at least I, and others, appreciate your efforts.

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