I'm curious to hear if others met with similar panels in other NHC regionals,
I can only tell you of my experience judging in Denver. As an inexperienced judge (was unranked at comp time, now am "recognized" and awaiting another exam score from test in March to see if I make grade to become "certified"), I was paired with no less than a National judge or extremely experienced brewer (he had his PhD in Brewing Science from University of Brussells...which was awesome for me....and might have also been national but who cares at that point). I would guess that Denver has a nice collection of National ranked folks to make this a reality, but my guess is that the organizers make the best pairings they have avaliable and many non-bjcp folks are known to the organizers through club functions to be qualified homebrewers. Rarely does someone get conscripted off the street except in dire emergency.
Taking tests is not everyone's bag....I know i hate doing it, and will be reluctant to shoot for another higher rank again no matter how much experience I have.
So, it is more likely than not your judges weren't complete newbies, or NY at worst had a dire situation and needs more qualified volunteers (that are willing). If the sheets were of poor quality, that could be an issue, but rank has little to do with how conscientious the taster is at that moment, nor how many beers he/she had been through before yours in flight and in earlier session(s), too. Some of the best comments I got from my beers this year were from the less experienced judges...best as in understandable, constructive, and helpful....not that I liked all of what they had to say.
My experience has led me to believe that beer judging is some of the hardest drinking you'll ever do (not in quantity)....it is just a difficult practice.