C) You're not likely to get judges to volunteer for a competition that they were unable to enter. And usually judges are the better brewers, this is true in our area at least. So allow early NHC registration for the judges from the previous year. This will do several things. 1. Motivate the judges to judge at a Round 1 site 2. Motivate non-judges to become judges. 3. Motivate organizer/judges to volunteer to host a Round 1 site. This will increase the Round 1 judge pool and allow you to have an even bigger competition open to everyone.
YES! I like this idea. It would be hard to start but would roll nicely by the second year. So the number of judges is a problem. Its actually the number of GOOD judges that is a problem. If judges got a priority into entering the competition, it may encourage a non-judge (who might make a great judge) to become a judge. What motivation is there to becoming a judge? I did it so that I'd understand the brewing process better and could improve the quality of my homebrew.
Fred Bonjour was on the brewing network last week and shot this idea down because the governing committee wants EVERYONE to have a fair chance. I don't agree with that because it's unrealistic. If there is a lack of help or judges now, then encourage AHA memebers to help/judge so that the competition can continue to grow with the AHA membership.
I really think that this is the easiest fix for a short term goal.
on the other hand, I did sit in front of my computer at work a whole hour before the entry window was up. I sat there reloading the page over and over for a few hours until I got my 15 entries into this years competition. I will not do this again next year and I am sure there are more people with the same intention.