Now that all 50 states allow homebrewing....... I wonder if this would not be something worthwhile for the AHA to pursue. I think all of us know that "technically" we maybe should not be shipping alcohol. I wonder if AHA could ever work with UPS or FED EX, and states that may or may not prohibit alcohol shipping/delivery so that homebrewers could ship beer for judging on more than a "Don't ask/Don't tell" basis...... which seems to be the sort of unwritten rule of at least my UPS shipper.
For your specific situation.... I agree - find out the facts if it could really impact your entire livelihood. Or......... do you have someone who would ship it and it would not endanger their job or livelihood if somehow the worst situation arose and they became someone prosecuted for shipping a few bottles of homebrew to a competition...... has anyone ever actually been charged or gotten in trouble for this???
Definitely don't do it if it could really impact your life to that extreme.
I've never had to tell so FedEx have never asked. Mind you, I have a FedEx account and prep the shipment from home (including weighing and labels etc) so all I do is drop the box off at the local store and it's good to go. Generally when it's already packed up like that they don't give it a second thought.