One thing I worry about is the entry fee. I know some want it to be $30 so people limit their entries. I was fine with the increase last year but much higher and I'll just not bother sending entries.
I know they were working on NHC last year, but I hope Philly is a 1st round site this year. Two years ago, they did an excellent job!!
Wow! Would someone actually send in entries if it cost $30 each? That is steep, but clearly the demand is high and the amount of support the AHA can provide to the judges is limited. $15 may be a little low, but $30 is really pushing it. I do think that pricing should be increased to help moderate the demand and allow the AHA to better support the judges that otherwise donate everything to do this 'service' to their fellow homebrewers.
Another thing that I would like to see are incentives for judges to participate in the first round competitions. Incentives such as: reserved entries in next year's competition or reservations to this year's convention (you would still have to pay for them) might be more prized by the judges given the difficulty in getting those slots. These are NO-COST incentives for AHA and they could have an effect on getting more and better qualified judges to the competition sites.