3) I definitely like the service bit. I'm just worried that we'll get all of our 1st round locations flooded with stewards and not judges like the hope is.
This is an idea that I liked. Clearly, we need an adequate number of the best judges we can muster at the first round competition sites and at the final round. Unfortunately, judges don't grow on trees. Stewards are also integral to these competitions, but their trainability and availability are almost infinitely greater. I have a hard time justifying reserving competition slots to stewards, though. In most cases, they can be staffed with local talent. Judges are often needed from far away to adequately staff a competition.
With 750 entries per 1st round site, that suggests that it would be great to have about 75 judges to conduct that competition in a day with moderate strain on the judges (2 judges per flight, about 10 beers per flight, 2 sessions in the day). Stewards would be half to a third of that number. Hmm? maybe that minor number of stewards is not really a big deal.
What is a big deal is making sure that we get highly qualified judges to the competitions. I would love to see every entry judged by at least one Master or National judge. This competition is not the place to have to include novices. In the interest of fairness and the fact that we should get the best judges possible at the tables, I'm hoping that there is a limited number of Competition Service entries that will be allotted to each of the competition sites. Having two high ranked judges and an apprentice or unranked judge helps build experience and a future judging pool, but should that junior judge get a competition entry slot? I agree with Drew that the Competition Committee needs to make sure that the system is not gamed unfairly. Get the best judges to the competition and reward them with this low-cost perk. PS: I still say that these judges should also get an automatic pick to attend the conference if they want it.
By the way, reading the entry limit information, 6 entries is the max and that IS likely to be reduced if the preregistration indicates that the overall number of entries is high. I suppose that the true number could be well less than 6. Do I read that correctly?