I'm a member of the 1997 Club Of The Year.
it was accomplished with less than 20 members...times have sure changed, eh?!
2014 we finished 5th in COTY. Only clubs ahead of us were national, giant, a collection of award-winning PNW brewers, and very large. Only club to win 4 medals; only two others got 3. Yet we were light years away from COTY points-wise.
So we had aimed for Gambrinus instead. Finished close 2nd, way ahead of 3rd place, and would have won, if some brand-new brewers hadn't insisted on entering poor batches. (Whatever; I can't exactly bar them from entering.) Next year we'll try for Gambrinus again.
Club Of The Year? Whatever - we don't have a chance, so we don't care. It's too bad, because the COTY award WAS one we were proud of.
My HOPE is that the other large clubs will dissolve into small ones, to try for Gambrinus. I would argue that QUAFF coming close is actually dragging this out. Once BN is winning COTY by a factor of 5 over every other club, it'll eventually go away. Same goes for if BN no longer entered and QUAFF was dominating - that wouldn't have meaning either.
P.S. - I'm taking applications if any Midwest superclubs are forming and recruiting.