Just send them in anyway - you don't have to be there, just your beer. I sent in 3 entries, but I'm certainly not making the 17+ hour drive just for the awards ceremony. I just want the judging sheets (though I'd happily accept any prizes or medals).
Good luck. Thing is, I was away at work and wasn't going to get any bottled and conditioned in time to send. I thought about asking if I could send them late and be disqualified from the contest simply to get the judges feedback. Had I been home I would have made it but work has a way of creeping up on me unannounced. I'll be more prepared next year for this.
Regarding American Porter, I think the roast character is too subtle to really fall into the porter category. Plus, I don't think that there is an Amercian porter category is there? Could be a good one though.