RE: First Competition as a CBJ
Congrats! :D The first one is definately a learning experience.
I always get to the events around 8a.m. and wander around and visit - talkign to the teams is NOT forbidden - some a-holes think you can rig a contest like that but most understand.
In FBA they keep us away from the competitors after about 9 or 9:30 when we usually have the judge's meeting!
It is amazing to do post-mortems after each catagory - as you noted "spice" is a topic with a lot of judges.
My recommendation is judge as often as you can - get to know the teams. Visit early and, of course, after the turnins - that judge's badge and the fact that you cook que will open a lot of doors and beer bottles! :D
Southern Brethren BBQ Competition Team
"It's all about getting paid!" - Myron Mixon
"I love being hated in my hometown!" - David Hair
KingFisher Gator Rotisserie cooker, WSM, Stainless 5 burner with IR gas grill, Turkey Fryer, Weber JD Commemorative grill, slightly used Bandera chamber for future use as a cold smoker, Masterbuilt 40" insulated ELECTRIC smoker