Saying you cook in a bunch of unsanctioned comps and then talking about how serious you are is quite the dichotomy, no?
And I'll ask again, if appearance has nothing to do with the three items you quoted, WHY use Tender Quick on a hot and fast cook?
You've already answered the question, here: If you put a thick coat of rub on, you will get a minuscule smoke ring when cooking H&F.
SO...you are worried about the appearance.
You can't pass judgement on a sanctioning body or how it cooks or judges if you don't cook it. That's my .02. My guess is your mileage is going to vary.