The Open is a crapshoot, and most people recognize it. That being said, the judges do an amazing job when you sit down and look at the results most of the time. In some cases they err to benefit the cook as they did my ribs last year. They were good ribs, with the exception of the membrane left on the rack that had the flavor and tenderness. That was a "good" table. You win some and you lose some.
I've judged another large contest, that isn't KCBS sanctioned. I did NOT compare entries, but some entries probably did impact others. Some of the brisket I got was so bad that I could not get the creosote taste out of my mouth several hours later. I ate a LOT of crackers, and drank plenty of water. It did impact my sense of taste. The first good box to come my way may have benefited from that, or the lingering creosote flavor may have overpowered some subtle magic I couldn't pick up.
As a cook it's easy for me to point the finger of blame at the judges, but the fact is that they tend to get it right more often than not. There is too much consistency in a process that lends itself to inconsistency for me to argue otherwise.
You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. --Frank Zappa
Recipient of a Huggies box!
Shut up, and cook!!!!