I didnt judge at the royal, but I can talk to a little of the score variances person to person. I was judging this weekend and we had 2 judges just absolutely love one entry, and 2 other of us absolutely hated the entry. Later I found out that of the judges the 2 that loved this entry were smokers, and the 2 of us that hated the entry were life-long non-smokers. Apparently our taste buds are very different. In this case, the BBQ to me had a VERY strong charcoal flavor, to the point where I couldnt get it out of my mouth... The other 2 guys who loved this entry couldn't taste that at all...
Same product, just 6 very different opinions, 2 strongly one score range, another 2 at the opposite end of that score range.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.