A midwest boy here, and I've cooked against these teams, and have drank with a few of them also. All great cooks in their own right and deserve their spot in the light. Some, two in particular, travel all around the country and cook. They are consistent and score well. I understand the point about this hobby as being a crap shoot at the judging table but we can't discredit consistent winners. For the most part if you are consistently in or close to the top ten, (not me
yet), then you are a good cooking team. I had a chance to meet a judge from California at a rib contest this summer and we spoke about this subject. i asked about regionality and his comment was; all judges first looked for correctly cooked meat, (tenderness) that tastes like the product it is suppose to be. Pork tastes like pork and Brisket like brisket, and then worry about the flavor profile, hopefully you get the point.
Great job midwest teams!!! Way to represent!!!