Ok, quit reading now if you don't want to hear my shameless bragging. The letter from the Texas State Fair came early and I won first place for both of my entries! I was pretty confident they would win, but you never know. There are a lot of talented people out there. But I find that most people are very hesitant about having their work judged, which makes the entry pool smaller. What you have to realize, is that judging is often very subjective. You can't take criticism personally. Once I entered things a couple of times, I quickly learned what "helps" when everything is equal. Especially at the county fair level. The judge is not necessarily a knitter, so good use of color and texture can go a long way. For the state fair though, I usually agree with most of the placings when I see them all in person so I'd bet that the person judging the knitting is probably a knitter.
So now I'm planning an extra trip in October to go see my stuff.