1. Choose your contest(s) at least eight weeks in advance (16 weeks is even better).
2. Request the entry form for each contest you plan to enter from the promoter.
3. Upon receipt of the entry form, decide what division(s) you are going to enter.
4. Take great care in completing your entry form. Everything you do perfectly before the show will make your contest experience much better, even just taking the time to neatly and accurately complete your entry forms. This also gives you a mental feeling of a job well done, something that can in fact carry over throughout your whole contest prep experience.
5. Make sure that you study the entry form and contest information thoroughly so that you will understand and comply with the deadline for entries.
6. Take great care in noting the location and time of the check-in/weigh-in, and of the contest itself. If crossing time zones, be sure to take this into account. Write it down in your planner or calendar. Get directions to the check-in and don’t lose them.
7. Make sure that you understand all fees that are associated with entering the contest, This includes the entry fee and purchase of a membership card for the sanctioning body of your contest. Do this ahead of time when possible. It’ll be one less line you’ll have to stand in and one less expense you’ll have on contest day.
6. Crossovers – Decide in advance if you will be "crossing over" to a second division where permitted. There are advantages and disadvantages to crossovers. But, if you wait until the last minute you’ll be paying for another division and a late fee on top of it. Extra expenses on contest day cause added stress and are not conducive to taking the stage in a confident, fully-prepared frame of mind. Keep in mind that when you crossover it’s like competing in two separate contests. You may do extremely well in one division in a particular weight class, and then when with a different group of athletes you may not fare as well. Each class is judged separately and a previous high placing does not guarantee you a similar place in a different division. We generally recommend that you base your contest prep on the one division in which you think you can do the best. That’s the one you’ll base your show success on.
7. In summary, sixteen weeks out is the best time to start completing the forms necessary for entering a contest. Get a clear picture of all the administrative work you will do to be "officially" entered. You also might want to consider purchasing tickets for your family and friends at this time while the best seats are still available.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE to take care of details you can complete weeks in advance!