This was our first experience with the USBC. And as Tiger Woods is fond of saying, "We didn't bring our 'A' game".
We're extremely proud of Belle's performance and think from both a technical and 'performance' standpoint she did even better than in the Mid-Atlantics. However, a small spill error and perhaps some nervousness from the emcee's unexpected questions sent her performance over the 15 minute time limit, causing a 20 point penalty. Her performance probably would have been good enough to get into our regional finals, but not the nationals, where you'd need to be virtually perfect.
Belle was up against 11 barista from the Pacific Northwest, five baristi from Chicago's Intelligentsia alone (and one other of their customers), another dozen from the growing espresso hotbed of Durham/Chapel Hill, and contestants and winners from almost every region of the US - many of whom had been previous finalists and semifinalists at prior USBC competitions.
We left for the airport in the afternoon so did not get to see all the performances by the semifinalists. But Intelligentsia placed three baristi in the finals, according to Belle, who called us late last night with the names, but we didn't write them all down. The winner will be announced later today and we'll post it when we find out.
We have more photos of the competition hosted on Flickr (slideshow here). We'll post more on the trade show later today... for now we need to go shopping down the Strip as we're out of just about everything from being away all week!