If it isn't you then it's irrelevant who wins.
At the moment I’m between projects. I’ve just finished my first attempt at a Young Adult and I’m waiting for my brain to create a few bones to hang my next romance on. I already have the two main characters and their personal conflicts, I just need some events/signposts to work toward; plus extra drama prior to the resolution.
In the meantime I‘ve sent off several pieces of poetry to on-line poetry sites and a sestina to an international competition. I have resurrected two short fiction pieces and rewritten them, padding them out, adding senses, cutting away the dross I hadn’t previously recognized. I tightened up the story line and pace; and clarified a conflict. They’ve been shot off to a National Short Story contest. I don’t expect to be placed but the competition entry meant I had to revisit them. It was the spur I needed. I could now sub them elsewhere, knowing they are of a higher standard.
The result of entering any competition can only be a ‘good’ result. What you gain from entering is a fresh look at your work. You will be delighted at some of the prose you’ve created, possibly stunned at the errors you’ve found, but most of all you’ve fleshed out the bones. Just like a skeleton every story’s bones are different, although they follow a basic structure. Your bones are your individual voice and style. Don’t let them hang around. Give them a shake, wrap some flesh around them, change the heads about, alter the path they are walking. Rewrite that prose and send it off to find a new home.
I refuse to pay huge amounts to enter a competition. I look for those that are free or cost very little. I consider my time to be the price of the entry. Don’t get caught in a carousel of expensive competition entries. Pick one that appeals or could apply to a piece you have already written; and tweak your effort to suit the contest.
As I said at the beginning: it’s irrelevant who wins if it isn’t you!