TEXSOM Best Sommelier Competition Questions

Does it cost money to enter the competition? Also is the competition in front of an audience?

If you volunteer do you get the chance to attend any lecture you want and still partake in the competition? I understand tickets are $450-500 and I'm thinking about paying for it, but I also don't mind polishing glasses and getting my hands dirty if it means free admission.

I understand there are three parts to the exam (Theory, Tasting, and Practical Service). I'm studying for the advanced course and was just curious if anyone had any experience with the difficulty of the competition. I just want to make sure I can be a worthy competitor.

Thank you for your answers ahead of time.