First thing, those are absolutely beautiful chicken thighs, Russ!
Please bear with me because I don't know anything about competitions. The first thing I read is that the skin is removed; then I hear about scraping the skins, then bite through. Are you cleaning the skins and then re-attaching?
The glaze sounds great, I just don't understand all the skin talk. Is it removed or not?
Please be patient...
Yes, you do remove the skin off the chicken, lay it out flat and scrape off all the fat that is on the underside of the skin until its thinner than tissue paper. Then you trim the chicken itself and re-attach the skin to the chicken typically with toothpicks, or you can use a "meat Glue" products which is basically a natural enzyme/protein that can "glue" the skin back on the meat.
Basically this makes the skin more crisp and easier to bite through when it is cooked at the lower smoker temps. That way when the judges bite into it it doesn't pull all the skin off in one bite, and your teeth will go through the skin with no more effort than biting the meat itself.