there are two facts in play, here. the first is that everyone at these competitions is cooking their meat far above 160 degrees. the second is that i haven't seen any headlines of team members or judges dropping like flies.
as someone in the insurance business, i can assure you that if there were a real and life-threatening danger from barbecue (which is the oldest form of cooking in the world), these events wouldn't be happening very often, if at all. every small-town ribfest straight up to the memphis-in-may orgy wouldn't be able to afford the insurance, waiver or no waiver. how many teams show up for the american royal in kansas city? 500? averaging 4 members to a team? plus another 500 judges?
a case can be made for BBQ joints, because they have to be FDA compliant to be in business (unfortunately, the average, minimum-wage, high-school-aged employee probably doesn't take the time to read all 700 pages - which is exactly the reason why i prefer to handle my own barbecue), but when you throw BBQ competitions, including official, unofficial, formal, informal etc. into the mix, you're going to find that statistic sticking out like a sore thumb.
having said all this, i will agree wholeheartedly that there is no reason NOT to be as safe as possible. i don't think anyone is going to recommend rolling a butt around in the dirt, then scraping the probe through a cat litter box before inserting it into the meat (gross, i know, but hopefully the point is made). what some of us are saying is that it is entirely possible to OVERTHINK this stuff and that is exactly what is going on in some of these discussions.
safe? absolutely! FDA guidelines? you bet, if you decide they work best for you! but get all the information, read it for yourself, and then make your own decisions - don't let someone else, ANYONE else, do your thinking for you. do the homework.
bottom line - we're cooking meat here, not building the space shuttle.
another bottom line - if it ain't fun, then there ain't much point, and there isn't much fun to be had living in fear of something that is dead at 160 degrees - nor is there any point.