I was wondering how you would do that too (decide between beginner/intermediate/advanced). I've been decorating for a little over 2 years. Never had any classes or training. There are still a lot of things I can't do. I would consider myself Intermediate. But how will that be decided...years decorating experience? number of cakes done? classes taken? That's a hard one.
Here's some of the guidelines other contests/competitions used. I thought it might help.
BEGINNER has less than two years decorating experience, was
self-taught, or has not taken more than two courses of cake decorating
INTERMEDIATE is beyond beginner's skills, has decorated more than
two years, and/or had some classes beyond basics
ADVANCED is for persons who have decorated more than two
years or taken at least three courses in cake decorating.
ADULT BEGINNER - Decorating experience of 2 years or less. Self-taught or less then 30 hours of instruction in cake decorating or sugar art.
ADULT INTERMEDIATE - Reasonably skilled with 2 - 4 years actual cake decorating experience. More than 30 hours, but less than 60 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction.
ADULT ADVANCED - More advanced skills with 4 - 6 years actual cake decorating experience. More than 60 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction.
PROFESSIONAL - High level of skill. More than 6 years actual decorating experience. More than 90 hours of hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction. May be decorating for profit or working as a decorator.
MASTERS - Expert in sugar art. Is known to have mastered specific mediums and techniques. May be an author, instructor, or work in the sugar art business. Has had more than 120 hours of instruction.
I was also thinking that each contest would include all skill levels but be categorized according to skill level. Beginners would only be judged in comparison to other beginners and so on...