Bead Star Annual Beading Contest
Bead Star does an annual contest with various categories. I believe the editors pick the finalists, then online voting picks the winners.
You can check their website to see if the current contest is open for entries. This contest offers substantial gift certificates as prizes and all the winning projects with instructions get published in their next edition.
If you are not familiar with Bead Star, it is an annual publication that is comprised entirely of the projects designed by the contest winners. It is published by Interweave, who also publish Beadwork.
The first phase of judging is by the magazine editors. The second stage is by popular voting by readers of Beading Daily who pick the winners in each of 9 categories. Then the grand prize sponsor pick a "Best of Show" from the 9 category winners. Or, at least this was the process in 2009. It looks like the grand prize winner may be chosen by online voting in 2010.
The publication focuses mainly on stringing and easy wirework, so although they have a seed beads category in their competition, they are not looking for elaborate peyote-herringbone-brick-etc. projects. They want easy projects that new (or new-ish) beaders can enjoy.
The 2010 contest announcement came out in December of 2009, so we can probably expect each year's announcement around December of the previous year. You can check
the Bead Star website
here to see if the information is available at this time.