Challenger may enter the IBC a maximum of 3 times, after which they are no longer eligible. They may not participate in the IBC in three consecutive years, i.e., there must be a break of at least one year after competing two years in a row. A musician may not compete in the band category and the solo/duo category in the same year. Any challenger, band, or solo/duo, that has won first place at the IBC in Memphis may not enter a challenge in that same category in the future.
Musician must first enter the challenge of their own/home blues society or the closest blues society based on distance. If they are not successful, they may enter the challenges of no more than 2 more blues societies in that year, provided those blues societies are within 250 miles (425 Km) of the home blues society. Challengers are not permitted to enter the challenge of the two distant blues societies if either is held prior to the home challenge.
Musician may be invited to participate in the challenge, but they may not be “pre-selected” and must compete in a fair, live, judged event.