Surprisingly, Rob Kempinski also guessed the owner of the Hornbeam.
The bonsai community is a small one, top quality trees are studies and appreciated by every serious practitioner of the art. We may as well compare this "blind" contest to having a gallery of all the great paintings, those who know art will know the artist anyhow. This is not a bad thing at all, the fact that great trees are easily recognized is a credit to the community.
What I do hope to see is some unknowns pop up in this contest as one or two did in the photo contest we held last year. ( http://www.artofbonsai.org/galleries/buccella.php
Trust me, there are world class bonsai out there that have yet to be seen by the community as a whole.
There is also the likely possibility that many Europeans will see North American trees that they never have before, the same goes for North Americans seeing European trees that they never seen before too.
Originally this contest was not blind for the above reasons, but due to popular demand, we amended the rules to accommodate.