I guess I'm coming into this discussion a little late. I do agree with you that competing for money does not represent the true morals of our sport. However, this doesn't mean we should condone all competitive flyfishing. I have a few observations that I wanted to share.
-My first observation is that in this land of freedom, we should be able to enjoy whatever brings us joy, however it most brings us joy as long as it's within the law. This means I should respect your ideas just as I do my own, even though I may thoroughly disagree (which amazingly has taken place in this discussion).
-I agree with you completely that competitions with monetary or other types of prizes should not be conducted on public water, especially those within any national park where limiting human impact and use is the goal. But, (I may be wrong) I don't know of any fly fishing competitions with cash prizes that take place on public water. i.e. the Rumble in the Rhododendron or the Flyfishing Masters. In comparison, trials and competitions associated with the Flyfishing Team USA always take place on public water. Also, international rules prohibit the closings of public streams for competition. A fellow fisherman wanting to fish during a competition can be made aware of what is taking place, but cannot be kept from fishing, because we all have a right to public water.
-The views of the competitors that participated in the Rumble in the Rhododendron in no way represent the majority of those that compete in flyfishing. So we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most fly fishers that compete in the US today do not do so for money, but rather as an opportunity to radically improve their skills with a chance to represent their country with a spot on Team USA. I can personally attest to extreme-cost, both of time and money, to compete in flyfishing. I can also say for a fact that the fly fishers that are better known tend to be those that help others learn through publication, flyfishing shows, etc, not because of competing.
-In regards to the comment that Schuler made about competition bringing folks into our sport, I think this is wishing a little too much, and I don't see much evidence for it. However, it should be an accepted avenue for those who, after learning the sport, naturally enjoy competition and want to do something more than keep track of fish numbers with a buddy for a day.
-I would refrain from making the generalization that those who compete don't take the beauty in around them. Just last week, I hiked a 7 mile total round-trip to fish a wild stream where I saw nobody all day. I caught a bunch of fish but I also took a break to photograph streamside wildflowers and turn over a bunch of rocks. Also, George Daniel, my coach on the youth team, frequently told us to take notice of the brilliant coloration patterns of the fish we caught. For him, currently one of the best competitors in the country, flyfishing is not all competition. He often fly fishes with his wife, and they just a baby girl which I am sure will be on the stream sooner than later.
These are just some random thoughts I had on the subject. I don't aim to change anyone’s opinions. Bear in mind also, that no one in my family fly fished before me and so I haven't had a dad or grandfather to teach me about flyfishing and its customs and traditions.
Another disclaimer: I competed for a year on the US Youth Flyfishing Team and I am only 19 so I don't claim to be that objective. Maybe when I have fly fished as long as you I will have a true two cents to give.