I've just come back from a Christian camp for high-schoolers, but just before that I entered my first powerlifting competition.
It was an interesting experience. One of the things about powerlifting is that it is a sport in which virtually all the important aspects occur before the actual competition. It's the months of training that really determine what happens on the day. Secondly, the amount of actual time spent competing on the day is incredibly small. You perform 9 lifts in total, one at a time, and all up the time you actually spend in lifting a weight is probably less than two minutes. Powerlifting is really a sport about disciplined lifting, resting, and eating, not about the competition day.
Thirdly, while it is a competition, the real competition is with yourself. You have a fair idea of what you can lift, and choose your own lifts on the day, and when you step up to the platform, everyone is actually cheering for you to succeed - it's you + the crowd + competitors versus the iron. This makes it a very positive sport. Everyone wants to see you succeed (even the judges!).
I'm pretty happy with how the day went. I missed a few lifts, but I expected that and it was because I was going for new PBs. I also came last out of the men, but that didn't bother me at all. I have no real natural talent for lifting. In the end, a fun day, and I'm proud of my efforts.