You have to ride as a team of 2 or 3 riders, so the social and teamwork aspect adds to the fun. When you find the right partner(s) to ride with, with compatible levels of competitiveness (or lack of same), it makes for a wonderful day. The event is timed, you have to come closest to the predetermined optimum time to win. If you go too slow, obviously you won't win but you also won't win by going too fast. The point is to set a pace much like that when actually foxhunting. I like the Paces also because you get to see new surroundings on a marked path and have the experience of riding cross country with a goal in mind.
Maybe someday I will return to the showring. I do miss it sometimes, more often than I thought I would. We were just beginning to become consistent showing in the Adult Amateur Hunters when I met my my husband-to-be, got married and very quickly became pregnant and had twins! As you can guess, not much time to devote to training for shows now. Not to mention the reduced amount of funds to do it with. But I still school him, and like him balanced and strong for the rigors of the Paces.