In my innocent days, I entered contests thinking I was at least fighting on a level battlefield. Over the years, I quickly learned that many contests ARE rigged.
The issue is - In-House- favoritism - IHS is what happens when editors seek stories by people they know, being unknown you may as well not enter.
The only story of mine that did well is Sea Ghosts - www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007QERF2E/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i4, a short story based on the life of a Yorkshire pirate called John Adam.
Sea Ghosts came third several years ago in a contest run on Facebook. I did have a story that should have been third in another Facebook contest, but that contest was hacked by a rival in the last week, and I got pushed to fourth by a "ringer," the person already had a writing contract.
I know the contest was fixed as the person got 274 votes, not 270 or 275, each day for the final week of the contest, meaning he had enough to oust me and no more. The lady whose friend he is already was involved in a hacking case in the Los Angeles courts.
Even though I have stopped writing I get invited to enter writing contests but I never accept, partly because I cannot afford the fees being an Indie Author, but mostly because life has taught me the contest is rigged, this may appear cynical but I have noted the same names appearing in the top three of several contests I used to enter.