it doesn't have to cost that much. You can do pinburgh, and I therefore assume papa on not a huge amount of money if you plan ahead. Pittsburgh is probably one of the cheapest US cities to stay in, although irritatingly no direct flight from the UK.
This sort of thing happens in sports all the time. Look at Formula 1 - Alonso, one of the best drivers but stuck in a car with a rust bucket engine. Or in Soccer, someone like Ryan Giggs who was an outstanding player in his time at club football but was from Wales (who suck) so in International football never made it to any significant tournament despite being better than many players who did).
There is no perfect system.
One thing that a few folks in the UK have raised is that something changed in the WPPR points that have put players off competing. Not sure what that was (Wayne?) and personally I don't care as I suck at pinball but a ranking table like this shows how you are progressing which is valuable. I look at pinburgh though where many folks jumped lots of places, including myself. but I did better than 200 people and I think the move reflects that.