U.S. cavy sweepstakes — what’s all the fuss about?

30 Jul

Next month marks the official end of recording for the 2012-2013 national cavy sweepstakes — which to the vast majority of you probably means absolutely nothing. I figure I owe everyone an explanation of the sweepstakes system before I jump into any serious coverage.

The entire end goal of the cavy fancy is the improvement and progression of the cavy species. While shows offer fanciers opportunities to survey and evaluate the breeding stock available in a given locale, they don’t always offer a complete picture of where the best stock is available on a national scale. The sweepstakes program can be viewed as an attempt to compare caviaries across the U.S. by tabulating each exhibitor’s show success over a given year.

Essentially, the sweepstakes committee awards a certain number of points to an exhibitor for each win reported at a sanctioned cavy show. The value of a given award is determined by the significance of the award. For example, winning best of variety might be worth one point, but best of breed might be worth two points. Wins at national shows are worth more than victories at the local level. These points are tracked throughout the year, and at the end of a sweepstakes year — which runs August 31 to August 31 — all the points are tallied, and the final results announced.

Participating exhibitors are ranked within the breeds they choose to compete in, so at the end of the contest an exhibitor might claim to be the top competitor within the Peruvian breed, or within the American breed, but there isn’t an overall prize. Many exhibitors compete in more than one breed.

It’s worth noting that some factors can skew an exhibitors sweepstakes score. The way points are tabulated, the highest-ranked exhibitors are usually those who not only claim frequent victories within their breed of choice, but also those who frequently attend shows and who enter a large number of cavies in diverse groups and varieties. To try to give fanciers a better idea of who is winning, and who is gaming the system, the sweepstakes ranks are listed within the JACBA, the American Cavy Breeders’ magazine, alongside a count of the total shows that exhibitor attended. A little math will give you a pretty good idea of who is awarded the most points per show — probably the best objective measure of which exhibitors might be considered leaders in the development of any given breed.

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One Response to “U.S. cavy sweepstakes — what’s all the fuss about?”

  1. Val July 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    I won’t be winning, but it is fun to think about these things. If there were points for temperament and intelligence, however, I might have at least one show-stopper.

    Apart from their amazing parents, I have four of the most amazing twelve week-old guinea pigs on the planet, one sporting a totally legit mohawk. Isn’t that prize enough?

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