Sweepstakes Points – What do They Really Mean?

By Laurie Stroupe

If you’ve received your Hollander, then you may have noticed that updated Sweepstakes points are printed in it. The points are interesting and I’d rather do better on them than worse, but it’s far from a perfect system. Mind, I don’t think there’s any way to make a better system. There are just too many variables that cannot be controlled. So enjoy perusing them. Celebrate your successes. Congratulate those who did well. But don’t put too much stock in them.

More Info Than You See at First Glance

When I look at them, I try to extrapolate some of the true picture, if I can. There’s more information there than you see at first glance.

For example, I note how many shows a person attended. I’m often amazed that some people attend just a handful of shows a year, but still manage to rank high enough to be noticeable. Of course, if those shows are Nationals and Convention, it is easier to rack up sweeps points simply because of the huge number of points available compared to local shows. But it’s still quite an accomplishment to attend only a few shows and do better than those who show almost every week.

I also note which are individual breeders or families/couples and which are co-ops. If I have more than half as many points as a co-op, for example, I know that I did better than at least one of them, and maybe both, had they had competed individually. But you do have to know what some of the listings mean. Tim & Ardis, for example, are a couple; Roehe and Gibbons are a family. Not every listing with different last names is a co-op.

Competition varies across the country, too.

I love herdsman points and quality points, but in some regions, there’s only one competitive Holland breeder. They get all or most of the BOBs and a fair number of BIS wins, too, if the area is not strong for rabbit showing overall. Conversely, there are areas where there are several highly competitive breeders in a reasonably small area. Those breeders may each get fewer BOBs, but when they get one, it’s very valuable.

The number of shows also affects points that accumulate. You just can’t accumulate 20 herdsman points if you only go to 19 shows. Once again, I appear to be the Holland breeder that shows the most (hence my concerted effort to cut down on showing – if that’s not an indication that I’m addicted to showing, I don’t know what is!). If you want to see how well you would do if you had attended 70 shows, just multiply your average number of points per show times 70. You might find that you do better than I do, if you aren’t already ranked higher.

I also like to ferret out whether a breeder is doing well with just one or maybe a few Hollands or whether they produce a number of good rabbits. There’s no use envying someone who is doing well when, really, they’ve got all of their eggs in one basket (or maybe even bought all of their eggs!)

So the bottom line is…

Don’t let points be your primary motivator. Don’t get too wrapped up in them. Yes, it’s fun to see your name in print. It’s definitely valuable to get your name out there (helps you sell rabbits). And it’s nice to see a really great rabbit get its due recognition. But the other parts of showing rabbits – accomplishment, friendship, fun – are so much better.