A Message from the Sweepstakes Committee
Published Date: Feb 08, 2019
To bring further clarity to why the recent survey was sent out regarding the Three-Year-Old Sweepstakes classes, the Sweepstakes Committee made up of Bill Wise, Chairman, Sandy Lilly, Joan Lurie, Anne Neil, Fred Sarver, and Raymond Shively, decided they needed to hear what our members wanted.
We are soliciting your help in finding ways to increase nominations and participation in these lucrative Sweepstakes programs, developed by Chairman, Bill Wise, to help stimulate breeding of these wonderful horses and reward the breeders.
After several consecutive years of sharply declining numbers of participants in these classes, the committee felt it was our responsibility to look into the reasons for these declines. This was particularly true for the Two and Three-Year-Old classes held at The All American Classic. In 2017, with a total of 6 classes offered for both age groups, a total of 23 horses competed. That equals an average of 3.83 horses per class. In 2018 the total number of participants was down to 19, or 3.1 horses per class. Certainly not well filled classes by anyone’s standards.
In the fall of 2017, in an effort to try to find reasons for the declining numbers, 1,716 surveys were sent out to ASB members with carefully thought out questions regarding why or why not these breeders participated in the Sweepstakes programs. We received less than 6% responses; however, of those who responded, 47% owned more than 10 horses. Interestingly 59% listed themselves as residents of the Central Region of the US.
Sixty Seven percent of the respondents stated that they nominated for the Sweepstakes programs and 32% did not. Prize money was the overwhelming reason for the nominators – 63%, and the overwhelming reasons the respondents did NOT nominate were the show location and the date of the show.
A Possible Solution
After careful consideration of all of the above information, the committee then researched alternate venues and dates that might be more appealing for these classes to be held. The highest percentage of respondents indicated September would be the most favorable month. Shows contacted were the St. Louis National, and we were told they were at capacity and could not host us, The Kentucky Fall Classic, which was open to us, but also committed to the Dutch Harness Horse Futurity, which brought up stabling issues at that time. The Saddlebred Fall Finale in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was under consideration but not a rated show at that time. The ASHAV Horse Show at the Virginia Horse Center was approached, and not only were we invited, a large stipend of added prize money - $5,000 per class, was offered by the people of Virginia and the ASHAV Horse Show. After much study, many meetings, strong inquires and consideration of the fact that there had been no major prize programs east of Kentucky for many years, yet the largest percentage of population in this country is within a 500-mile radius of the Virginia Horse Center, this committee voted unanimously to move the Two-Year-Old program – two classes – to ASHAV for three years, beginning in 2019. When that decision was announced, the nominations for the Two Year Olds went up by 9%. Time will tell, but exposing our exquisite young horses to a population that has not had the opportunity to participate close to home looks to be a positive development.
Once again, we ask for your help. Where should the Three Year Olds show? They will stay at Indianapolis for 2019 and 2020. We now have lucrative offers of added prize money from both ASHAV and The All American Classic and there are still other shows under consideration. The Saddlebred Fall Finale has indicated their willingness to become a rated show. The Kentucky Fall Classic’s contract with the Dutch Harness Horses is up in 2019. Please participate. We are looking for positive solutions to grow and showcase our great breed. Negativity and pointless criticism are not what we need in a situation where we all have common bonds and goals that are held together because we are blessed to be associated with the greatest horse on earth. Won’t you please help? Please click on the links below to take the survey and thank you so much for your attention and participation.
Bill Wise, Chairman