Monday, July 12, 2010

Respectfully submitted: a suggestion to Purina...

Note: I'm writing this on July 3, because I'll be returning from vacation on the 12th the conclusion of the LiveFromLexington contest. I have no idea where Sheri will be in the standings, and I suspect it'll be neck-and-neck.

Here's my last reminder to vote for Sheri!

It's July 3, a full 9 days before the conclusion of the Live from Lexington contest, and I'm writing my last blog article for the contest.

I have a head-cold.

I'm in a drug-induced stupor.

And I have an idea.

What's the idea?

Send all four semifinalists to WEG. 

Pretty inspired huh?

Practical rationale...

I know you folks at Purina are smart, and you've probably already been thinking about it. I'm sure you're thinking about how the women could just double up in the hotels, how you could cover so much more of the Games and not run these women ragged. I bet you've got a ton of corporate frequent flyer miles, and some extra polo shirts to distribute to four women instead of two. What are you waiting for? High five me! Right?

Not convinced?

Ethical rationale...
All four candidates are terrific, and all have strong support among their constituencies as evidenced by their votes. I worry, though, that in a competition where all the semi-finalists are so talented, we're comparing apples and oranges. The winners will be not be chosen on their merit  but on their campaign strategy. The ones with geek friends, the ones with the strong connections to their alma mater, dressage associations,  company, or clients will get the most votes.  Kudos to the candidates for being clever enough to develop a campaign  -- but it doesn't really seem fair. I just think there is room for everyone to win, for only a teensy bit more money.

Thanks for listening, Purina, and for thinking up this wonderful contest. I've enjoyed following it.


  1. It really is a good idea. The WEG is far bigger than one person!! Purina should have the insight to take the suggestion seriously.

  2. Great idea!! I hope they seriously consider it!!

  3. Stacey, That is a great idea! You go, girl! Your enthusiasm for the contest and Sheri and the entire operation is terrific! I hope Purina goes with your idea. The comment about how four bloggers could cover more events is, in itself, a great reason for using all four finalists!

  4. I completely agree! They are all fantastic people and deserve the chance. Besides, we would all benefit from the additional points of view.

  5. First off, before I write my actual comment, I do have to say, kudos for you Stacey for being a supporter of a deserving candidate. Yes, your enthusiasm throughout has been fantastic.

    I do have to say, after reading some rather interesting comments through Kristine's blog, and one in particular regarding your own blog, I am a bit confused on your own merit as a solid supporter, un-biased opinion, of the whole contest and not just simply semi-finalist Sheri Israel.

    "The winners will be not be chosen on their merit but on their campaign strategy. The ones with geek friends, the ones with the strong connections to their alma mater, dressage associations, company, or clients will get the most votes. Kudos to the candidates for being clever enough to develop a campaign -- but it doesn't really seem fair."

    Each candidate that was participating, had their own "campaign" but it's hard to know exactly what that means. I saw, mostly similar campaigns going on from Sheri Israel and Kristine Oakhurst.

    If Sheri would have been one of the two finalists in this contest, would you feel the same about sending all four to the WEG? Again, its apparent to the public that you are not a supporter of the writing by Kristine Oakhurst nor her ability to appropriately represent Purina. So why send her to the WEG, then?

    I believe you have failed to understand the measure each candidate has gone to complete this contest. - The exception being Sheri. - The backgrounds, education, experience that these people do have, which speaks beyond this contest, that makes them excellent choices to go to the WEG. Their writing has won them the positions they have finished in. Regardless of what you think made those votes happen, they happened for a reason, it all comes down to the writing and the public's opinion of such writing.

    So, now that you feel that all 4 should go the the WEG, I'd be curious as to know why you've come to the conclusion, beyond ethics? What makes all 4, both the top 2 and the bottom 2, excellent choices to go represent Purina and report on the games to us?

  6. Hi Country Sporthorse,

    I only moderated one of your 4 comments since they seemed to say similar things.

    Maybe because it's 6am and the coffee is still brewing, I'm not sure what your post is saying or asking.

    Last night's post was a little bit tongue in cheek (although I'd love it if Purina were listening).

    You write that you feel I'm not unbiased/objective, but rather I'm a Sheri supporter (I'm paraphrasing).

    You are TOTALLY right here, CS! Let there be no confusion :-) I admire Sheri's writing/blogging. The word "bias" is an odd choice for a writing competition. It's all personal/subjective taste IMHO...

  7. This was a cute post, especially because you wrote it so far in advance. I would not, however, like to send all four. I wanted Sheri and Nina to win the contest.

    Now that the competition is over, I am happy for the winners but I cannot help feeling disappointed. As soon as I saw Kristine's video, I was certain she would win. The videos of her jumping are nothing short of stunning and I have enjoyed watching them on YouTube before this contest was born. I realize that she is selling a persona that is appealing to a lot of people. I can appreciate that and actually thought she might make an interesting number two slot.

    What finally completely turned me off to this candidate were some of the comments left by her supporters. This is not entirely fair, because she cannot control those comments, but when I saw a reference to drugs and repeated use of sophomoric slang, that was it for me. The thrill was gone.

  8. Did you see the results? Nina and Kristine are the finalists.

  9. I know all four of those women worked hard, and I think that sending all four of them would be wonderful, but I highly doubt Purina will change things now; think about how much they made just off of the campaign between our four AWESOME ladies! If wishes were horses, as they say... They really ALL do deserve it!
    AND, sadly, AS a Kristine Oakhurst supporter (DON'T SHOOT!!), I saw a lot of HATIN' going on throughout this whole thing! It simply wasn't right. You did NOT see KO's team doing that to my knowlege. All four of these ladies worked hard, no one candidate-wise was out to do anything but win a contest for a very cool position! Yet some of the comments KO received were inflammatory, downright mean, and served NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER. I know they bothered KO too. They were just plain WRONG. WHY? If my candidate is behind, or I don't agree with your opinion, it's OK to basically SAY, "I HATE YOU?" Wha? WHY? It's a contest! Some win. Some lose. Unfortunately, it strikes me that these few people who made the comments made their OWN candidates look bad. I have NO idea who these commenters were, (or who they were rooting for) on KO's site tearing her a new one, I didn't even bother to even figure it out. Frankly, I just had a gut busting laugh at how ridiculous folks can make themselves look! A Biblical quote telling her BAD she is? COME ON! I feel that the type of behavior I saw was uncalled for, and BOTTOM LINE, unsportmanslike. NOW, a well reasoned, thought out rebuttal, or saying you do not agree with something(one), and why, is fine, but I am talking HATERS! My point here is that, while I would love to see all four ladies go to WEG, I am glad to see the person who I think is the best writer win. I think Sheri should have been in the top two (based on her writing), and when she wasn't, well, you are right. Knowing people and getting help with votes is what it paritally came down to. Especially with how close Sheri was to getting 2nd. But, winning by over 8,000 votes? That was KO and her writing, all her. All on the MERITS of HER WRITING, and her as a person. AND she is a sweetheart. A NICE woman. WILL the haters go up to her at WEG and hate in her face, all without even knowing her or who she is? Probably not. Her personal blog writings have blown me away. AS for WEG blogs, these ladies were working, living, raising families, researching, and then blogging,(in a pretty short time frame)trying to put their best boot forward under a deadline!
    It is one thing that I will never get in this sport. Why the HATE, when we are all just trying to share a common bond, THE HORSE? IF I wanted hate, I'd get behind the wheel of my car for five minutes. There, I can be hated, have the bird shot at me, and almost die, multiple times DAILY!
    I DO LOVE YOUR BLOG, you always have well researched articles, I learn a lot, and that said, I respect the fact that you back up your opinions, thoughts, and posts with ideas, reasoned and well thought out... In fact your notepad and pen that you have so kindly sent me are sitting right here!
    So, I AM not trying to perpetuate hate. Even though I support Kristine, I too, wish we could put all four of them on the ground, then we could have even more fab coverage in even more areas! And if this is all over the place, I apologize, I really should have had the java juice first! :)

    word verif: hateffit BWAHHHAHHA!

  10. hi Jacksongrrl,

    You make the point that there's been a lot of hate pointed toward KO. Did I miss something? There was one post where she made a statement about drugs and there were maybe three posts about that (I think I was one of them) and I'd have to say it was hardly a flamewar. My post does not qualify as hateful or even negative IMHO.

    In her first post as the winner, KO makes reference to haters. I haven't seen anything remotely hateful -- and as a COTH veteran, I *know* what that looks like. Is she deleting hateful posts? Just not sure where she is coming from.

  11. Those 8000+ lead votes were not all KO, and chances are that many of the votes to other candidates as well were not totally honest. Diagnostics were run on the contest by a disinterested third party. Cheating was involved but cannot be pinpointed to any one candidate.

  12. Stacey, I apologize for submitting 4 total comments. First, it notified me that my original was too large, so I broke it down into two parts. But I guess it simply sent as a whole after all!

    My question, is simple;

    Now that you feel that all 4 should go the the WEG (regardless of how serious you are), I'd be curious as to know why you've come to the conclusion, beyond ethics? What makes all 4, both the top 2 and the bottom 2, excellent choices to go represent Purina and report on the games to us?

  13. Country Sporthorse, jacksonsgrrl, et. al.,

    Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Craig Israel, and I'm Sheri's husband. Clearly, my opinion, which you're about to read, is 100% biased to her. Fair warning.

    I think it's safe to say that those voting on this contest weren't paying as close attention to the daily numbers as those with a horse in the race, so to speak. If you were, you'd know how ridiculous it is to suggest that the voting reflected the quality of writing.

    Look at the first week of the contest. For the first five days Sheri was in the lead by a significant amount, and Kristine was dead last. Both were posting daily at this point, so readers had ample opportunity to evaluate their writing styles. Using your logic, readers LOVED Sheri's writing, and HATED Kristine's writing.

    Then, on the first Saturday, Kristine gained 1,000 votes. In the span of 24 hours.

    I find it hard to believe that suddenly, over the span of a day, the tide of public opinion turned so radically.

    What is easier to believe is that Kristine found a method to boost her votes. Maybe she got everyone at her alma mater to vote for her. Maybe she has a huge family. Maybe something else. I have no idea.

    My point is that the numbers reflected some sort of strategic change--not a change in writing.

    This may sound like sour grapes to you and, I'll admit, it is. To a degree. Of course I wanted my wife to win. She tracked down regional experts in every disciple featured at the games, traveled to their barns, interviewed them, videoed, edited and posted every single day for a month... and still worked eight hours every day. She busted her ass for this contest.

    Kristine, you'll note, didn't even post for days at a time. And yet she finished nearly 10 THOUSAND votes ahead of the second place winner.

    Whatever she did, she did very well. But did she out-write Sheri or Nina or Erin to such a huge degree?

    Not a chance.

  14. I respectfully bow out of this now. But you can view for some interesting information if you take issue with haters or the voting.

    Very interesting that the only thing saying that the voting was done incorrectly came from an anonymous source and Sheri's husband, no offense intended to Craig...just REAAALY thought the anonymous thing was interesting.

  15. Thanks Jacksongrrl -- I also read the CH post. It's not the whole story I don't think, and if the comments left up are the total number of "hating" comments there isn't much there.

    Ready to get past all this. Thanks for your perspective.

  16. KO's post on her own blog seemed kinda sleazy. Like, if you won, why write about how nasty everyone else was? You won. Just be grateful you won. No, instead she had to go on about how she knew she was superior. She acts like she isn't the only finalist.
    I feel like Sheri's request to hear about her husband was just an honest question. Sheri and her were both married individuals with real jobs. The other two were fresh college grads. Yet she only did it to play along.
    Honestly, I doubt the other candidates were cheating like anon suggested. Their supporters, maybe. Them, I don't think so. To cheat you'd have needed to have a way to trick the website that you had different IP addresses (at least that's my theory) but if these other semi-finalists WERE leaving up nasty comments, obviously they didn't fully understand the idea of IP addresses.
    However, they were also getting emails about comments that had linked IP addresses if KO was, so they should have had a little common sense and figured out that simply changing names doesn't clear them of being rude to KO. So I admit, I don't entirely believe KO.
    KO's MethaDONE reference didn't bother me (p.s. it's used to treat addictions, i.e. methadone=/=methAMPETHAMINE) but it did bother me that she put in the least effort. She didn't even blog every day. She really didn't even talk that much about the games. Just opinions. ONly Sheri and Nina actually talked about different concepts of the games. Sure I like the idea KO had about what she'd ask the riders, but from watching her own riding and reading her blogs past, I don't feel like she could put in a super thoughtful interview about Dressage or vaulting or reining. Sheri was the only one who actively went searching for an understanding of disciplines other than her own. I don't see where she had time to cheat or name call.

  17. I think it's appropriate I answer your comment directed towards me.

    I have greatly enjoyed observing Sheri's venture through this contest. I will be clear to note, that she is a deserving candidate and towards the last days, she had a chance of going. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, she fell behind Nina (and the already far ahead, Kristine) and ended up not being one of the two with the most votes. Yes, for all her hard work, that is disappointing. I can only imagine how you must feel. You've been experiencing this first-hand, right next to her after all. A position that none of us can attest to.

    I not sure about the other commenter you were refering to in this part of your comment;

    "Using your logic, readers LOVED Sheri's writing, and HATED Kristine's writing. "

    ..But, I don't know where that logic came from. That is not what I said. I was directing that part of my own comment towards Stacey specifically and not as the general "readers" population.

    "If you were, you'd know how ridiculous it is to suggest that the voting reflected the quality of writing."

    Craig, I am not suggesting anything about quality of writing. Nor would I, that is my own personal opinion. I am not one to judge on "quality". That is up to the people who have followed this contest to decide on as individuals.

    Finally, Craig, I am again sorry that Sheri wasn't able to go forward in this competition, but to assume and suggest that another contestant has won based on a method other than networking etc. and finally, writing, is well, not well "good sportsman-like" behavior. It's over, I am sorry. Would I be sorry if Kristine or Nina didn't make it? Yes.

    I'm glad you came to respond to the commenters on this post.

  18. Country Sporthorse:

    I had to re-read your post above to make sure I wasn't crazy. But, no, you wrote this:

    Their writing has won them the positions they have finished in.

    That statement seems pretty cut and dry to me. In your opinion, each finalist placed as they did based on their writing.

    My position is that the writing actually had little to do with it. Each candidate placed as they did based on what networks they could tap into to generate votes.

    Sadly, this contest was never about the writing or the effort put forth.

  19. It's really a testament to WEG and Purina that there is so much interest in blogging WEG.

    I think that everything that can be said, has been said, and I think the posters have made valid points respectfully.

    I'd like to close the commenting out on this topic -- if you have something you absolutely have to say, go ahead and send it, I'll allow it if it is well-written and thoughtful.

    I'm not trying to give any one perspective the "last word," it's just time to move on...

    Thanks all.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.