Nominated Judges

Mark Lucas

Judging the Shetland Sheepdog national is an assignment of great honor and a dream come true to apply my knowledge and experience on a breed I hold dear to my heart. I have 30 plus years’ experience in the sport of purebred dogs and have bred many champions in both Shelties and Italian Greyhounds. One of the most memorable shelties I bred was MBIS, MBISS. Ch. Integra Indelible Ink 0’Merridon who was shown by Boyd Smith. My experience over the years has allowed me to work and learn from some of the breeds legends. I have been a successful breeder of Italian Greyhound where I have had the honor of judging their national. If chosen to have the opportunity to judge the American Shetland Sheepdog Association national specialty, I vow to judge the breed according to the standard without bias and choose dogs that represent type, form and function of the Shetland Sheepdog. 

Jackie Parisek

I have owned Shelties since I was 4 years old and have never been without one.  I started out in performance showing in obedience, 4-H, and my passion grew an interest in showing in conformation.  Through my 4-H contacts, I started going to conformation shows and was introduced to several friends in other breeds.  After attending several all-breed shows, I just was absolutely infatuated with confirmation dog showing.  After meeting my husband, Jerry, we decided to seek out the confirmation world and purchase a show dog.  Through our first Champion, we made a connection to lifelong mentors who became family.  I remember my mentors stating that I should always listen and learn, now I am able to share my experiences with other Sheltie enthusiasts.  Since then, we bred and finished multiple champions in different breed.  After we had children, the focus of our family was even more geared to Shelties, Junior Showmanship, and attending as many Specialties and National Specialties to learn as much as I could.  I started judging Shelties and Junior Showmanship in May 2014.  It is a great honor to even be asked to judge the National.  I am involved in several breed clubs, including board member for the Dekalb Kennel Club, board member for the Southeastern Miniature American Shepherd Club, lifetime member of the Fox Valley Dog Training Club, and a past member of Chicagoland Shetland Sheepdog Club.  I have over 25 years as an ASSA.

Jerry Parisek

Having grown up in a family with parents that were not particularly excited about animals, I made up for lost time and fell in love with every dog and horse possible.  My love for Shelties came when I met my wife, Jackie.  She introduced me to the world of show dogs. I started out in the performance arena and ventured into the breed ring.  Since then, we bred and finished multiple champions in different breeds under the prefix of “Two J’s”.  After we had children, the focus of our family was even more geared to Shelties, Junior Showmanship, and attending as many National Specialties to soak up as much knowledge as possible.  I started judging Shelties and Junior Showmanship in January 2014.  It is a great honor to even be asked to judge the National.  I am involved in several breed clubs, including board member and treasurer for the Dekalb Kennel Club, treasurer for the Southeastern Miniature American Shepherd Club, lifetime member of the Fox Valley Dog Training Club, and a past member of Chicagoland Shetland Sheepdog Club. I have over 25-years as member of the ASSA and yes, I can sit in the 25-year reserved seating at the National and not have to sneak to get a seat.

Debra Tessmann Van Leaven

I started in obedience taking Am CH Woodbridge Main Event UD to her Am UD and Can CDX titles. With encouragement from Gail Carpenter, Woodbridge Shelties, my interest turned to conformation and breeding.

I've never kept more than four dogs. Keeping only bitches, my girls have done me proud. They’ve produced 20 American champions, many during a time when it took 20+ for a major! Among those Champions are MBISS CH Macdega Notorious ROM, ROMC, CH Kymric Fantasia Celestial ROM, Macdega Rendezvous ROM, 4 ASSA Award of Merit winners and numerous regional Specialty winners. 

When judging, I am looking for a Sheltie that fills my eye with balance, outline and symmetry. I believe that the virtues of our breed should stand out … the Sheltie should be both elegant and athletic, with an efficient and effortless gait, a pleasing expression and a well detailed head … and exhibit all that in a moderate package.

I'm approved to judge Shelties, several other Herding breeds, all regular Obedience classes and Junior Showmanship. I judged Obedience at ASSA in 2018.

I’ve been an ASSA member for almost 40 years, and am a founding member of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York.

It's every judges’ dream to judge their breed's National, and it’s long been a dream of mine. I hope you’ll vote for me to be on the ASSA 2025 National judging panel.

Johanna Primeaux

It is a great honor to be on the slate to judge the 2025’ ASSA National.  I have been an Honorary Member of ASSA since 1981’ & SSCNC since 1971’.  Joining the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern Calif. 50 years ago has lead thru many of my experiences of raising Shelties, and has taught me mostly enabling me to judge this breed equivently . The presumptuous Joan Surber of Wyncliff Shelties was my beginning mentor.  I have served as President of the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northern California these past 5 years, now VP, and also in multiple positions of the club.  I have been ASSA ringside Mentor at the Nationals many times.  It’s such a joy to allow me to teach first hand the sheltie breed. 

Primo Shelties, (my #1 breed), boasting over 55+ Sheltie champions of all colors, and along with 30+ champions with Dachshunds, Poodles & Collies.  My experiences with judging shelties is over 22+ Specialties throughout the USA and also overseas has been an absolute joy.     

My biggest thrill was the pleasure of owning, & showing History making, ASSA’s National 5x’s straight Award of Merit,  ASSA’s National WB and then on to B.O.B., BIS, BISS, Ch. Victory’s Hidden Treasure, ASSA’s Century Club. 

“Vanessa” sports 52 Sheltie Specialties.  Another pride & joy was ASSA’s RWD, Ch. Primo Grand Slam. I’ve bred and owed 2 ROM stud dogs. BISS CH. Primo Trojan Prince, CD ROM, & BISSCh. Primo Role Model Treasured, ROM.  I have handled other people’s dogs in shelties and other breeds to finish their championships.

I am so excited & honored to be possibly be elected by my peers to judge Regular Classes as it was a thrill to have judged the non regular Veteran’s Classes this present year in April. Please read my recent critique.

 Going over the dogs thoroughly, fair & equal with a soft hand in my judging is something I am most proud of.  

Thank-you all for giving me this wonderful opportunity!  

Lyn Leininger

Growing up, I was surrounded by Labrador Retrievers as my father  bred, trained, exhibited and later judged them in Field Trials. This  started a love for pure bred dogs that has never ended. 

I began showing Shelties in the mid 1970’s in California under the  kennel name Villager. I was lucky enough to visit some of the top  breeders/kennels at the time and was able to go over their dogs, look  at their puppies, and learn what was important to them in their  breeding program. I had several wonderful mentors who taught me  the importance of breeding a “family” - looking ahead generations,  and planning breedings to certain animals to bring in characteristics  they needed while keeping keeping qualities they valued. In 1979, I  was able to purchase a well bred puppy who became my first owner  handled champion, CH Grelore Village Goldsmith. With a lot of work  and luck, “Robert Redfurred” as he was known, went on to win 111  Best of Breeds, multiple specialty BISS’ and an all breed Best in  Show. I have always enjoyed showing beautiful dogs and over the  years, I have handled and finished many Shelties (and a few Collies)  for others. 

I have had a very limited breeding program and have bred, owned  and shown multiple specialty winning Champions in all colors,  including Winners Dog at the 2013 National. I value where the breed  has been in the past and where we are now, always keeping in mind  those special qualities such as head type, expression, balance, and  correct movement. When judging, my greatest thrill is having that  special one walk in the ring and shine - the perfect combination of  type, form and function. 

Thank you for the nomination. It would be the highest honor to judge  the 20

Lynette Stewart

My name is Lynette Stewart of Millennium Shelties.  I started out in Shelties and Collies in 1998 in California.  The reason I got into showing is because there was a dog show just behind our house, I ventured over to check it out and was immediately taken by the beauty and elegance of the Shelties and Collies.  Living in California, I was surrounded by beautiful show dogs and wonderful breeders, and I thank those who reached out and mentored me when I first began.  Since then, I have handled and finished 9 Collies to their Grand Championship and Got Best Brood Bitch at the Nationals in 2010.  My original Sheltie lines were sables only when I lived in California, once I moved to Louisiana in 2008 I added my AOAC lines.  I have finished over 48 Shelties since I started, 28 of them I bred myself.  I attend that Nationals when I can and have received several nice placements with my dogs.  As a breeder color or size does not matter to me.  I am looking for the whole package.  A nice head, eye, outline and of course structure and most important “movement”.  I have been a member of ASSA since 2010, along with being an approved ASSA Mentor.  I belong to two local Shelties Clubs SSC of GNO and SSC of Northern LA.  I am still very active in exhibiting and breeding my dogs and look forward to bettering the breed with the knowledge that I achieved.  Judging the Nationals would be an honor.  Thank you.

Lisa Graser  ( Blue Heaven )

I have been involved in this breed for over 30 years. I started in Shelties in obedience in 1989 obtaining a CDX on my first two shelties. I bred my first litter in 1993 as Lisa Bush and started the kennel Blue Heaven. Along with my husband Lloyd Graser, Blue Heaven has bred/owned/finished 130 American Champions, over 115 of those being homebred.  We have finished Champions in every color.

In 2020 we were Awarded the ASSA 3 Top Breeder Awards.

Breeder of the Year, Top Producing Sire and Top Producing Dam

I have been privileged to have been the breeder/owner/handler of the 2018 ASSA National Specialty Best In Futurity, Reserve Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Bitch.

3 National AOM winners, 25 Best in Specialty Show dogs,  9 Champion ROM’s , 4 Top Producing Dams, A Top Producing sire and two Best In Show ( All Breed) dogs.

I am currently licensed to judge the Herding & Toy Group  BIS, 8 Sporting Breeds  and I will be finishing the balance of the Terrier group this year. Shelties are my TRUE passion, I am actively involved in showing, breeding and am constantly involved on a daily basis in the world of pure bred dogs. I would be honored to be a regional director and be the liaison for our region to keep our members voices heard and to keep them informed of what is happened with our National Clubs activities.

Liz Bianchi

It is so exciting and an honor to be nominated to judge the National and I thank you for your consideration.  I started showing back in the early 80’s and have successfully handled and finished 18 champions.

At the top of my showing career was winning Best of Breed at the 1987 National with CH. Chelsea Lynmark Love Affair (“Hilary”).  It was the thrill of a lifetime as a breeder/owner/handler!

That is an experience that should be a goal for so many of you that are dedicated to our breed and, to uphold the mission “to preserve and protect” our beautiful, versatile breed!

As a breeder judge I understand the responsibility of knowing the standard and its application in the ring; to find those exhibits that best exemplifies those virtues along with true breed type.

Each year, for almost 40 years, I have attended the National, and enjoy seeing so many friends and so many great dogs.

It would be the ultimate honor to judge our wonderful breed, and I thank you in advance for entrusting me with that responsibility.

Bella Thompson

I feel honored and privileged to be nominated to judge breed at the ASSA 2025 National. It is the greatest nod of all time, an assignment voted by the people in our breed to those that they feel with carry it to the future. I do not take this lightly. Every time I enter the ring as a judge I’m entrusted to award the dogs that are not only beautiful, but sound. Dogs of all colors and walks of life that move well because they are structurally put together correctly. Those that have refined, chiseled clean heads, with that lovely and unique sheltie personality that can be seen on their gentle and intelligent expression. I look for balance in head and body, in coat and bone and all that makes that truly lovely dog catch your breath and make you know what to strive for. It is in these moments that we all get that much needed second wind to be better and do our best for these dogs that are entrusted to us. So again thank you for the honor and for another chance at getting it right.

David Calderwood

I began my life in dogs in the 1950's with an aunt and uncle who bred and showed German Shepherd Dogs. In 1964 I apprenticed with a handler in Ohio but my love of Shelties began in 1972 with Joan Morris, of Jo-Ro Kennels as my first Sheltie mentor.

About that time, I began working for another handler who specialized in Toys and Non-Sporting showing mostly Poodles of all three varieties and in 1977 I began handling dogs as a Professional Handler running my own business. Even though I’ve shown many other breeds, I always had Shelties in my string and always wanted to specialize in Shelties! I’ve finished dogs from all seven groups and have taken several breeds to the coveted BIS ribbon including three Shelties.

When Sylvia and I became a team in 1987 and I joined Kensil, she became a handler and I became a breeder! Obviously it wasn't as easy as that, as the learning curve was steep, but it's been an enjoyable and successful experience since that time. As a team, we now have 157 American conformation champions of all colors to our credit and most of them owned by us. Many more Kensil dogs have also earned degrees in obedience, herding, tracking and agility, including a number of Mach titles.

Judging the National is the ultimate assignment and doing so carries with it great responsibility! If elected, I would take this assignment very seriously and I thank you for the honor of the nomination!

Yvonne Defreitas (Krystalyn)

I am again honored to be recognized by my peers. I started in Obedience in the late 70's and soon got smitten by the beauty of our breed in the conformation ring. My passion to go forward established Krystalyn shelties. Though always small in numbers, I have produced a few national winners, notably, Krystalyn Windswept (ASSA WB 1989, BOS from Veteran class, 1998) and her granddaughter, Krystalyn Reminiscing II (ASSA BOB, 2008). I feel accepting a judging assignment is to acknowledge the many hours, heartaches and successes, one puts forth. Judging is no simpl_e process, each dog is evaluated according to the standard, color is not a priority nor is grooming. My hands always tell me what lies beneath the coat! I have been judging since 2008 and continually experience the thrill of awarding BOB, BOS, WO & WB to the exhibitor! I was honored to judge Bitches at the 2013 national, memories I will always cherish.

I am a proud 25-year member. I am charged with Ringside Education, member of the Lifetime Membership committee and Nominating committee (regional directors).

My sincere THANK YOU to all for this nomination. I would LOVE to judge the national once again.

Futurity Judges

Michelle Miller

There are no words that can accurately describe the feeling of being on the 2025 Futurity nomination list.  To me, it's an honor of a lifetime, to be able to judge the future of our beautiful breed. Starting in 1986 with my first sheltie, I was hooked and fell in love with the breed.  My mentors, since my teenage years have been Glenda Henson and Pepper Power.  Who taught me, everything I know today.  Marty and I became ASSA members almost 20 years ago.  We have bred, owned and handled shelties of all colors. I was blessed in life to have bred National Specialty Winner, GCHG Thunderhill's Apple Bottom Jeans, Bindi, who has come closest to my ideal, with virtues that I look for in today's shelties. Thank you so much for your consideration.  "Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal".

Stephanie Trautman Riley

I’m incredibly humbled to receive the news that my peers have submitted my name for consideration to judge the ASSA Futurity in 2025. It’s truly an honor.

The Sheltie breed entered my life when I purchased a 2 year old Ch. Macdega Maserati daughter during my Junior year in college (1991) while a pre-vet student at the University of Florida. She was the catalyst of Trilliant Shelties. I am a past member of the SSC of Southeast Florida, a current member of the Tampa Bay Area SSC and the Nashville Kennel Club. I joined the ASSA in 2002 and have served as Trophy Chairman for several years and am currently serving on the board as a Director At Large. Under the Trilliant kennel name and with a small breeding program I have bred, co-bred, or owned 25 AKC breed champions to date. I have finished a Ch./MACh/VCX myself and am the breeder of the 2019 ASSA Obedience High In Trial & Reserve HIT - Sheep winner. I’m the proud breeder of 2 ASSA AOM winners, a Runner Up to Best in Futurity winner, and a co-breeder of a champion ROM.  While most know me with AOAC’s, I’ve owned and loved sables and I take pride in judging the dogs according to the breed standard. Thank you for your nomination.

Tracy Gensler

Many years ago when I was still in high school, I boarded my horse about 10 miles from my family home. The drive to the barn went past a farmhouse with a big fenced in yard and a bunch of fluffy little dogs.  One day I rode my horse up to the fence, a lovely lady by the name of Bev Peterson came out and invited me in for lemonade. By the time I left I had a new part-time job as kennel help for Merri Lon Shetland Sheepdogs. It wasn’t long before I started going to shows with them and the hook was in. There was a popular song at the time (1985) Kyrie Eleison – Greek for lord, have mercy. How appropriate for a young adult foraging into the crazy and unpredictable world of dog breeding and showing. So Kyrie Shetland Sheepdogs was created.

I have had the fabulous opportunity to work with some of the greats, the legends of the sheltie breed, I have tried to learn as much as I could from all of them. I have bred some good dogs, had some success in the breed ring, and others have had success with dogs of my breeding in all the performance venues.

I had worked as a vet tech for 10 years, worked for a show Pom kennel, been exposed to other breeds thru going to dog shows for 40 years now. There is no breed as beautiful, smart and loving as a sheltie.  I feel incredibly blessed to have had this special, amazing breed in my life.  I welcome the opportunity to give back to this amazing breed by serving as a director on the ASSA board of directors. As a breeder, owner-exhibitor I like to think I have a great overall experience to bring to the board.

Cadie Pruss

I am honored to be nominated to judge the ASSA Futurity.  It is a privilege to be asked to evaluate the next generation of our beloved breed.  Often we see these young dogs grow up and to be the foundations of our future.  I have been judging specialty sweepstakes and matches for over 20 year and I have judged from coast to coast.  More often than not I have been thrilled that my Best In Sweepstakes winner was awarded Winners Dog or Winners Bitch.  I even had the thrill of putting up a puppy that went on to WD at the ASSA National.  I put up all colors and love the thrill of finding an up- coming puppy.

I began breeding in 1996 under the prefix Acadia, and have enjoyed success in conformation, agility, herding and obedience.  I have a very small breeding program, but even with small numbers, I breed and showed the 2013 & 2014  #1 sheltie bitch,  multiple AKC All-Breed Best In Show and Specialty BIS winner, GCH. Acadia’s Stage Presence, CC, who won Runner-Up in the First ASSA 1op 20 Showcase, which was the only showcase that was a completion.    Liza’s grandmother, Ch. Acadia Peace of Mind, was the 2011 ASSA Top Producing Dam.  Herding Champion, HC Acadia What Ever It Takes, HXAsd, AX, OAJ, was High In Trail -sheep from the Herding Excellent class and Reserve High In Trail- ducks at the 2010 ASSA National.   The dogs and I continue to have success in various venues, and I am thankful every day that I get to breed and show dogs.

I am a continual student of the breed and I appreciate your consideration for this honor.