Jeffrey Kern, Gainesville, FL (Obedience)
My interest in Obedience started in 1994 when I observed my neighbor training Utility with her American Cocker Spaniel. I immediately knew if I owned a dog, I would train it to do Obedience. A few months later I purchased Java, a Female Labrador retriever and joined the Dog Obedience Club of Hollywood. The rest is history. It wasn’t until 2001 that I became interested in Judging. Today I am licensed to judge all of Obedience and Rally together with the American Cocker Spaniel in Conformation. I bred Cockers for 20 years under the prefix “Valor” and have become a Breeder of Merit with the American Kennel Club. All my Cocker’s are retired so my time is spent training and exhibiting Ava, my three year old Labrador Retriever from Lorita’s Kennels. I belong to The Greater Ocala Dog Club and the American Spaniel Club. Becoming an obedience judge is another extension of the sport that I love and a way for me to give back to the sport. I enjoy traveling and judging all the great obedience teams around the country. Best of luck to all the exhibitors at this year’s national.
Ken Kincaid, Orlando, FL (Obedience)
Both Ken and Aimee are obedience judges who also teach obedience and handling. Their Successful Handler in Obedience Seminar has been presented and well-received all around the Southeast.
Ken has been judging since 2010 and has judged for AKC since 2012. His passion for the sport and experience in audio and video production has created an opportunity to help Companion Events with on-line training videos, judge's education support and production with AKC TV of the RNC and NOC.
"I love judging because it's so much fun. Watching handlers meet their goals with their dogs is awesome. I like to think I'm at least a small part of that process. I also enjoy the people I meet. Dog people are great to be around and I get to see great folks and great dogs all over the country."
"My judging philosophy encompasses fairness, consistency and handler friendliness. I try to constantly hone my craft as a judge to improve those elements. I have had the great pleasure of being judged by many great judges. I look to these individuals as well as AKC judge's education and the regulations to continually mold my judging persona."
"AKC Obedience is a storied sport and we follow in the footsteps of outstanding handlers, judges and officials. I recognize that every picture that I take with a handler becomes part of their personal history and that of AKC."
Deborah Neufeld, Kissimmee, FL (Rally & Obedience)
Deb Neufeld has been involved with Obedience competition since 1981 and Rally since mid-2000, shortly after Bud Kramer introduced it. She is an AKC Obedience and Rally Judge who developed and taught the first Rally classes for the Orlando Dog Training Club. She was honored to be invited to represent the sport of Rally on both the first and second AKC Rally Advisory Committees. She also judged the first Rally National Competition and has judged the AKC Classic in Orlando. Deb writes a regular column for Front and Finish and is a co-moderator for the Rally Judges list on Yahoo Groups. One of her proudest moments was earning the RACH title with her Cavalier, Dylan.
She lives with her husband, Chip, a Boxer, a Cavalier and a Danish-Swedish Farmdog. All of her dogs train for Rally as well as Obedience. Deb appreciates the honor of being chosen to judge the Golden Retriever Club of America National Specialty and is looking forward to seeing everyone at the event.
Connie Parrish, Gordon, GA (Obedience)
A 4-H family dog project in 1966 propelled Connie Parrish to a lifetime of involvement with dogs. From her beginning with Rough Collies, she also has competed with Shetland Sheepdogs, Standard Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and her current breed of Border Collie.
She has competed in Obedience, Rally, Agility, Conformation, FASTCAT, Earthdog and more. Among her accomplishments include earning an OTCH on Summit her Border Collie in 2020. During the 30 years she worked with Bedlington Terriers, she earned Agility titles including MX and MXJ, the first ever for the breed, and she also earned a UDX title on a Bedlington.
She started judging in 2011 after friend and former judge Greg Feathers suggested it to her and became a mentor. She has judged Obedience and Rally all over the country and the 2021 GRCA National Specialty will be her first National.