Then-fledgling professional handler Anne Rogers Clark (at the time of the photo, Anne Hone Rogers), after whom the Hall of Fame is named.
Fri, 05/03/2024 - 2:41am

Editorial: May 3, 2024

Behind the scenes

On Sunday evening, May 12, the long-awaited annual kick-off the night before the start of breed judging at the Westminster Kennel Club — the Purina Pro Plan Show Dogs of the Year Awards Dinner partnered with Dog News — takes place at the venerable Gotham Hall in Manhattan. While it singles out the top-winning dogs based on the all-breed Dog News Top Ten List, also honored are the top obedience dog and Junior handler. The evening ends with the induction of the newest member of the Anne Rogers Clark Hall of Fame. It is a consummate celebration of our sport.

This evening, which is so smoothly and effortlessly produced, takes the combined work of many dedicated people, many working behind the scenes unknown to our purebred dog community. While many deserving recipients come on stage to accept an award, we would like to take this opportunity to thank those who help put together this coveted event. From the Purina family Senior Director Katie Fiamingo; Director Scott Smith; Director Gianna DeiSanti; Senior Manager Sherry Bresnahan; Senior Coordinator Nancy Herron; Senior Manager Annie Balotti; Coordinator Gail Inman; of course the director extraordinaire, Senior Specialist Corey Benedict (AKA Cecil B DeMille), who puts together the run of the evening; Lead Marci Sales, and Specialists Diana Allen and Heidi Hartman, with the added help of the indispensable Brian Bengelsdorf for everything that’s sight and sound during the dinner. At the front of the house, the co-hosts, our own Bill McFadden and Sheila Ward. From the Dog News family, Gene Zaphiris, coordinator Vikki Oelerich, copy editor Barb Fawner and Darlene Bello.

This year there is a special presentation to Alec Baldwin, a young man from Canada whose artwork of multiple Westminster Best in Show winners and their handlers will be honored.

As we are about to celebrate this year, plans are already in the works for the 2025 event. The date will be announced shortly. Until then, we look forward to seeing you all that evening, which will be filmed, and you can watch the entire event online later that evening.  



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