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Excerpts from the 2023 Nominations:

Amanda Badillo
"#1 Amanda has demonstrated the qualities that this award represents. She has shown a love for the sport of dogs and especially Leonbergers. She has shown this love in so many ways. She is always ready and willing to help out anyone who needs help in any category. She has stepped in when a breeder needs help whelping and offers information to ease their anxiety. She has an open door policy to anyone who has questions. Amanda has offered her handling skills to many people without them asking her. She has never shown a dog without the complete respect of the dog and the owner."

#2 "Ever gracious in victory and defeat, Amanda is always willing to help out a fellow competitor and is an active mentor to those new to the breed or the show ring. She promotes the breed and actively promotes practices that improve the reputation of the Leo in the AKC. Though Amanda has grown up from a newbie in the MALC many years ago to one of the more knowledgeable members of the club, she is never complacent in her knowledge of the breed and is committed to learning all she can about health, confirmation, pedigrees and breeding; and she is more than willing to share what she has learned with anyone that is interested. It is hard to imagine a better sportsman or advocate for the breed and its devotees than Amanda Badillo. We think Cheryl would be very proud to have Amanda be a recipient of this award."

Bert Halsey

 #1 Hey Neighbor!" Bert Halsey was there in the Mid-Atlantic when we first came into the AKC. He had a Leonberger he was showing for a client in Alaska. At that time, there was a great deal of distrust in professional handlers. Bert was a great ambassador for the sport for us Leo folks and anybody who was new or new at heart with dog shows. He never fails to lend words of encouragement and sage advice to Leonberger people and he loves to celebrate successes. There's never been a lemon Bert couldn't turn into lemonade. It's people like Bert who make AKC shows a great place to spend time and he has been a shining example of sportsmanship for the members of our club and the fancy.

#2 Bert has also been a member of the Roanoke Kennel Club for 60 years. He has held many leadership roles in the club and has been passionate in teaching of numerous handling classes at all participant levels. Bert always provides encouragement for growth. Bert’s six decades of success as a Professional Handler speaks to his dedication of enrichment of our sport. However, what makes Bert truly special is his character, compassion and his dedication to those who show a desire to improve. I was fortunate to attend one of Bert’s conformation classes over 15 years ago. Ever since that initial class, Bert has always taken an invested interest in improving my skills without ever asking for compensation. I can see Bert at back to back dog shows or see him once in a year and know he will take the time to watch my performance in the ring. Bert will watch, see me 20-30 minutes later and recount in detail what I did well and what I needed to stop doing…immediately! Many of the “tips” I use today I learned from Bert. At many dog shows I have attended, I’ve seen Bert display the same level of compassion and encouragement to many other handlers, always being excited for their individual success. I can’t think of a better candidate for the Cheryl Cannon Award.

Vickie Venzen

The first time I saw Vickie in the ring with a Cane Corso and thought to myself; if she can handle THAT dog she can handle my Leo. And here we are..... She put herself through college, raised a family, and has a career in addition to handling dogs... She always tries to raise others up- be it with words of encouragement, just a little kindness, a smile, a helping hand, educating, or just giving you the shirt off her back. A little known fact about Vickie is that she listens to Gospel music while she's grooming and during her drive to a show site. It's her dose of being grateful, being thankful, keeping it real, and a reminder to give back and pay it forward.


'Vickie truly cares; about EVERYTHING!! She cares if the dog isn't well, she cares if a fellow handler needs help, she cares that she's not wasting someone else's time or money... Cheryl was a ground breaker, and Vickie truly tries to emulate everything that Cheryl stood for. And is proud to ALSO be a woman of color while doing so. 

Morgan Williams
Morgan shows her love of Leonbergers in everything she does. She has trained leonbergers to be in the world’s spotlight by doing Movies, TV shows and theater productions. Her dogs are always seen in the best light in all her productions. Morgan has helped in whelping and vetting new owners. She has helped many dogs with LPN1, LPN2, LPPN3, CANCER, LP, and other illnesses. She shows kindness and compassion while trying to help others.


Morgan has also rescued Leonbergers from bad situations. She has compassion and passion for every Leonberger and other breeds as well. She is always ready and willing to help out anyone when she can. Morgan is a very giving person and knows how to handle difficult problems and issues. She has helped promote a camaraderie among Leo owners through the shows she put on. Morgan works very hard running the elevators in New York City but she always finds the time to take the dogs to school and training class and the vet. She is not afraid of work and she has determination to be successful at everything she does. She motivates people and has always represented herself and the Leonberger breed with pride and dignity. She does so many different events and motivates others to put their dogs in dock diving, barn hunt, lure coursing and Fast CAT, showing the versatility of the breed. 

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