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Darrell Newkirk

Born and raised on a farm in the midwestern US, Darrell has loved animals since his childhood. His fascination with the cat fancy and his lifelong devotion to Abyssinians began when he visited a cat show in St. Louis with his late wife, Beth. Shortly thereafter, they purchased their first Aby and began showing and breeding. As Darrell worked toward a judging career, first in the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and subsequently in CFA, they had many other breeds in their house but the Abys have always been Darrell’s first love.

Darrell currently makes his home in Las Vegas and has been a CFA Judge since 1996. He has also held many other positions within the CFA organization: Abyssinian Breed Council Secretary, Chair of the International Division, a Director-at-Large on the CFA Board, and most recently, was elected President of CFA. “Judging is a beauty contest,” says Darrell. “While the “dress” must be presented in excellent condition, the structure of the cat is the most important aspect of that cat.  If a cat does not conform to the written standard, then it is difficult to win Best in Show!” He also notes, “I consider it an honor and a privilege to have your trust while I assess the beauty of your cats.

We, in turn, consider it an honor and a privilege to have Darrell judge and present the Best of the Best cat photos in our virtual contest!

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Pam DelaBar

Born and raised in Quincy, Illinois, Pam spent a major portion of her adult life in San Antonio, Texas, where she served in the U.S. Army for 24 years. She now lives in Tampere, Finland with her wife Satu Hämäläinen, a judge for FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline).

 Pam became a CFA judge in 1990 and now has more than 30 years of CFA judging experience. She is a former President of CFA and was recently elected Regional Director of CFA’s Region 9, Europe.

She began showing with Himalayan Persians in premiership but fell in love with a lynx point Colorpoint Shorthair and then ended up breeding Siamese for over 20 years.  She has also bred Singapuras and Maine Coon Cats, and currently works with Norwegian Forest Cats and American Curls. She considers cats “beautiful works of living art” and is addicted to traveling the world and connecting with cat fanciers everywhere, because “no matter our political differences, geographical considerations, language differences, we all share the same passion and that is CATS.”

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Pamela Bassett

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, Pamela Bassett now lives in Lakeland, Tennessee, near Memphis. She attended Lousiana State University and the University of Arkansas, graduating with a degree in Nutrition. She went on to become a Registered Dietitian and pursue a MS degree in Health Care Administration.

 Her experience with Persians goes back to the 1980s, when she and her mother Jean began breeding under the PaJean cattery name. They exhibited extensively throughout the US for over 20 years, producing 22 CFA National Winners, 3 CFA Best Cats, and more Grand Champions than any other longhair cattery in the history of CFA. Pam continues to enjoy breeding and showing today, but as her love of all breeds expanded, she entered the judging program and has now been a CFA judge for 12 years. After owning and showing many different breeds throughout her judges’ training, she says she remains “fascinated with the unique personalities of the breeds and the unique elegance each brings to the judging table.” She has judged throughout the US and internationally, and values her experiences meeting exhibitors and cat fanciers all over the world. “I find it a true honor and privilege to judge their wonderful cats,” she says.

 We are very grateful to Pam for stepping in to judge our show on such short notice and delighted to have her with us!

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Allan Raymond

Born in Australia and currently living in Thailand, Allan was the first Australian to become a CFA Allbreed Judge. His love of cats dates from his early teens, when he dreamed of owning a white cat. His start in the cat fancy goes back to the 1970s, in Tasmania, when he began showing with a blue Persian. Together with his partner, Michael Woods, he bred Persians in many other colors and also has experience with Exotics and Oriental Shorthairs. 
He began training as a longhair judge with the Feline Control Council of Victoria in 1982, obtained his first license in 1985 and became an allbreed judge in 1997. He has also served in several executive positions for Australian cat organizations and represented the Australian Cat Federation at the World Cat Congress in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

In addition to judging extensively in Australia and New Zealand, he has also judged throughout Southeast Asia, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, South Africa and the US. Many of these shows were guest judging assignments for CFA. In 2011, Allan was accepted into the CFA Judging Program and became a CFA Allbreed Judge in 2012. 

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Sharon Roy

Born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, Sharon still lives and works there, currently for a local marketing company. She has been a CFA judge since 1989, and prior to that, had six years of judging experience with the Cat Fanciers Federation. She is also the Regional Director for CFA’s North Atlantic Region and has served the organization in many other capacities, such as the CFA Ombudsman and a member of the Judging Program Committee.

Although Sharon has worked briefly with Himalayan Persians, Norwegian Forest Cats, and Turkish Angoras, her first love has always been the Tonkinese breed. Together with her mother, the late Norma Roy, Sharon was a major force in guiding the breed through the Miscellaneous and Provisional classes on its way to achieving CFA Championship status. Her Shanfoo cattery produced the first Tonkinese male Distinguished Merit cat, a natural mink who sired 17 grands. She also served two terms as Tonkinese Breed Council Secretary.

Sharon has judged in every region of CFA as well as the International Division, and says that “the best part of judging is being able to handle all of the cats, all of the breeds, and finding that special cat that makes it all worthwhile.”

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Teresa Sweeney

Teresa’s involvement in the cat fancy dates back to 1992, when she began showing household pets. She purchased her first pedigreed show cats in 1997 and showed in premiership until she began breeding Maine Coons in 1997. Today, she and her husband Edwin live in Grove City, Ohio and still actively breed these gentle giants under the cattery name Highlander. However, Teresa recently acquired a new love: her beta fish, Gulliver and Mr. Limpet.

She has been a CFA judge since 2012 and when not judging or showing, works as a banking professional, primarily in Compliance. She feels that “judging is very thrilling for me. . . it allows me to express my love of cats in an artistic way. Judging wonderful cats is an honor and a privilege.”

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Gary Veach

A CFA judge for over 30 years, Gary was born in Michigan and currently lives in New Jersey. Gary and his partner Omar Gonzalez show under the cattery names Briar-mar and Veach and together have produced over fifty CFA National Winners. Best known for their Manx in recent years, their National Wins also include Persians, Oriental Shorthairs and American Shorthairs; in addition, they have worked with Cornish Rex, American Wirehairs, and Siamese, achieving numerous Regional Wins and Distinguished Merit awards.

Gary’s judging experience extends around the world and includes Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Malta, Japan, Malaysia, China, Belgium and the Netherlands. He has guest judged for Fife, Rolandus, and WCF in Russia as well as the Canadian Cat Association. In addition to being one of CFA’s best-known judges, he has also served on the CFA Board and has been a member of the CFA Clerking Program for over 40 years.

Gary and Omar also breed and show dogs, having started out with Pekingese and are now working with Toy Poodles. They have produced numerous Best in Show, Group Winners and specialty winning dogs.