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Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

The recipients for the AKC 2002 Lifetime Achievement Awards were announced at the December 11 Delegates' meeting in Orlando, FL. The Lifetime Achievement Awards honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of purebred dogs on a national level. The recipients were selected by votes cast by AKC member clubs for one of the three nominees in each of the following categories: Conformation, Obedience and Performance.

The awards, engraved Tiffany and Co. sterling silver bowls, will be presented to the winners by President and CEO Al Cheauré at the AKC Open House on February 10, 2002. A larger-sized version of the award engraved with the names of all recipients past and present, is on permanent display at the American Kennel Club Library in New York.

The AKC is proud to announce the recipients as selected by constituents in recognition of their dedication to the fancy.


Melbourne T. L. Downing, born in Baltimore, Maryland, is a second-generation all-breed judge. He spent years working and exhibiting for the family kennel, "Holly Lodge," which bred Poodles, German Shepherd Dogs, Pekingese and Pugs. His first judging assignment was a Papillon sanctioned match held at Princeton University in 1930. In 1938, Mr. Downing received AKC approval to judge seven toy breeds at conformation shows. He became an all-breed judge in 1969. Judging assignments have taken Mr. Downing to shows in all 50 states and many foreign countries. He was selected to judge Best Dog in the Australian Bicentenary Show and has judged at Westminster Kennel Club shows on 21 occasions, including Best in Show in 1992. He judged a group at both the AKC Centennial Show in 1984 and at the AKC National Invitational in 1992. Mr. Downing was honored as "Dogdom's Man of the Year" in 1995 and judged Best in Show at the revival of the Morris and Essex Kennel Club Show in 2000.


Kent H. Delaney became involved with purebreds as a youngster. Beginning in 1952, he has been a trainer, breeder and exhibitor of Boxers. In 1959 he added Afghan Hounds to his household, followed by Shih Tzus, and now lives with a cat. He has shown his dogs in Junior Showmanship, obedience, and conformation. Mr. Delaney began judging Novice obedience in 1966, received his Open license in 1969, and his Utility license in 1971. He began judging conformation in 1974, starting with Afghan Hounds and now judges all hound breeds, all toy breeds and all but six of the non-sporting breeds. In addition, he is approved to judge Junior Showmanship and Best in Show. Mr. Delaney has judged many prestigious obedience and breed assignments, including many national specialty shows, throughout the country. He is obedience chairman of the Lake Shore Kennel Club and a lifetime member of the South Side All-Breed Dog Training Club. In February of this year, he judged the Hound Group at the Westminster Kennel Club show. In June, Mr. Delaney was scheduled to judge the AKC Obedience Invitational but a health problem prevented it, and he was a judge at the first AKC/Eukanuba American Dog Classic.

Mr. Delaney says he enjoys many things about judging: helping exhibitors to reach their goals, meeting people with diverse backgrounds, challenging himself to always find the best-performing dog, and the opportunity to learn and increase his knowledge with each judging assignment.


Arthur E. Slike began his beagling career at 6 years old. As a young boy, he won field trials with a Beagle given to him by his father, also a breeder. Through the years he owned other Beagles, but he has never forgotten the time in 1986 when he finished his first Field Champion, Art's Jessica.

He joined the staff of Hounds & Hunting Publishing Company in 1961 as a bookkeeper and field representative, attending and competing in Beagle field trials all over the country. In 1975, he became a partner in the company and in 1984 he and his brother, Robert Jr., became sole owners. Mr. Slike authors the monthly "Astraddle The Line" column in Hounds and Hunting.

Mr. Slike is secretary of the McKean County Beagle Club, a position he has held for more than 11 years. He has served as advisor to the Ralston Purina Top Beagle Award since its inception in 1972, and he is chair to both the Brace Beagling and SPO Beagling Hall of Fame awards. He has held office in several of the Beagle federations throughout the country and is presently a member of the National Beagle Club and the Coraopolis Beagle Club. He has made many personal contributions to the sport of Beagling, and in May of this year, was elected to the Beagling Hall of Fame 2000.

The sport of Field Trial Beagling has been a family activity and lifelong pursuit Mr. Slike has enjoyed for 54 years.

Congratulations to the recipients and special thanks for their years of dedicated service to the fancy!