Accolades for Diego Garcia – AKC RHP Handler of the Year

L/R: AKC Vice President, Judging Operations, Tim Thomas, Mark Desrosiers, Diego Garcia, Mary Dukes, Larry Cornelius

L/R: AKC Vice President, Judging Operations, Tim Thomas, Mark Desrosiers, Diego Garcia, Mary Dukes, Larry Cornelius

“It’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that.
It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” —Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant


Diego Garcia was actually born into the dog world in his native country of Argentina, as his parents were Boxer breeders long before he came along. As a young boy, his passion was to enter the show ring himself. He dreamed about it, reading dog magazines every night. His favorite was the BOXER REVIEW.

By age 12, Diego secured his first client who allowed him to show their beautiful Boxer bitch. He fondly recalls his mother taking him shopping for a new pair of shoes to wear for the dog show.

When Judge Betty Leininger traveled to Argentina to judge a Boxer Specialty, she observed the talents of the then 19-year-old Diego in the ring and was quite impressed. After the show, she asked Diego if she could speak with his father. The young man’s world was about to change.

Mr. Garcia secured a ticket to the United States for Diego to begin working for Michael Shephard in Texas. After spending six months there, he dreamed that one day America would become his home.

At age 27, with only a suitcase, Diego returned to the United States. He had the “will!

Now he was ready to “prepare.” The handlers’ methods of showing in Argentina and in our country were quite different. Here, we run slower and use more gentle techniques in handling our dogs. Diego had to slow down, change his posture, and basically rethink his handling techniques.

Diego shared with me, “I remember when I was in the same ring with James Moses, he kept talking to his dog and that was very impressive! I wanted to be one who would show with passion and dignity and good sportsmanship.

Always smiling Diego and Eve Garcia
Always smiling Diego and Eve Garcia

America is truly the land of opportunity, and United States Citizen Diego Garcia is proof that here dreams come true! He is now recognized as one of the top Professional Handlers in this country. His handsome looks, big smile, and charming personality have afforded Diego and his beautiful wife, Eve, a world of new friends, success, and a new hometown in Lillington, North Carolina.

Congratulations to Diego Garcia for being selected as the AKC Registered Handlers Program’s Handler of the Year for 2022. He was presented the award by American Kennel Club Vice President, Judging Operations, Timothy Thomas during the AKC National Championship Show in Orlando, Florida. Other members of the team present were AKC Field Coordinators Larry Cornelius, Mark Desrosiers, and Mary Dukes.


Members of the AKC RHP include:

  • Jason W. Bailey
  • Elizabeth Barrett
  • Doug G. Belter
  • Adam Bernardin
  • Katie Berndardin
  • Kerry M. Boyd
  • Robert R. C. Carusi
  • Paul D. Catterson
  • Marianne “Tuni” Conti
  • Geoff S. Dawson
  • James R. Dickson
  • Kaki Fisher
  • Robert A. Fisher
  • Lisa M. Gallizzo
  • Diego F. Garcia
  • Sara J. Gregware
  • Deanna “Dee” B. Hanna
  • Stephanie J. Hentschel
  • Shane A. Hooper
  • Lydia Hovanski
  • Erin H. Karst
  • Ania G. Kelly
  • Laura L. King
  • Tara Krieger Hartman
  • Peter S. Kubacz
  • Ernesto Lara
  • Angelo L. Lloyd
  • Karen M. Mammano
  • Lisa A. Miller
  • Kathryn A. Mines
  • Roslyn Mintz-Fosco
  • Elizabeth Leesa A. Molina
  • Lori A. Mowery
  • Frank J. Murphy
  • Patricia Murray
  • Dave Musto
  • Kathy Musto
  • Mary Norton-Augustus
  • Kimberly A. Pastella-Calvacca
  • A. Clark Pennypacker
  • Matthew S. Perchick
  • Sarah Perchick
  • Adam Peterson
  • Madeline Peterson
  • Bekki L. Pina
  • Gabriel Rangel
  • Ivonne Rangel
  • Annmarie C. Ruggieri
  • Lori G. Sargent LVT
  • Celso Schneider
  • Tara J. Schultz
  • Dave A. Slattum
  • Valerie A. Stanert
  • Clifford W. Steele
  • Hiram T. Stewart
  • Greg O. Strong
  • Debbie Struff
  • Christina Ulberg
  • Meagan A. Ulfers
  • Alissa A. Welling
  • Linda M. Whitney
  • Kellie Williams
  • Linda Williams

For more information about the AKC RHP, contact:, 919-816-3884

  • At the age of four, Linda's love for TV's Lassie prompted her parents, Roy and Hazel Ayers to surprise her with a Collie. Her first times entering the confirmation ring began at age six. From showing her Conrad Collies in juniors, to judging, to becoming a part of an immediate family of three AKC judges, her life has evolved around the sport of purebred dogs. As a young professional just out of the University of Georgia, Linda served on the Executive Staffs of two Georgia Governors. She moved from serving at the State Capitol to assisting the Chairman of the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. As chairman and founder of a family owned Manufacturing Corporation and real estate holding company, Linda has overseen operations, acquisitions, and dispositions of considerable business holdings for over four decades. Her diverse companies have manufactured packaged goods for many household products you likely used in your homes, interior components for the automotive industry you enjoy in your cars, and industrial chemical products used in the electric utility industry. She partnered in commercial acquisitions in Washington, D.C. on a 250 million dollar level. Linda has developed significant properties delivering hundreds of home sites in Greenville, South Carolina in conjunction with NVR/Ryan Homes in addition to apartments, an IMAX theater, commercial tracts and much more. She is the proud mother of one son, Edward P. (Todd) Turner,III of Columbia, South Carolina. After retiring from many years as District Director of the Collie Club of America, Linda served for fourteen years as AKC Delegate for the Greenville Kennel Club. She is currently President of the Carolinas Judges Study Group, a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Collie Club of Georgia where she was their very first Junior Member, a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Greenville Kennel Club, and a Quarter Century Member of the Collie Club of America. Her Christian faith is exhibited in her belief that, “Time is the most important gift you can share to make someone happy or to make a difference.” Mentoring athletes from professional to high school levels has been a huge passion and blessing in Linda's life. At any given time you may find her in a locker room, on the playing field, or on the court inspiring winners. To quote her, "I would rather go to a ballgame than a ball." Linda has been on board since the inception of ShowSight

  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

Your Cart

No Item Found
Subtotal $0.00
Shipping $0.00
Tax $0.00
Total $0.00