When Tom Coen and Pam Eddy broke the silence and everyone learned that Larry Willeford would receive the Right Stuff Award, Larry was totally surprised!
50 Years of Dedication to the Collie
Pam Eddy shared the following:
“Tonight, we celebrate Larry Willeford and his 50 years of dedication to the Collie and the Collie Club
Larry Willeford, like many of us, started out in his love of our wonderful dogs by watching Lassie on TV and reading the Albert Payson Terhune books. He went to his first dog show in Dallas at the age of 13 and was bitten by the show bug, despite not coming from a family involved in breeding and showing.
Larry Willeford joined the North Texas Collie Club in 1968 and the Collie Club of America in 1970. He has served CCA in several capacities throughout this time, first as the Bulletin editor for several years in the early 1990s, then later, serving as the District Director for Texas and even a short stint at First Vice President in 2018. In addition, he has worked several years as a member of the Judges Education Committee and also served a stint on the Ethics Committee, and most recently, serving as the Material’s Chairman.
Perhaps his greatest contribution, however, has been as a judge since 1989. He has consistently
proved to be a well–respected and popular judge. The 2023 National will mark his third assignment at our greatest show, having previously judged dogs in 1998 and 2011. He also had the honor of judging the Collie Club of Canada in 1994 and was the judge for the Kem Sweeps that was held the day beforethe 1996 CCA in Columbus.
Even more enjoyable for him has been his breeding career, done on a very small scale but has produced over 50 champions!
As a young teenager, Larry was most impressed with the Gingeor line and began a friendship via mail with George Horn. He was eventually able to obtain a sable bitch from George, but sadly, a litter was never to happen. However, the friendship with George continued on and George always inspired and encouraged him in his pursuit of breeding and showing excellent dogs.
In the late 1970s, Larry was able to become more active in breeding, and in partnership with Grace Kosub of Vanity Collies they were able to breed their daughter of Ch. Marnus Silver Sabre to Ch. Gingeor’s Indelibly Blue. This was his first pivotal breeding decision as it produced four champions, most notably the 1979 CCA RWB Ch. Vanity Blu Daze who went on to become a many-time specialty Best of Breed winner and Larry’s first champion, and a very special heart dog, Ch. Windcrest Vanity Fair.
“Fairah” was a truly special show dog and finished her title by going Working Group First from the classes. She earned several more Group wins along the way as a special. This was not an easy feat in those days before Herding was split off from the Working Group. As it happens, this timeframe is also when I first met Larry Willeford at a show and I just loved watching Fairah in the ring. Larry and Fairah were truly a team.
The Windcrest family line was able to continue on thru Fairah’s daughter, Ch. Windcrest All’s Fair, who was bred to Ch. Tel Star’s Night Capers in 1982 and produced a couple of blue boys. One of those was my beloved “Decker,” Ch. Windcrest Sundown Sensation, who became the first of many dogs that I have had the joy of co-owning with Larry. Decker followed in the footsteps of his grand-dam by winning several Groups, and on one very exciting day in November 1985, he won Best in Show under Roy Ayers in an entry of 3,000 dogs at Oklahoma City.
In 1986, Larry Willeford acquired a sable bitch puppy from Twin Creeks, sired by Ch. Twin Creeks Tuff Guy out of Ch. Twin Creeks Crowning Glory, named Twin Creeks Windcrest Breeze. She was bred to Ch.Tartanside Spellbound, eventually, and from this breeding would come a tri-factored sable bitch that was later bred to a dog that Larry fell in love with at a judging assignment where he had given the dog a 5-point major. That dog was Ch. Gambit’s Freeze Frame, and he certainly needs no introduction here.
From the Freeze Frame litter, Larry kept a tri-color bitch who went on to become Ch. Windcrest Bring on the Night, and a blue bitch called Windcrest Blu Blu Shadows who ended up going to Linda Hash on a co-ownership for a litter where she was bred to Ch. Gambit’s Dream State.
Larry was to get a puppy out of that litter but he had moved to Austin for a new job and did not have room for a puppy at the time, so he offered to let me have his puppy. In September of 1993, Linda sent me a sable girl who ended up being our Ch. Gambit’s Dream Time, also known as “Tessa.” Tessa loved to show and, thankfully, most years she was able to have coat in the springtime and she earned many specialty BOBs and was Top 10 Rough on two occasions, despite being shown primarily at specialty shows. Tessa was a lot of fun for both of us to show, needless to say.
When Larry was finally able to move back to North Texas again and get back into breeding, he did a breeding to my pure for sable Tessa son, who never earned his title due to his hatred of the show ring, and from this breeding came a few generations of sable bitches! In particular, a great-granddaughter of Tessa became Larry’s second all-breed Best in Show winner, Ch. Windcrest Swept Away.
Through these 50 years, Larry Willeford has always had to keep his number of dogs low or, at times, none, so it is truly impressive to have produced over 50 champions and many generations of specialty winners. Larry has always strived to breed top-quality Collies and at the same time contribute his time and knowledge to our club.
I think you will agree that he has The Right Stuff!”
Also attending the gala were judges for this year’s CCA National, Nancy Anstruther, Robette Johns, and Adria Weiner. Being selected by the members of the Collie Club of America to judge their 2023 National Specialty Show is another honor yet to come for Larry Willeford! Hooray for Collies!
About the Quarter Century Collie Group
Founded in 1980, The Quarter Century Collie Group’s membership consists of individuals who have been members of the Collie Club of America for at least 25 years. Dedicated to honoring pillars of the Collie breed, the group inducts a deserving person into their Hall of Fame and honors another with their Right Stuff Award at a banquet during the week of each year’s Collie Club of America National Specialty Show. Picturesque Salt Lake City, Utah, was the location for the 2022 ceremony.
Officers of the group are “cream of the crop” greats in the Collie world themselves: Tom Coen, President, Leslie Jeszewski, Vice President, Heather Newcomb, Treasurer, and Darcy Brown, Secretary.
Lines from Linda
The Quarter Century Collie Group Honors Larry Willeford with the Right Stuff Award
By Linda Ayers Turner Knorr