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Autumn Oaks Judges Announcement
Posted on 06/21/2012 in Coonhounds.

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The United Kennel Club is pleased to announce the following Bench Show judges selected for the 53rd Autumn Oaks - James Edwards, Tim Hickman and Penny Jessup.
Each individually brings their own unique personality and expertise to the ring, and are equally capable of judging some of the toughest classes they may find anywhere. Equally as important, each are well versed on each breeds standard and posses expert knowledge of their structure and anatomy. We are confident that each dog will get a fair evaluation and think their handlers will easily find that to be case as well.





James W. Edwards, Ph. D.
Mr. Edwards has been assigned to judge on Thursday (SPECIAL CLASSES) and Friday (REG).

Jim Edwards was born in Evansville, Indiana, and had the pleasure of spending formative years in the summers on the farm of his Uncle Hendricks and Aunt Ruth in Ft Branch. He well remembers that his ‘Uncle’ Lem Gwaltney had two houses on his farm – a newer one for his wife and an older one for him and his hounds. Lum and Sedrick were the young Edwards favorite team on the farm. He now resides in Danbury, North Carolina.


'Uncle' Lem with one of his hounds back in the day.


Lum and Sedrick were the young Edwards favorite team on the farm(photo taken in 1948).


Edwards graduated from Evansville College in 1960. In 1964 he received a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Zoology (with research in Genetics) from Utah State University. A Professor of Biology for 27 years (St. Francis College, PA, and Salem College, NC), with course responsibilities in comparative anatomy, genetics, evolution, zoology, and human genetics, he retired from teaching in 1991. At Salem he taught January term courses in the Biology of Dogs, having begun a breeding/exhibiting program in Bloodhounds in 1973. He is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the American Bloodhound Club, and he received the Distinguished Service Award from the ABC in 1986 and the Meritorious Service Award in 2005.

In 1991 he joined the New York Staff of the AKC as the Director of Judging Research & Development, where he first met a Mr. Wayne Cavanaugh. In 1996 he was named Director of DNA Operations and Educational Services; he retired from the AKC in 2000.

Edwards began his judging career almost thirty years ago. Since then he has judged a plethora of dog shows throughout the United States, in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and China. Throughout the years he has judged many different breeds of scent hounds including coonhounds. One of the coonhound shows on his resume includes the UKC’s Winter Classic.

“I am most grateful for the honor of judging at the 53rd Annual Autumn Oaks, and extend very best wishes to everyone with whom the future of these great coonhound breeds rests for today and, especially, tomorrow”.








Tim Hickman
Mr. Hickman has been assigned to judge on Thursday (SPECIAL CLASSES) and Saturday (CH & GRCH).


Orange City, Iowa is home for Tim Hickman. He’s been married to his wife Cindy for nearly 30 years. They raised three boys, one of which has extended their family with a daughter-in-law. “I’m an Optometrist by profession and a coon hunter by trade” Hickman claims.

He started coon hunting as a young lad with his dad and bought his first Plott Hound in 1974. To this day Plotts remain his personal breed of choice for hunting. Hickman has, in the past, served as president of the Iowa State Coonhunters Association and, more recently, president of the National Plott Hound Association.

He began judging coonhounds in the early 90’s. He has judged numerous regional and local shows including larger shows such as Plott Days, State Championships and his home-state - Iowa Governors Cup.

“I am honored to be a part of the 53rd Autumn Oaks and thank the UKC for the opportunity.”








Penny Jessup
Mrs. Jessup has been assigned to judge on Friday (REG) and Saturday (CH & GRCH).

Basic Information:

    · Married two years to Jody Jessup of Rural Hall, NC
    · 2 children, daughter Lydia – 11 years old and son Christopher – 9 years old
    · Profession: High School Math-Science Teacher (teacher of math, chemistry and physics) – 20 years’ experience (and I LOVE teaching!)
    · Primary coonhound breed – English coonhounds, but have owned TW and Plotts
    · Served 14 years as director of Kentucky Houndsmen Association, Inc. (1996-2010)
    · Column Write for the Kentucky Houndsmen Association for several years (2000-2006)
    · Widow of Wayne Caudill, who founded the Kentucky Houndsmen Association in mid-1980’s, who died in March 2008 (my children’s father)
    · Served 7 years as director of United English Breeders & Fanciers Association (1993-1999)
    · Have finished many coonhounds to bench champions and grand champions
    · Like to try my hand occasionally in conformation shows and have finished a few coonhounds to their CCH (coonhound conformation) title.
    · Have attended almost all of the Bench Show Seminars in past years when such a seminar was held after the show on Fridays at Autumn Oaks years ago AND at the Winter Classic
    · Recently attended Judges Seminar held in March at Hickory, NC under Wayne Cavanaugh

“In 1990 I was invited to go hunting with some English coonhounds. Hearing those red-ticked dogs trail and tree that night was very thrilling, even though we went on a bit of a hike walking to the dogs. Hearing and seeing them do what they were bred to do was like sweet music in the woods and I was immediately hooked!

Later I turned my attention to showing dogs. I began at the local level with average dogs and worked my way up. My first experiences were with English coonhounds and that’s where my heart still lies today. In 1996 I won my first trophy at Autumn Oaks and I knew that was the level at which I wanted to compete. Along the way I have owned and shown several different breeds. I’ve experienced the thrill of winning shows like Autumn Oaks and the Winter Classic. Some of those dogs live in my heart and have made wonderful memories I will cherish forever.

I’m incredibly honored to have been selected to judge at Autumn Oaks. It’s something I think anyone serious about showing would love to do at some point in their career. To have the chance to judge the best dogs in the country is something I look forward to.

I like to promote sportsmanship, the youth, and supporting the state associations! I think everyone should shake hands and congratulate the winners. I think the youth are the future and applaud those that work with Youth Hunts and Shows or take their kids hunting and showing.

Finally, every state needs a strong voice to protect the rights of the hunters in their state. To that end I do like that the Purina Coonhound of the Year program awards Purina points at the state championships.”