Ms. Beisel-McIlwaine of Ann Arbor, MI discovered the world of dog shows while in high school. In 1974 she bought her first show dog, an Old English Sheepdog. In 1977 she began a three-year apprenticeship with terrier master George Ward, where she discovered her love for terriers, specifically Wire Fox Terriers. It was also during her apprenticeship with Ward that she met her husband to be, Sandy McIlwaine, a Cairn terrier breeder. They married in December of 1980 and honeymooned at Westminster in 1981, their first time at the show. They established Foxairn Kennels in Ann Arbor, specializing in Wire Fox and Cairn terriers. They have bred Best in Show and National Specialty Best of Breed winners. Additionally, they have exhibited at Westminster on many occasions winning the Best of Breed in Cairn terriers in 1990, 1993 and 1994.
Ms. Beisel-McIlwaine retired from professional handling to begin her judging career in 1996. She has judged around the world and has been nominated for the Show Dogs of the Year Achievement Award, “Judge of the Year” on three occasions. She is approved to judge the Sporting, Terrier, and Herding groups, Junior Showmanship and Best in Show. This will be her eighth judging assignment at Westminster including the Terrier Group in 2006.