Named for the Westminster Kennel Club’s symbolic Pointer, the Sensation Award is given in recognition of a Member’s contributions to the club, to purebred dogs, and to the sport of showing dogs.
2007: Chester F. Collier
Chester F. Collier, past president and show chairman and longtime member of the Westminster Kennel Club, was the inaugural Sensation Award winner.
Mr. Collier became show chairman for Westminster in 1978 and his television experience began to shape the staging of the live event for television, helping Westminster become one of the most popular shows on cable, with millions of viewers. Through these efforts, the Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show became a popular fixture on national television.
Much of the credit for Westminster’s television success went to Mr. Collier, a longtime network television producer and executive with seven Emmy Awards. His history in television includes many years as the producer of the Mike Douglas Show and in executive positions with Westinghouse and NBC (America’s Talking). In the mid-1990s, he helped launch the Fox News Channel.
A native of Boston, Mr. Collier became involved with purebred dogs in the 1960s, showing Bouviers des Flandres. In addition to his Westminster roles, he is a past president and board member for the American Bouvier des Flandres Club, the Westchester Kennel Club, and the Eastern Dog Club. He served as an AKC Delegate for a number of years and sat on the American Kennel Club's Board of Directors from 1986 to 1990. The Club was honored to have him judge Best in Show at Westminster in 2000.
2009: William F. Stifel
William F. Stifel, a longtime member of the Westminster Kennel Club and a past president of the American Kennel Club, was the second Sensation Award winner.
Mr. Stifel became a member of the Westminster Kennel Club in 1976. One of his biggest contributions to the organization and the sport of dogs came in 2001 with the publication of the storied club history, The Dog Show: 125 Years of Westminster. The book took him three years to complete and made him the de facto archivist for the club.
Mr. Stifel was employed by the American Kennel Club in a variety of roles from 1957-1986, serving the last nine years as president. He was the founding president of the AKC Museum of the Dog and oversaw the publication of the centennial volume, The AKC's World of the Pure-Bred Dog. He served on the AKC Board of Directors from 1977-1990.
In 2006, Mr. Stifel was in the first class of inductees into the Hall of Fame of the Dog Writers Association of America. He served as the AKC Delegate for Westminster. He was a native of Toledo, Ohio, and attended Western Reserve Academy and Harvard.
2011: Robert V. Lindsay
Robert V. (Rod) Lindsay, a past president and once the longest standing member of the Westminster Kennel Club, was the third Sensation Award winner.
Mr. Lindsay became a Westminster member in 1959 and served as president from 1969-1972. He served as vice president four times, as vice chairman of the show committee, and as chief ring steward for many years. He was also a trustee of Westminster Kennel Foundation, which he helped to create.
Mr. Lindsay and his wife Nancy were quite active in the dog show world, breeding and showing Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds out of their Lime Tree Kennels in Syosset, New York, for many years. He was a past president and AKC Delegate for the American Bloodhound Club, past president of the Long Island Kennel Club, and past treasurer of the ASPCA.
Avid collectors of dog art and memorabilia, they were involved with the founding of the AKC Museum of the Dog in 1981. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Lindsay was in the banking business for 40 years and retired as president of JP Morgan.
2019 - Seán W. McCarthy
Seán W. McCarthy, a Westminster member since 2002 and past president, vice president, and chief ring steward, is the fourth Sensation Award winner.
Mr. McCarthy’s creativity and dynamic leadership helped Westminster achieve numerous progressive advancements including the creation of Westminster Week, the Masters Agility Championship and the Masters Obedience Championship. These initiatives along with several long-range strategic agreements he oversaw with Fox Sports and Purina Pro Plan continue to enhance the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Mr. McCarthy served as president from 2012-2018, vice president from 2009-2012, and as chief ring steward for many years.
Mr. McCarthy began his interest in purebred dogs while still in college. Sighthounds, especially Borzoi, were his first interest and he eventually formed a lifelong friendship with Dr. Richard Meen of Kishniga fame. For a number of years, he and Dr. Meen campaigned many top winning Borzoi including the top winning dog in Canada. He was also keenly interested in Jack Russell Terriers prior to the breed being recognized by the American Kennel Club in this country.
A graduate of Georgetown, Mr. McCarthy is the co-founder of Build America Mutual Assurance Company. Prior to that he was COO of Assured Guarantee which acquired Financial Security Assurance where he was president and chief operating officer. Mr. McCarthy and his family have a French Bulldog and a Jack Russell.