United States
Australian Shepherd Association

United States
Australian Shepherd Association

2023-2024 USASA Board of Directors Election

USASA Member, we have four candidates running for the two open director seats for the 2023-24 Board of Directors. Each candidate was given the opportunity to provide a biography on themselves. Please take a moment to read the biographies of each person so you may familiarize yourselves with the candidates who are running to fill these open seats. Your ballot will arrive in your mailbox very soon. Ballots are to be mailed using the enclosed envelope and must arrive to the CPA no later than December 15, 2022.

The Candidates

David Clayton, Florida

Dear USASA Members, I am running for the USASA Board to support the Versatile Australian Shepherd.  I have 41 years of experience owning, training, and showing Aussies in multiple venues, and I would bring this experience to the USASA Board. I obtained my first Aussie, Bear, in 1981 and showed him to his CD.  His willingness to please and devotion to our family had me hooked on Australian Shepherds.  The foundation of our kennel, SunFire, came from Brookridge Australian Shepherds.  Mattie, CH Brookridge Midnight Madness CD STDsd was brilliant and exemplified the type and character of the Australian Shepherd.  Susan and Reggie were mentors, and we spend many a night into the wee hours talking Aussies.  Susan was very giving of her time and knowledge of the breed.  Eight generations later you still find Brookdridge dogs in our pedigrees. I believe the Aussie should be promoted as versatile working dog, show dog, performance dog and family companion. 


I have qualified for USASA’s Hall of Fame Breeder program and submitted paperwork in September. I have bred 63 Aussies with AKC titles, verified by the AKC breeder report. A breakdown of some titles earned by dogs I bred is included below.  I have finished eight AKC champions and bred 15 champions, earned five CD’s and one CDx .  In AKC I have earned 9 herding titles on Australian Shepherds and 14 titles on three other AKC herding breeds. I am actively showing in AKC herding, conformation and obedience.  We occasionally host AKC herding trials at or facility for USASA and other AKC Herding Breed Clubs.  Some highlights of dogs I bred include multiple group wins and placements, BOS USASA Futurity, winners female twice at the AKC championship circuit, BOB and Herding Group 1 puppy at Eukanuba, and multiple reserve and High in Trial wins at AKC herding trials.


I have been married for 25 years and we live on a small farm with cattle, sheep, goats, and ducks in Quincy, Florida.  Professionally, I’m a Senor Environmental Scientist and Restoration Ecologist and implement landscape scale ecological restoration on 22,000 acres.  I develop budget, manage personnel, contractors, implement restoration plans, permitting and monitoring.  My annual budget for the program averages 1.2 million dollars a year.

I would greatly appreciate your support for the open USASA Board Position


Dogs that I have bred have earned the following:


  • 15 Conformation champions
  • Obedience: 5 UD, 14 CDX, 23 CD’s
  • Herding: 7 dogs with herding titles
  • Agility: 4 MACH, and 18 other dogs with agility titles
  • One TD and VCD1 dog
  • 18 Rally titles
  • 5 Fast Cat titles
  • 18 trick dog titles

Kerry Kirtley, California

My name is Kerry Kirtley, and I am honored to have been nominated for a seat on the USASA Board for the 2023-2024 term. 

While I have been involved with AKC since my early teens, most notably with cocker spaniels, my journey with the Australian Shepherd began in the early 1980s.  I found myself drawn to the versatility of this breed and simply found that I didn’t want to live without these “velcro” dogs by my side. Through Wyndstar Kennels, I have bred multiple group and BIS Australian Shepherds. While I have chiefly focused my own energy on the conformation ring, I have had the honor and fortune of a wonderful extended Wyndstar family that has exhibited their Aussies across the whole gamut of venues. The culmination of this partnership was when Wyndstar achieved its status as a USASA Hall of Fame Kennel in 2019.

Since retiring I’ve been able to purse one of my longtime goals and acquired my AKC judges license a few years ago. Some of my most memorable judging assignments have been at the USASA Nationals judging Sweepstakes and the Top 20. My judging assignments have taken me all over the country and internationally. These have all been fabulous experiences; it is always honor to judge.

I am the current President of the newly formed  member club, Palms to Pines Australian Shepherd Club in Southern California. I am a Past President of Oceanview ASC, a VCA Hospital Director and I am currently on the Board of Directors of USASA. My term expires at the end of 2022.

I am also retired veterinary pharmaceutical representative with a strong interest in health and genetics.

During my current term on the Board of Directors of USASA, I have worked with both the health and genetics and membership committees with coordinating the genetic testings at the USASA Nationals 2021. Most recently, I have been working with the membership committee to streamline the process to our website for easier navigation for new and existing members.

In terms of my future goals and interests for USASA, as a result of my experience in forming the Palms to Pines Australian Shepherd Club, I would like to further assist potential new member clubs with their questions and with the various paperwork that they must file with USASA and AKC. I believe that these past experiences have assisted me in realizing what we as USASA can continue to achieve and grow. By continuing to grow the overall USASA membership and new members clubs, we can ensure that there is a future for USASA and the Australian Shepherd breed.

 I simply cannot imagine my life without Australian Shepherds. Some of my most important friendships began with one of my Aussies. I cherish the opportunity to be able to continue to contribute my experience and interest with the Australian Shepherd breed to the USASA Board of Directors and USASA Membership as a whole.  

Thank you for your time.

Kathleen Sumner, Florida

Thank you to the USASA Nominating Committee and Board of Directors for nominating me to the 2023-24 USASA Board of Directors. I sincerely appreciate your vote of confidence and I am honored to accept this nomination.

My dedication to the Australian Shepherd began in 2004 with my first Aussie.  I fell for this versatile breed and now devote all my dog time to Aussies. I am active in conformation, agility, obedience, & rally. I have bred a few litters; enough to attain Breeder of Merit status.  My husband, Evans, also trains and shows in herding and agility.  We are both devoted to the breed and showcasing their amazing talents in all events. I am a firm believer in the versatile Aussie and believe our great dogs deserve titles at the beginning and end of their registered names!

 I am one of the founding members of ASCOCF, the Australian Shepherd Club of Central Florida.  As President in 2015, I resurrected this Club from a faulty start, and we brought it to AKC Certification and USASA Member Club Status.  Our dedicated Officers, Board of Directors and wonderful Members have now grown ASCOCF into a respected Club, hosting multiple Aussie Specialties and USASA Specialties each year as well as Obedience & Rally trials and Farm Dog Certification. I currently serve as VP and Performance Chair for this Club.  We continue with our commitment to support the versatile Australian Shepherd and to host outstanding Specialties and Performance/Companion events for the fancy.

I am the USASA Futurity Chair.  After accepting this position last year, I reworked the program to make it more efficient.  Being responsive to all inquiries and confirming each nomination in a timely manner is important to me.

I organize and report the data, add clarity to the rules and forms and maintain a data base of all nominations. It is my pleasure to report the USASA Futurity Program is achieving financial growth as well.  This money goes back the breeders and rewards those whose programs produce outstanding offspring. It is a pleasure to see all our Breeders recognized!

Being retired from the corporate business world, I have the time and talent to offer USASA.  My experience in corporate sales with IBM and AT&T has trained me to be professional, organized, responsive to inquiries and requests, skilled at communications, development and presentations.  I am dependable, determined, trustworthy and dedicated.

So, what can I do for USASA?

  • I will welcome ideas from any members to share with the Board of Directors.
  • I will respond to your inquiries.
  • I will utilize my business skills and experience to support USASA in any of its programs and events.
  • I will support the Versatile Aussie. My experience in conformation and performance events will place emphasis on both sides of our breed. I love this breed and all it can do!
  • I will be a cheerleader for Australian Shepherds and will help promote more public programs for the betterment of our breed.
  • I will support our reputable Breeders.
  • I will work to increase participation of MVA at Nationals.
  • I will encourage the growth of Aussie Clubs and encourage them to have their own Specialties. I will be available to offer guidance based on my own experiences.
  • I will support the activities of the USASA Foundation, for the health of our treasured Aussies.
  • I will be dedicated to serve the USASA Officers, Board of Directors and Members for the duration of my term.


I hope you will allow me to serve the members of USASA by voting for me as a 2023-24 USASA Board Member. I will greatly appreciate your vote! It will be my honor to serve!

AJ Tavares III, Washington

My name is AJ Tavares and I am running for a Board of Director seat for the 2023-2025 term. I have dedicated most of my life to this wonderful breed, nearly 22 years. I have been an active USASA member for 16+ years. I am the current President, and former Director, for the Sierra View Australian Shepherd Club. I am also the current USASA Health & Genetics Committee Chair, and for the past several years, have been proud to be able to help breeders readily have access available genetic testing for their dogs at the National. I feel that these positions and experience have groomed me to be the ideal candidate for a USASA Board of Director seat. While the current Board has dedicated their time over the past several years, I am excited for the opportunity to be a fresh face and give back with new ideas and programs to the membership and the breed that gives us so much. 

I have been fortunate in the ability to regularly attend our National Specialty, consecutively for the past several years. I am also an active ASCA Breeder Judge. As a professional handler at dog shows nearly every weekend, I feel I can bring a current, effective, and relevant approach to the board, along with being the voice for our membership.

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