Contest Judges

Wire Coated Breeds: Friday AM
Entry: Cheryl
Intermediate: Joey Villani
Open: Mario DiFante
Group: Cheryl, Mario DiFante, Joey Villani
All Other Purebreds: Friday PM
Entry: Joey Villani
Intermediate: Sue Zecco
Open: Mario DiFante
Group: Sue Zecco, Mario DiFante
Sporting: Saturday AM
Entry: Joey Villani
Intermediate: Mario DiFante
Open: Sue Zecco
Group: Joey Villani, Mario DiFante, Sue Zecco
Salon Freestyle: Saturday AM
Entry: Joey Villani
Intermediate: Sue Zecco
Open: Mario DiFante
Group: Joey Villani, Mario DiFante, Sue Zecco
Poodles: Saturday PM
Entry: Joey Villani
Intermediate: Mario DiFante
Open: Sue Zecco
Group: Joey Villani, Mario DiFante, Sue Zecco
Best In Show: Sunday PM
Mario DiFante, Sue Zecco, Joey Villani
Creative Styling: Sunday PM
Sue Zecco

Mario DiFante

Mario DiFante

Owner of Four Paws Salon in Providence, RI, Mario’s past awards include Best Groomed Dog in Show, Best All-Around Groomer, and World Scissoring Champion titles. Over the past 22 years, he has judged competitions in the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan. As the creator/designer/innovator of various cutting techniques for different coat types, Mario has developed advanced grooming products and tools. A past member of the grooming board of directors for the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Mario assisted in writing the grooming guide for the Portie according to AKC breed profile standards. He has bred, groomed, and handled or owned many AKC champions over the past 30 years, including Westminster Best of Breed-winning Portuguese Water Dogs (ranked top 5 in the US) as well as specialty Bichons. Mario’s current endeavor is as founder and executive director of Pet Fashion Week in New York City, a high-end pet lifestyle trade show.

Cheryl Purcell

Cheryl Purcell

Cheryl A Purcell Nationally Certified Master Groomer: 
groomteam USA Member from 2002 to 2007. Cheryl retired in 2010 to become the groomteam USA Coordinator from 2011-2014, She captained the 2013 Gold World Grooming Champion Travel Team. In addition to being a five time Cardinal Crystal nominee and a Barkleigh Honors Awards nominee. Cheryl and her dog River where the 2014 Kerry Blue Terrier BOB at Westminster. Cheryl is a sought after Lecturer, Judge and Mentor. Cheryl owns and operates Pooch Paws Pet Grooming with her husband Ron, in Hanover MA.

Joey Villani

Joey Villani

Joey had 35 years of experience under industry visionary John Nash. He trained thousands of groomers as an instructor and director of Nash schools. In 1995, he became the owner of the Nash Academy of Animal Arts, New Jersey. Joey is an IJA judge and four-time nominee for Judge of the Year. Joey has appeared on numerous television shows, including Animal Planet's Dogs 101, NBC's The Today Show, and Fox's The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. As a judge on Animal Planet's Groomer Has It, a grooming-based reality TV show, Joey brought a technical insight to the show.

Sue Zecco

Sue Zecco

Sue is a 2011 Barkleigh Honors Award winner. She is a Certified Master Groomer with both the National Dog Groomers Association (NDGAA) and the International Professional Groomers (IPG). She has been grooming for over 30 years. She has won multiple grooming awards, including her biggest show accomplishments: 1998 International Groomer of the Year and 1999 Oster Invitational Tournaments Grand Champion. Sue has been a member of GroomTeam USA since 1997 and broke all records in 1999, earning 113 points. She is also a Wahl Clipper Corporation spokesperson. With Jay Scruggs, she conducts a series of full-day seminars called Super Styling Sessions. Sue breeds Standard Poodles under the “Dreamcatcher” prefix.