2017 Judging Team

Brian Sobel

Brian Sobel is the principal consultant for Sobel Communications of Petaluma, California.

Sobel has many years of experience in the private and public sectors.  Educated at San Francisco State University, majoring in Broadcast Communication Arts and Journalism, Sobel worked in radio and television and was News Director for two radio stations.  Before opening his consulting firm, Sobel spent several years working for a major corporation as a writer, training consultant and video producer.

In the public sector, Sobel has been active as a past candidate for the California State Assembly and is a former planning commissioner and vice-mayor of Petaluma, California. He is also past chairman of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and a current member of several other non-governmental and governmental boards and commissions including the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors, where he also chairs the Transportation Committee of the Board. In his capacity as a public official, Sobel testified before governmental entities including a United States Senate committee, where he outlined the key role of local government in decision-making by the federal government. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the 4th District Agricultural Association, appointed by governor of California, for nine years and as president of the board for one year.

Along with Sobel’s extensive private sector experience, he has authored three books, including one anthology. His second book entitled, The Fighting Pattons, is the story of the famous general and his only son, who also became a general and fought with distinction in Korea and during three tours of duty in Vietnam. The book, with a foreword written by Major General George S. Patton (Ret.), was a main selection of the Military Book Club, with members worldwide. Later, it was released in paperback by Dell Publishing, and in audio as well. In April 2013 the book was rereleased in Trade Paperback. Along with writing books, Sobel has contributed articles to a variety of national publications including The Wall Street Journal, often appeared on the History Channel and hosted a weekly talk radio program on the Northern California Radio Network. The program aired from Oregon to central California and east to Reno, Nevada. Sobel also served for several years as the on-air political analyst for KFTY 50 Television located in Santa Rosa, California, and currently provides political and military commentary for numerous media outlets, including KTVU, Channel 2, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sobel has received a variety of awards in connection with his writing, training and video work.

Paige Braddock

Paige Braddock’s long-running comic strip, JANE’S WORLD, was the first gay-themed work to receive online distribution by a national media syndicate in the U.S. Daily installments of JANE’S WORLD appear on GoComics. There are currently 11 volumes of the comic strip in print. Braddock published the first novel inspired by the comic series, JANE’S WORLD: THE CASE OF THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE, in June 2016 with Bold Strokes Books. She has also written a series of lesbian romance novels with this publisher under the pen name, Missouri Vaun.

By day, Braddock is the Creative Director at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. She has illustrated several PEANUTS children’s books. The Snoopy U.S. postage stamp issued in April 2001 was designed by Braddock. In 2015, she began publishing her own line of graphic novels for children with Andrews McMeel Publishing titled, STINKY CECIL IN OPERATION POND RESCUE and STINKY CECIL IN TERRARIUM TERROR.

Kerry Sanders

Kerry Sanders has been NBC’s Miami-based correspondent since 1996, covering news mainly in the South and throughout Latin America. Sanders contributes regularly to “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today,” MSNBC and occasionally to “Dateline NBC.”

Sanders covers breaking news and feature stories. He has more than 30 years experience providing in-the-field-reports during hurricanes. He was a member of the NBC Nightly News reporting team that was awarded a Peabody and the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Sanders was also one of NBC’s embedded reporters during the Iraq war, traveling with the U.S. Marine Corps. He reported on various battles, including the harsh 11-day conflict in Nasariyah. In addition, Sanders has extensively covered the war on terror in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

Sanders has received other numerous national awards. He was a member of the NBC News team that won the Edward R. Murrow award in 2011 for his live coverage from the Titanic wreckage in the North Atlantic. He was awarded a 2011 Society of Professional Journalists Bronze Medal for his coverage of the 33 Chileans trapped deep in a mine. Sanders was awarded a National Headliner Award for his reporting from Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.

In addition, he was awarded an Emmy as a member of the NBC News team reporting on the 2008 national election. He was also awarded an Emmy in 2005 as a member of the NBC News team reporting on Hurricane Katrina. In 2000, he won the Overseas Press Club Award for his coverage in Kosovo. In 1994 Sanders was honored with the prestigious Columbia-duPont, recognized for his reporting from Haiti as a military coup rocked the country. Sanders shared another Columbia-duPont award for his compelling coverage of the widespread devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Sanders was also a co-recipient of the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award, and the George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Andrew and the aftermath of the storm.

About the World's Ugliest Dog® Contest

The old saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is exemplified at the World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, CA. The internationally observed event celebrates homely hounds and the humans who love them.

For 28 years, the Contest has been a testament that all dogs do not have to meet AKC pedigree standards to be man’s (or woman’s) best friend. The owners of all kinds of dogs are also all kinds of people, from youngsters to senior citizens, each proud of their pet despite missing fur, crossed eyes, duck waddles or mismatched ears. They proudly walk both pedigreed pooches and Heinz 57 mutts down the red carpet to the cheers and clapping of the crowd.

Prior to arriving for the contest, all the dogs must provide a veterinarian’s paperwork asserting that they are healthy.  The World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest follows up with a vet check on-site just prior to the contest.  Animal rescue and adoption groups are also on site with information showcasing adoptable pets.

A good many of the contestant dogs have been rescued from shelters and puppy mills and the contest has done much to raise awareness for adoption of dogs, and that no matter their physical detractions, these animals are loving companions.  And the dogs certainly seem to enjoy the adoration of the fans.

The annual World’s Ugliest Dog® Contest is not about making fun of “ugly” dogs, but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!  Entry forms for the Contest and the Petfest are available now, just click on the link to your left.  

VIP Petcare is dedicated to improving the lives of pets and the people who love them. This goal is accomplished by extending the availability of high value pet preventative and wellness veterinary services to all pet owners. Through our nationwide network of community clinics, VIP Petcare provides a wide variety of preventive pet care services, all administered by a state licensed veterinarian onsite at all of our clinics. These services and products include diagnostic tests, vaccinations, prescription medications, microchipping and a wellness check commensurate with the services administered. Our wellness services provide information about and/or protection against diseases and parasites such as rabies, parvovirus, feline leukemia virus, Lyme Disease, heartworm disease, and intestinal parasites. Our microchipping includes free nationwide registration, helping pet owners find lost pet family members and bring them safely home.