Is pleased to recognize

Dee Johnson & Connie Roberts
San-Toi Cattery

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

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GC, BW, NW San-Toi's Yankee
Doodle Dandy of Elsk, DM

Connie Roberts (L) & Dee Johnson (R)
Circa 1979

GC, BW, NW San-Toi's
California Dreamin

Elizabeth Armitage

In 2009, Dee Johnson and Connie Roberts of San-Toi Cattery are celebrating a 50-year career devoted to the breeding and showing of fine pedigreed CFA Siamese. Their receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award this year is the fitting culmination of an outpouring of support from Siamese breeders and friends of CFA Siamese all over the country who are ecstatic to see Dee and Connie’s brilliant efforts rewarded. They have truly earned this recognition, as evidenced by a distinguished and stellar résumé spanning five decades.

The incredible history of San-Toi and list of individual show accomplishments by Dee and Connie over the course of 50 years is practically infinite and it would not be possible for any essay to do justice to such a story. Dee obtained her first two Siamese cats in 1959, showed her first registered CFA Siamese cats in 1965 and registered San-Toi as a CFA cattery in June of 1968.

San-Toi lines have had one of the largest and most substantial impacts on the Siamese breed in the history of CFA, influencing not only health and vigor, but consistently producing bloodlines that have set the standard. Noted are several historical surges, first with CH Singa Ballad of San-Toi DM, and then GC, NW San-Toi Legend of Skan, DM. During their time, both of these males and their offspring made tidal waves through the gene pool of Siamese in the United States. It is important to note that not only have Dee and Connie produced and helped produce many National Winners and Regional Winners, but they have produced 120 Siamese Grands, seven National Winners, 27 Regional Winners, 10 Siamese DM's and remain enthusiastic about the Siamese breed, are still actively breeding and showing today, always in good standing with CFA, with a CFA Cattery of Excellence and consistently producing beautiful and winning cats, as well as generously working with other breeders and helping to mentor over thirty new Siamese exhibitors.

There are several notable cats that played an important role in the breed's history. Dee & Connie always had an eye for putting cats together. A good place to start is a brief history behind some of the cats that started the wave of National and Regional winners for San-Toi Cattery. A few of the exceptional lines Dee and Connie worked with are: Singa, Jenkins, Angkor Rose, and Maloja. The San-Toi cattery produced their first National Breed winner in 1978-79, GC, BW, RW San-Toi's Tiffany Tu. Their next National Breed win was in 1984-85, GC, BW, RW San-Toi's Celebration In Blue. She was produced out of two DM's, GC Walters Koi Boi, DM and GC San-Toi's Blue Horizon, DM. The following season, 1986-87, they produced their next National Winner, GC, NW San-Toi's Christa M, an exotic, long, tall seal point female with jet black points. She was a stunner. Tiffany Tu and Christa M were sired by the same male, CH Singa Ballad, DM. Ballad played an important role in producing some of San-Toi's finest cats. He went on to produce at least four consecutive generations of winning DM males. Starting with CH Singa Ballad, DM, then GC Walters Koi Boi, DM, GC, NW San-Toi's Legend, DM and, last but not least, GC, NW San-Toi's Yankee Doodle Dandy of Elsk, DM. Another DM of note was GC San-Toi's Keepsake, DM. She was sired by Moqui Daddy Long Legs and was produced by the same dam as Christa M, Dahin's Daneta of Shosan. Keepsake played an important role in obtaining “the look” that San-Toi is famous for today.

The next wave of National Winners for San-Toi was with a three-year winning streak starting in 1988-89, with GC, BW, NW San-Toi's Legend of Skan, DM. Next, in 1989-90, was GC, BW, NW San-Toi's Yankee Doodle Dandy of Elsk, DM, and in 1990-91 with GC, BW, NW San-Toi's Ditto.

Legend represented a new, more polished look in the Siamese and everyone wanted in on this line. The next year, his son, Dandy, was regarded as the perfect Siamese. From the time he was a small kitten, Dandy stood out as this stunning seal point male. He is one of the few in Siamese history that achieved a National Win title as both a kitten and as an adult in the same show season. He was produced out of two San-Toi cats. Dandy's sire was GC, NW San-Toi’s Legend, DM and his dam was GC San-Toi's Susie Q. After Dandy, the Siamese breed was forever changed. Today, it is almost impossible to find any Siamese that does not go back to Dandy or Legend. There were many grands and big San-Toi winners to follow, but knowledgeable breeders believe that these three cats, Keepsake, Legend and Dandy, had the most impact on our breed than any other San-Toi cats and, quite possibly, any other Siamese in the breed’s history.

From that point forward, Siamese breeders from around the country sought after this new look that Dee and Connie were creating. They were doing much more than granding and achieving wins for their cats. They were setting a trend and changing the Siamese breed. As is true today, they were always willing to share the success of their lines to help improve the breed. This can be evidenced by the fact that their cats are represented in many, many CFA Siamese pedigrees.

Dee and Connie’s most recent National Winners included a pretty little seal point female with huge, fly-away ears. In the 1999-2000 show season, GC, BW, NW San-Toi's California Dreamin’ stood out from the crowd from the time she was a little kitten. Dreamy was also produced out of two San-Toi cats, CH San-Toi's Jumanji and CH San-Toi's Windstar. The following show season, 2000-2001, they produced yet another outstanding cat, GC, BW, NW San-Toi's Icing On the Cake, again produced from two San-Toi cats, GC San-Toi's Lexus, DM and San-Toi's Nalla.

Throughout their long Siamese careers and up to the present time and, especially during the golden years in the late 1980's and early 1990's, both Dee and Connie were always willing to help new breeders and did not let their own success hinder their strong support for new exhibitors. Most of all, they were always willing to share their lines, which during several time periods, were by far the number one Siamese cats in the world. Not only did they provide kittens that proved to go on and carry the famous San-Toi "look" but they also generously allowed stud service to their winning males.

In 1991, Dee was interviewed for the Cat Fanciers’ Almanac. Here is her wise answer to being asked, “What advice do you have for other breeders/exhibitors?”

“Always be a good loser for there are many beautiful cats out there in every breed. Always be willing to help the new exhibitor as these people are what keep our association growing. They like to win, too, so it is our job to sell them winning cats. I feel breeders should work together and not have all the restrictions they apply to kittens/cats and stud service. There are a lot of nice cats who could contribute toward the gene pool, however their contributions toward the breed will never be known due to the restrictions imposed by their owners. This attitude must change if we are to preserve the beauty and health of our cats.”

Dee and Connie were then and remain still, the consummate CFA Siamese breeders, exhibitors, trend-setters, visionaries and friends of Siamese and their breeders. They have devoted the majority of two lifetimes to the pursuit of Siamese excellence support the very finest in the Siamese breed and have been generous to a fault with their bloodlines.

It is, indeed, my honor to be able to celebrate these two very accomplished, dedicated and truly deserving women for the Siamese Breed Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. All of their winning cats at home at San-Toi, as well as all those looking down across the Rainbow Bridge, heartily concur. On behalf of the Members of the Siamese Breed Council and others too numerous to count who have made this award possible, it is my sincere honor to now witness Dee Johnson and Connie Roberts, San-Toi Cattery of Excellence, step-up and take their rightful place of honor among Siamese history’s best of the best.

I can think of no other persons that deserve this nomination more than Dee Johnson and Connie Roberts, who, as successful breeders of Siamese, met my sister and me at a cat show in Reno, NV in the early 1990s. They took us under their wing, guided us and shared with us their very best cats to establish Sherona Cattery in the US. They have never left any question unanswered, never wavered in their support, never treated us as anything other than family. I can truly say, that without them I would not be breeding Siamese cats, and that any and all success achieved by Sherona would not have been possible without them.

Here’s to you, Dee and Connie – you’re the best!

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