The Award
Current Awardee
Past Awardees

Gary Forrester Award 2024

Wayne Olsen

Wayne fell into the dog world by accident, not that anyone who knew him would ever think so.  In 1999, his family got a rescued ridgeback.  One thing led to another, and they ended up dabbling in the “dog world.” Teri’s passion became conformation, for Wayne it was lure coursing. Together they built a successful dog family and presence in the dog world.  They started their own kennel, Azize Rhodesian Ridgebacks,  with dogs known for their excellent temperaments and for how the girls can RUN! 

Wayne has mentored and influenced so many lives, human and canine.  He was a Breeder of Merit and handled (as a favor to his wife, Teri) many successful dogs in the ring.  He was known for plotting crazy schemes and excursions to run dogs all over the country.  His RR girl, Xena, has too many accomplishments to count.  He was also known as “Wreck It Ralph” in the whelping room due to his love and excitement over puppies.

“Wanna go racing?” came out of his mouth more often than not.  He loved all dogs, big and small, but was partial to those who would RUN!  Wayne was instrumental in lure coursing/racing in the midwest as an active member and long time President of the Minnesota Coursing Association, as a member of the Greater Twin Cities Afghan Hound Club (he didn't even have an Afghan), and as a member of the Northland Amateur Racing Club.  He was a long time member of Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States.  He chaired events at national specialties, and was on several ASFA International Invitational trial committees.  He has been a beloved Huntmaster for years, the Head Huntmaster at IIs, and was a big advocate of letting “all the dogs” run and fought for all-breed LCIs, Fast CATS, and CATs in the midwest. 

His love for running dogs led Wayne become an AKC and ASFA lure coursing judge.   He has been the #1 ASFA judge and an ACoD delegate.  In 2021 he won the Leigh Littleton Award.   He traveled proudly around the country to “run some dogs,” and loved to huntmaster and chair trials.

Wayne’s Azize dogs have been well decorated on the field, including: at least thirty nine BIFs, ten ASFA FChs, three LCMs, two LCM2, three LCM3s, two VFChs, seven AKC FCs, one LCX2, five DCs, six MBIFs (Grandma Libby, Grandma Vicky, Xena, Libby, Remmy, and Eve), and have appeared in the ASFA Top 20 seventeen times since 2009 (six were Top 5 appearances).  Azize has won Kennel Stakes and Breeder Stakes at National Specialties and IIs.  Both Xena (2018) and daughter Remmy (2021 and in 2023) have been National Specialty Best in Field winners.

When attending shows and trials, you would always hear, “Where’s Wayne?”  He was a friend to all, and bigger than life.  The only thing bigger than Wayne was his heart.  Wayne’s last gift to coursing was a successful AKC lure course judge’s seminar in July 2023, a few weeks before he died.