GC, BW, NW Briar-Mar’s Good To Be Me
CFA Cat of the Year 2016

Published May 2016

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GC, BW, NW Briar-Mar's Good To Be Me, a red classic tabby & white male Manx is CFA's Cat of the Year 2016.  This stunning boy known as "Manny" is owned and was campaigned to the top spot by Omar F. Gonzalez & Gary L. Veach. This is his story . . .

GC, BW, NW Briar-Mar's Good To Be Me
CFA's Cat of the Year 2016

Photo by Chanan

Where does one start when looking back at a year that could only be described as a dream?  If someone would have told us that we would have CFA's Cat of the Year, I would have just laughed.  GC, BW, NW Briar-Mar’s Good To Be Me, “Manny” to his friends, is truly a once in a life time cat.  He represents everything I want to see in a Manx.

The Breeding

I wanted to do this breeding for sometime.  I first saw Manny's father, GC BW RW Slieau’s Simon Sayz of Briar-Mar, years before when he was being shown by his previous owner.  I loved this cat at first sight — his balance, his type was exactly what I wanted.  When he became available I jumped at the chance to own him.  I planned to breed GC NW Briar-Mar’s Catching Fire to him the minute she was old enough. 

Sire: GC BW RW Slieau’s Simon Sayz of Briar-Mar
Photo by Chanan

Dam: GC NW Briar-Mar’s Catching Fire
Photo by Chanan

The time came, the breeding went without a hitch and at the end of August 2014, Catching Fire gave birth to her first litter — and it was impressive.  In fact, three of the four kittens would eventually go on to grand.

At first I thought the nicest kitten was a red tabby boy — he was so short and flashy.  But as the litter grew, I kept looking at his red tabby & white brother and thinking to myself, "Boy you are getting nicer and nicer".  By the time the kittens were three months old, there was no denying that the red tabby & white was pick of the litter.  He already had the body, balance and size that the others did not.

We named him Briar-Mar's Good To Be Me — "Manny" for short.

Manny's Show Debut

Manny’s first show was at the end of January 2015.  We showed him along with his sister, a very flashy brown patched tabby & white van.  She went to live with our good friend, Joy Yoders-Dey and would eventually become a regional kitten winner, GC RW Briar-Mar’s MockingJay of DeyDream.

Though just a baby, Manny was highest scoring Kitten in Show at his debut at 4 months old.  We decided to show him quickly to try to get a regional win for him as a kitten, then pull him to let his sister take center stage.

Kitten winner — RW Briar-Mar's Good To Be Me
Photo by Chanan

Manny was shown through February, a total of 7 shows, and was Best Kitten In Show at every event he attended.  We pulled him and did not show him again until the second weekend in May, at which point he entered the Championship class.

Manny In Championship

Manny went on to be a one show grand and Best Cat In Show.  Little did we know that from his first show as a kitten until his last show as an adult he would go on to be highest scoring at every show he attended.

Manny as a young adult . . .
Photo by Chanan

Best of the Best at National Capital
From left to right: Sue Robbins with Highest Scoring HHP, Connie Wardlaw holding Highest Scoring in Premiership,
judge Ken Currle holding Manny and Gary Veach holding Highest Scoring Kitten, GC NW Briar-Mar's All About That Bass

Gary admires Manny lounging in the trophy presented to him as the Highest Scoring Cat at the Cotton States Cat Club show.

Manny's show career was incredible.  With so many wonderful moments the highlights include highest scoring cat at National Capital, Cotton States and the biggest of all honors, Best of the Best at the CFA World Show 2015.  That was an experience that will be hard to top!

Manny never missed an opportunity to reach high on the judging table . . .
Pictured with judges (left) Sharon Roy and (right) Hope Gonano during Best of the Best CFA World Show 2015.

Manny wants that teaser!

Owners Omar Gonzalez & Gary Veach with GC, BW, NW Briar-Mar's Good To Be Me
Photo by L. Johnson

Manny is a very laid back cat.  He loves attention whether it was from us, the spectators or the judges.  Many times we would be seen returning his affection with a kiss or two.  He took all the challenges of being campaigned in stride, seeming to enjoy every minute.

Even when being professional photographed, Manny obviously knows how to have a good time . . .
Photo by Chanan

Manny's Family Pedigree

Manny’s pedigree reads like a Who’s Who of Manx royalty.

His father was a Regional Winner and National Best of Breed in 2010.  His mother was a National Kitten Winner — and both her parents were also National Winners. His grand-sire is GC BW NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire and his grandmother is GC NW Kiomichi’s Margo of Briar-Mar D.M.

Manny was first shown along with his half-sister, GC NW Briar-Mar’s All About The Bass and then later with his aunt, GC NW Briar-Mar’s That’s Hot.

Litter Sister:

GC RW Briar-Mar’s MockingJay of DeyDream

Photo by L. Johnson


GC BW NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire

Photo by Chanan


GC NW Kiomichi’s Margo of Briar-Mar D.M.

Photo by Chanan


GC NW Briar-Mar’s All About The Bass

Photo by Chanan

Aunt (Repeat breeding of Manny's mother)

GC NW Briar-Mar’s That’s Hot

Photo by Chanan

With Our Gratitude

We share this win with Manny’s co-breeder Suki Lee who also co-owned his mother.

None of this would be possible without the support and encouragement of Gay Van Weelden of Mistysprings Manx.  It is very rare when a fellow breeder welcomes you into a breed and is so willing to share all that she has with you for the benefit of the breed.

We would also like to thank all those who cheered us on and to those judges who continued to support us through this incredible journey.

We now look forward to showing Manny's kittens in the near future . . . The journey continues . . .


More photos from the show career of

GC, BW, NW Briar-Mar’s Good To Be Me

Red Classic Tabby & White Male Manx

CFA Cat of The Year 2015-2016

Born August 29, 2014

Sire: GC BW RW Slieau Simon Sayz of Briar-Mar
Dam: GC NW Briar-Mar's Catching Fire
Breeders: Gonzalez/Veach/Suki Lee
Owners: Omar F. Gonzalez/Gary L. Veach

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