AIS Awards (updated August 22, 2016)
Each year AIS accredited judges vote for a variety of awards for irises. Currently, official garden awards for the American Iris Society have been established for the following 15 classifications of irises:
Full information on the various medal and award winners from recent years are provided in the annual listings below.
Click here to go to the 2016 AIS Awards (Adobe PDF file)
AIS Awards Overview and History
Summary of medals and awards given by the American Iris Society:
Dykes Memorial Medal: First awarded in 1927, the Dykes Medal is the highest award of the AIS. Awarded to no more than one iris per year. Irises are eligible as a Dykes Medal candidate for three years following the winning of a classification medal. Only AIS registered judges may vote.
Medals: Each year there are medals awarded to irises of each specific classification type. This is the top award for each AIS iris classification type. Irises are eligible as a candidate for a medal the second year after they receive an Award of Merit (AM). One medal for each classification is given each year (except for the very popular tall bearded which awards 3 Wister Medals each year). Again, only AIS registered judges may vote. The following list details the different medals for the various iris classification types.
*Note: History info+winners list for each medal are a continual work in progress. All of the medal histories are in place below, balance of information updates follow ASAP as time allows and when the annual new medal winners listings are collected/supplied/made available. (CH November 2012)
Award of Merit (AM) awards are given to irises from each classification each year. Any iris is eligible the second year after previously winning an Honorable Mention (HM). Only AIS registered judges may vote.
Honorable Mention (HM) awards are awarded each year to irises of each classification. Registered bearded irises are eligible the second year after introduction. Registered beardless irises are eligible the third year after introduction. Only AIS registered judges may vote.
High Commendation (HC) awards are reserved for seedling irises, viewed in the garden by AIS judges, under seedling number or registered name, which have not been introduced into commerce yet. Any seedling of any established classification that receives five votes is granted an HC award. Only AIS registered judges may vote.
There are also a number of popularity awards. These awards are primarily voted on by AIS members (not necessarily AIS judges) at the annual AIS Convention. These awards include the President's Cup, the Franklin Cook Memorial Cup, and the Ben R. Hager Cup. Every year at the AIS national convention, registered attendees (regardless of whether they are members of AIS) vote for irises to determine these awards. Additionally there is the Fred and Barbara Walther Cup determined by the AIS Awards Honorable Mention (HM) award balloting (AIS Judges only). The Lloyd Zurbrigg-Clarence Mahan Seedling Cup is provided for the best seedling viewed at the annual AIS Convention, voted by convention attendees.
The President's Cup
Eligibility is restricted to introduced irises originated within the host AIS Region for that year’s national convention or originated by a hybridizer whose garden is included on the convention’s official garden tour, regardless of its location. Irises must have been seen growing and in bloom in the convention’s official tour gardens, but need not be official guest irises. Each registrant may vote for one variety and the President’s Cup is awarded to the iris with the largest number of votes.
The Franklin Cook Memorial Cup
The Ben R. Hager Cup
All introduced median irises (SDB, IB, MTB and BB) seen growing and in bloom in the official tour gardens of the convention are eligible. Irises considered need not be official convention guest irises. Each registrant may vote for one median iris variety and the Ben R. Hager Cup is awarded to the median iris receiving the largest number of votes.
The award is named for Ben Hager of California who was one of the premier hybridizers in the American Iris Society and had the distinction of winning the top awards in every category that was possible at the time. Ben Hager was known primarily as a hybridizer of bearded irises, but worked with many of the different iris categories. Most iris growers identify him with his famous award-winning pinks, VANITY and BEVERLY SILLS, which make the tall bearded popularity poll each year. The winners of the Ben R. Hager Cup are shown below:
2015 Moose Tracks MTB (Lynda Miller) /convention: Portland, Oregon
Fred and Barbara Walther Cup
Lloyd Zurbrigg-Clarence Mahan Seedling Cup
This award is provided for the best iris seedling viewed at the annual AIS Convention, voted by attendees. Presented by AIS Region 4 in honor of two of its distinguished members; Lloyd Zurbrigg, a noted hybridizer of reblooming irises and Clarence Mahan, a hybridizer and a past president of the AIS. It was first awarded in 2014 at the Dallas, Texas AIS Convention. Notably different from other AIS awards, the recipent retains the award as a new award cup is donated each year.
2015 Royston Rubies TB (Adam Cordes)/convention: Portland, Oregon
The purpose of posting the proposed AIS Awards Ballot online is to give people (AIS judges and hybridizers) the chance to review the listing and provide input before the official AIS Awards Ballot is finalized and sent out for voting.
Any questions or comments should be sent to the AIS Awards Chair:
Click on the link below to download the item:
This ballot may not be used for official voting.
All iris that are registered and first introduced (offered for sale) in North America are included in the Honorable Mention (HM) categories of each classification. Bearded iris are placed on the ballot the second year after introduction; beardless irises are placed on the ballot the third year after introduction. They remain eligible for the award and on the ballot for three years or until they are awarded the HM. One year after an iris is awarded the HM it is placed in the Award of Merit (AM) category, where they remain for up to three years. One year after an iris is awarded the AM it is placed on the ballot under their respective Special Medal award sections, remaining for up to three years. Winners in the Medal categories that were originated in North America move up the following year to compete for the Dykes Medal, the American Iris Society’s highest award. Candidates remain eligible for the Dykes medal for up to three years.
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