Ruth V. Blenis was a regional Vice President of AIS and President of the Empire State Iris Society in the 1950ís.  Under her guidance the Empire State Iris Society By-Laws were adopted and the tradition of annual Regional meetings was established. She worked tirelessly to organize the American Iris Society Convention in Syracuse, New York in 1958. 

For these accomplishments and her many years of devotion to the iris, Dr. Irwin A. Conroe  proposed a Ruth V. Blenis Award to be given to the iris and exhibitor winning the Best of Show award at an official ESIS show.  From 1969 to 1995 the award was given to the iris winning Best of Show. In 1995 the award was converted to a Tall Bearded iris award to conform to award rotation guidelines established by the Board of Directors of ESIS.  In October of 2000 the Board of Directors voted to grant the award to AIS Region 2.

The tall-bearded iris must take a Best of Section Award and then Best of Show Award to qualify for the Ruth V. Blenis Award.  The Blenis award is a Paul Revere style, engraved, silver-plated bowl presented at the Region 2 Fall Banquet.

List of Winning Iris and exhibitors:

YEAR            AFFILIATE           EXHIBITOR                            CULTIVAR_     __  _
1969            Rochester             Lillian Gristwood                  Stepping Out
1970                           No shows held
1971            CNYIS                   Robert & Frances Breth     Stepping Out
1972            Long Island          Phyllis Zezelic                      Warbler
1973            Rochester             Isabella Carmer                    Moonprint
1974            CNYIS                   Albert deGroat                      Fond Wish
1975            Rochester             Albert deGroat                     Warm Gold
1976            Rochester             
Charles Thomas                  Most Precious
1977                           No shows held
1978            NSW                      Dr. Edward Valentine          Ewen
1979            Rochester             Lynn Carmer                         Moonprint

1980            CNYIS                   Mr. & Mrs. John Munro       Neptuneís Pool

1981           NSW                       Gregory Schifferli                Stop Sign

1982                           No shows held
1983                           No shows held
1984            NSW                     Dr. Edward Valentine           Sunrise Sunset
1985           Rochester            Gregory Schifferli                 Song of Norway
1986            CNYIS                   Maggie Lou Smith                Ego
1987            NSW                      Anna Rettig                           Sterling Prince
1988            CNYIS                  John & Helen Schueler       Warbler
1989           NSW                      Wendy Roller                        Whoop Emí Up
1990            CNYIS                   James & Lillian Gristwood Stepping Out
1991            NSW                      Kathleen Guest                     Extravagant
1992            CNYIS                   Wendy Roller                         Vanity
1993            STIS                      Mary Stiefel                           Afternoon Delight
1994            NSW                     James Burke                        Busy Being Blue

1995            CNYIS                   Maggie Lou Smith                Roy Davidson
1996            CHIS                     Kathryn Mohr                       Sindjkha
1997            STIS                      Dorothy Fingerhood           Orange Slices
1998           WNYIS                   Donna Schifferle                 Winterís Tale
1999            CNYIS                    Bob Keup                             Anna Mae Babson
2000                                            Bruce Baird                           Jesseís Song
2001            WNYIS                   Gregory Schifferli                Angels in Flight
2002            CHIS                     Bob Keup                             Rhages
2003            STIS                      Frank Sorbello                     San Juan Silver
2004            AFIDS                    Paul Johnson                     Navajo Blanket
2005            HVIDS                   Ella & Jerry Murphy          In Your Dreams
2006            CNYIS                   Teresa Kelly                         Exactitude
2007            STIS                      Dorothy Stiefel                    Vanity

2008            WNYIS                   David Baehre                       Into the Night

2009            HVIDS                    Ella Murphy                         Diversion

2010            WNYIS                   Judy Tucholski-Zon          Ola Kala

2011            WNYIS                   David Baehre                      Wishful Thinking

2012                            Show cancelled due to early bloom season

2013            GRIS                      Dorothy Stiefel                    Pacific Mist

2014            ONIS                      Terry Laurin                         'Stairway To Heaven'   

2015            ONIS                      Terry Laurin                         'Paul Black'

2016            HVIDS                    Not Awarded

2017            GRIS                       Neil Houghton                     'Tuscan Summer'

2018            GRIS                       Dorothy Stiefel                    'Celebration Song'

Note: NSW is Niagara South West the forerunner of WNYIS.