BY PHONG LY
The Beautiful Bulldog Contest is less than a month away, and this year’s contest at Drake University promises to be one of the fiercest competitions in history. More than 135 English bulldogs from 18 states are registered to compete in Drake’s world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest.
From this record-breaking pool of precious pooches, only 40 were selected to compete in the 39th annual contest. The Beautiful Bulldog Contest canine contestants (and 10 alternates) were selected during a random public lottery drawing on March 20 in The Knapp Center lobby.
Among the contestants, there were some veterans who have competed before. Sweet Sassy Molassy from Waukee, Iowa won the Porterhouse People’s Choice award last year. She was lucky enough to be picked in the raffle last week, so Sassy is back in for the fourth time.
Her owner, Janalyn Phillips, seemed very excited. She said her family loves coming to events like this.
“This is always fun for us, and we look forward to this every year,” Phillips said. “We had a bulldog before Sassy. His name was Pucket, and he won Mr. Congeniality one year and First Runner-Up the other year.”
Phillips thought that Sweet Sassy Molassy is a little small for a four-year-old English Bulldog.
“A lot of people still think she is a puppy,” Phillips laughed.
According to Phillips, the first time Sassy competed in the contest was when she was a six-month-old puppy. Of the previous three times Sassy competed, she got Spirit Award one year, and last year she got Spirit Award as well as Porterhouse People’s Choice.
Phillips, a Drake alumna, was surprised by the number of people registered for this year’s contest.
“It never used to be like that. Way back a long time ago when they held this contest downtown, seems like whoever was the first 40 or 50 people signed up will get a part in the show,” Phillips said. “So, this is kind of a national thing now!”
Sassy is aiming for the crown this year. However, even if she doesn’t win, Phillips will make sure they celebrate that evening with steak.
In addition to the Most Beautiful Bulldog award, there are other awards that will be given out to the most deserving pups. They are Drake Spirit, Family Theme, Best Dressed, Congeniality, Rescue Dog Recognition, Porterhouse People’s Choice, Second Runner-Up and First Runner-Up.
Sophomore Lauren Lerner is very excited for the “puppy show.” She was most impressed by all the tricks the dogs could do.
“It was really exciting seeing them jumping over hoops and such,” Lerner said. “This would be a good break from our normal college student’s routine.”
The April 23 contest is free and open to the public at the Knapp Center and will be live-streamed on the Beautiful Bulldog Contest at Drake University Facebook page.
Pups who were selected during the March 20 lottery advanced to the official Beautiful Bulldog Contest. The winning bulldog will receive top honors, a crown and cape and will appear before his or her royal subjects at the Drake Relays.