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BEAUTIFUL BULLDOG COMPETITION will be April 19 at 2 p.m. in the Knapp Center featuring over 50 dogs. FILE PHOTO

THE BEAUTIFUL BULLDOG COMPETITION will be April 19 at 2 p.m. in the Knapp Center featuring over 50 dogs. FILE PHOTO

STORY BY JACOB BULLINGTON

Bulldogs will literally be taking over the Knapp Center during Relays.

Over 50 local bulldogs will compete later this month to be crowned as the most beautiful.

The 36th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest is one of Drake University’s signature Relays traditions.

Zoe Zuidema, a first-year broadcast news and rhetoric double major, is excited about attending and has been preparing for it.

“I did look through a lot of pictures of Bulldogs,” Zuidema said.

Even as a self-described cat person, Zuidema plans to show up and support what she describes as “the dog community.”

“College students love dogs. (They) go crazy when there’s a dog nearby, including myself,” Zuidema said.

Zack Diestler, a junior actuarial science and finance double major, has a bulldog at home that will make the trip to Drake to compete this year.

Sumo, the 50-pound 6-year-old canine, has a good chance of winning, according to Diestler.

“I think he’s the most studly dog out there. He’s awesome,” Diestler said.

The Beautiful Bulldog contest goes back three years for the Diestler family.

“Ever since freshman year, (my mom) has applied for the competition. I’ve kind of laughed at her, ‘yeah right,’ Sumo’s not getting in this year’s contest. I thought it was more of a joke,” Diestler said. This year, however, was different.

Sumo will be one of the contestants on the Knapp Center floor, and will have plenty of fans in the audience rooting for him.

According to Diestler, potential costumes for Sumo include a pirate, a wrestler outfit and a patriotic themed one.

Having invited his fraternity to cheer on Sumo, Diestler hopes the extra effort will win Sumo the ‘Fan Favorite’ award.

Looking ahead to Relays week, and the abundance of bulldogs, Zuidema said she is anticipating a huge community feeling on campus and in Des Moines.

“I really like the community sense Drake has, and I’m excited mostly for seeing everyone come together in one place,” Zuidema said. “The energy will be huge, and everyone will be excited.”

The contest is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m on April 19 in the Knapp Center.

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