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Features Relays Edition

The Beautiful Bulldog Contest is back for 2023 Relays Week

One of the beautiful bulldogs shakes it's owners hand Photo by John Ware, Courtesy of Drake University Office of Marketing and Communications

The annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest is back for the 44th year in a row and the 30 contestants have been announced. 

The winner of this year’s Beautiful Bulldog Contest will succeed the 2022 winner, Bam Bam, and become the official mascot of the 113th Relays. The winning bulldog may be invited to come back to Drake for fun or promotional opportunities and will have to come back to crown the successor at the next Beautiful Bulldog Contest.

The Beautiful Bulldog Contest has been a staple for Relays Week since 1979, featuring bulldogs near and far. Bam Bam, last year’s winner, was from Champlin, Minnesota. 

At 6 p.m. on April 24 and 30 bulldogs will get to strut their stuff with their owners on the runway. The dogs will be adorned with themed costumes and have the chance to perform any tricks they know, all to impress the judges. Judges will get to meet and interact with each contestant to determine who wins awards. 

Bulldogs will win awards for the bulldog that the judges consider to be the best in the following categories: Most Drake Spirit, Best Dressed, Rescue Dog Recognition, Second Runner-Up, Runner Up and Most Beautiful Bulldog. Additionally, there will be the “Porterhouse People’s Choice award” given to the bulldog who receives the most audience votes. 

In addition to the Beautiful Bulldog Contest, there will be a rescue fair and pet food drive for students, faculty and alumni to attend and donate to. The Beautiful Bulldog Contest will also be open to the general public with a kid-friendly zone. 

Last year, the rescue fair was a part of the “Griff Gives Back” campaign. The campaign focuses primarily on donating pet food for the Pet Project Midwest. 

Erin Bell, Griff II’s owner and the person behind the live mascot program, helped to start the “Griff Gives Back” campaign eight years ago, during the Beautiful Bulldog Contest. 

“As a way to do this, I started the Griff Gives Back initiative, taking place at the Beautiful Bulldog Contest. It has since grown into a month-long effort, but that first year it took place on a single day as part of the BBC,” Bell said. “This effort was a way to bring attention to the fact that there were two dogs with two separate sets of roles and responsibilities while also helping dogs and cats in the community.”

In 2022, the campaign raised over 15,000 pounds of dog and cat food. The campaign hopes to source the same amount of food this year. 

The 2023 Beautiful Bulldog Contest will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 24  in the Knapp Center.


The 44th annual Beautiful Bulldog contestants: 

*Achilles of Linden, Iowa. 

Amelia of Polk City, Iowa. Axel of Des Moines, Iowa 

*Beef of Chicago, Illinois. 

Bella of West Des Moines, Iowa. 

Bentley of Williamsburg, Iowa. 

Bosley aka Boss of Henderson, Nevada. 

Bruno of Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Drake of Lakeville, Minnesota. 

Duke of Oskaloosa, Iowa. 

Georgie of Des Moines, Iowa. 

Gus of Ankeny, Iowa. 

*Jojo of Lakewood, Colorado.

 Kirby of Bennington, Nebraska.

 Loki of Ankeny, Iowa. 

Lola of Coon Rapids, Iowa. 

*Lulu of Indianola, Iowa. 

Mabel of North Liberty, Iowa.

*Machete of Des Moines, Iowa.

*Marston “Marty” Miglin of Des Moines, Iowa.

 Millie of Coon Rapids, Iowa.

 *Patch, of Johnston, Iowa. 

Poncho of Fonda, Iowa. 

Princess Leia of Des Moines, Iowa. 

Pudge of Roland, Iowa. 

Remi Rae of Des Moines, Iowa. 

Shania of North Sioux City, South Dakota.

 Tank of West Des Moines, Iowa. 

Wally of Johnston, Iowa. 

*Winkles of Ankeny, Iowa.

The contestants include eight rescue pups marked with an asterisk. 

Editor’s Note: Patch, of Johnston, Iowa, was crowned the 2023 Most Beautiful Bulldog on Monday, April 24.

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