Who is the fairest bulldog of them all? On Monday, Drake University will answer that question by crowning the winner of the 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. The coronation pageant, which begins at noon in the Knapp Center, marks the kick-off to a week of Drake Relays activities.
Judging of the 50 contestants will occur from 10:45 a.m. to noon. Judges include Student Body President David Karaz, Drake Provost Deneese Jones, and Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb.
“The dogs are selected … by how they look; the way you feel when you are around them,” said Michael Cigelman, associate director of athletics at Drake.
Cigelman and his wife, Susan, are serving as directors of the contest for the first time. Besides the Most Beautiful Bulldog, categories for judging include best-dressed, congeniality, and new this year, the Porterhouse People’s Choice Award.
Porterhouse, who won the Most Beautiful Bulldog title in 2009 and became a much-loved mascot for the university, died at the end of last year. “All the spectators that come will be able to vote for the Porterhouse People’s Choice Award,” Cigelman said.
Last year, the Most Beautiful Bulldog title was awarded to Huckleberry, a 4-year-old bulldog belonging to Stephanie Hein of Norwalk. During his reign, Huckleberry made a number of special appearances, including events like the Iowa State Fair and Drake basketball and football games.
While Hein and Huckleberry enjoyed representing the university, they are ready to be out of the spotlight. “We’re looking forward to handing over the crown,” Hein said. “We’re ready to be ourselves again.”