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On Monday, April 22nd, 47 drooling, wrinkle-skinned bulldogs convened inside Drake University's athletic field house with one purpose in mind - To be crowned the 'World's Most Beautiful Bulldog', an honor that among other things, earns them the right to be the official mascot of the 104th Drake Relays - The nation's oldest and most prestigious track and field competition.
Now in its 34th year, the competition attracts over 100 applicants. However, only 50, picked by lottery, are allowed to enter. Unfortunately this year, three seemed to get cold feet at the last minute. But that did not mean the competition was any less intense.
The contestants who trained 'hard' for the title by taking copious naps in front of the television, came prepared and dressed for the big event. Jazmine Josephine donned her favorite Harley Davidson hat and biker goggles, while Fat Amy came decked in pearls and a blue ballerina tutu.
Then there was Wrigley, the 4.5 year-old bulldog that has been trying to win this contest ever since she was a puppy. While her bright tutu complete with leg warmers and the fetching Drake blue nail polish on her paws, won her the 'Miss Congeniality' award, it was not impressive enough for the coveted crown.
That award was reserved for four-year old Huckleberry, who came in as 'Forrest Gump', complete with a Tom Hanks like blue plaid shirt and off-white jacket. According to his owners, Steven and Stephanie Hein, the costume fits the bulldog's personality because while is not very smart, he is extremely loveable. As for his hobbies? Turns out that the Des Moines resident who hates to play, only has one - Napping!
However, he did seem to keep awake for this one day and was amply rewarded for all his 'hard' work with not only the coveted title, but also, a wreath of flowers, a selection of yummy doggie treats and most importantly, the honor of being the University's mascot not just at the opening ceremony of the world famous relays, but to all kinds of fun events throughout the year.