Every year, bulldogs from across the country make their way to Des Moines, Iowa to participate in Drake University's "beautiful bulldog" contest. In addition to the bragging rights that come with the title, the winner also gets to serve as the mascot of the prestigious Drake Relays - the nation's second oldest track event.
The event that celebrated 36 years on April 19th, is extremely popular attracting as many as 100 applicants each year. Unfortunately, only fifty lucky ones picked by lottery are allowed to participate. However, that does not mean the competition is any less intense. Every owner tries his/her best to showcase their pet by dressing them in all kinds of fun and outrageous outfits, ranging from ladybirds to pirates. The dogs try to impress the judges by doing what they do best - drooling!
According to the decision makers, in addition to being "beautiful" in the classic bulldog way with the bottom teeth sticking out, the dogs also have to be kind and gentle. Tank who was adopted from Craigslist by Des Moines resident Duane Smith in 2014, seemed to fit the bill.
The two-year-old who shares a home with a Pomeranian and some turtles, first impressed the judges with his no-nonsense camouflaged outfit and military-style helmet. However, what appeared to seal the deal was his "au natural" look during the final round. As one of the judges succinctly put it, "Tank just had a great look to him.”
Runner-up Steve, who also hailed from Des Moines, seemed to recognize that the top spot was taken and refused to go down the catwalk. Much to the amusement of the audience, his owner had to lift and plunk him down in front of the judges. Princess Mabel Duchess impressed the judges with her friendly demeanor and blinking blue hair extensions, taking home the Ms. Congeniality Award. Linus the Lovebug's heart-shaped sunglasses and glittery ladybug wings earned her the title of "best-dressed."
Several other awards were also given but in the end, it was all about Tank, who appeared to enjoy the attention as he sat regally wearing the coveted crown and cape. Smith says that he knew he had a winner on his hands, the day he adopted the gorgeous dog. When he is not flaunting his good looks at pageants, Tank loves to play tug-of-war and socialize with the neighbors.
Resources: drake.edu, dailymail.co.uk