DES MOINES, Iowa -- A record-setting crowd watched the most beautiful bulldog be crowned at Drake University on Sunday.
More than 2,000 people--including Channel 13's Chief Meteorologist Ed Wilson, who was judging the contest--gathered at the Knapp Center with another 2,000 viewers watching the Beautiful Bulldog Contest online.
This year's top honor went to a two-year-old English bulldog named Bow-Z, a dog from Pella who was nearly euthanized until her future owners stepped in. Bow-Z was born with several physical ailments including not having any hip sockets, but was later placed in the care of animal Lifeline of Iowa, a no-kill, special needs animal shelter. She was later adopted by Leanne and John Hill.
Other awards--like the Family Theme, Congeniality, and Best Dressed--were awarded to dogs from across Iowa and one from Illinois.
The contest gives shelters and non-profits that help bulldogs a chance to highlight adoptable dogs.
"There are 20 rescue organizations on the track and we try to educate the public on all the organizations in this area where they can find adoptable bulldogs themselves, or adoptable dogs," said Niki Smith, director of the contest. "And we have five rescues in the competition this year, and we like to give out a rescue recognition award, as well, just to tell the community that there are rescue dogs out there that need a home."
Griff, Drake's mascot, held a drive to collect pet food donations for local shelters. He managed to collect 8,500 pounds of food.