Who's crowned the most "Beautiful Bulldog"?
DES MOINES, IA -- Iowa bulldog Lucy Brown's slobber, sloth and bloodshot eyes helped the precocious pup grab the greatest crown a drooling canine can ever dream of.
The 3-year-old from Johnston, with a squat stance and slobber to spare, bested 49 dogs Monday to be named this year's "Beautiful Bulldog" for the Drake Relays in Iowa.
"She just thinks that the world goes around her. You know, Queen Lucy," said Nancy Brown, Lucy's owner, adding that the royal crown befits her beloved dog. "This is over the top."
Lucy Brown will make a series of public appearances and serve as the mascot for the 102nd Drake Relays, the prestigious track and field meet that starts Thursday at Drake Stadium.
Officials use the term "beautiful" loosely for the tongue-in-cheek pageant, now in its 32nd year. Judges really are looking for the most adorably hideous bulldogs they can find, and perennially 50 of them show up to strut their stuff.
"They're looking for that bulldog that is patient, that folks can come by and they can pet him and not get disruptive," said master of ceremonies Dolph Pulliam. "They're looking that bulldog with bloody eyes and drool coming down from the mouth. Bowed legs -- maybe a nice costume."
Indeed, costumes are a must for any pup with designs on the title. This year's entrants didn't disappoint, including bulldogs decked out in camouflage, angel wings and tutus galore.
Sensing the tutu trend had run its course, Nancy Brown spiced things up for Lucy.
Nancy Brown went with a 1950s motif for the whole family, dressing herself in a cardigan and poodle skirt -- though she naturally swapped out the curly-haired mutt for a bulldog on her blue dress.
Her sons, 11-year-old Aaron and seven-year-old Colin, wore matching black jackets with white t-shirts, rolled up jeans with black Chuck Taylor sneakers and horn-rimmed shades.
But Lucy Brown was the star of the show with her skirt and cardigan -- along with a string of pearls that struggled to fit around her thick and wrinkled neck.
Nancy Brown was hoping Lucy would take best-dressed honors. The judges thought otherwise, crowning Lucy as the top dog in her third try.
"It's just a thing to do to show off your beautiful bulldog. She's so much fun," Brown said. "They have so much personality and they're just a great dog overall. They get along with all the dogs, they do wonderful, funny things together. They're just like big playmates all the time."
Lucy Brown will take over for last year's winner, Meatball, who made one final appearance with the crown Monday. He took advantage of his new-found freedom, too, barking as loud as he could at a mascot promoting a local bank.
Aaron Brown doesn't seem to think Lucy will cause a ruckus like that anytime soon. In fact, getting Lucy Brown out of the house might be the biggest challenge of her yearlong reign.
"All she does is sleep," Aaron Brown said.
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