Hulk is the hero we need. The three-year-old English Bulldog sped ahead of 7-month-old puppy Hazel in the last five minutes of a weeklong virtual Beautiful Bulldog Contest, sponsored by Sammons Financial.

Over 16,000 people voted in the final round of the Facebook Poll to decide the 2020 Most Beautiful Bulldog for the 41st running of the contest. Over the course of the week, 84,000 votes were cast for 32 bulldogs.

Hulk is a brown English bulldog with white spots and a sweet face. He was crowned the Most Beautiful Bulldog on Tuesday, April 21, which is National Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day.

Hulk’s owners are Justine and Heath Johnson of Jewell, Iowa. This was their first year entering the contest. They always wanted to compete, but Justine owns a catering business and they never had the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a loss of business for Justine, so the family had more time to dedicate to the contest. Additionally, Heath Johnson is a strength and conditioning coach at South Hamilton High School. He could have been working the Drake Relays, but instead was home rooting for his Bulldog.

The Johnson family has three English bulldogs and they only entered Hulk because they felt he fit the mascot perfectly.  

“He’s just so sleepy and has a lot of personality. We knew he would be the right dog to enter.”

—Justine Johnson

Hulk’s favorite hobbies include sleeping in a freshly washed basket of clothes, going outside and playing with the family horse, staring at you for long periods of time, and letting you know when he’s not getting enough attention or snacks.

“Traditions are important, especially as people look for stability in uncertain times. That is precisely why Sammons Financial is so pleased to take part in the annual Drake Beautiful Bulldog contest,” said Rob TeKolste, of Sammons Financial Group. “We congratulate Hulk for his big win, applaud his family, and look forward to meeting him face to face in the coming year.”

Typically, several celebrity judges evaluate the contestants and determine a winner. This year, everyone was a celebrity dog judge (and you can get the shirt to prove it).

Beau the bulldog, (pictured below) won the 2019 contest and has been enjoying his reign as the Drake Relays mascot. He will attend a future event to pass along the crown to Hulk.

The contest is expected to return to its traditional festival and pageant format complete with a rescue festival and a family fun zone in 2021.