Bam Bam Slams Competition, Wins Drake University’s Beautiful Bulldog Contest

The five-year-old bulldog takes the crown as the overall winner at the 43rd annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest® at Drake University Monday, April 25.

More than 1,000 people were on hand at the Knapp Center to witness the crowning of Bam Bam as the 2022 Most Beautiful Bulldog during the 43rd annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest at Drake University.

The five-year-old bulldog from Champlin, Minnesota, won over judges with his costume of Russell—complete with balloons and a Wilderness Explorer uniform—from the Disney/Pixar movie Up. His owner, Maggie Estby, dressed as the character Carl. 

Estby who works as zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo specializing in tigers, leopards, wild boars, and dholes, says Bam Bam is a big lover with lots of personality. 

“He loves people, he loves chewing bones, he loves going for short walks, he loves to sunbathe, he loves to cuddle,” she says. 

Competition for the crown was intense as 30 bulldogs strutted their stuff at the contest that helps kick off Drake Relays week by choosing this year’s Relays’ mascot. This year’s competitors came from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Minnesota. While Bam Bam earned the top spot, these bulldogs took home special recognition:

Best Dressed: Beverly Pancakes owned by John and Kellie Jacobson 

Drake Spirit Award: Kevin owned by Sam Hendricks 

Rescue Dog: Bubba owned by Ryan Anderson 

First Runner Up and Porterhouse People’s Choice: Elwood owned by Jake and Jennie Rohe

Second Runner Up: Bella Torres owned by Rafael Torres

Myrtle Mae, the 2021 Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest winner, was on hand to take her last walk as a mascot before handing over the crown to Bam Bam. 

In conjunction with the contest, Drake’s official live bulldog mascot, Griff II, held the seventh annual Griff Gives Back pet food drive. The initiative raised more than 13,000 pounds of adult dog and cat food for Pet Project Midwest, a central Iowa nonprofit organization that helps keep pets out of shelters.