Drake University names 44th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest® winner

Patch to serve as this year’s Drake Relays mascot and the Most Beautiful Bulldog

Thousands of people joyfully gathered Monday evening at the Knapp Center on Drake University’s campus to celebrate the crowning of Patch as the winner of the 44th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest®. Ramsey Subaru served as the presenting sponsor of this year’s event for the first time. 

The 2-year-old winning bulldog delighted the judges when she strutted down the runway in her custom jean jacket featuring a Drake University patch sewn into the fabric. A rescue dog that found her forever-home when she was 7-months old, Patch was one of nine rescued dogs competing for the top spot.

Patch lives in Johnston, Iowa with her owners Jennifer Hinton and Joel Kornder. In addition to owning an English bulldog, Hinton has a special connection to Drake where she serves as Assistant Director of Transfer Admission.

“I heard about the contest when I moved to Des Moines this past summer, and I knew I had to enter Patch,” said Hinton. “She is the epitome of the bulldog breed, and we’re so proud of her all the time but especially today. We’re grateful for all the support we’ve received and this opportunity to show everyone how special Patch is.”

The crowd went wild when Patch jumped… well really, walked… through a literal hoop to earn her crown as The Most Beautiful Bulldog — a trick Hinton said they worked on for months prior to the competition. Patch also had dozens of loyal fans in the audience sporting “Vote for Patch” shirts that Hinton had made for her friends and family.

The contest—which helps kick off Drake Relays week by choosing the official Relays’ mascot—drew 29 English bulldog contestants from 6 states including Iowa, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Patch will now serve a year-long reign as the Drake Relays mascot and the Most Beautiful Bulldog.

These bulldogs also received some special recognition during the event:

Runner Up: Bella owned by Jenny and Seth Fitch from West Des Moines, Iowa

Second Runner Up: Bentley Meatball owned by Amanda and Kevin Olson from Urbandale, Iowa

Best Dressed: Bentley Meatball owned by Amanda and Kevin Olson from Urbandale, Iowa

Drake Spirit Award: Bella owned by Jenny and Seth Fitch from West Des Moines, Iowa

Rescue Dog: Jojo owned by Tina Reckamp from Lakewood, Colorado

Porterhouse People’s Choice: Winkles owned by Judy Jones from Ankeny, Iowa

Bam Bam, the 2022 Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest winner, was on hand for one last royal stroll as Drake Relays mascot before paw-ing over the crown to Patch.

Last year’s Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest winner Bam Bam, strutting across the stage in 2022 wearing a costume inspired by the movie Up .

To see a full list of all the events happening during Relays Week 2023, click here.