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

Bulldog lovers from near and far gathered together Sunday at the Knapp Center on Drake University’s campus to celebrate the crowning of Pumpkin as the winner of the 45th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. Ramsey Subaru again served as the presenting sponsor of this year’s event. 

Pumpkin—a 3-year-old bulldog from Oakland, IA—delighted the judges and crowd when she graced the stage dressed as royalty. By the end of the pageant, she was officially crowned Most Beautiful Bulldog.

Pumpkin’s owner, Shawna Anderson, says Pumpkin was the inspiration for her to begin rescuing and fostering other bulldogs through the Good Life Bulldog Rescue. Pumpkin serves as an ambassador to the bulldog community, traveling to events and working alongside her owner to educate about the bulldog breed and encourage other families to adopt.

“We are super excited, because we’ve always known she’s beautiful,” said Anderson. “She is an amazing foster sister to all of the foster bulldogs that come through our home. She is great at teaching new fosters how to just be a dog and accept love.”

Bulldog lovers can follow Pumpkin on TikTok: @Punkiibruiser

The contest—which helps kick off Drake Relays week by choosing the official Relays’ mascot — drew 30 English bulldog contestants from four states including Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Minnesota. Pumpkin will now serve a year-long reign as the Drake Relays mascot and the Most Beautiful Bulldog. Griff II will remain the full-time, official Drake University live mascot.

In addition to awarding Pumpkin this year’s Most Beautiful Bulldog, the judges and crowd recognized five other standout bulldog competitors with the following awards:

  • First Runner Up: Thor, Des Moines, IA
  • Best Dressed Award: Thor, Des Moines, IA
  • Second Runner Up: Prince Charming of Wrinkleton, Des Moines, IA
  • Drake Spirit Award: Louie, Urbandale, IA
  • Rescue Dog Award: Cassy, Omaha, NE
  • Porterhouse People’s Choice Award: Winston, Rock Island, IL

Patch, the 2023 Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest winner, took a final victory lap as the Drake Relays mascot before handing over the crown to Pumpkin.

Patch, the 2023 Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest winner

To see a full list of all the events happening during Relays Week 2024, click here.