Gather ’round: Online voting has commenced for the 25th Annual World’s Ugliest Dog contest! Of course, “online voting” doesn’t mean jack. The ugliest dog will be crowned this Friday at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, by a panel of esteemed judges and not by votes on the website.
Nevertheless, online voting — which you can consider the “popular” vote, if you want — has become a very big deal in years past, so much so that the contest directors suspect foul play.
A message on the website reads thusly: “It seems the online voting gallery does mean a great deal to its participants, and at times hacking and illegal voting have occurred. We are monitoring this daily and delete suspicious votes.”
In any case, you’re encouraged to check out all the dogs and vote for your favorite. As for the judges, they’ll critique in four main categories: first impressions, unique features, personality, and audience reaction.
The winner gets a trophy, $1,500, and a catered dinner in the luxurious Loft Suite at the Sheraton Sonoma County, Petaluma.
Event producer Vicki DeArmon says that 50 percent of this year’s 25 competitors are first-time participants.
“We have Poodles, terriers, tons of Pugs, for some reason, and some Chinese Crested,” DeArmon told the Press Democrat. “There’s a big mix. Generally, the winner seems to be a new dog, so it may be one of those ugly mutts.”
It won’t be last year’s champ, Mugly, a Chinese Crested from Peterborough, England. He’s not defending his crown.
But whoever wins will have a schedule as full as any Miss America winner. Nearly so. Maybe not “as full as” but in the ballpark for sure, except probably without the Maybelline contract. Or any of the promotional money, really. OK, it’s not a fair comparison.
DeArmon is still playing up the life-changing angle of a win on the ugly stage:
“The winning dog will get world fame and recognition, hitting the talk show circuit and appearing at local dog events,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “Many go on to become doggy ambassadors in their hometowns for the rescue dog movement, as many of our contestants are rescue dogs who are now living in their forever homes and are much loved.”
But let’s not get too carried away on this focus on surface looks. Deep inside of every dog, there’s an ugly dog. All dogs are ugly dogs.
Via the Press Democrat