The title of “World’s Ugliest Dog” may not sound like one that would be hotly contested, but every year dozens of animals from all over the country descend upon the contest for a chance to win a big cash prize and, of course, notoriety.
The competition kicks off this Friday at Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, California, and organizer Vicki DeArmon says she never imagined it would become as big as it has over the years. The contest, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is expecting to see over 2,000 people to attend.
“It started as a homegrown kind of contest — very small and quirky,” DeArmon told TODAY.com. “But the whole thing has accelerated beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings.”
It seems odd to some that so many people actually want their dogs to win a contest that hands out such a dubious title, but DeArmon says the owners they see do just that.
“In a way, we all love an ugly dog, and we love the underdog,” she said. “When you go into a shelter and see a dog that may not normally be adopted, your heart calls to that dog. The contest is a humorous relief that makes the world a little lighter. These are some of the best dog owners in the world. Some of them take it very seriously. I think a few hearts have been broken when they haven’t been the winner.”
The contest features prizes like a basket of dog toys, pet services valued at $250 from Fit ‘N’ Furry, and $250 in prizes from Paradise Pet Resort which include grooming, training and day care gift certificates.
If you can’t make it out to Cali this weekend, you can go here to see all of the contestants and place your vote; however, online voting won’t determine the official winner. That is done by a panel of judges.