5-Year-Old Bam Bam Takes the Crown at Drake University's 2022 'Beautiful Bulldog' Contest

The new canine champion hails from Chaplin, Minnesota, and "loves to cuddle," according to his owner Maggie Estby

Bam Bam, owned by Maggie Estby, of Champlin, Minn., sits on the throne after being crowned the winner of the annual Drake Relays Beautiful Bulldog Contest, Monday, April 25, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. The pageant kicks off the Drake Relays festivities at Drake University where a bulldog is the mascot. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Photo: Charlie Neibergall/ap

Bam Bam the bulldog is ready for his closeup!

On Monday, the five-year-old dog from Chaplin, Minnesota, took home the crown at Drake University's 43rd annual "Beautiful Bulldog" contest. According to the Des Moines Register, the furry tradition began in 1979.

Over a thousand spectators watched from the stands at the Iowa college as Bam-Bam celebrated his coronation. Thrity bulldogs from across Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Missouri competed for the 2022 title.

According to his owner Maggie Estby, a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo, Bam Bam is a dog of many passions.

"He loves people, he loves chewing bones, he loves going for short walks, he loves to sunbathe, he loves to cuddle," she said, per a release from Drake University.

As part of the competition, the participating bulldogs donned creative costumes to see who would be crowned as the 2022 mascot for the Drake Relays — an outdoor track and field event at the university.

Bam Bam and his owner caught the judges' attention with their adorable costumes, based on the Pixar movie Up. Estby dressed as Carl, the elderly curmudgeon with a heart of gold, and Bam Bam went as Russell, the hopelessly excited boy scout who ultimately shares the adventure of a lifetime with Carl.

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The 2021 contest winner, Myrtle Mae, also attended the competition and got a chance to strut her stuff one last time as the honorary Drake Relays mascot.

Although Bam Bam clinched this year's top prize, his competitors didn't head home empty-handed. Three other bulldogs received honorable mentions at the event.

Bella Torres, owned by Rafael Torres, was the 2022 second runner-up, while the first runner-up, Elwood, owned by Jake and Jennie Roh, also won the Porterhouse People's Choice award.

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The 'Beautiful Bulldogs' contest contained additional awards, including the Best Dressed Award, won by Beverly Pancakes, the Rescue Dog Award, won by Bubba, and the Drake Spirit award, won by Kevin.

The Drake Relays congratulated Bam Bam for his win via their official Twitter account, sharing that they are looking forward to having Bam Bam represent them.

"Congratulations, Bam Bam!" the university tweeted on Monday. "See you this weekend on the Blue Oval!"

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