Huckleberry sits on the throne after being crowned the winner of the 34th annual Drake Relays Beautiful Bulldog Contest, Monday, April 22, 2013, in Des Moines, Iowa. The bulldog is owned by Steven and Stephanie Hein of Norwalk, Iowa. The pageant kicks off the Drake Relays festivities at Drake University where a bulldog is the mascot. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — If at first you don't succeed, wipe the slobber off and try again.
Just ask 4-year-old pup Huckleberry, who was crowned Monday as this year's "Beautiful Bulldog."
Huckleberry competed for the title in 2010, only to walk away empty-pawed. That changed this year, when he strutted down a blue runway at Drake University in Des Moines dressed in a beige suit with a suitcase as the main character from the movie "Forrest Gump."
"He's just a lover," said his owner, Stephanie Hein, as Huckleberry sat next to his miniature basketball toy and seemed unfazed by all the attention.
The contest is now in its 34th year and is held ahead of the annual Drake Relays track and field meet. The university's mascot is a bulldog, and each year's winner becomes the mascot for the relays event.
Huckleberry beat 46 other bulldogs to don the crown and cape, but he seemed more interested in the dog-friendly cake.
When not competing, Huckleberry likes to cuddle and hang out with a girlfriend bulldog who loves nearby, according to Hein and her husband, Steven.
"We just thought he was worthy of sharing with the world," Steven Hein said.
Huckleberry wore a Mohawk when he initially competed in 2010. But Stephanie Hein spent weeks shrinking and sowing together this year's outfit, which included a blue-checkered T-Shirt similar to the one worn by Forrest Gump.
Also, she noted: "He's a little more mature