The Amarillo Community Market held a special Patriotic Pet Parade Saturday morning in downtown Amarillo to kick off the 4th of July weekend, featuring special judges, local photographer Ralph Duke and the county judge of Potter Nancy Tanner rating pets in various categories.
There were six main categories for which winners were chosen during the friendly competition. These categories have been broken down into Waggiest Tail, Best Pet/Owner Look-alike, most talented, best smile, best costume and best in show. Every animal in the contest was a dog, except for the surprise entry of a rabbit looking to steal the show.
Augie, a Burmese Mountain Dog, was named best in show for his impression of a real hot dog with all the fixings. Lane Pavlicek and his Pit Bull Lucky ran away at first sight for best owner/pet lookalike.
Claudia Bush, owner of Augie, said it was great for him to win today after not participating in the last Pet Parade. She credited her new hot dog costume for winning her the prize this time around.
Performing in front of the judges with a personal greeting for everyone, Sadie went out of her way to grab the judges’ attention to earn the best smile, standing out from the crowd. Tag teaming the prize for best costume was a pair of Labrador Retrievers, Momo, owned by Stephanie Granado, and Duke, owned by Kara Kennedy and escorted by Evie Granado.
Most Talented Animal was a group effort, featuring tricks from Joy and a dance routine from her owners Shona Rose and Donna Barton, which drew applause from the judges and the crowd.
Diminutive Paco, a black mixed-breed dog with his energetic demeanor and owner Ana Hernandez, was able to wiggle the dog enough to win the craziest tale award. Her sister, Leah, had also entered her brown and white dog Bella, who won the hearts of the crowd but came close to winning a prize on the occasion.
Connie Chavez, the mother of the two girls, explained how the two dogs were rescued from the Hereford Humane Society. Originally, the family was looking to get a dog but couldn’t decide between one or the other, so they brought them both home for good. After hosting Paco for a week, the family felt that Paco and Bella were great additions to the family.
“We just couldn’t decide which one we wanted, so we just decided to keep them both,” Chavez said.
A surprise entry to the event was a bunny named Grim for its owner Mikhyla, in honor of his love of horror movies. Grim received special mention for the unique attributes he brought to the competition, namely being the only non-canine in the parade.
Parade Judge Tanner said she thought there were some great pets on display, and it was a tough call to choose the winners.
“I was pleasantly surprised that so many people took part in this special weekend; it was so fun to see the pride people have in their pets,” Tanner said. “I really enjoyed being part of this event.
Fellow pet judge Duke spoke about his involvement in the pet parade.
“The turnout today was great. It’s a perfect thing to do on a holiday weekend,” Duke said. “The dogs were really awesome, it was a great time.