Bentley, an English bulldog “who loves America,” according to his owner Audrey Bowder, was named Rancho Bernardo’s “most patriotic pet” Monday morning.
Decked out in a red, white and blue ensemble, Bentley was among several dogs of all sizes and a cat dressed up by their owners for the 12th Annual Larry Himmel Memorial Patriotic Pet Contest.
From Lady Liberty to a cowboy, to a hot dog (to represent many people’s favorite 4th of July food) to a kitten in a bow tie, there were plenty of “awws” and laughs as owners tried to keep up their pets’ costumes and win. on the applause of the audience to receive prizes of toys and treats for pets.
The dogs were separated into small and large categories.
The winners of the small dog division were Jojo (in patriotic attire) and Kilo (as Lady Liberty), owned by Josephine Zosa. Second place went to Teelu, the cowherd, brought in by Tuhina Lal. The third place award went to Sienna and Isabella Tan, who dressed their dog Lily in a hot dog costume.
They joined Bentley as finalists in the Scout big dog category, with their owner Claire Tickner receiving second place. Third place honors went to an Irish Wolfhound named Rory of Roscommon, who turned 1 on Monday according to owner Joanne Murphy. Both dogs were dressed in red, white and blue outfits.
The only entrant in the “other pet” category was Kelly Batten’s 4-month-old kitten named Saint, who was wearing a hat and large bow tie.
The contest was held at Webb Park as part of the RB’s Spirit of the Room festivities. It was sponsored by the Rancho Bernardo Community Council. It was the first time that it was held in person since 2019. The last two years the contest was held virtually.
He returned as emcee Jeff Zevely of CBS 8. He has held the position for many years, following the late CBS 8 reporter Larry Himmel, who served in the duties until his death in 2014.
Himmel was a resident of Rancho Bernardo for several decades. His son, Miles Himmel, was in the audience and Zevely called him up on stage to briefly talk about his father.
Isabella and Sienna Tan with their dog, Lily, being interviewed by Jeff Zevely. Lily ranked third in small dogs. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Bentley, an English bulldog, was the overall winner and winner of the large dog category of the 2022 Rancho Bernardo Patriotic Pet Contest. He is with owners Gabby, Chris and Audrey Bowder. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Kelly Batten with her 4-month-old cat, Saint, being interviewed by Jeff Zevely. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Josephine Zosa with Jojo showing her patriotic spirit and Kilo as Lady Liberty. They won the small dog category. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Tuhina Lal with the dog Teelu, who was dressed as a cowboy and came in second for small dogs. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Ron and Linda Bloom with their dogs Patches and Daisy. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Carl Wiesner with his dog, Miller. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Mike Durrant with his dog Sequoia. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Carrie and Katherine Neuner with Patches, a Pomeranian, being interviewed by Jeff Zevely. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Ellen Nemish holding her dog, Joshua. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Claire Tickner being interviewed by Jeff Zevely about her dog, Scout, who came in second in the big dog show. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Joanne Murphy talking to Jeff Zevely about her 1-year-old Irish Wolfhound, Rory of Roscommon, whose birthday was on Monday. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Amy Silverstein talking about her dog, Cookie, with Jeff Zevely. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)
Jeff Zevely called out to Miles Himmel and his dog, Slinky, from the audience. Miles’s father, the late Larry Himmel, previously emceed the pageant and is now named after him in his memory. (Elizabeth Marie Himchak)