The Amarillo Community Market held a special Patriotic Pet Parade Saturday morning in downtown Amarillo to kick off the Fourth of July weekend, with special judges local photographer Ralph Duke and Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner evaluating pets in a variety of categories.
There were six main categories the winners were chosen for in the friendly competition. These categories were broken down into Waggiest Tail, Best Pet/Owner Look-alike, most talented, best smile, best costume and best in show. Every animal in the competition was a dog — apart from a surprise entry of a rabbit seeking to steal the show.
Augie, a Burmese Mountain Dog, was named best in show for his impression of a truly hot dog with all the fixings. Running away at first sight for best owner/pet look-alike was Lane Pavlicek and his Pit Bull Lucky.
Claudia Bush, owner of Augie, said it felt great for him to win today after not placing in the last pet parade. She credited his new hot dog costume for getting him the award this time around.
Playing to the judges with a personal greeting for each, Sadie took out every stop to get the judges' attention to win the best smile, standing out from the crowd. Tag teaming the best costume prize was a couple of Labrador Retrievers, Momo, owned by Stephanie Granado, and Duke, owned by Kara Kennedy and escorted by Evie Granado.
Most talented pet was a group effort, including tricks from Joy and a dance routine by her owners Shona Rose and Donna Barton, which drew applause from the judges and crowd.
Diminutive Paco, a black mixed breed dog with his energetic demeanor and his owner Ana Hernandez, was able to wag the dog enough to win the waggiest tale award. Her sister, Leah, also had entered her brown and white dog Bella, who won the hearts of the crowd but came just short of getting an award on this occasion.
Connie Chavez, the mother of both girls, spoke about how both dogs were rescued from the Hereford Humane Society. Originally, the family was looking at getting one dog but could not decide between either, so they took them both home for good. After fostering 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 both of them,” Chavez said.
One surprise entry in the event was a rabbit named Grim for its owner Mikhyla, in honor of her love of horror movies. Grim was given special mention for the unique attributes that he brought to the competition, namely being the only non-canine in the parade.
Parade Judge Tanner said she thought there were some great-looking pets on display, and it was a tough choice to pick the winners.
“I was pleasantly surprised that so many people participated on this special weekend; this was so fun, seeing the pride that people have in their pets," Tanner said. "I really enjoyed being a part of this event."
Fellow pet judge Duke spoke about his involvement in the pet parade.
“The turnout today was great. It is perfect thing to do on a holiday weekend," Duke said. “The dogs were really awesome; it was a great time.”
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Pets show off patriotic pride at Amarillo Community Market Pet Parade