Pets, owners prepare for pageant

From left, Ashley Hoffarth, 8, with Jazzie both playing princesses and Galaicia Shea, 7, with cuddles, both playing ballerinas.

Unaccustomed to being dressed in a pink tutu, Cuddles the bunny tried unsuccessfully to wiggle out of the ballerina costume.

The 1-year-old pet rabbit isn’t a fan of costumes, admitted owner Galaicia Shea.

“She will take it off,” said Galaicia, 7. “She is crazy.”

But Galaicia hopes Cuddles will tolerate the tulle for a few hours so the pair can win the inaugural Pets and Parents Pageant on Saturday, May 22, at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

Giving pet owners such as Galaicia a chance to show off their pets in a relaxed atmosphere was the impetus for the pageant, said organizer Tina Darnell, who also is the director of the Mesa County Cinderella Pageants.

Darnell doesn’t know of another pet pageant in western Colorado but said the concept is popular in other parts of the country, so she decided to introduce it here.

The May 22 pageant won’t be a serious competition, but it will be judged by local judges. The main criteria for determining a winner is “cuteness,” Darnell said.

“It is more of a fun pageant,” she added. “It is going to be a fun, inexpensive family day.”

The pageant will be at 10 a.m. and is free to watch. Registration for participants is $10 and begins at 9 a.m.

Proceeds from the pageant benefit Roice-Hurst Humane Society, the botanical gardens and the Cinderella Pageant program.

The pageant will have two categories: best-themed couple and best-dressed couple, which is a formal-wear category. There will be prizes.

Galaicia and Cuddles plan to enter the best-themed couple category as ballerina and bunny ballerina, of course.

“I think she will win everything,” said Galaicia, who takes ballet and other dance lessons and thought a pink tutu was a good fit for Cuddles.

The formal-wear category is a better fit for Ashley Hoffarth, 7, and her pet dog, Jazz.

Ashley plans to wear a pink dress and a tiara she won at a previous pageant.

Jazz, a Chihuahua and Yorkie mix, will wear a floral dress and ribbons.

Unlike Cuddles, Jazz enjoys dressing up. In fact, she will bend down slightly to step into a dress.

Jazz also has a purple outfit and a Mrs. Claus Christmas costume.

In preparing for the pageant, Ashley had to choose between showing Jazz or her guinea pig. The decision didn’t take long, though. The guinea pig does not like to dress up.

Only domestic pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, etc.) can be entered in the pageant, which is for pet owners of all ages.

Anyone with questions or seeking more information can contact Darnell at 867-1691 or e-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

With this being the first year of the pageant, Darnell doesn’t know what to expect, but she hopes for a fun day for everyone involved.

“When you live in a pet community like we do here, it doesn’t matter if you are 0 or 99 years old, if you’ve got a pet and want to dress up, fine,” Darnell said.


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