The third time was the charm for SweePee Rambo, who took home the title of top dog at Petaluma’s World’s Ugliest Dog contest Friday night.
Her blonde mohawk glistening in the sun, legs bowed out like a frog, SweePee was a crowd favorite at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, where 16 malformed pooches paraded for the annual, infamous honor in front of an audience that peaked at about 100.
It was the 28th year for the contest, which scores dogs based on bad appearance, including stench, poor complexion and a host of other inherited and acquired maladies.
For SweePee’s third run at the grand prize, owner Jason Wurtz, 44, drove seven hours north from Encino in a van packed full of fans and relatives, including his brother, Jeffrey Wurtz, 36.
When the 17-year-old Chinese Crested Chihuahua mix was announced the winner, the younger Wurtz burst into tears, shouting SweePee’s name, and shaking a homemade sign that read “SweePee Rambo for President 2016.”
About the pooch’s presidential run, event host Sheri Lynch joked, “I think we could do worse.”
The whole night, actually, had an election theme.
One pup who didn’t place bore a striking resemblance to the presumptive Republican nominee for president. The dog, Himisaboo, had a flowing golden tuft.
“Whether you love him, or loathe him, a vote for Himisaboo is a vote for a dog that looks like Donald Trump,” said Heather Wilson, Himisaboo’s owner, who drove out from Idaho for the occasion.
The champion, SweePee, was a four-pound pup and in much better shape when Jason Wurtz got her as a gift for his first wife. She put up with the ugly mug for a week before swearing off the dog. Wurtz, however, said he couldn’t bear to let her go, calling her a “ride or die chick” in the description he wrote for the contest.
An aged lady now, she’s blind in both eyes and wears doggie diapers. And she really can’t do much walking, so Wurtz carries her around.
Along with their first-place title and trophy, the two will take home a prize of $1,500 — money Wurtz said would go toward removing a tumor that’s recently popped up on SweePee’s gum line. Filling out the podium on the night were two other Chinese Crested dogs: Josie, 6, from Tuscon, with a tongue that just wouldn’t end and potbellied Rue, 6, from San Joaquin County.
You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 521-5205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeaWarren.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story misidentified the dog that elicited comments from judges about “oozing” from what one judge described as “an open wound” on the animal. That dog was not the eventual grand champion, SweePee Rambo, but Icky, one of the other 16 dogs in the contest. Also, the story misidentified the judge who quipped that entrants earned “points for oozing.” That panel member was Chief Judge Brian Sobel, and not North Bay ice cream maker Neal Gottlieb.