I helped judge a pet costume contest Thursday evening at The Gateway. Of all the things I have done for the newspaper, it ranks right up there as the most dangerous.
This includes serving as a judge for Mr. & Ms. Gay Utah Contest, a beauty contest at a senior care center and a chili contest that was actually just a collection of lunatics trying to weaponize kidney beans for the military.
But people are sensitive about their pets. Say something bad about one of their children and they'll hate you. Insult their little "precious" and you could get shot. It's even more risky if money is involved.
The radio station Mix 107.9 FM apparently didn't know this when it announced a contest for pet costumes. Or maybe it did. If contestants got their feelings hurt, they could blame it on the judges.
Top prize for best-costumed pet was $1,000. That's not bad money for wrapping some foam rubber buns around a wiener dog and calling him Oscar Mayer.
You had to do better than that Thursday night. The competition was tough. There's a lot of time, money, love and abnormal psychology involved in stuffing a pet into a costume.
My fellow judges were local recording star Brogan Kelby and Karissa Hendricks from Willow Creek Pet Center.
Of the three, only Karissa had any real pet-judging qualifications. She works with animals professionally. Meanwhile, Brogan is a talented rock 'n' roller with great lift and I'm an aging journalist with a notoriously bad attitude.
The Gateway was packed in the late afternoon with people who walked, talked and looked related. And for once it wasn't Mormons.
I don't know who was in China on Thursday but it wasn't the Chinese. They were at The Gateway. What looked like an open casting call for a kung fu movie was actually Nu Skin hosting something at EnergySolutions Arena across the street.
Then pets started showing up for registration. No matter how crowded it might get, people will walk the long way around a Rottweiler dressed as either a pirate or a Raiders fan.
Mix 107.9 talkers Lexi and Banks kicked off the event. There were 105 entries, most of them dogs. Sort of.
Note: I say "sort of" because I got a mustache bigger than most of the dogs who showed up for the contest. In some cases it was hard to tell between them and the hamsters.
There were also bunnies, lizards, cats, goats and even a horse. The rules didn't say what kind of animals could enter.
I watched for but didn't see any apes, giraffes, meerkats, pelicans or anacondas. What I thought was a buffalo with fangs turned out to be a Great Dane wearing a roll of carpet.
Sex was on display. A pug wore a Marilyn Monroe costume complete with cleavage. There were even two dogs dressed like Miley Cyrus. Nobody's leg got twerked that I saw.
One by one, the contestants trotted, scampered, wandered or were dragged across the stage. Virtually every theme was represented.
I have to admit being impressed by the commitment it takes to sew a Princess Leah costume for a lizard or get a cat to dress like a dominatrix.
Despite the overwhelming canine turnout, none of the three finalists was a dog. In random order, they were a horse, a goose and a goat.
I would like to point out that I strongly lobbied for a dog covered in plastic aquarium foliage that was either supposed to be a live Chia pet or a putting green with feet. No luck. Sorry.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.
Pet costume contest winners
First place • Christine Boraudt, Coalville (dwarf goat wearing a block of cheese)
Second place • Joshua LeVitre, Bountiful (a horse painted like Old Glory)
Third place • Brandi Harline, South Ogden (goose as a â¦ I'm not sure).
Photos • For more photos from the contest, visit sltrib.com.