BATTLE GROUND — Max Thorstenson was back at the Battle Ground Community Center on Thursday night to defend his title. Sure, he was the biggest competitor on the field, but was he the cutest?
Max, a two-year-old Great Dane, was one of 27 dogs competing in the Battle Ground “Barks and Recreation” Department’s Howl-o-ween Pooch Parade and pet costume contest.
“All of the costumes were fetching,” said Mayor Philip Johnson.
Johnson said he channeled his best dad jokes and puns to prepare for his role as judge. Joining him as judges for the second year were Bev Jones from Battle Ground Lions Club, Main Street Floral owner Marilyn Schweizer and city resident John Idsinga.
Max and his family took home the Best in Show award for his dragon costume. The Thorstenson family joined in on the fun by dressing as characters from “Game of Thrones.”
“We like the show. We thought of a dragon one day for (Max) and from there it all just came together,” Eric Thorstenson said. “It was something we could all participate in.”
Creeping and crawling into the “Barks and Recreation” Choice award was black Labrador retriever Mona and owner Dakota Goetz. Mona’s spider costume even came with light-up legs.
Goetz said she didn’t know about the event last year but knew she had to enter this year’s contest.
“I saw it on Facebook and thought it would be fun,” Goetz said.
Abbie Etter and Rosie took home the People’s Choice award. Rosie’s tasty costume as chocolate chip cookies with spilled milk really hit the spot with the audience.
The perfect pairing of Rainier as an inmate and owner Kayleen Taylor as a police officer garnered the Best Duo award.
The Most Unique award went to Henry and owner Kayla (last name not available). Henry got a head start on the holiday cheer with a reindeer costume, complete with sleigh. Kayla shared in the holiday spirit with her elf costume.
Also dressed as a dragon — albeit a much, much smaller one — was Thurman, a Shih Tzu, Chihuahua and Papillion mix. He may not have won an award, but owner Carol Ore said they had still had a great time. Ore said the decision to enter the costume contest wasn’t difficult.
“Because our animals look so darn cute,” she said.
Nala, a German shepherd mix, also didn’t win a prize but still took life by the horns with her costume as a bull. Owner Kim Gribner said she learned of the Howl-o-ween event on the city’s Facebook page.
“I just love doing everything with this dog and she’s got such a great temperament,” Gribner said.
Gribner said she hit the dog lottery when she rescued Nala a few years ago.
“She puts up with my antics and lets me put silly costumes on her,” Gribner said. “She’s such a good girl.”
Sponsors for the event and prizes included Wilco, VCA Animal Hospital, Paws Cascadia, Battle Ground Parks and Recreation and others.