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Best in Show

Every day hundreds of people pass through the sands of The Rusty Nail. They come from all over to enjoy some time by the fire pit, listen to live music, and savor good drinks and good food with friends. On August 25th, 2013, for the first time in the history of The Nail, everyone raised a glass (and a paw) to man’s best friend in the first annual Rusty Nail Doggy Pageant.    

For the entire month of July, Facebook friends could submit their dogs for a chance to be a part of the pageant in August. Those perusing the page could vote on their favorite dog, and the top ten dogs with the most votes earned a spot in the show on the 25th. Unfortunately, the furry tyke who earned enough votes for the tenth place was unable to attend. On the big day, any proud canine parent could enter their dog in a raffle to get a shot at being crowned Best in Show. The extra spot was awarded to an adorable doggy couple by the name of Rosie and Oliver. These two fell into the deepest case of puppy love one Miller-Lite Monday earlier in the summer.  While Rosie and Oliver did not go home with the title, they are looking forward to a happy future together with a nice dog house, a car, and two humans.

The dogs were judged based on the following categories: Mommy/ Daddy and Me, Best Style, Tricks, Musical Chairs, and the infamous Beer Chugging Contest. The honorable distinction of Best in Show was awarded to Lexie, an Aussie Mix hailing from the rescue shelters of Alabama and currently residing in North Cape May with her owner, Katie Kane. Lexie is two years-old and won the hearts of all of the judges and the crowd with her clever (and practical) trick.  When Lexie’s Mom Katie put a cooler in the middle of the lawn and said “cooler”, Lexie came running eagerly at her mom’s instructions.  She opened the cooler with her nose, pulled out a beer, and brought it over to best pal Katie.  Lexie quickly moved to the top of the charts as the winner of the “tricks” category, and from there on out was in prime position to become The Rusty Nail’s prized pooch.  Her reward was a bit bigger than a juicy Milk-Bone. As winner of The First Annual Rusty Nail Doggy Pageant, Lexie received a $250 gift certificate to The Beach Shack and The Rusty Nail. She was also crowned The Official Rusty Nail Mascot for 2014.  As the mascot, Lexie will be the face of The Nail’s Doggy Ale this coming year. 

The panel of judges consisted of a mutt-like mix of experts and animal lovers, volunteers and proud pup parents, all united by their love of their tail-wagging pals. Jorge Bendersky is a celebrity dog stylist and host of the Animal Planet show “The Groomer Has It.” He traveled from New York City to help pick the best out of Cape May’s finest pets, while offering his professional expertise for taking good care of each breed that graced the pup-walk.  Mr. Bendersky has also made appearances on Regis and Kelly, The Today Show, and E! News.  Dana Humphrey also came from NY to be a member of the panel. She is a dog lover and Uber NY Pet Publicist who works with Whitegate Public Relations. They were joined by Sandy Montano, proud dog parent and General Manager of the Rusty Nail, Heather Padgett and Matt Gilmore, parents of two poodles (the former RN mascot), and Bridget Martin. Bridget is a fourteen year-old volunteer at Animal Outreach of Cape May County.  The event helped to raise a total of $412 for the charity. Of the $412, The Beach Shack donated $100 to the cause. Animal Outreach of Cape May County is an organization that works to save animals throughout the area and give them loving homes. They are working towards building a permanent, non-euthanizing shelter on Bayshore Road. They work to educate pet owners on healthy pet care and are focused on ending the tragedy of animal homelessness.

It seems only fitting that a dog that was once looking for a home in a rescue shelter in Alabama found its way to stardom in Cape May at The Rusty Nail Dog Pageant. At an event that focused on raising awareness for those underprivileged animals in shelters, Lexie served as a testament to the great work of organizations such as Animal Outreach of Cape May.  She is living the dream of other pets across the country and here in Cape May. With the work of a few kind human hearts, all pets may find a loving home where they may be considered Best in Show.