Drake’s King of the Court
Drake University’s outgoing Beautiful Bulldog remains in the spotlight
Porterhouse loves an audience.
Since being crowned the 2009 Drake Relays Beautiful Bulldog, this burly charmer has become a popular presence at Drake athletic events, where he laps up the adoration of Bulldog fans.
In the last year, Porterhouse has attended all but one home football game, all the men’s and women’s home basketball games, several volleyball and soccer matches and, of course, the 2009 Drake Relays. He even has triple play to his credit: a football game, basketball game and volleyball game all in the course of a single day.
“Porterhouse is an extraordinary dog,” says Sandra Hatfield Clubb, Drake University athletic director. “He’s got personality and character well beyond any bulldog I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot up close and personal having judged the Beautiful Bulldog contest for the past three years.”
“He’s got a great demeanor and personality, which he obviously gets from his owners,” she adds. “They’re both just terrific people who’ve made a commitment to bring Porterhouse to all our athletic events.”
Porterhouse has also popped in on several non-athletic events, even greeting hundreds of prospective National Alumni Scholars who visited campus in early February. It’s a busy schedule — even for a Beautiful Bulldog.
“We love our dog and to be able to take him to these events is lots of fun,” say co-owners Erin and Kevin Bell. Kevin is a second year Drake Law School student. Porterhouse, a compact, 60-pound 4-year-old, is a total professional. When he sees his bag of royal goods — crown and cape, Drake golf towel, blue water bowl and doggie treats — he knows he’s going to a game. He’s ready for action the second he arrive on campus.
At football games, Porterhouse runs up and down the sidelines, much to the joy of students and others fans. He was even invited to be in the football team photo.
Athletics staff members know a good draw when they see it, and soon Porterhouse was asked to attend other Bulldog sporting events. The pooch’s popularity has grown, and his presence at games now feels as necessary and familiar as the color blue.
Extending his Reign
“I still can’t get over the reaction we get. I thought it would taper off, but at every game it’s like the first time everyone’s seen him,” Erin says. “People just love him. We joke that we should rent him out as a chick magnet, because guys think he’s an awesome dog, and girls think he’s so cute.”
At basketball games, Porterhouse leads the team out by chasing a ball that Kevin rolls across the court. This all has to be timed perfectly, because Porterhouse is really, really into it. Even opposing fans applaud his vigorous routine, which concludes with Porterhouse triumphantly placing his paw on the ball.
“He wants the ball,” Kevin said. “He’s docile as can be, but when it comes to a basketball or football, it’s hard to hold him back.”
Though Porterhouse will officially turn his title over on April 21 to the newly crowned Drake Relays Beautiful Bulldog, he’ll continue to appear as an unofficial Drake mascot for at least another year.
“Fans love him,” says Hatfield Clubb. “I can’t count the number of fans who’ve asked me if we can keep him as our official mascot forever.”
- See Porterhouse in action on the court in a story that ran on KCCI-TV in Des Moines and see Porterhouse’s 2009 crowning ceremony