In September of 1988, a pot luck meal was hosted at the home of John Johnson in Des Moines, and John Hollenbeck spoke about the benefits of a specialty club and about the Bulldog Club of America.What would eventually become known as the Bulldog Club of Central Iowa was born on October 5, 1988 at the home of Phil and Linda Shelburg. Attending this initial planning meeting were: Marilyn Burdick, Steve and Becky Victor-Baker, Stephany Schadt, Ed Lenning, Russ and Ann Rybka, Carmel Negley, Dennis Ridgway, Kelley Reichert and Phil and Linda Shelburg.
The club logo, designed by Steve Baker, a handsome bulldog head arising from the center of an outline of the State of Iowa, was chosen at this meeting and has remained the same through the years.
Charter members, as submitted to AKC with the club application, were: Dwight and Joan Axtell, Steve and Becky Victor-Baker, Marilyn Burdick, Greg Chamberlin, William Frajman, Joe and Janice Fuller, Harold and Sherry Grant, Judi Hicklin, Bobby Hines and Lois Bagley, John Hollenbeck, Rolfe and Tammy Karlsson, Dr. Harry and Isabel Kunkle, Kathie Lascelles, Ed and Pat Lenning, R. Larry Lutz, Pam McIntyre, Mike and Carmel Negley, Steve Oakland, Marshall Phillips, Lareen Pryharski-Fagg, Dennis Ridgway, Arthur and Christine Riegel, Craig and Nan Rinner, Randall Rowland, Michael and Adrienne Ruggles, Mike Shediwy, Phil and Linda Shelburg, Marvin Simonson, Leslie and Ruth Stout, Walter and Darlene Stuedemann, and Mary Ann Towne.
As of 2005, Marilyn Burdick, Kathie Lascelles, Ed Lenning, Dennis Ridgway, Mike Shediwy, Phil and Linda Shelburg and Walter and Darlene Stuedemann remain members.
The first formal meeting was held on November 13, 1988, at the Sands Volleyball Club in West Des Moines, Iowa. More than 100 invitations were sent to all known bulldoggers in the central Iowa area. Names were compiled from the Beautiful Bulldog Contest entries of past years, graciously provided by the contest's sponsors.
John Hollenbeck, BCA Division VI president, presided. The following officers were elected: President, Linda Shelburg, Vice President, Marilyn Burdick, Secretary-Treasurer, Becky Victor-Baker. Club meetings have always been held in the metro Des Moines area, usually at the home of a member. Linda Shelburg volunteered to have a planning meeting at her home She handled all the correspondence and paperwork with AKC and has been the backbone of the club since it's inception, serving as president for more than 10 years, and as secretary, treasurer, show chair and show secretary several times.
The club's first match was held on June 4, 1989 at the Sands Volleyball Club, West Des Moines. There were 21 entries from the states of Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota. Linda Sims of Omaha was the judge. Every entry took home a ribbon with Best In Match going to Orrie, owned by Fran Richardson and shown by her son, Paul. Best of Opposite Sex was 3-month-old Maude, owned by Marvin Simonson and shown by Marilyn Burdick. A pot luck meal and raffle rounded out the day's activities.
In September of 1991, the club hosted the Division VI specialty show. There were 44 entries, judged by Bob Newcomb. Winners were: BOB - Ch. Dickey's Magic Merlin, owned by Dean DIckey; and BOS - Ch. Powerbull's Mugsie Anne III, owned by Dan and Toni Powers; BW & WD - Rich Flying Tiger owned by Howard and Beulah Valentine.
AKC licensed BCCI on December 21, 1995. BCCI is the first and only bulldog specialty club in the state of Iowa. As a result, membership includes people from the entire state as well as a few other states.
The club's official area is metro Des Moines, an area within an hour's drive of the city. It has maintained an average of 30 households as members over the years.
The Bulldog Club of Central Iowa is very involved in the planning and execution of the Beautiful Bulldog Contest every April, which is held in conjunction with the Drake (University) Relays.
Fifty bulldogs compete for the title of most beautiful and the winner reigns as the Drake mascot for the next 12 months. The 25th anniversary of the contest was celebrated in 2004 with 60 dogs in competition that year.
The contest receives worldwide attention as it is the only known contest of it's kind. Awards are given for costume, talent, distance traveled to attend, oldest and youngest entry, Miss Congeniality, etc.
Club meetings are held at 4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month at the Shelburg residence.
Submitted by Linda Shelburg