Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason’s dog Ella has officially won the title of “cutest pet” in the mayor vs. mayor contest against Dahlonega Mayor JoAnne Taylor’s dog Wylly.
The contest was put on by the Rotary Club of Dahlonega Sunrise and allowed community members a chance to vote for the pet they deemed the cutest while helping to raise money for the club to give back to the city and county through donations by its 501(c)(3) foundation.
In addition to the cutest mayoral pet, categories in the contest included Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat, Best Creature Great & Small and Angel Pet. The pets with the most votes in each category won cash prizes and a spot in Dahlonega’s annual Christmas parade. Votes cost $1 each, and the club’s goal was to raise $10,000 through the contest.
At the beginning of the contest, it was decided that, should Mayor Eason’s dog win, Mayor Taylor would present him with a bottle of the finest Dahlonega wine. Should Mayor Taylor’s dog win, Mayor Eason would present her with a bottle of the best Dawsonville moonshine.
Both mayors attended the club’s Dec. 15 meeting for the official presentation to the winner. According to Diane Bates, who spearheaded the committee in the club that put together the contest, the votes were close all the way up until the end of the contest, which closed on Nov. 28.
“It was a heated competition; the contest ended at 9 p.m. on Nov. 28 — I looked at 8:55 and it was tied so I was so excited and thought ‘both mayors are going to win’ because we were tied at $715 each,” Bates said. “At 9:00 when the contest was over, somehow miraculously Ella had 1009 votes, so between these two mayors we raised $1700. It was tremendous the effort going back and forth, especially at the last few minutes.”
According to Bates, the club met and even slightly exceeded their goal of raising $10,000 through the competition.
“We raised a little over $10,000,” Bates said. “A lot of it came from the competition of some Rotarians who were pitting their cats against each other, but I think our greatest competition was from the mayors.”
During the meeting, Taylor presented Eason with his bottle of Dahlonega wine as promised for winning the competition.
“We had a drawing from all of the wineries in Lumpkin County so I wouldn’t show a preference to one or the other, and Mr. Eason is the recipient of a very nice bottle of Frogtown Sangiovese,” Taylor said.
Although his dog won, Eason also presented Taylor with a bottle of Dawsonville moonshine, joking with her that he always knew his Ella would win the title of cutest dog.
“It’s tough to be humble, so I had already bought a bottle of moonshine knowing I’d win but I felt like JoAnne needed this after the way the citizens of Dahlonega supported my dog,” Eason said, sparking laughs from the crowd at the meeting.
In addition to their prizes, Eason and Taylor were each gifted the posters with their dogs’ photos on them, the former of which was carried in the Dahlonega Christmas parade by members of the Rotary Club of Dahlonega Sunrise.