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High Jump At Hy-Vee And Beautiful Bulldog Contest Kickoff Relays Week

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: April 20, 2014
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A week full of some of the finest track and field competition in the world gets underway in Des Moines on Monday with the first-ever High Jump at Hy-Vee beginning Drake Relays competition. Earlier on Monday, the always popular Beautiful Bulldog contest will crown the official Drake Relays mascot.

The High Jump at Hy-Vee starts at 6 p.m. at Hy-Vee’s new store in Waukee, Iowa, while the Beautiful Bulldog contest starts at 10:45 a.m. in the Knapp Center.

The Drake Relays partnership with Hy-Vee brought great success to last year’s Relays, but that’s not all it brought. This year a one-of-a-kind event will pit some of the world’s top high jumpers against each other inside of one of Hy-Vee’s stores The event – High Jump at Hy-Vee – is the newest addition to the already stellar Drake Relays lineup.

“Last year with Hy-Vee’s help we were able to make Relays stronger than ever, and this year we intend to raise the bar,” Relays Director Brian Brown said of the event. “We’re going to not only conceptually raise the bar, but literally raise the bar.”

The unique configuration of the event will allow the current field of 10 jumpers to take off from the produce section of Hy-Vee in a setting that will bring fans and shoppers face-to-face with world-class athletes.

High Jump At Hy-Vee Lineup
Men's Jumpers

Erik Kynard 
PR - 7-9.25 (2.37m)
2012 Olympic Silver Medalist
2013 World Championship Finalist


Derek Drouin 
PR - 7-9.75 (2.38m)
2013 World Championship Bronze Medalist 
2012 Olympic Brozne Medalist

Donald Thomas
PR - 7-8.5 (2.35m)
2013 World Championship Finalist
2012 Olympian
Dusty Jonas
PR - 7-8.75 (2.36m)
2013 World Championship Participant
Trevor Barry
PR - 7-7.25 (2.32m)
2012 Olympian

Women's Jumpers

Brigetta Barrett
PR - 6-8.25 (2.04m)
2013 World Championship Silver Medalist
2012 Olympic Silver Medalist

Sharon Day-Monroe
PR - 6-4.75 (1.95m)
2013 World Championship Participant 
2012 Olympian (Heptathlon)
Chaunte Lowe
PR - 6-8.75 (2.05m)
American Record Holder
Inika McPherson
PR -  6-4.75 (1.95M)
2013 World Championship Participant

Levern Spencer
PR -  6-6 (1.98m)
2013 World Championship Finalist
2012 Olympian

Of those athletes, three are World Championship medalists and three are Olympic medalists. The women’s event will feature Olympic and World Championship silver medalist Brigetta Barrett. Ruth Beitia, who followed close behind Barrett at the World Championships with a bronze medal, will also be competing in the event. Beitia was the 2013 Drake Relays champion in high jump event inside Drake Stadium. American record holder Chaunte Howard-Lowe and World Championship finalist Levern Spencer will also be in the mix for female competitors.

For the men, Moscow World Championship bronze medalist Derek Drouin of Canada will compete against American finalist Erik Kynard. Kynard was a silver medalist in the 2012 Olympics and won a pair of NCAA Championships at Drake Stadium for Kansas State in 2011 and 2012. World Championship finalist Donald Thomas and Drake Relays record holder Dusty Jonas will also be competing.

The competition inside Hy-Vee will not replace the traditional high jump competition in Drake Stadium, but rather serve as an additional opportunity for fans to enjoy another athletic spectacle in a non-traditional venue. The same jumpers will take to the Drake Stadium runways on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s going to be a great event in a unique setting, much like we do for Pole Vault in the Mall,” Brown said. “This is an opportunity for the Drake Relays and Hy-Vee to show what can be done with a strong partnership.”

High Jump at Hy-Vee will take place on Monday April 21 at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Judging for the 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest judging starts at 10:45 a.m. in the Knapp Center with the pageant starting at noon. Fifty contestants have been selected to vie for the title of Beautiful Bulldog.

Entering its 35th year, the Beautiful Bulldog contest was the first of its kind in the nation and continues to be a model for imitators from several states. The winner, who receives top honors as well as a crown and cape makes appearances throughout the Drake Relays and is officially honored as the Drake Relays mascot.

In its three decades of existence, the contest has changed little. Some of the awards have remained constant like Most Beautiful Bulldog, and Congeniality, while others have been modified over the years. Another constant has been the winner’s duties, which ask that the winning Bulldog participate in Drake Relays activities throughout the week. Recently, so many Bulldogs have sought the crown that the last two years’ contestants were selected by lottery from a pool of more than 100 Beautiful Bulldog hopefuls.

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