Piggly Wiggly’s Kathy Gautier is having a ball going through photos of all the dogs, cats, horses and rabbits already entered in The Sampson Independent’s Cutest Pets Contest, and she’s betting there are far more adorable animals out there who’ve not yet been registered.
Voting kicks off in just a few hours, at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 17, but registration is in no way over, either, with pet owners able to submit photos of their lovable animals right up until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 29.
But Gautier is urging everyone to get those pets registered early so they can garner that many more votes before the contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30.
She’s actually urging two things — registering those pets and then getting out the vote for them.
“We want all those fur babies registered and we want people to vote as often as they can,” Gautier stressed.
Piggly Wiggly is o-sponsor of the event, along with title sponsor Clinton Appliance and Furniture Company.
Being a part of the contest, Gautier stressed, was a no-brainer for the Piggly Wiggly stores because of their commitment to involvement in the local community and offering fun and unique contests for residents to take part. “It was something we did last year. It was popular then and it looks to be popular this year, too. We like doing things like this in the community and we love partnering with The Sampson Independent.”
Dwight Horne said Clinton Appliance was involved in the contest for much the same reason.
“We saw it as an opportunity to promote our business in a unique way and, at the same time, offer the community something fun to do. Who doesn’t love contests involving their pets?
Horne, a pet lover himself, said looking at the animals already registered in the contest would melt your heart. “They are so adorable. You know, pets are just so much fun. They are always happy to see you, they show you unconditional love and they don’t judge you. They deserve this kind of recognition.”
Both Horne and Gautier encouraged people to go online to www.clintonnc.com and peruse all the adorable pets that have already been registered in the contest, and they challenged those who think their dog, cat, horse, rabbit, turtle or pig is cuter than those now entered to sign them up for the competition.
“Be sure to go to the site and look at all those precious faces. They are just the cutest things you’ve ever seen,” Gautier gushed, “and don’t forget to vote and tell all your friends and neighbors to vote, too.
Prizes will be awarded to winners, thanks to the generosity Clinton Appliance and Piggly Wiggly. There will be a $250 prize for first place; a $100 prize for second place; and a $50 gift certificate for the third-place finisher.
Like Gautier, Horne is encouraging a get-out-the-vote campaign. “I can’t wait to see who wins, but to get the winners we’ve got to have lots of voters, so call everyone you know and have them log on and choose the pet they think is the cutest.”
Like registration, voting is easy. Just visit the website at www.clintonnc.com, click on the Cutest Pets icon and follow the instructions to sign up and begin voting.
“The whole process is pretty simple,” said Independent publisher Jules Molenda.
And, added Sherry Matthews, editor and general manager of the newspaper, it’s a even more fun.
“I’ve looked through all the entries we have so far and I can tell you, it’s going to be a close competition. But it all boils down to who can garner the most votes.”
Matthews suggests that pet owners start a campaign of their own, using social media to get the word out about their adorable contestant.
“Use Facebook and Twitter to tell your friends about the contest and urge them to vote. Email your friends and neighbors. See just how many people you can get involved.”
Involvement, Matthews said, equals votes, so the more involvement the greater the chance that your animal will earn the Cutest Pet title.
“No matter the pet,we want to see photos of everyone’s cutest, and then we can’t wait to see who wins,” Matthews said, joining Gautier and Horne in urging pet owners to register their furry friends in the contest and then begin gathering those votes.
Matthews and Molenda stressed the importance of sponsors Clinton Appliance and Piggly Wiggly, saying they were valuable partners and helped to make fun contests like this one possible.
“We can’t thank our sponsors enough, because without them we would have no contest,” Matthews said. “And we would certainly urge everyone to support those businesses every chance they get.”