The Kiwanis Club of Independence and the Independence Parks & Recreation and Tourism recently teamed up to present “Pets in the Park” at Waterfall Park (Bass Pro.) In addition, sponsored by the city, were pet oriented booths, microchips, and rabbi shots.

“According to some old Examiner newspaper clippings the “Kiwanis Pet Judging Contest and Parade” has been celebrated each year since the 1930s,” said Barbara Langley, Kiwanis member and one of the three judges for the pet contest. The other two judges were Drew Warlen, age 15, Fort Osage High School, and Nick Burke, Kiwanian. The Emcee was Chris Pace, Kiwanian.

The opening of the judging and pet parade was introduced by Councilman Scott Roberson. The Councilman and Kiwanian welcomed everyone who had gathered and spoke about the benefits of the program. Roberson also helped to hand out awards.

The “Best American Pet” selected by the three judges was “Lilly” a Dalmatian owned by Kelsie Frick, age 6, of Independence. In addition to several ribbons, Lilly and Kelsie won a trophy and gift card from Pet Smart.

The winners from the “Owner and Pet Look” category went to first place “Dino,” dog, dressed like his owner, Jesse Hart, age 7, as Boy Scout Troop 422. Second place went to “Lilly,” dog, dressed like her owner, Kelsie Frick, age 6, as firemen. Third place went to “Mannie,” a crested gecko, dressed to match her owner’s dress, Katie O’Neil, age 4.

First place in the “Smallest” category also went to Katie O’Neil for her crested gecko. Second place went to Cayla Totten, age 11, for her cat, “Princess Pan Dora.”

First place in the “Slimiest” category went to owners Kloden and Andrew, ages 8 and 11, from Buckner, for “Bali” a ball python. As we learned from Andrew, snakes are not really slimy, but it was the closed category available. And “Bali” also won the “Longest Tail,” with 48” from the back of his head to his tail. Andrew kept “Bali” under control, by having him wrapped around his neck and shoulders allowing adventurous children to pet him. And Andrew was glad to share about the care of his pet.

First place “Best Costumed” went to “Dino” dressed as a Boy Scout. First place for the “Youngest” pet went to “Princess Pan Dora,” 6 months, owned by Cayla Totten. First Place “Most Unusual” went to “Carl,” a bearded dragon, owned by Andrew from Buckner.

The judges had a hard decision selecting which animal had the best trick, because the two contestants were “shy” and didn’t want to participate. So first place went to “Marley,” cat, who was supposed to “cat talk” on demand. And second place went to “Carl,” bearded dragon, who licks bugs off the ground with its tongue.