Mutts steal show |

Mutts steal show

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Elyse King and Freckels.

DILLON – The 2001 Dillon Marina Mutt Contest marked Elyse King’s debut on the Summit County dog/owner look-alike scene. The Keystone resident’s freckles, curly golden pigtails and auburn outfit bore an uncanny resemblance to her cocker spaniel, Freckels, then only a puppy.A tireless devotion to the sport – and to Freckels – quickly catapulted King into the dog/owner look-alike limelight. In three successive Labor Day competitions at the marina, she garnered two second-places and an honorable mention.

“Last year, we were all Hawaiian,” King said Monday, grabbing some shade with Freckels under a tent at Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar after their trot down the runway. “Another year, we were red, white and blue for Labor Day, and Freckels carried a flag.”Freckels, King and her husband George have handled fame gracefully, despite the pressures.

“We’re in the paper every year. People are always coming up to us, saying, ‘You’re Freckels’ parents, aren’t you?’ We have notoriety because of Freckels.”This year, King pulled out all the stops, and drew on one of her great loves in hopes of capturing the coveted title of champion that had eluded her for three years running. She and Freckels sported matching black Harley-Davidson T-shirts and leather skull-caps. King rounded out the look in aviator glasses, jeans, riding boots and her signature pigtails.

“The first year George and I met, we rode 25,000 miles on a Harley. That was pre-Freckels,” King said. Three years after her breakthrough into the look-alike elite, King waited expectantly on the sidelines on Monday as the results were announced. She faced stiff competition against another spaniel-pigtail pair in matching turquoise bandanas and a festive duo in coordinated Mexican sarapes.

“And, in first place,” bellowed the announcer, “Elyse King and Freckels!”Enthusiastic cheers erupted from the audience.

“Eye of the tiger. Finally,” King said. “It feels great. Freckels has really been a godsend to both of us. He’s the child we didn’t bear.”Through it all, Freckels never forgot his long climb to the top and those who supported him along the way.

“Freckels just wishes his grandparents from Florida could be here,” King said.-Julie Sutor Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or athg

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