Inclement Weather, Postponement Doesn’t Stop WAGA from Reaching Fundraising Goal

Dog owners wait in line with their pets for the chance to wow the judges during the 11th Annual Wagapalooza. Photos by Tropical Focus

Despite a last-minute postponement thanks to heavy rains and a muddy Winston Wells ball field, Wagapalooza, the premiere fundraiser for the St. John Animal Care Center, raked in close to $25,000, nearly reaching the ACC’s fundraising goal.

ACC board members and volunteers scrambled to reschedule the event after heavy rains drenched the territory the night before Wagapalooza’s originally scheduled date of Saturday, May 21. Wagapalooza was rescheduled for Saturday, May 28, and the event was moved to the V.I. National Park ball field.

“Even with having to reschedule and moving to a venue we’d never used before, we’ve raised close to $24,000,” said ACC board of directors president B.J. Harris. “We have to thank everybody because rescheduling and moving the venue was difficult, and everybody was just tremendously supportive along the way.”

The change of venue worked out so well, in fact, that the ACC is taking comments from the community on whether Wagapalooza should take place at the VINP ball field again next year.

Rosey and owner Ava Jayne Parfitt won Best Cow-Hound Costume at the St. John Animal Care Center’s 11th Annual Wagapalooza island dog show.

The dogs put on their best performances, with Western-themed costumes wowing the crowd and one dog leap frogging entirely over his owner for the Best Jumper category. The island-style Westminster Dog Show drew out hilariously unique competitors, including one owner who went to great lengths to impersonate his dog in the Best Look-alike category.

“This dog was slobbering like Pavlov’s dog,” said Harris. “So the owner went out in front of the crowd with his slobbering dog, took a slug of beer, and slobbered it out while shaking his head. The owners were just as much fun as the animals were.”

Winners in the eight separate categories, including Best Cow Hound Costume — where dogs donned cow costumes in honor of this year’s Western theme — were awarded with ribbons and plenty of applause.

“Everybody who came was a winner, and all the dogs were perfectly behaved,” said Harris.

Awarded King of Show at the 11th Annual Waga, Lucky, poses with his owners — the Muilenburg family.

The majority of this year’s donations came from T-shirt sponsors, and t-shirt sales raked in plenty of money as well. In fact, the ACC plans to reorder more T-shirts due to demand, so those who would like to purchase one should contact the shelter at 774-1625.

The money raised at this year’s Wagapalooza will go toward general operations of the ACC’s no-kill animal shelter, with the exception of $2,000 donated by the St. John Board of Realtors, which has been earmarked for community education.

“We’ve been doing a lot more outreach into the schools this year, trying to work with the children to teach them responsible dog and cat ownership,” said Harris. “It ends up making them better citizens.”

Above all, the ACC is grateful for the numerous volunteers who helped make the event a success despite the postponement.

“We’re very close to our fundraising goal,” said Harris. “The event worked out really well thanks to all the volunteers. Without them, the dogs and the dog owners, it would have been a nothing show instead of a great show.”

Judge Paul Jordan hands a blue ribbon to the Queen of the 11th Annual Waga, Cloud, and her owner Jamie Ickes.