The competition for the mayor of Divide has begun, and the candidates are a diverse bunch of animals.
A dozen critters from dogs to donkeys hope to replace bloodhound Pa Kettle as the town’s mayor and head ambassador in the popular and competitive fundraiser for the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter (TCRAS) in Divide.
TCRAS helps hundreds of lost, abandoned, or neglected dogs and cats find new homes every year. Although he was never a shelter resident himself, Mayor Pa Kettle has worked hard as an advocate for pet adoptions during his two year term, and is known for his generous kisses. Animals adopted from TCRAS are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, and sent home with a free health exam.
According to TCRAS Executive Director Mary Steinbeiser, Mayor Pa Kettle is not running for re-election, leaving the field open for a pack of newcomers with no competition from the incumbent. Here is a listing of the mayoral hopefuls. All of the candidates’ pictures and stories can be seen on the TCRAS website.
Ma Kettle: The mayor’s sister, who like Pa Kettle, works with Teller County Search and Rescue. Although Ma Kettle is smaller than Pa, she’s still a people lover.
Hershey: The donkey ambassador from Cripple Creek who helps at Donkey Derby Days each June. Hershey’s ears may be as long as Pa Kettle’s and will help him listen to the concerns of shelter residents.
Focita: A 1½ year old rescue dog from Costa Rica who helps build decks for a company in Divide. She is now mostly recovered from a spinal condition that kept her from using her hind legs.
Colina Dietrich: A 3 year-old hedgehog from The Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescue in Divide. No problem is too prickly for this little candidate.
Teddy: A charming 12-year-old senior dog. Experience counts. Need we say more?
Shunka: The wolf from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. Voters are howling for a candidate who will not just huff and puff, but who will do a good job representing TCRAS and Divide.
Nala: An energetic 11 month old pup who is running, and running, and running, for mayor on behalf of Habitat for Humanity of Teller County.
Rider: The poodle. Everyone loves poodles, right?
Peanut: A 4½ year old dog who greets customers at a local liquor store, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Niki-Maru: A well-dressed cat who likes to wear a top hat and tie. If you don’t look good, you don’t look good!
Dakota: An appealing 3 year old dog’s dog. Even the cats like him.
Little Red: A 2 year old Chihuahua who’s a lot of dog in a small package.
The popular Mayor of Divide fundraiser began in 2010, and now draws votes from around the world. The fun began with the election of Sprite, a three legged dog. Three-legged cat Walter, who lives at the Animal Clinic of Woodland Park, replaced Sprite in 2012. Pa Kettle ended the three-legged trend with a close victory in 2014. No matter how many legs the new mayor has in 2016, TCRAS appreciates the wide-spread support of the community for this unique event.
Votes can be made for a donation of $1 each by visiting TCRAS in person or online at tcrascolorado.org. There are twelve additional ballot drop off sites in Woodland Park, Divide, and Colorado Springs. For more information, call 686-7428.
Voters can cast more than one vote, and yes the election can be bought! (Please don’t try this in the Woodland Park or Green Mountain Falls mayoral contests this spring.) Current vote totals are shown online next to each candidate’s photo. Candidate debates can be seen on Fridays beginning February 26 on the TCRAS Facebook page. All 12 candidates will meet the public in a “town hall meeting” on March 5. Voting ends on April 5.