With a name like Ron Burgundy and being a spokescat for other felines, it’s no wonder Diedra Wallis’ pet won The Record-Courier’s “Carson Valley Cutest Critter” contest.
The Carson Valley Cutest Critter contest was a way to showcase the unique and beloved pets in the community and with more than 200 entries and almost 1,800 votes, from dogs and cats to cows, horses, lizards and even an ostrich, there were a lot to choose from.
“Since the Carson Valley loves their pets, whether big or small, we thought it would be fun to start the New Year off with something different,” said Record-Courier Associate Publisher Tara Addeo. “They were all so cute, I’m just glad I didn’t have to decide who won!”
Ron Burgundy is a 5-year-old cat with a mustache resembling that of “Anchorman’s” Ron Burgundy.
“I am a die-hard Will Ferrell fan and the name fit him perfectly with his big mustache and his silly personality,” said Ron’s owner Diedra Wallis.
Ron is a feral cat that Wallis rescued five years ago with his litter mates from a wood pile on a horse farm.
“I was living and breathing trying to save those cats,” said Wallis. “If they hadn’t been rescued, they would have been lost to the elements, wildlife, etc.”
Wallis was able to save and re-home the cats, but there was something about Ron, that she just had to keep him for herself.
“He had me wrapped around his little paw, he’s my guy,” she said.
Not only is his name based off a popular movie character, but he is known throughout the community too and can often be found in his cat stroller or cat carrier with his adopted sister cat, Brookie, Wallis and her partner Michael Allen.
“They are very well traveled and love the Carson Valley,” said Wallis. “They are Carson Valley kitties for sure!”
Wallis said when they’re walking their cats around the community, not only do the cats receive a lot of affection, but it’s an opportunity to advocate for and spread awareness for feral cats.
“Most people who see them will laugh and smile, but it’s always about spreading awareness and encouraging people to adopt whenever possible and we always refer them to local adoption agencies.”
Wallis said she believes pets can provide so much love and companionship in a person or family’s lives. At one point for her, her cat was all she had.
“I had a bit of a unique experience, being orphaned while still in high school and turning 18 and being considered legally an adult pushed out into the world,” said Wallis. “During that time, it was just me and my childhood cat. I experienced the phenomenon of a pet truly becoming a family member and helping me get through the most difficult times of my life.”
Rescuing Ron and other cats, reminded her of how she felt then and wanting to give to them, what they have given her.
“Feral cats have so much to offer,” she said. “It just reminds me of how I felt as an orphan and having that same experience of working with animals and giving them that same love and family as they gave me.”
Aside from their strolls in the community, Ron Burgundy and Brookie can be found through their social media page “A Cat Named Ron Burgundy” on Instagram and YouTube, advocating for adopting animals.
“We post fun videos of the cats being silly and themselves along with parodies of popular songs while supporting and promoting animal adoption,” said Wallis.
Wallis said she recommends people visit their local shelters, if only to spend time with the animals.
“I highly encourage people to visit their local shelters and if they are in position to adopt then do so, but sometimes just volunteering with the shelters and spending time with the animals can make a huge difference in their lives and our own,” said Wallis. “And that goes for any animal, not just cats, we’re just passionate about felines, ourselves.”
Addeo said The R-C hasn’t done a pet contest for many years, but the timing just seemed right to bring it back.
“All in all, the contest was a huge success and we appreciated our sponsors CVMC and Double J Auto for making it happen,” said Addeo. “Our community should start taking phot ops this year, because we will definitely have this competition in early 2023!”
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