EAST LIVERPOOL - A randomly shot video of their baby playing peek-a-boo with their cat could win a local family up to $25,000 in a national contest, providing the public gets behind them with online votes.
Annie Boso was watching her then-9-month-old daughter Joy playing near her crib with their cat, Howie, when she decided to record their antics.
"They're quite the pair. He was hiding just out of her reach underneath her crib. She had just started recognizing his name. When I said, 'Where's Howie?' it surprised me she knew right where to look," Boso said with a laugh. She captured Joy peeking underneath the crib, Howie reaching his paw out and then Joy chortling with laughter as the cat looked through a gap at her, the typical kind of playfulness moms and pet owners find funny every day.
Joy Boso and Howie are a cute comedy act. (Submitted photo)
"We think (Howie) is hilarious. I'm sure everyone says that about their cat," Boso admitted.
Enter her husband, Ryan, a stay-at-home dad who has turned entering online sweepstakes and contests into a somewhat lucrative home business as his wife teaches school.
He happened upon "The Friskies," a contest based upon popular movie award shows for humans, looking for the "next Internet cat superstar," sponsored by Friskies cat food.
The couple entered the 1.5-minute video of Joy and Howie and, from among 2,000 entries, it ended up as one of the top 12 finalists, eligible for a category win of $5,000 and the $20,000 grand prize for a total of $25,000.
"This sweepstakes would be the biggest we've ever won," Mrs. Boso said.
The video of Howie and Joy is entered in the Res-Cute category because Howie came to the Boso family as a rescue. They adopted the 2-year-old cat when he was just 6 months old from the Beaver County Humane Society.
They are up against videos of a cat hiding in a cupboard and another with a cat giving its brother a bath. If it wins that category by collecting the most votes, it is in the running for the grand prize, also attainable by getting the most votes.
"It's crazy and awesome," Mrs. Boso said of being chosen for the contest. "We're doing everything we can to get as many votes as possible. There are only 12 videos, so we have a one in 12 chance of winning $25,000. We can use as many votes as we can get. A cat and a baby. How can you not vote for that?" she said with a chuckle.
Voting began Aug. 11 and will continue until noon on Sept. 8, with one vote per category per person allowed each day by watching the videos at www.TheFriskies.com.
Voters are being encouraged by Friskies to make their decisions based on originality and overall artistic impression, audience appeal and entertainment quality, sense that there is a story being told and portraying a cat's perspective.
Even if the Bosos fail to win the monetary prizes, there are other perks that go along with being chosen as finalists. Howie has already won a year's supply of free Friskies cat food, and the couple will receive an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles in September when the contest concludes for the awards ceremony, where they will learn the outcome of the voting. Until then, they have no way of knowing where they stand in the voting.
Also a plus, Mrs. Boso pointed out, is that the company is donating one can of cat food to an animal shelter for every vote cast, up to 250,000 cans. As of this writing, 107,421 cans had been donated.
In addition, Friskies will be donating more than $20,000 to shelters as part of the contest.
The video of Howie and Joy is entered in the Res-Cute category because Howie came to the Boso family as a rescue.
They adopted the 2-year-old cat when he was just 6 months old from the Beaver County Humane Society.