SHUEYVILLE, Iowa – Puppy love filled the hearts of many in Eastern Iowa on Super Bowl Sunday.
One local dog, Suri, took center stage in the starting lineup of Animal Planet's annual "Puppy Bowl." Another puppy, Cici, was listed as a back-up pup. Puppies romped around during the "Puppy Bowl" on a small football field, scoring touchdowns with toys.
"I'm glad that we have the turnout that we have, but I'm surprised at how many people there are, yeah, so it's great," said Cici's Owner Lindsey Grubb.
It wasn't your typical crowd at Shuey's Restaurant and Lounge on Sunday. All eyes were on the television as people watched the "Puppy Bowl" action.
Dozens of people came in and they, of course, brought along their four-legged friends.
You didn't have to look far to find the stars.
"We heard that it was going to be a big party here because two of them were in it," said 7-year-old Puppy Bowl Fan Donny Long.
Suri is a Siberian Husky, and Cici is a German Shepherd mix.
"She was a little overwhelmed at first, but she has calmed down now, so it's been good," Grubb said.
Both are from the Cedar Rapids area, and both are rescue dogs.
"She had me at hello, the first night I saw her," said Suri's Owner Carl Bromberg.
Bromberg watched with pride as video of Suri filled the TV screen. He went to New York for the filming of the Puppy Bowl in October.
Bromberg shared his dog's story with anyone who would listen during Sunday's event.
"I came home and looked in the crate with mom, and there she was," Bromberg said to a woman at the "Puppy Bowl" party.
While the puppy stars greeted their many friends, their new-found fame served a bigger purpose on Sunday.
"It's for the dogs, thank you so much," said Volunteer Jan Erceg as she collected donations.
Many visitors donated money to the shelter that took in both puppies, Last Hope Animal Rescue out of Shellsburg.
"I like that it raises the awareness for shelters and rescue dogs," Grubb said.
On this "Puppy Bowl" Sunday, organizers believe everyone who adopts is a champion. Bromberg, however, has his own MVP.
"She's definitely a winner to me, definitely," he said while looking at Suri.
Organizers said at the end of the night they raised $3,200 for the animal shelter through donations and the silent auction.