Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Weiner Dog Races

Yesterday, we were off to the races…not the sophisticated kind where you bet on million dollar thoroughbreds and wear stylish floppy hats while drinking mint juleps.  Oh no, we were off to the 15th Annual Wiener Dog Races in Buda, Texas.  We were told that this is the largest wiener dog race in the U.S.

While still waiting on parts for the motorhome, we are pursuing a quest to explore all activities, museums, and attractions within a 30-mile radius of our temporary home.  Included in that quest was definitely a visit to the Wiener Dog Races.  As you can imagine from the title this is a competition with dachshunds running down a track determined to be the fastest wiener and take home the gold metal.   Oh how proud the owners must be when their wiener crosses the finish line first!  The T.V. stations were there of course.  

So you want to enter your dog?  The rules are fairly simple: the race veterinarian has to certify that the dog is a dachshund (although it does not have to be AKC registered) and it must have all of its shots.  But the dog has one more test to pass before entering the prestigious race.  That is the 4X4 test and this is where the tongue-and-cheek fun comes in.  There is a piece of wooden 4X4 that the dog has to measure against.  The dogs’ legs have to be as high as 4 inches, the dog has to be as long as the piece of 4X4 and its’ belly has to be 4 inches off the ground - essentially, your dog has to straddle the 4X4.

Race staff scan the track and clear it of all rocks and obstacles that may injure the contestants or cause one to stumble and cry foul.

The contestants are loaded into their chutes at the starting gate and anticipation builds.  The owners walk back to the finish line all the while trying to keep their dogs focused and determined on reaching the finish line first.  

And they're off....

Heat after heat provides great entertainment for the thousands of spectators.

Winners from each heat are awarded a strapping medal that they wear proudly.

After the hard fought race, contestants cool off in a pool of water...unless, there is a big lab hogging the pool (Spirit).

Despite the hilariousness of watching wiener dogs run down a track, their owners are even funnier. They stand at the finish line jumping up and down with squeaky toys and high pitched voices trying to entice them to the finish line.  But don’t laugh to loud some people are very serious about this competition and actually train their dogs for this annual spectacular and travel far and wide to Buda.  So many dogs enter that there are two days of qualifying heats.  

Wiener dogs come in all colors, hair length, and wear some of the most fashionable collars and bandanas.

And this event was way more than just crowning the fastest dog, it was all things wiener.  There over 50 booths that sold an assortment of wiener dog-themed stuff including clothes (for the dog and owner), garden accessories, car mats, jewelry, toys, and other items that would all make the Home Shopping Network jealous.

We took Spirit on this adventure and she clearly did not know what to think of all these busy, barking little bodies that looked like something you would find on the toy shelf at Petsmart.  She gave each one a cautious sniff and then went on her way to find a bigger dog to play with.

After a long day at the races, everyone was tired....dogs and owners.

And Spirit was bestowed the distinction of being an honorary wiener dog.

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