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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dachshunds off to the races

Tyler+Baker+%2F++The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AWeinerschnitzel+let+8+wierner+dogs+race+at+halftime+during+Arizonas+54-76+win+against+Oregon+State+at+McKale+Center+on+Sunday.
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat Weinerschnitzel let 8 wierner dogs race at halftime during Arizona’s 54-76 win against Oregon State at McKale Center on Sunday.

Dachshunds and their owners came to the UA from all over Tucson on Sunday to participate in the Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals preliminary races.

To enter a dog in the races, contestants signed up online at no cost and then showed up at the Frank Sancet Stadium, said Stacy Acke whose dogs Noodle and Lulu were racing for the first time.
However, Acke’s dogs didn’t take home any titles.

“They kind of just went out of the box and stood there,” Acke said.

Acke said the dogs didn’t seem phased by their loss.

“They were more excited to see all the other wiener dogs,” she said.

Around 50 to 60 dachshunds were at the event, but not all were newcomers, according to Trevor Trout, host of the races.

Nancy LaVigne is a seasoned wiener dog racer, and her dachshund Poppy won the Arizona competition in 2010. This year she entered another dog, Lana, who made it to the final race that was held during halftime in McKale Center at the Arizona versus Oregon State basketball game.

Besides racing, Lavigne is involved with all things wiener dog-related.

“There’s a big community of weiner dogs here, and we’re part of it,” Lavigne said. “We have a meetup group called the Tucson Desert Dachshund Meetup, and we meet at Reid Park. We do a lot of things for the community, like Pets of the Homeless, and we gather food and take it down to Casa Maria Soup Kitchen.”

Lavigne said that the races are more for entertainment.

“[Dachshunds] were actually bred to hunt badgers instead of race, so it’s just really fun,” Lavigne said.

This year the winner was Zenaida Olyvar and her dog Princess Larrisa Marie. The pair was awarded $250 and a spot in the national championship held in San Diego. Like Lavigne, Olyvar also had past experience with wiener dog racing.

“We had a champion wiener before,” Olyvar said. “His name was Ziggy Boy, and he won in 2007, I believe, and so we thought ‘Maybe Larrisa can win.’”

Olyvar said she plans to treat Princess Larrisa Marie for her win.

“Maybe we should take her to Wienerschnitzel and get her a hot dog,” Olyvar said.

Olyvar relies on her dog’s own natural skills and didn’t train Ziggy Boy or Princess Larrisa Marie before their races, she said, only practicing the day before by putting them in a crate and telling them to run straight.

Trout said that Wienerschnitzel visits 12 cities around the country to host similar races, including Albuquerque, Clovis and Oakland. The winners of these races move on to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

“It’s the whole enchilada,” Lavigne said. “You get to ride on a float, and you’re crowned as fastest wiener dog in the West, and you get $1,000.”

Trout said he has been traveling the country emceeing wiener dog races for six years now, and that it’s a great promotional tool for Wienerschnitzel.

“It’s fun for the family and kids,” Trout said. “Also, it’s basic publicity; a lot of the local stores will get together, especially if they have a venue like a college or something like that where they do sell the products as well. It’s a good draw for them and it’s just a good promotional tool, especially when you’ve got like 25,000-30,000 people.”

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