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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Dachsund races add levity to Fathers Day observance

Harley shows a flash of speed as he charges to the finish line in one of the "wiener" dog races in La Cygne on June 18. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

LA CYGNE – “A wiener will do what a wiener will do.”

Thus spoke Debra Wilson, organizer of a "wiener" dog race in La Cygne on Fathers Day, June 18. She hopes it is the first of a series of races that take place on Father’s Day every year.

The races, limited to pure- and mix-breed Dachsunds, made Wilson’s words prophetic. The dogs were anything but competitive and provoked more laughter than a sense of competitiveness.

It was a perfect afternoon for racing. A cloudburst had showered a tenth of an inch of rain just before the race was to start. Enough to settle the dust but not enough to make the infield of the baseball diamond at La Cygne Community Park muddy.

Owners of dogs in the races included, from left, Guy Nuzum with his dog Chelsea; Crystal Barnes with Owen; Anne Hunt with Oliver; Debra and Emil Wilson with Harley, Mars, and Cookie; Dusty Jones with Maximus and Sophia; Gabby Jones with Kirby; and Grady and Parker Wooderson with Ollie.

Three dogs ran in each of the heats. Three people held dogs and lined up next to third base. Ninety feet away next to home plate owners of the racers held snacks, ready to reward the victor.

On the signal from the starter, the handlers on the starting line released their dogs. But instead of running full tilt to the other side, the dogs had a social gathering. One co-owner pointed toward his partner across the diamond hoping that his outstretched finger pointing toward home plate would inspire the dog to skedaddle down the baseline to sure victory. He did not.

At the beginning of a heat, Grady Wooderson, from left, points to the finish line while Jillian Jones and Emil Wilson urge their dogs to run toward the people waiting at the finish line. The dogs would have none of that, however, as they milled around getting to know each other.

Eventually all of the the dogs got the point, and almost all of them had a first place finish in at least one heat. But more often than not, the dogs would race into the waiting arm of not the owner, but the person standing next to him or her.

But the dogs’ owners didn’t seem to mind. They laughed, snapped selfies, and gave their dogs treats regardless of who they ran to or in what place they finished.

After several finishes in the back toward the end of the pack, Olive, right, gets a breakaway victory finish as she runs toward owner Grady Wooderson, left front. However, once she got to the finish line, Olive swerved and jumped onto the lap of Crystal Barnes next to Wooderson, apparently lured by the treats Barnes was using to entice her dog.

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