This is a factor it is best to learn about wiener dog racing: The trail from begin to end will not be all the time a straight line.
Very like life generally, a “typical” race can take sudden detours. Folks attending Port St. Lucie‘s Oktoberfest celebration obtained an excellent sense of that Saturday, as 35 stubby-legged canine opponents got down to show speediness typically is available in small packages.
Nicely, a number of the canines did. Let’s simply say there have been others who appeared much less involved about profitable than attending to know their fellow opponents.
Or visiting with the various spectators who lined the course regardless of intermittent rain sprinkles and overcast skies. Or just stopping to odor the substitute grass turf on the observe outdoors the MIDFLORIDA Credit score Union Occasion Heart.
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“Welcome to the loopy world of wiener canine racing,” stated Garry Nutt, a recreation specialist for the town, who organized the occasion. “We do not know what to anticipate and neither do they.”
This was the second yr Port St. Lucie held the races, that includes the breed of canines correctly generally known as dachshunds.
It is vital to notice the competitors was restricted to dachshunds as a result of Nutt stated there was controversy final yr when a big, un-dachshund-like canine ended up profitable.
“I am not a veterinarian,” Nutt defined. “We do not do DNA testing.”
Fortunately, there have been no points of that kind this yr. The entire entrants seemed to be of the ankle-biting selection dachshund aficionados have come to know and love.
Which is not to say all of them regarded the identical. The racers got here in lots of colours. Some had been younger. Some had been previous. Some had been comparatively svelte. Others weren’t.
“Newton (aka Newt) is getting into this race to kick off his new food plan,” learn the entry on one contestant’s software type.
Different entries had been equally colourful.
“No footwear or stuffed animals are secure round her,” learn Heidi’s bio.
The tag line for Dexter, who shares the title of the serial killer from an HBO TV collection, was downright ominous: “Dexter the Dapple Doxie is able to slice and cube the competitors.”
Within the preliminary warmth, Dexter lived as much as that billing, bolting throughout the end line, via the paddock gate and into the gang, very similar to Forrest Gump headed straight up the tunnel into the locker room after scoring his first landing within the film of the identical title.
I requested Lacy Suarez, Dexter’s “coach,” what it took to get Dexter to run so quick.
“I do not know,” Suarez admitted. “She wasn’t working to me.”
Within the racing format, every wiener canine wanted two coaches — one to launch the canine on the beginning line and one other stationed on the end. The coaches stationed on the end line had been allowed to make use of treats or toys as motivation to propel the racers ahead.
(Fortunately for all concerned, the foundations did not permit using high-pitched canine whistles.)
That is the way it was presupposed to work, anyway. Typically, simply getting the racers lined up at first required nearly as a lot effort as herding cats.
And, as beforehand talked about, not all of them had been significantly fast out of the gate.
Moderately than race, a pair in a single warmth appeared to forge a quick courtship on the observe that rapidly devolved into yapping and nipping. Which just about sums up how my courting life went earlier than I obtained married.
Just a few canines needed to be escorted to the end line, simply so it could possibly be stated they accomplished the race. There have been a few situations the place canines aspired neither to cross the end line nor be recaptured by their coaches, resulting in a number of the most entertaining moments on the observe.
After the preliminary heats, there have been two semifinals after which the ultimate race.
A canine named Jeb was topped grand champion, with Porter and Rocketman ending second and third, respectively.
Every of the three prime finishers was awarded a trophy cup stuffed with doggie treats and chew toys.
Lest you assume wiener canine racing is extra for the homeowners than the animals, whereas I used to be interviewing his coach, Jeb reached into his trophy cup and started fortunately munching on a chewable stick.
Tracey Vonella, a Fort Lauderdale resident, stated Jeb has been in “fairly just a few” races, with a profitable observe file. Vonella stated COVID restrictions and an elbow damage have saved him out of competitors for the final couple of years, however now he is on the comeback path.
Sadly, Jeb could not hear the gang cheering his win. Like many “double dapple” dachshunds, Jeb is deaf.
Moderately than responding to Vonella’s calls, Jeb was motivated by handfuls of liver his coach had ready for him.
“He loves meals,” Vonella stated. “He is very meals pushed.”
Along with the goodies offered by Port St. Lucie, Vonella stated a further reward awaited Jeb upon his return.
“When he will get house, he will get a Marrowbone (canine deal with),” Vonella stated. “Typically, they get vanilla ice cream.”
“They” presumably consists of Rocketman, the third-place finisher who’s additionally a part of Vonella’s secure. Or kennel. Or no matter.
As for the competitors, it seems to have solidified a spot in Port St. Lucie’s Oktoberfest leisure lineup.
Nutt stated there have been twice as many opponents this yr as there have been on the inaugural occasion.
“It is a fairly scorching factor,” Nutt stated of wiener canine racing. “Individuals are saying: ‘Beer and wiener canines — what could possibly be higher?’ “
On Saturday night time, I could not make an argument for the rest.
This column displays the opinion of Blake Fontenay. Contact him by way of electronic mail at email@example.com or at 772-232-5424.