By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer
Long legs, svelte lines, built for speed and ready to chase wild rabbits or birds in the countryside for miles.
These are the kinds of dogs whose bodies Dachshunds can easily fit under.
But local Dachshunds, popularly known as “wiener dogs,” will have their day this weekend.
A Wiener National race, sponsored by Wienerschnitzel, will be the first one to be staged in Clovis this Saturday.
Heats begin at noon at Hillcrest Park.
Jim Hailey, owner of Wienerschnitzel in Clovis, said he’s handed out around 75 entry forms and is hoping for about 50-to-60 Dachshunds to be actually running out of the gates come start time.
“It would be huge if we had that many,” Hailey said.
Wienerschnitzel doesn’t have an exact specification on how low-to-the-ground the dog’s carriage has to be, but suffice it to say the typical Dachshund is pretty low.
The miniature Dachshund normally weighs less than 11 pounds and it’s foot-long body is usually sustained by inches-high legs.
Spectators thus can be forgiven this Saturday if, while watching the proceedings, they think of a bunch of running hot dogs — which is exactly what Wienerschnitzel had in mind when conceiving the event.
“They do it across the country. San Diego has a big one, Los Alamitos race track (near Los Angeles) has one,” Hailey said. “Phoenix has had one. They’ve never done one in a city the size of Clovis. We’ve got a team coming in from California to set it all up and they’ll actually be running out of gates.
“There is a prize of $250, but it’s all for fun,” he added.
One Clovis man, Karl Korff, will have two Dachshunds entered into the festivities.
Angel Wings, dubbed “Lightning” by Korff, will be joined by Bear Hunting – a.k.a. “The Streak.”
“They will respond to ‘eat,’ so I’m going to say that. If I say fetch, they won’t do it,” Korff said. “But you’ve got to realize, the Dachshund is very independent. If they see something that strikes their fancy, they’ll go over there.”
Korff said he’ll tempt his dogs toward the finish line by holding pieces of hot dogs. Naturally.
“I just want to have some fun and not take it seriously,” he said. “I’m a Cubs fan, so if we don’t win, we’ll wait ‘til next year.”