‘Visual poetry’: Dozens of doxins race for title of Millcreek’s fastest wiener dog

Mar 31, 2024, 12:31 PM | Updated: Apr 1, 2024, 1:34 pm

Wiener dogs Benny, Rosie and Newman K. Corrington race for their place on the podium of Millcreek's...

Wiener dogs Benny, Rosie and Newman K. Corrington race for their place on the podium of Millcreek's inaugural Doxie Derby, Saturday. (Collin Leonard, KSL.com)

(Collin Leonard, KSL.com)

MILLCREEK — “Every wiener is a winner, ladies and gentleman,” Brad Wheeler shouted over the crowd, as owners lined their little dogs up on the turf, ready to race Saturday. “Over a hundred wiener dogs put their hearts on the line today.”

A light mist fell on the proceedings, as owners tried to coax their pets down the 50 feet of runway with varied success. Unfortunately, baby talk doesn’t carry over the roar of hundreds, pressing up against the plastic barriers. Still they called, “Here Willy! Come to mama!”

Wiener dogs wait to by weighed and measured before they race in the Millcreek Doxie Derby, Saturday.
Wiener dogs wait to by weighed and measured before they race in the Millcreek Doxie Derby, Saturday. (Photo: Collin Leonard, KSL.com)

Newcomers were often turned around, but old pros bolted down the stretch to a handler on the other side. Heats of seven dogs ran for hours, with the winner competing in the next round. Some doxins were brought to the race, swaddled and shivering in baby strollers, to live vicariously through their peers.

“I didn’t know there were this many weiner dogs in Salt Lake,” Jared Richmond said. He was convinced his dog would “dominate,” but the 3-year-old flamed out in the first round. Stranger Danger, a cutie in a tutu and a tiny wheelchair, broke her back jumping onto a bed a few years ago. That didn’t stop her from competing.

“Bad” Brad Wheeler became involved in Utah’s burgeoning wiener race scene after Kevin Kirk from the Heavy Metal Shop asked him to host one for the anniversary of Kirk’s store. Wheeler said he did so “reluctantly,” because he didn’t own a doxin. Now he’s the president of Wasatch Front Wiener Dog Racing Association.

“Once I saw wiener dogs running — it became visual poetry to me,” Wheeler said. “If you don’t love wiener dogs, they make a total different sense when you see them running in a pack. It’s a wild experience.”

Stranger Danger rolls around to warm up before her race in the inaugural Millcreek Doxie Derby, Saturday.
Stranger Danger rolls around to warm up before her race in the inaugural Millcreek Doxie Derby, Saturday. (Photo: Collin Leonard, KSL.com)

Dachshund means badger hound in German. According to Michael Lay, a 30-year serial doxin owner. They were bred with long, hot dog bodies to chase wild animals through tunnels.

“I’m amazed at the variety of colors, the coats, the textures, the personalities,” Lay said. “And they can all come from the same litter.”

When the dust settled, Benny, a 3-year-old longhair, took the gold. But fastest dog wasn’t the only prize.

Another dog named Benny won heaviest pup, coming in at 30 pounds. Lewis Fry, a 19-year-old doxin, was the oldest dog at the competition, and farthest-traveled was won by Albus from Sydney, Australia. There was no prize for most interesting name, but if there was, Baby Pond Scum would have walked home with a gift bag.

Wheeler, who still does not own a wiener dog, organized multiple races last year. Encouraged by the massive turnout Saturday, he said he’s “down to figuring out if we need our own Utah Triple Crown,” spreading the joy from St. George to Logan. “Wiener dog racing is growing,” Wheeler said. “It’s contagious. It’s a wild vibration!”

Read the whole story and see more photos at KSL.com

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‘Visual poetry’: Dozens of doxins race for title of Millcreek’s fastest wiener dog