by CJ Vetter
Buda – On April 23-24, the Lions Club will hold its 25th annual Wiener Dog Race in Buda City Park with a grand prize of $500 for first place. It will be the first race since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, with the previous two years of races canceled due to the virus.
The event registry is currently active, with attendance costing $25 per dog, with a $5 late fee for same-day registry. For those whose dogs might not have participated in their game, there is an option for their dachshund to have another shot; for $10 the dog can be placed in the next available race. Plus, if you’re worried your pooch isn’t quite up to being a purebred dog for the vets on hand, there’s also a mixed breed available. No medical documents will be required at the registry, but owners will be required to provide them if necessary.
There will also be the Saber Guild, a Star Wars-inspired hobby group, and musical performances by The Merles and Western Express. Additionally, the event will also be a competition certified by the International Barbeque Cookers Association. Food will be provided by various vendors, alongside numerous arts and crafts stalls. Limited capacity parking will be available at Buda City Park and Cabela’s Sporting Goods; buses will be available for those who park at Cabela’s. Lions Club members Charles and Nancy Handrick are two of the volunteers who help organize the races.
“We put out the information, and she said she already had just over 100 dogs registered, and that’s pre-registration. So on the day we have a lot of appointments,” Charles Hendrick said.
The history of the Buda Wiener Dog Races dates back 25 years, after one of the Lions Club members witnessed a Wiener Dog race elsewhere; inspired, the club member took the idea back to her club in Buda and organized the event. The race quickly caught the public’s attention after CBS reporter Bill Geist reported on it, and soon it grew from a 35-dog race to a 400+ dog destination for enthusiasts. dachshunds across the country. While the number of participating wiener dogs has dwindled since then and the past two years have been skipped, the club is eager to start again. The races, which are done with four to five dogs at a time, can become competitive with strict regulations in place.
“For us, we put them in the back of the box, and you come in the front of the box. You attract the attention of your puppies; Then we will ask the owner to step back 70 feet and then 15 feet further as long as you keep your dog’s attention, and one of the stipulations being that there is no real food on the race track,” said Charles Hendrick. “Real runners who come out there who run for the money, they’ve trained their dogs and trained. I would say about 90% of them are here for the atmosphere.
The Lions Club did, however, suffer some losses, the most notable being the death of James Michael (Mike) Huckaby in February this year. Huckaby, in addition to being a veteran decorated with a double purple heart, had been the Wiener Dog race announcer for the past 24 years and was a charter member of the Lions Club. Huckaby even celebrated his life in the Buda City Park, the location of the annual race. Another club member who helped organize the event, Keith Cooper, also died. Huckaby’s successor will be Keith Handrick, son of Nancy and Charles.
“Every day he lived his life to the fullest.” said Nancy Handrick.
The latest race is shaping up to be the most spectacular yet, with a host of novelties and age-old traditions. This year will see the use of a new pedal racing gate, as well as a new poster and theme spoofing the “Lion King”, nicknamed the “Wiener King”. The theme itself was developed for the Lions Club by William Marketing, and like previous years’ themes “Wonder Wiener” and “Game of Wieners”, it will be available for purchase on the website as a poster. alongside other goods. William Marketing also provided the huge first place trophy.
“They love their dogs. Don’t say anything derogatory about little sausage dogs. This year, this poster, it was drawn by hand; well, we didn’t really hold a dog, because a lady called us over and said “that’s not how you hold a sausage dog,” said Charles Handrick. “Yes ma’am, no dogs were harmed in the making of this poster.”
The Lions Club is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping serve their communities and helping people with visual impairments. They also offer services for the blind and diabetics, as well as operating the Texas Lions Camp for physically handicapped children. For more information, visit LionsClub.org or BudaLionsClub.com