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Archive for Wednesday, July 24, 1996

S A WIENER

July 24, 1996

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The Wiener Dog Nationals, a dachshund race at The Woodlands that was inspired by a beer commercial, features three Lawrence dogs this year.

You've probably seen the commercial.

A couple of guys drinking Miller Lite can't seem to agree on the best sporting event to watch. The dispute is reminiscent of the classic "Tastes Great!"/"Less Filling!" debate.

"Wiener dogs!" one says. "Drag racing!" screams the other.

In the spirit of compromise one of the guys slams a can on the TV, melding the two events into "Wiener dog drag racing," which depicts dachshunds with Road Runner-esque hind legs.

Turns out, the beer label's marketing folks decided it was more than a joke. The result, now in its third year, is the Wiener Dog Nationals at The Woodlands, Kansas City, Kan.

Sixty-four of the little pooches will rocket, or more likely shuffle, down a 110-yard segment of the track normally graced by greyhounds. There will be eight heats Saturday, during the regular matinee and evening greyhound races.

And this year, three Lawrence "wiener dogs" will be lining up at the starting gates. The 64 dogs were selected by drawing from more than 1,000 entrants.

Chuck Ammel, one of the local dachshund owners participating in the race, said after watching two years running, he's ready for "Maggie" to get on the track.

"She's pretty feisty," Ammel said of his 5-year-old miniature dachshund. "I think she'll do OK."

Maggie's training regimen consists mainly of walks on the Kansas University campus near Potter Lake, said Ammel, who also owns a 6-year-old dachshund called "Josie."

He entered both dogs for the first two years of the competition, but neither were selected. This year, he entered only the younger dog, which is more "outgoing" and not afraid of the sun, Ammel said.

"She's at her peak," he said.

The wiener winner and runners-up get a big trophy and an ample supply of dog food, Woodlands officials said.

And, unlike the greyhound races but similar to David Letterman's "Stupid Pet Tricks," the wiener dog event will not create individual profit off the track.

"I don't think they allow any betting on the dachshunds," Ammel said.

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