OKEECHOBEE — Rain did not stop the Okeechobee KOA Oktoberfest over the weekend. On Saturday morning, dachshund owners and fans turned out with umbrellas for the annual running of the “hot dogs.”
Gray skies might have kept some pooches safely home in their kennels, but 15 wiener dogs braved the downpours to turned out for the races, which were open to dachshund and dachshund-mix dogs.
A crowd of well wishers turned out as well, some lining one side of the race track in golf carts, others gathering nearby with umbrellas, and some just enjoying the rain and getting wet.
After several heats narrowed the field, the last race came down to the finalists. The fastest in the land, was “don’t blink, you’ll miss him,” Tigger, owned by Okeechobee County Judge Bill Wallace. Tigger, the winner of the 2019 KOA Oktoberfest races, proudly faced the challengers and retained his title.
After the main KOA Oktoberfest races, a special hot dog costume race sponsored by the Lake Okeechobee News was open to dachshunds, dachshund-mixes and dachshunds at heart — basically any dog in a hot dog costume was welcome. The winner, Hurley, dashed across the finish line wearing a hot dog costume as well as a hat that looked like a giant Hershey’s kiss. Hurley’s owner, Taylor Davis of Okeechobee, explained that after dining on a hot dog, you need dessert.
Those who attended KOA Oktoberfest in 2017 may remember the always-fashionable Hurley was the pup who wowed the crowds with a hat made of French fries at the inaugural event.
The 2019 dachshund races are in the record books, and plans are already underway for the 2020 event. That’s plenty of time to start training dogs and sewing costumes!