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Discover Mississippi: Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

(Photo: The Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash)

  • The world’s largest charity wiener dog race comes to the Cotton District.

Fans pour into the stands. An acapella group sings the Star-Spangled Banner. Planes fly overhead. The excitement and tension are palpable. It sounds like any other sporting event in Starkville, but this is not just any other sport. 

Tails are waggin’, tongues are hanging out, and balloon artists are fashioning wiener dogs out of balloons over by the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile. Everything celebrates the comically shaped yet cute wiener dog. 

(Photo: The Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash)

This scene is only at the Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash, the world’s largest charity wiener dog race, benefiting the Starkville-Oktibbeha Humane Society. The Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash is May 4th on University Drive in Starkville. The event area opens at 8 am for an all-day rally of racing and embracing all things wiener dogs. 

Since May 4th is also Star Wars Day, this year, the event theme is Star Weens: The Derby Strikes Back. 

This event is the brainchild of Alden Thornhill, a board member at the Starkville-Oktibbeha Humane Society. 

(Photo: The Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash)

“I thought it’d be kind of funny to shut down University Drive in the Cotton District and race a bunch of wienie dogs,” said Thornhill. It would help the local businesses and the art community, which is now having a spring festival, and, more importantly, it would raise money for the humane society.”

Thornhill said the shelter services many surrounding counties that don’t have their own shelters. Supplies, animal healthcare, food, housing, and coverage for spay and neuter costs are constantly needed. This event helps pay for those needs and raises awareness of the shelter. 

Even though these needs are big, the Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash is bigger. 

Racing weenies is a huge spectator sport

On Derby Day, spectators and racers come from all over to participate in the race. University Drive is shut down, and restaurants, musicians, and artists are set up along the race area. VIP bleacher sections are even set up, and the tickets for those sold out within five minutes of going on sale. 

“We had about twenty-something thousand (people) last year,” said Thornhill. “We’re expecting way more than that this year.”

(Photo: The Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash)

Prep for the race has been serious business. 

“We’ve got video boards, jumbotrons, about a hundred art and food vendors; we’re gonna have a flyover at the start of the race. It’s a whole thing,” said Thornhill. 

There’s even more to be excited for: weenie dog-themed vendors, a kids zone, face painters, a weenie dog balloon artist…and wiener dog-themed entertainment. 

“We’re having the acapella group from MSU, Trebulldogs,” said Thornhill. “They’ll sing the national anthem, we’ll have the flyover, and then they’ll sing Who Let the Dogs Out.”

No one is missing out on the fun at the Dachshund Dash. While this is a race celebrating wiener dogs, there is a no-dog-left-behind policy. 

“We have a pretender race for our non-wiener dog participants,” said Thornhill. “So they have their race and wear hotdog outfits while they race.” 

Sports broadcasting for a weenie dog derby is serious business as well. 

“We have an ESPN-style crew. We have about four or five cameras,” said Thornhill. “So people can tune in. We have cameras at the finish line, start line, and middle of the track, and a trackside reporter interviews people after their races.”

Visit the Starkville Derby Dachshund Dash Facebook page for more event information. 

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

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