Crossing the finish line ahead of the pack a red weenie dog makes its owner proud at the Soldotna Creek Park Weenie Dog races.
Weenie racing fans have found a destination in Soldotna. It all started with the first Weenies on Parade some 12 years ago for the Soldotna Progress Days parade. “Today we have visitors that plan their vacations from the lower 48 and states like Oregon and Washington specifically so they can come with their weenie dogs and walk them in our parade, so now with the weenie races happening at Soldotna Creek Park I think this will be another chapter written in the weenie phenomenon for Soldotna,” said Michelle Glaves, executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
Weenie dogs approach the starting gate at Soldotna Creek Park which may become the Churchill Downs of Weenie Racing.
The first weenie race actually happened in 2002 and was the idea of Diane Fielden of Soldotna, “I don’t remember why we thought of having the first race, someone mentioned it and it sounded like fun, so we went for it and it was great fun and now we’re going to establish it as an annual event,” said Fielden. According to Fielden there is nothing thoroughbred about weenie dog racing criteria, “The only rule is that your dog has to be part weenie dog, but can be mixed with whatever, and actually we’ve had some pretty long legged weenies running here today.”
A black and tan weenie dog moves to the winners circle during the Weenie Dog races at Soldotna Creek park,
Judging by the excitement of the fans that crowed around the official weenie racing track at Soldotna Creek Park, which according to race announcer Dave Flanders may someday be the Churchill Downs of weenie racing, the event may turn into a main summer attraction and a Progress Days tradition. “It all came down to the final heat where a black and tan wiener dog by the name of Stretch owned by Stephanie Bachelder out ran a long haired wiener named Holly, owned by Terry Kuntz who placed second and then in the show position was another long haired wiener dog owned by Terry Kuntz called Manda,” reported Flanders. The total running distance on the fast turf at Soldotna Creek Park was 55 feet, “They loved the run and the wieners knew there was a treat and their owner waiting for them at the finish line which usually was a piece of hot dog, not to be confused with a wiener dog,” added Flanders.
This year’s event was sponsored by the Community Health Center and there were no entry fees, gambling or cash prizes. Next year Flanders says they are looking to expand the event and anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can contact him directly by calling 262-9299 or go on line at www.weeniesonparade.com for more information.
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