The largest wiener dog race in the nation is set to kick off this weekend at the inaugural Starkville Derby, inviting attendees to watch 150 dogs participate.
Dozens of races will be held for each pup’s safety during this year’s Dachshund Dash in Starkville’s Cotton District from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.
Alden Thornhill, founder and liaison of the Starkville Sausage Dog Society, said that dogs of all ages, including non-wieners, can register to compete.
“So we will start with the rolling of the green carpet, our turf track. Then we’ll have a call to stage like the Kentucky Derby,” Thornhill said. “We’ll start off with the seniors, then we’ll do special needs, and then we’ll do puppies, adults, and then pretenders, which are non-wiener dogs. They get to wear hot dog outfits and race each other.”
Thornhill explained that after being separated into their respective categories, the dogs will be divided into heats until a finalist is chosen.
“We’ll break it down until we get five finalists. The winner will get a golden wiener dog statue trophy, some goodies from BarkBox and Chewy and PetSmart,” Thornhill said. “Also, they get a rose wreath around their neck like the horses do at the Kentucky Derby. So, on that day, you don’t have to go to Kentucky to see good racing. You just come down to Starkville and you’ll get to see a true spectacle.”
Thornhill added that all proceeds from the event will be donated to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society (OCHS).
“I think by the end of it all, we’ll have raised $16,000 for the shelter and we’re expecting more donations. We’re going to have QR codes at the bars and have banners up where they can scan them and donate directly,” Thornhill stated. “It’s going to be truly a tail-wagging time in our state and in our city.”
Mississippi State basketball coach Chris Jans is also expected to serve as grand marshal at the races.