Editor's note: Our beloved colleague, columnist Michael Storey, passed away Oct. 7. This is column was written before his death.
We love the Arkansas State Fair. It's just a magical time. But we are also proud owners of four purebred dachshunds named Hans, Hedda, Heinrich and Hilde. My wife, Binga, and I closely follow the annual Hot Dog Races on ESPN3 and we understand the nationals will be held at the State Fair this year. Can you fill us in? This is a big, big deal.
-- Max Stirner,
It was wholly a pleasure to hear from you, or should I say, "Das ist mir Wurst?"
Indeed, it's that wondrous time once again -- the pungent aroma of funnel cakes and cow manure wafts in the breeze over the grounds as the Arkansas State Fair works its magic.
Disclaimer: Fayetteville-born Otus the Head Cat's award-winning column of 👉 humorous fabrication 👈 appears every Saturday.
Trivia: The tasty and beloved fair food (Drechderkuche in German) is neither a funnel nor a cake, although some cooks use a funnel in its preparation. Gastroecologists have stated its closet natural relative is the lowly doughnut.
In German cuisine, the equivalent is called Strauben or Strieble and is made and served in a similar manner.
The fair opened Thursday and will run through Oct. 21. Officials expect record crowds this year because the night of Oct. 20 will see the highly anticipated 2018 Running of the Wiener Dogs -- the national championship of NADR, the National Association of Dachshund Racers.
The event is sponsored by Purina Puppy Chow, "The Kibble of Champions."
"We're thrilled to have the NADR finals at our venue," said Ralph Nathan, fair president and general manager. "Our competitive events administrator, Adam Crow, has put together a real one-two punch with this year's package."
Nathan was referring to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Riding Lawn Mower Demolition Derby Super Series Presented by Husqvarna. That event runs at 7:30 p.m. today in Barton Coliseum. The USRLMDDSS championship will be held Oct. 27 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn.
(Note: All riding mowers have had their blades removed.)
From noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 20 prior to the 7:30 p.m. start time for the wiener races, the pricey pups can be viewed up close and personal at the FFA, FCCLA, Scout & 4-H Meet & Greet at the Swine & Sheep Barn next to the Starr Barn.
Pricey pups? A racing dachshund in its prime can cost $48,000, but make six figures in stud fees after a typical four-year career.
The dachshunds will be giving autographs (actually, inked paw prints) and retired local NADR legend, Zack Dudley Dachshund, will be on hand selling copies of his autobiography, A Run on the Wild Side: My Life Off the Leash.
Note: Zack's book was ghost-written. Dogs can't type.
Zack, who was forced to retire in 2016, was ranked third nationally and had a decent shot at the NADR national points title when "the unfortunate incident occurred." That's how its labeled by Zack's breeder/owner, Jasper "Bubba" Scrofa of Hiwasse.
Scrofa says it was at the 2016 NADR finals in Lufkin, Texas. Zack, comfortably ahead on points, was startled by a camera flash as the starting gate flung open. Instead of his usual blazing opening sprint, Zack smashed straight up into the gate's mechanism.
Trouper that he is, Zack staggered out and finished the race, but in last place. A national audience watching on ESPN2 was stunned, as were Las Vegas oddsmakers who took a bath. Zack never recovered.
It's no wonder that the wiener dog races have become so popular. A sleek, muscular dachshund, even in his hot dog costume, is a marvel to behold at full speed.
Those attending the finals at the fair will note that NADR-sanctioned races take place on a 412.5-foot enclosed oval covered with freshly milled pine bark. The racers make two circuits. The dogs line up in their starting pens and when the handle is pulled, the doors fling open and all becomes a blur.
The dachshund -- the name means "badger hound" -- was bred to run down and subdue badgers. With its short, powerful legs and large lung capacity, the average dachshund can hit speeds between 15 and 20 mph. For comparison, a chicken can only run 9 mph.
But don't blink! A championship wiener race lasts only about 50 seconds. The U.S. record is 43.012 seconds, set in 1999 by the legendary Baron Munchausen of Spencer, Ind.
Until next time, Kalaka reminds you that a dachshund may run fairly fast, but the fastest cat breed, the Egyptian Mau, can hit 30 mph. They're just smart enough to refuse to race.
Print Headline: Who will be the wiener? The hottest dog, frankly