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101 dachshunds participated in the 19th annual Wiener Dog Nationals on Saturday
First place: Remy, owned by Cassandra Kipker, from Payne, Ohio
Second place: Mojo, owned by Sheila Richey, from Kendallville
Third place: Huxley, owned by Emily Jones, from Warren
Photos by Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Lauren Hill cheers on Franky, left, while Tori Reneker cheers on Addison during the Germanfest Wiener Dog Nationals on Saturday afternoon at Headwaters Park.

Tiny wiener dogs show off speed at Headwaters

Laura J. Gardner|
Maddie Doerffler shows her dachshund Greta, 8, some love Saturday at Wiener Dog Nationals.
Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Metta Wien Peace races to the finish line during the Germanfest Wiener Dog Nationals at Headwaters Park on Saturday.

Remy, a 3-year-old dachshund, was well on his way to winning the first round of the Wiener Dog Nationals Saturday afternoon.

While some dogs trembled or looked dazed at the starting line, Remy was an intimidating force, barking constantly and lurching forward in his handler’s hands, itching to get to the finish.

To earn his place in the championship round, Remy, short for Remington, had to go up against Franky – a confident, cool competitor. On the count of three they were off, charging toward their fans at the finish line.

Remy won by just a hair, and was swept up by his owner, 22-year-old Cassandra Kipker.

“He’s a feisty one,” said Kipker, who was one of several Remy fans wearing bright yellow “Remington Racing” shirts. “He’s rotten. But he does OK when he doesn’t get distracted by the girls.”

Remy persevered during the next few rounds, beating out 100 other dachshunds to win the 19th annual Wiener Dog Nationals during Germanfest at Headwaters Park. He won a $250 gift card for Uncle Bill’s, $50 for a photo shoot at Paw Prints Pet Photography and one month free service from Poop Happens, a pet waste removal service, among other prizes. Dogs who placed second and third also received prizes.

Owners tried every trick in the book to get their dachshunds to cross the finish line. Some clapped and called to their dogs; others waved stuffed animals or favorite treats. The contest drew veterans, like Remy, and novices as well.

Bella, a 2-year-old dachshund, tried her first race Saturday. And it didn’t go well.

When the announcer yelled “Go,” Bella looked up at her owner, who had just released her. She stood still for a while, then took a few steps toward the finish line. But just as she neared it, she turned around again and starting trotting the other way.

“I think the pressure got to her,” said owner Scott Krafft, 53. “She’s never performed in front of people before.”

His wife, Bev, added, “She just wasn’t focused today. And we didn’t practice.”

Jason Warne, a 23-year-old spectator, recently moved to Fort Wayne from Valparaiso. When he heard about the contest, he said he couldn’t miss it.

“I love it. It’s an interesting bit of culture,” he said. “I didn’t think I liked dachshunds, but some of them are pretty cute. For having short little legs, they move pretty good.”