By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer
More than 80 short dogs converged on Hillcrest Park on Saturday for the Wiener National race with one hot dog walking away the winner of the first time event in Clovis.
Esperanza Martinez, of Farwell, and her dog Lacey took the $250 check from the Wienerschnitzel of Clovis.
Esperanza said this was the second race Lacey has competed in.
Martinez and her son Gerardo heard about the race this weekend on the radio.
“It feels great to win $250,” Esperanza said. “We had actually participated in Lubbock before and didn’t have as good of luck as we did today. We decided to sign Lacey up because we thought she had a good chance out here.”
Lacey is Gerardo’s dog, but she is really fond of Esperanza. This bond helped them to win.
Gerardo was the one to place Lacey in the starting gate. Esperanza sat at the end of the course. Gerardo would show Lacey where Esperanza was and the dog would come to her every time.
“We didn’t rely on a toy or anything specific,” Esperanza said. “Lacey is a mama’s girl, she just ran to me.”
Gerardo and other pet owners had a hard time trying to keep their wiener dogs in the starting gate.
“It really was hard, but then she saw the door open, then Lacey saw my mom, and she started running as fast as she could, Gerardo said.”
Lacey won her first race, and finished third in the semi-finals to move into the final round. It was all business from there as she edged out the other dogs to earn the victory.
Esperanza said she plans to enter Lacey in more races in the future, but only if they are local.
Mike Hailey of Wienerschnitzel said he and his brother Jim Hailey have been planing the event for more than two months.
“We had 88 entries and we were expecting 30. That is a record,” Hailey said.
During the event Wienerschnitzel raised money for the Clovis Animal Welfare League at the concession stand. People who entered their Dachshunds didn’t have to pay to register for the race.