By Barbie Porter


The Wiener Dog National Races drew hundreds of spectators and more than 40 racers from all around the state and beyond.

Announcer Tom “Digger” Anderson pointed out there was a poodle in the crowd wearing a hot dog suit. 

“Obviously, it is using performance enhancing kibble, and has been disqualified,” Anderson deadpanned.

Andy Softing of Lake Park, Minn. brought his little racer, Annie. Six years ago, he saw an ad in a newspaper for dachshunds, a breed he’s always wanted. Since then, his bond with Annie has grown and they are always on the lookout on fun things to do together. When he heard about the races in Vergas, that became a must-do event of the summer. 

Ashley Swanson of New London, Minn. brought three of her pups, of which she has six.

“I love their silly personalities,” she said. “They weigh maybe 10 pounds and think they weigh 100.”

The youngest of her pack is six months and the oldest 10 years. Vergas Looney Days has been a four-year tradition for Swanson. She said they enjoy the opportunity to do something fun that includes her dogs. She pointed to one spunky go-getter and said, “He won two years ago.”

Frazee Mayor Ken Miosek and his wife Teri brought their 17-year-old dachshund Brownie. While they have been spectators before, this is their first time entering the race.

“Unless there is a senior class we’re not in it to win it,” Miosek said. 

His wife added the event is all about fun and making memories. 

Joe Deal of Hopkins, Minn. said he and  his wife Charissa brought their 1-year-old dog Walter. He said the race event is one they look forward to all summer. Last year was their first go at the race, and now they are hooked.

In the end, after several rounds of racing the winner was crowned. Riley Rose, who hails from Fargo, N.D. took the grand champion title. She is owned by Anna and Tamie Frie and Alexis Bachmeier. 

Bachmeier said bringing Lilly Rose into the family was an impromptu decision. 

“Mom saw her at a pet store and fell in love,” she said. It was a moment of weakness purchases and an early Christmas present for the family.”

Lilly Rose is 9-years-old and reportedly taken the crown three times during her racing career. While she may be laser focused on dashing down the track when the race flag drops, at home she is a sweatheart. Her family shared a litter of pit bulls was dumped at their home, and when the family took them in to find them a proper home, Lilly Rose took to mothering them.

The family kept on of the orphan pit bulls, and they often find it funny how this larger, more muscular dog will mind his manners when little Lilly Rose begins barking at him.