Folks say the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports but on Saturday May 6 at the Cinco de Mayo Festival at Civic Center Park the highlight of the day was the Chihuahua races. The 12th annual races hosted by JAMMIN’ 101.5 was one of many exciting activities at the NEWSED Cinco De Mayo Festival. The speedy little pups had the whole crowd saying, “Aye, chihuahua.”
The races kicked off at 1 pm on a grassy area by the contest stage. All of the furry contestants weighed under ten pounds, and their owners competed in groups of two: one person would release their chihuahua when the referee said “go” while the other attempted to lure them to the finish line with squeaky toys and treats. Yelps, yips, and yaps filled the air as the pups scurried off as fast as their little legs could carry them. There were four individual lanes roped off for the chihuahuas to run down, separated by orange cones, but that didn’t stop some of them from running off course. Gracie May, for example, a three-year-old chihuahua, decided halfway through her race that she wanted to turn around and run backward rather than continue toward the finish line.
“We saw the chihuahua races here last year and thought, ‘We should put Gracie May in this! She’d be perfect!’ And then she just ran backward,” the father-daughter duo laughed, relaxing on the grass with their dog after the race. (Gracie May had no comment.)
Five-year-old Oliver is another chihuahua who played by his own rules at this year’s competition. Oliver ran zig-zags during his race, weaving in and out of his competitor’s lanes and bumping into them. Unfortunately for Oliver, this was not a game of bumper cars, so he was promptly disqualified.
“He loves to cause trouble with our other two chihuahuas at home, and that’s exactly what he did today,” his owner said. “He didn’t last very long, but he got a treat anyways.”
Cousins Priscilla and Nichole are both chihuahua owners, and decided to enter their dogs in the race this year after hearing about it on the radio station. Priscilla’s chihuahua, Lila, is only one, and was quite distracted by the other furry friends across the ropes, so she decided to run sideways and was promptly disqualified.
“She runs for me all the time, but I think she just got overwhelmed with all of the other dogs,” said Priscilla. She tried her best, so she’s a winner in our hearts.”
Nichole’s chihuahua, Honey, was a little bit quicker than her tiny cousin. She is three years old (and that’s 21 in dog years, mind you) and she placed third in the final round. Well done, Honey!
Denver locals Natalie and Eric entered their chihuahua, Cassie, into the race after seeing it advertised on JAMMIN’ 101.5’s Facebook page.
“She can run pretty fast, so we figured, ‘Why not?’ She made it into the semi-finals, so maybe next year she’ll win,” Eric said.
Cassie headed home for some well-deserved peanut butter. Ten-year-old littermates Wolfie and Blackie participated in the chihuahua races for the second time this year, so their owner Dave considers them seasoned pros.
“Blackie made it to the fifth round, but Wolfie just sat down in the very beginning,” he chuckled. “She was having none of it. That’s what old age does to you!” (We feel for Wolfie. After all, she is 70 in dog years.)
And then, of course, there was the Usain Bolt of chihuahuas: the winner of the 12th annual chihuahua races, Douglas. He was tiny, mighty, and fond of peanut butter and squeaky toys. His final race was a real nail-biter. He started out a little slow but quickly pulled ahead of his competition to claim the throne. The blonde, long-haired chihuahua’s prize was a $500 giant check (made out in his own name, of course) which was quite humorous in photos considering his small stature. Douglas didn’t get a blanket of roses across his withers but rather a large trophy, and a basket full of toys, treats, and other goodies. Muy bien, Douglas!