Vergas Wiener Dog Races see largest crowd as 56 dogs participate – Detroit Lakes Tribune

Vergas Wiener Dog Races see largest crowd as 56 dogs participate - Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — Stella gave a stellar performance to collect her second-consecutive championship title at the Wiener Dog Races in Vergas on Saturday, Aug. 12.
Stella, a three-year-old dachshund from Little Falls, Minnesota, bested 55 other little-legged pups that entered the annual competition held during the town’s annual celebration, Looney Days.

Tayler Murphy and Ashley Hastings celebrated with Stella, who earned her second championship title as the fastest dachshund in the region.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Tom Anderson, who is better known by his nickname Digger, said this year’s event had a record-breaking number of participants and crowd attendance.

Anderson started the event several years ago. He recalled people weren’t sure how it would turn out, but he knew it would be a hit.
Anderson, who is a seasonal resident, said he enjoys providing the entertainment every year and looks forward to announcing the races and keeping the crowd entertained as the pups are revved up by their owners to scamper across the 50-foot track.

“The volunteers, about 20 of them, make it all happen,” he noted. “We’re already planning for next year. We noticed racers need a path to the track and we could use a handicapped designated area.”

Stella and her owners Ashley Hastings and Tayler Murphy have seen the event continue to grow since Stella first joined the race three years ago.

“Her first race was a complete disaster,” Hastings said.

“There were so many distractions,” Murphy said, adding Stella was less than a year old at the time.


Tom “Digger” Anderson began the wiener dog races several years ago during Looney Days, the annual citywide celebration in Vergas. The event continues to draw large crowds.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Win or try again, Hastings said the fun all began when they visited family in Vergas during Looney Days. Because Stella had fun at the race, they brought her to the race again the following year. To their surprise, she won.

“All we have to do now is have mom say ‘Goodbye,’ and she’s bound and determined to follow her,” Murphy said.

Now that Stella has two championship titles, her parents will continue the tradition of “not practicing” and having “zero expectations” for next year’s race.

“She will be back to defend her title, though,” Hastings said.

For being top dog, Stella collected her second trophy handcrafted by world-renowned artist

Patrick Shannon

. The pup’s parents said the trophies are displayed in their bay window.

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