Dogs big and small come out for Oktoberfest

Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune

Three dachshunds compete in Saturday’s Wiener Dog Races at Oktoberfest as part of the Cullman Kiwanis Club’s K-9s-4-a-Kause event at Depot Park. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – Oktoberfest got a big boost of furry cuteness as dogs of all kinds turned out for the Cullman Kiwanis Club’s K-9’s-4-A-Kause event Saturday, with the popular Wiener Dog Races and several contests at Depot Park. The fundraiser delighted animal lovers while raising money the many programs the Kiwanis Club has to benefit children in the community.

Kiwanis sponsor area high school Key Clubs. Key Club members from Cullman, Fairview, Holly Pond and Addison were on hand to judge events and help with registrations and raffles.

The contestants sized up their competition, except Conrad the St. Bernard. He knew he had anything to do with size in the bag. Biscuit the beagle puppy could hardly wait as the festivities began while Lee McFee, the yellow retriever mix. seemed more interested in finding a shady picnic table to lie under.

Cullman Kiwanis President Steve Sides gave the go ahead to begin the escapades.

First up- Best Costume: While Lee McFee looked dapper in his traditional German attire, Oscar the basset hound was confident in his Superman costume selection. Some late entries made the judging tough. Conrad took third place with his Ty Beanie Baby costume and Oscar took second for his Superman. Beretta the Doberman took first with her Buzz Lightyear costume complete with blinking lights.

Best Owner Lookalike winner was Sweet Pea, the long haired chihuahua and her mom, Carol Montgomery.

The Most Handsome contest once again came down to three crowd favorites: Conrad, Oscar and Lee McFee. Perhaps the judges deducted points for excessive drooling, which put Conrad at a slight disadvantage. In the end, Lee McFee’s flowing golden locks prevailed, resulting in a first-place ribbon for Lee and his mom Carol McFee. Oscar took home second with Conrad happily accepting third place.

Best Vocals would also go the Lee McFee with his impressive duet with mom Carol. Second place went to Conrad.

The much anticipated Best Trick and Most Tricks competitions followed. Lucy, the retriever mix, demonstrated a series of impressive commands. Beretta also knew several commands and the “high five” at the end. Sweet Pea, the chihuahua, showed off her dancing skills. As the heat of the day intensified, it appeared that Sweet Pea hoped her dancing would be enough.

For best trick, It was a first place for Lucy, second for Beretta and third for the lovely Sweet Pea.

For Most Tricks, that las- second high five elevated Beretta to victory while Lucy graciously settled for second.

Lucy also took first for Worst Hair but that didn’t stop her as she went on to win first place for Prettiest Dog. Biscuit the beagle puppy took second, and Nilla the labradoodle, accompanied by her mom Kristen Campbell, finished third.

The dogs all did a “pawsitively” wonderful job!! After a 20 minute water break and prize drawings, the main event was ready. Crowds lined the Kiwanis Wiener Dog Arena. Three preliminary heats would determine which three wiener dogs would advance to the championship race.

Heat 1 was a close race! All three weenies ran as fast as they could, but it was Buster who took the victory by a wet nose. Heat 2 was an exciting race with young Pickles running a perfect race. Heat 3 was perhaps the most thrilling of the heats. The three racers didn’t exactly race as much as they played, posed for photographs, met the cheering fans and got to know their fellow competitors. In the end, it was Axel who finally decided someone had to win.

The championship would feature Buster, Pickles and Axel. It was a clean race, and a photo finish determined that Buster edged out Pickles and Axel by a hair.

The mix breed championship was a race between Oscar the basset and Biscuit the young beagle puppy. In the end Oscar’s focus and determination resulted in victory. After a rocky start, the spunky Biscuit did put together an impressive finish.

In a post-race interview Buster’s owner, Dennis Weed, was proud of his boy. “Buster is 12 years old, but he still loves to run and chase balls in the yard.”

Pickles’ owner, Leanne Underwood, was proud of her 3-year-old wiener dog.

Axel’s family, Roman and Darlene Gore, was also proud, saying, “Axel didn’t have the best qualifying heat. He wanted to run and play with his new friends. He did great in the final. We all had a great time!”

Saturday’s events helped raise money for the Kiwanis Club, which offers two scholarships to each school in the area with a Key Club chapter. The Kiwanis have many annual events to raise money to provide books for Head Start programs in Cullman City and County schools, holiday food baskets, Knapsacks for Kids ministries and Hope Horses, Inc.

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