By C.J. Vetter
BUDA –There can only be one wiener king.
At the 25th annual Buda Country Fair and Wiener Dog Races, over 200 dachshunds hit the track to see who would be crowned the one and only wiener king. The race, an honored Buda tradition and renowned nationwide for its size and scale, was intensely competed in, as both owners and hounds gave it their all.
But in the end, it was Jimmy Dean and his owner Amy Koski who took first place in the purebred finals, winning the trophy and $500 in prize money. The theme of the race this year was a spoof on the Lion King, thus dubbing Jimmy Dean the wiener king.
“I’m thrilled, it’s so funny,” Koski said. “He’s getting old and he likes to run, we didn’t know but he still had it in him.”
Eight-year-old Jimmy Dean, who has his own Instagram account, narrowly beat the second-place winner Smokey and the third-place winner Bruiser in the final race, which was the culmination of two action-packed days and over 30 different races, where hundreds of people came from across the nation to see the multi-dog derby.
In addition to the purebred race, the event also offered races for mixed breeds, as well as competitions for the fastest dog and an International Barbeque Cookers Association certified cook-off. However, most of all, the races offered a chance for owners to let their doxies strut their stuff.
“My favorite thing about Dachshunds is probably they’re clowns, they’re little clowns,” Kelli Cotner said. “You see, they’re super affectionate and very snuggly , and they look funny.”
The races themselves are organized and run by the Buda Lions Club, a charitable society dedicated to helping give back to the community through programs, donations, fundraisers and camps. Entry to the event was $5, while registration for the races was $25, with all money raised being put back into the community one way or another. Justin Krause, the head of the Buda Lions Club, was on the grounds, helping lead the races.
“I’m proud of all these Lions club members, man, they came and pulled it all together. We couldn’t have done it without every one of them,” Krause said. “We’re gonna be ready to start getting ready for 2023 here in about four months.”
The event this year is special for numerous reasons, first and foremost being its return from a two year hiatus. Having had to skip its 2020 and 2021 races due to the pandemic, fans and organizers alike were eager to get both the fair, and the wiener dogs, running again. This year’s race also marked the first time that the new Buda City Park would be used, alongside brand-new bleachers and release mechanisms for the track.
“So the Lions Club has been putting on this event for 25 plus years, you know, with the pandemic we missed a few. But this thing is Buda,” Robert Dugan, Lions Club member, said. “They built a brand new park, and this our first year in it with lots of space.”
Most importantly, this race marks the first time that iconic announcer James Michael ‘Mike’ Huckaby would not be reprising his role. Huckaby was a double purple heart veteran, a founding member of the Buda Lions Club and had served as the announcer of the races for the past 24 years until he died in 2022. Huckaby’s role would be filled by fellow member Keith Handrick.
“It’s one of those things where you have to step in for somebody who’s been doing it for 20 plus years,” Handrick said. “It’s big shoes to step into and so, yeah. Now we’re definitely gonna try to keep his memory alive.”
The Lions Club is an international non-profit dedicated to helping serve their communities and help those with vision impairments. They also offer services to the blind and diabetic, as well as operating the Texas Lions Camp for children with physical disabilities. For more information, visit LionsClub.org or BudaLionsClub.com.