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Most people know the fun and challenge of finding the best costume for Halloween, but what about finding the best costume for your wiener dog to wear when prize money is on the line?
The annual Oklahoma State Championship Wiener Dog Race and costume contest coming up at the Cleveland County Fair provides a unique opportunity for doggy costume fun. The Cleveland County Fair is Sept. 8-11 at the fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St., Norman.
Fair entry and parking are free.
The popular dachshund dash and costume contest will be Sunday, Sept. 11 inside the Fair Barn. Sign up starts at 1 p.m. and there is no fee to enter either the races or the costume contest. Both the race and the contest offers prizes to top finishers.
Originality counts for a lot at the costume contest, so it’s a good idea to work on your wiener dog costume ideas now.
“They can use any theme they want, but the emphasis is that the costume is for the dog,” said Fair Board member Richard Peters who puts on the event. “The owner can wear a costume that matches with the dog’s costume, but at least 80 percent of the score is on the dog with the other 20 going to how the owner presents the dog.”
With that said, winners often have a theme that coordinates between the dog and the owner.
“We do the costume contest after the semi-finals and right before the finals,” Peters said. “That gives everyone a chance to rest and cool off.”
The costume contest creates a lot of fun and laughter, but so, too, can the races as wiener dogs don’t always run in straight lines.
“The races are hilarious,” Peters said. “It’s a lot of fun and a good time for people and the dogs.”
The wiener dog races attract people from across the region and anyone can participate no matter where they live.
“The dog must obviously be mostly dachshund,” Peters said. “But we have people competing from several states. We’ve had up to 300 participating one year and the dogs run in heats with the winners progressing to the final race. We give plaques and trophies as well as cash.”
If racing long dogs with stubby legs isn’t your thing, there are multiple other events that people can enter at the fair.
The baby crawl, stick horse races and auctioneer contest are open to anyone regardless of where they live. That doesn’t mean these fun events are without rules however.
Babies who try to walk in the baby crawl race will be disqualified.
Like dachshunds, babies don’t always crawl in a straight line. They go where they want, are prone to stop and play with others, or even lie down inches from the finish line and victory! Both the babies and the reactions of their parents and/or siblings at the start and finish lines make for a load of laughs.
Stick horse races are great for older competitors ages 2-6. Fair organizers encourage people to bring their own stick horse if they have one to make sure there are enough for everyone who wants to race.
The baby crawl and stick horse races are at 6 p.m. consequently on Friday in the Fair Barn, right before the Celebrity Cow Milking Contest.
The Junior Auctioneer Contest at 4 p.m. on Saturday is also free to enter and open to everyone. Donated items are auctioned off to support the 4-H scholarship fund, but you don’t have to be in 4-H to participate and don’t have to be a county resident. Youth participate in four different age groups and ribbons are awarded to the winners.
Another great event for kids is the pedal pull race which takes place under the tent, on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 1 - 3 p.m.
Pedal Pull entry is free but limited to Cleveland County residents between ages 4 through 13. Shoes are required. Trophies will be awarded in first and second places in each age group. All entrants will receive a participation ribbon.
Cleveland County also hosts the Oklahoma State Pedal Pull Championship.
Competitors in the state contest must be a winner at the county level from last year to participate. This event is Saturday at 11 a.m. Come watch the fun as youth from all across Oklahoma join in this state competition. Winners at state can go on to compete at the national competition in various places across the US.
Adult events include weight lifting and arm wrestling and there is a fee to participate in those events.
“People come from all over to compete,” Peters said. “These events harken to the strong man competitions of bygone days.”
Many of the events draw people from across the state and beyond that across the region.
“We’re drawing people into the county,” Peters said. “They come to Cleveland County and they bring their families and they enjoy a day or two at the fair.”