And the ‘wiener’ is — Rocky!

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First Posted: 9/16/2014

Wiener dogs, more appropriately dachshunds — with their short legs and long bodies — took center stage Sunday at “Oktoberfest” at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

When the dust settled, “Rocky,” a 4-year-old dachshund owned by Dennis and Kendra Mummey of Zion Grove near Hazleton, was the undisputed champion.

Rocky won his heat and then sprinted away from four other heat winners to take the coveted title. For his effort, Rocky received a trophy and plenty of treats.

“We don’t train him,” Kendra Mummey said. “He runs up and down our driveway.”

Well Rocky ran up and down the makeshift race track at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Sunday. And he ran much faster than the other competitors to capture the wiener dog title.

A large crowd looked on as the wiener dogs raced in five heats with the winner of each heat advancing to the championship run.

Roxie, Oscar, Boozely and Gretel couldn’t keep up with Rocky as the veteran racer copped the crown.

“This is such a great event,” Dennis Mummey said. “We look forward to it every year.”

The Fans Choice Award went to “Vinny,” a 13-year-old rescued wiener dog from Houston, Texas. Duffy, the local radio host who emceed the event, chose “Oscar” for “Duffy’s Award.” The “Best Dressed Award” went to “Licorice.”

Fran DeFazio owns Vinny. She’s originally from Luzerne and she and her husband, Lou, spend summers in Wyoming Valley. Lou is a retired airline pilot and he offers flying lessons at the Wyoming Valley Airport.

Vinny looked dapper wearing a German Alpine hat.

“We come up every year for this,” Fran said. “Vinny is looking forward to his potato pancake reward. He loves them.”

The pre-race parade gave fans a chance to see all the competitors and choose who they would be rooting for. Some of the wiener dogs interacted with fans, obviously trying to garner support.

One was dressed like a hot dog, a common nickname for the dachshund. Another rode in a baby stroller, one was dressed like a spider, and another wore a silver airplane outfit.

“Other than beer, this is the highlight of Oktoberfest,” Duffy told the crowd.

Each wiener dog had a “holder” at the start line and a “catcher” at the finish line. The catchers were armed with dog treats, toys, noisemakers — whatever each felt would be the key in attracting their wiener dog to cross the finish line.

One entrant, “Ebony,” sprinted out of the starting gate and was to be the clear winner of the heat when she stopped two feet from the finish line and turned around. Who knows what coulda been if Ebony had finished.

Karen Karchner of Sugarloaf brought Oscar, age one year, 4 months, and he won his heat. But in the final, Rocky was just too much.

“We do it for the fun of it,” she said. “We have friends who also race. And it’s great exercise for Oscar.”

The three-day Oktoberfest wrapped up Sunday evening. It featured several beers, bratwurst, wiener schnitzel, funnel cakes and much more. Entertainment was non-stop throughout the three day event and lederhosen was the style of the weekend.

Wiener dog races were held each day of the event with more than 200 dogs competing.