When Schmoopy the wiener dog was just a puppy, he witnessed a double homicide in which both his owners were shot and killed by a male family member, according to his now owners Tyler and Kara Brones. So when the couple adopted him a year ago, Schmoopy didn’t want to get anywhere close to Tyler Brones. He was afraid of men.

Tyler Brones made it his mission to gain Schmoopy’s trust. He fed him, took him to the backyard for bathroom breaks, took him for walks, sneaked him underhanded treats and let him sit with him on the couch. Now, Kara Brones said, Schmoopy doesn’t leave Tyler Brones alone.

So when the Apple Valley couple entered 2-year-old Schmoopy into the Canterbury Park wiener dog races on Saturday, July 27, they didn’t need to bribe him with Pupperonis to get him to run fast toward the finish line. They just needed Tyler Brones to stand at the finish line.

“He’s been running to his daddy the last three months,” Kara Brones said.

Schmoopy, who has never raced before, did just that. He placed second in his heat, losing only to Mustang Sally, who is the two-time reigning champion at Canterbury.

More than 70 wiener dogs waddled around Canterbury Park with racing silks and leashes on Saturday, July 27 for the annual Wiener Dogs & Donuts event, when wiener dog owners saddled up their pups in-between horse races to compete for the fastest wiener dog, and fans cheered on their favorite dogs as they chewed on doughnuts.

Five-year-old Mustang Sally, the two-time reigning champion from Oklahoma, was a fan favorite.

“She doesn’t like nobody but me,” owner Pam Coffey said with a strong Southern twang. “If I’m at the finish line, she just wants me.”

Mustang Sally is one of the few wiener dogs who actually trains for racing. Coffey brings her to a horse racing track in Oklahoma, where horse trainers and groomers cheer as she runs up and down the track, “so she can get used to the noise when she’s racing.” Coffey said Mustang Sally has won every race she’s entered her in except for one. She took second place out of 254 dogs in Texas, and Coffey said she’s been clocked running at 18 miles per hour. Coffey adopted Mustang Sally three years ago. She said she drove 11 hours so Mustang Sally could race in Shakopee.

Mustang Sally won her heat that day at Canterbury, so she will advance to the final races on Labor Day.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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