By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A mint julep in hand, a wide-brimmed hat topping the head and a good seat for viewing the big race are all important elements to one of the biggest sporting events of the year: Pine Bluffs Distilling’s annual Corgi Derby.
The third annual race to benefit the Cheyenne Animal Shelter will be held at Pine Bluffs Distilling on Saturday to coincide with the running of that other race, the Kentucky Derby.
The Corgi Derby was the brainchild of the distillery’s co-owners, who decided a race similar to the “Run for the Roses” might be fun to stage in Pine Bluffs.
“We want to be a distillery that makes bourbon and that is pretty synonymous the Kentucky Derby,” said Chad Brown, one of the distillery’s founders. “Obviously we can’t race horses here, so we thought it would be fun if we raced dogs and all the proceeds went to a local charity. We had to pick a breed of dog and what’s more fun than Corgis?”
Competitors run a 40-yard straight track in heats of four to five Corgis, with the winners from each heat facing off in the main event.
Over the years Brown said he has seen some interesting techniques to make the Corgis run.
“I’ve seen people throw balls, I’ve seen husbands and wives separate and call the dogs,” he said.
And, of course, someone last year provided the punchline to the old joke about where dog tracks find the tiny jockeys.
“Last year somebody strapped a ‘Woody’ doll from ‘Toy Story’ to their dog,” Brown said.
The day will also feature a “mutt round” race open to dogs of any breed, and a contest for the best Kentucky Derby outfit, as well as specially crafted cocktails drawing on the distillery’s own products.
Brown said 45 spots are available for Corgis and as of Tuesday morning, 20 remained open. Registration for a competing dog is $25, with all proceeds going to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter. Registrations will be accepted during race day, he added.
There is no charge to watch the races, but for those who want the real “Derby” experience, including seats in the shade of the distillery’s new covered patio and a free cocktail, a $30 donation to the Animal Shelter will let them watch the race from the distillery’s “Millionaire’s Row.”
Unlike the Kentucky Derby, no one should confuse the Corgi Derby with a serious racing event, Brown said.
“It is absolutely hilarious,” he said. “It’s just an excuse to have fun and raise money for a good cause.”
Other events on tap this weekend include:
The Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot, Friday through Sunday in Hulett. About 100 hunters are expected to take part in the contest. Other activities will include shooting competitions and golfing at Devils Tower.
The Casper Antique and Collectors Club “Super Flea,” Saturday and Sunday at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds in Casper. Billed as Wyoming’s “oldest quality show.”
Cowboy State Marketing Indoor 2-Day Flea Market, Saturday and Sunday at the Fremont County Fairgrounds.
The Dubois Gun Show and Weapons Collections, Saturday and Sunday at the Headwaters Arts and Conference Center.
Seminoe Star Party, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Seminoe Reservoir. Casper College astronomy experts will be at Sunshine Beach Campground campsite 101 with telescopes to talk about planets, starts and other celestial objects.