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    Photos by Charles Wilkerson

    It’s a total sausage fest at the Germantown Oktoberfest. Long dachshund bodies and short legs strut through crowds of stein-hoisting hipsters. A woman carries a weeks-old wiener pup in an upside down Alpine hat. Charlie, an 11-year-old Germantown native with a scruff of old-man-white on his muzzle, carries his prized toy in his mouth, a squeaker in the shape of a chicken drumstick. Another dog traverses the crowd in an almost-too-small backpack. Timmy, the winner of People’s Choice Cutest Dog, wears a small blue cape.

    Charlie with his prized toy.

    The dachshunds are preparing for war. Charlie watches from the sidelines — he’s in the second race — as the first set of between five and 10 wieners trains, owners dangling toys above noses, goading dogs into running.

    Dog races take two: one to release and one to catch. The short legs line up in the gates — a row of tall boxes advertising the sponsor, West Sixth. “On my whistle, we will release the hounds,” the announcer says, standing on stage wearing brown lederhosen. A feather in his cap. Upon the whistle, one spotted dachshund is off, racing down the stretch of Goss Avenue, parallel with the double yellow divider lines. But he doesn’t cross the finish line — a banner of blue and white checkered flags — before Pickles, a long-haired wiener dog in a red Adidog (like Adidas) tracksuit, can beat him.

    Competitor Pickles decked out in swag.

    Lickity Split, a four-year-old with a spiked collar, wins the second preliminary. The last race before the finals sees Kevin, a contentious mixed breed with longer legs, win. The four-year-old Kevin’s backside is bare. His owner says he suffered severe burns as a puppy from a boiling water spill — now it’s like one big scar. But it hasn’t hampered his spirit or, obviously, his sprinting.

    Kevin (right) races ahead of Lickity Split (center) and Pickles (left).

    The final sprint pits the wagging tails against one another: Lickity Split. Kevin. Pickles. Beer steins now half-empty, a buzzed anticipation. The whistle blows. A false start from Pickles, who stumbles right out of the gate. Now it’s down to Split and Kevin. Split falls behind. His short legs can’t compete with Kevin, the clear winner.

    Pickles (left) poses with a friend.

    Our winner is a controversial one. The pup is not full wiener. He’s at least half German Shepherd, giving him a literal leg up on his pint-sized competition. His owner, Amanda, accepts his prize — a blue Feeder’s Supply bag filled with a pink-maned lion toy and Wild Weenies treats — which he may snack on during his frequent trips to Nachbar. The defeated dachshunds sniff their fellow losers, tails still wagging.

    Victor Kevin poses for a portrait.

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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