The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Inaugural Starkville Derby: Dachshund Dash is coming to Starkville

Courtesy Photo | Alden Thornhill

Memphis will serve as “King of the Race.”

The inaugural Starkville Derby: Dachshund Derby will be held 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. May 6. Dachshund Dash is a wiener dog race around the Cotton District that supports the Oktibbeha County Humane Society. With over 150 dogs currently signed up to participate, the race could put NASCAR to shame. 

Alden Thornhill, a 2015 Mississippi State University alumnus and former sports writer for The Reflector, is the event’s founder. Thornhill said that Starkville could use a unique event in the springtime and saw comedic value in dachshunds. 

The idea came to him while eating at Two Brothers Smoked Meats one afternoon.

“I looked out on University Drive and I said, ‘You know what would be really funny? If we shut down University Drive and had a giant wiener dog race,’” Thornhill said.

Thornhill has a dachshund of his own named Memphis, who serves as “King of the Race.” Memphis will sport a crown and a glitter bow tie on race day. Since bringing Memphis home two years ago, Thornhill has grown quite fond of the breed as a whole.

“They’re really funny,” Thornhill said. “They’re long and they’ve got short legs and long ears. [Memphis] is looking at me as I’m talking about it. It’s funny to see them run, especially in a race against each other.”

After he got the opinions of friends, family and random Starkville residents, Thornhill knew the idea was something special. Once he got the go-ahead from the city, he got to work. 

Thornhill and the team are excited to put on the Starkville Derby to raise money for the Oktibbeha County Humane Society. 

Jan Jackson, executive committee and board member for OCHS, expressed her gratitude for events like the Derby. 

As a shelter, we are always in need of funding. Even though the City and County supports us financially, it’s not enough to cover our yearly expenses,” Jackson said. “As a board, we are always looking for ways to raise money, and here we have a member of our community holding this fun event while raising money for our shelter.”

Jackson said she felt the open arms of the community.

“The only reason that we are such a great shelter is because the members of our community believe in us, support us, love us,” Jackson said. “People like Alden keep us motivated and pushing forward. We are a great team and OCHS will continue to do great things.”

There will be five different races on Derby day: seniors, puppies, adults, special needs and pretenders. 

The Pretender’s Race is open to every breed of canine with one unique restriction: the dog must fit in a hot dog costume. 

“For some reason, someone donated a bunch of hotdog outfits to the humane shelter last year,” Thornhill said. “So if people want to race a pretender, they just have to be fixed and they get to run. We have yorkies, great danes, golden retrievers…as long as they aren’t mean, they are welcome at the Derby.”

Barstool Sports personality Brandon Walker has been asked to serve as Grand Marshal.

Sponsors are coming in from Starkville and beyond. Local bars, restaurants and stores have pledged their support, as well as national brands such as Chewy and BarkBox. Businesses far and wide have heard about this exciting event.

“I think we’ve even got ESPN coming to shoot b-roll,” Thornhill said.

The event will be streamed online via Facebook for anyone who cannot make it to the Dachshund Dash.

Admission to the Dachshund Dash is free to the public and will feature live music, food and drinks from local businesses available for purchase. There will be QR codes around the race area for those who wish to donate to the OCHS.

“Come on out…I mean, who doesn’t like giving money to dogs,” Thornhill said. “Even if you aren’t a dog person, that money’s going to cats too.”

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The Inaugural Starkville Derby: Dachshund Dash is coming to Starkville