Cinco de Mayo for Mexicans is a holiday celebrating their victory over the French army in 1862. Cinco de Mayo for Americans is usually a day of fun and drinking lots of tequila. Cinco de Mayo for Chihuahua owners is race day! Yes, you heard that right, race day!
Being that Chihuahuas have been dubbed the Dog of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is the perfect day to celebrate our amazing tiny but mighty friends.
I was first introduced to the “Running of the Chihuahuas” race day experience by a family that comes into our gym, Alternate Routes. Each year, on Cinco de Mayo, the Town of Dewey Beach, hosts Chihuahua races. All proceeds go to the Town of Dewey Beach lifeguards and beach patrol.
Last year was our first year attending. It was a very small setup in a small field off of the boardwalk complete with a sectioned off plastic safety fence. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare and if you didn’t know this was happening and walking on the boardwalk, you would totally walk right past it. But, that’s what we loved about this – it was a semi-quiet event and all the dogs felt secure and comfortable being there.
Since we were new to the yearly tradition, I chose to only race Bruce Wayne. I wasn’t sure what to expect and The Others were still young puppies. Go figure, Bruce Wayne was set to race a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix. (If you know anything about Jack Russells, you know they are fast!) Bruce Wayne was winning up until the end of the race, when he pulled up and coasted to the finish line. 🙁 Needless to say, I was still proud of him and yes, he got lots of good boy treats!
This year, we were super excited to not only let Bruce Wayne get his shot at redemption but also let all The Others have their race day glory. I felt like we had pretty good odds of winning considering I would be entering 5 Chihuahuas! 😉
Unfortunately, the Town of Dewey is not hosting their annual Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua Race. We were so sad to hear that this annual tradition wasn’t going to happen. Not only did we have a lot of fun with this last year, but we also got to meet some other friendly and fun Chihuahua loving families.
I really had my heart set on “racing” my pack so I did a quick search of Chihuahua races near my location – Baltimore, MD. Sadly, there are no races within our town, however, there are Chihuahua races in Washington, D.C., which isn’t too far from us. After doing some research and talking with some of our DC friends, we opted not to attend the race day fun. Ultimately, my boys are not a fan of crowds and loud noises. In that regard, they are your “typical Chihuahua”, as they get very nervous and anxious when put in those situations. This event is held on the beautiful DC Wharf and is a huge draw for residents and tourists as you can see in the image below. It is a party day celebration – drinking, games, contests, races, live music and more! For this reason, I decided not to attend, my boys absolutely hate drums and at the end of the day, their safety and happiness is what matters.
This left me without a Chihuahua race to attend so I decided to create a race of my own! This way, all my pups would get to race and we could host it in the quiet and convenience of our own gym! We take our Running of the Chihuahua races seriously, so I had to do it right.
The Others still have puppy curiosity pulsating through their blood so setting up cones wasn’t an option. I knew I’d have to have a wall or fencing to keep them contained to their race lane. Luckily, I had these clear playpen panels to use to create our lanes. We created two lanes by easily snapping each panel together. We used 2 panels at the start line to act as the “start gate” and lifted them up at the start of each race.
Each racetrack needs a finish line which was some cheap duct tape we had lying around the gym. These panels aren’t the sturdiest when not connected in a square pattern, but a small strip of duct tape at the top held these panels together long enough for our races.
The End of Race Treat
I put treats into fun Cinco de Mayo themed tiny party cups to not only motivate my dogs to quickly run to the finish line but to also keep them from running like wild men throughout our gym. Unfortunately, The Others’ pack mentality kicks in at times and they will mark.
In the cups, I put treats that they love and are familiar with: Dr. Becker Bites (veggie treats) and Answers Pet Food (raw goat’s milk cheese with cranberries). This is the perfect combination to keep my boys running for more and healthy enough that I didn’t mind giving them extra.
Race Bibs & Sombreros
Every runner that participates in a race receives a race bib. Our race was no exception. I made these simple race bibs in Google docs and sized them for my little set of racers. Each number has a meaning and any DC Comics/Marvel fan will understand the reason behind each pup’s race number.
You can’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo without sombreros. We were lucky enough to receive these sombreros as a gift from our good friend and littermate, Harvey Dent’s mom, Kristen. She picked these up on one of her many trips to Disney – so if you have a small dog, keep a lookout for these perfect sized sombreros on your next trip.
I organized our race so that The Others would race each other. It worked out perfectly since we have 4 pups. The winner of each heat would race each other and the winner of that race would race the king himself, Bruce Wayne!
Heat 1 – Wade Wilson v. Tony Stark
Winner – Wade Wilson
Wade Wilson is my most food driven pup so I wasn’t surprised at all when he trotted across the finish line first.
Heat 2 – Peter Parker v. Clark Kent
Winner – Peter Parker
Anyone that follows us on Instagram, knows that I call this bonded pair my “twinnies”. This was an interesting race in that Peter Parker is highly food motivated but Clark Kent is the most athletic out of the group …. food motivation wins.
Semi-Final Race – Peter Parker v. Wade Wilson
Winner – Wade Wilson
There’s no stopping Wade Wilson when it comes to getting extra treats. His goal is to not only eat his treats but his brothers’ as well.
Championship Race – Bruce Wayne v. Wade Wilson
Winner – Bruce Wayne
It’s hard to beat the OG! Bruce Wayne has previous racing experience and knows exactly what to do. Bruce Wayne is super picky about his food bowls, which is why he didn’t want to eat out of the party cup.
I was surprised just how well this went. I didn’t have to redo any races and we had a lot of fun putting this together for the dogs. Even if there isn’t a Chihuahua race near your town or you don’t think your dog would like it, try making your own course and have fun with it.