Cody dog races raise money for a good cause

Cody – A large group of people were seen in Cody Friday night pitting dog against dog, and betting money on the results. But, authorities didn’t do anything about it, because it was legal…and for a good cause.

On a bitterly cold winter night, hundreds of people streamed into the Cody Auditorium, handing over money for entry into the contests…contests of canine prowess.  Dog against dog. The contestants, muscles taught, nerves straining were anxious to start the athletic competition.

It was the annual  Jack Russel/Corgi Races.  The contestants have forever homes. Other dogs at the event were looking for forever homes. They wore vests that said: ‘Adopt Me’. The races raised money for dozens of cats and dogs at Park County Animal Shelter. 

The Shelter Fundraising Coordinator, Nikki Schleich said, “The first year that we started, we raised $7000. Last year we raised $22,000 and our goal this year is to raise $25,000.

The Cody Auditorium was packed, and not just with people who had puppies.

Schleich explained, “We’re the one shelter that benefits Park County. We’re a no kill shelter, so people really appreciate that, too.  And, they want to support that cause.”


Auctions, beer, and food sales helped fill the till.  But, so did betting on the races…

Schleich noted,  “It’s not just a family friendly event.  You can bet on the Corgi races. So there’s that aspect for those people who like to bet.

We asked, “Legally?”

Schleich nodded, “Yep”.

Gambling is legal in Wyoming when it benefits charity.  So, everyone’s in…

Carson Hogan held his toddler, Tora, on his shoulders when he said, “I’m actually a corporate sponsor.  And we were approached, and we were able to do the highest sponsorship opportunity.  And, wanted to come down here and give our support in person.”

But why race Jack Russels?  Or Corgi’s?  What’s a Corgi anyway? 

Gus the Corgi’s owner, Ryan Eskeli, thought a minute before he anwered, “Small legs and big attitude. Heh, heh, heh.”

But, this year, event organizers decided to race dogs with even shorter legs: purse dogs…any dog that could fit in a purse, such as Birdie, the Shitzu.  Birdie was wearing a pink dress.

But her owner declared, “She’s a winner.”

So, the highlight of the evening was the purse dog race. It was a premiere event. Anticipation was high.

The gate opened, one dog rushed out…

But some, no most of the racers didn’t make it to the finish line.  They ran back toward their owners as the crowd laughed. Maybe next year.

Shelter supporters hold the event every January, no matter how cold it is outside.  

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