'Munchie' takes Chihuahua crown

There’s nothing quite like an afternoon of Chihuahua races at the Village.

The crowd begins to pulse about an hour before the heats begin. Big men, such as Alpine Garage’s Mike Fiebigger, hold their tiny dogs close. His wife, Karen, was alongside. In the Fiebigers’ case, this was an unusual hairless Chihuahua, named Klein.

“He’s like a Billy Idol,” said Fiebiger. (There are three more Chihuahuas in the Fiebiger clan, named Juicy, Dolce and Lelo, but that’s beside the point.)

Tom Shepard, holding the appropriately named Smidgen, strolled by, showing off.

Bridget Webster, in town from Reno, brought in Pixie to many oohs and ahhs.

Dann Haar, a second-home owner in town from San Diego, held fast to Munchie as he strolled through the throng, with trainer Danielle (daughter) and coach Wes Moore trailing close behind.

It was all great fun – a perfect Fourth of July activity on the Sunday off-day before the actual Fourth.

And then MC extraordinaire Scottie Marzonie mounted the podium. He wore a terrific sombrero, with little ball-like things hanging off the brim.

The track itself consisted of single-track, side-by-side lanes. The dogs 16 of them, ran in head-to-head heats out and back, and then moved up the bracket.

Well, not all of them. The aforementioned Pixie, who looked to be in top form before her heat, started off well enough. About four feet into the race, however, she balked; dead in her tracks. She turned back toward home and Bridget Webster’s arms.

“I think she had stage fright,” Webster said.

In the final, Munchie looked as if there was nothing unusual at all going on.

“Unleash the hounds!” shouted Marzonie into the microphone.

As cool as the other side of a pillow, Munchie took first place easily. Practically everyone in the multitude rose their glasses, or sno-cones, or lemonades or whatever, all in honor of the great Munchie.

A champion Chihuahua comes along only about once a year around these parts.