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(PHOTOS) Little-legged corgis scamper to the finish line during 2024 Corgi Derby

The dog-themed race is southeast Wyoming's unique twist on the annual Kentucky Derby competition.

Daniel Kim of Cheyenne holds his 6-year-old corgi, Sophie, before the pup participates in her race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Animal lovers in Laramie County could have mistaken one establishment in Pine Bluffs as doggy heaven on Saturday.

Dozens of corgis, mutts and many other dog breeds took over Pine Bluffs Distilling early Saturday afternoon for the 2024 Corgi Derby. The annual event, hosted by the distillery, is held to support the Cheyenne Animal Shelter.

The race, held every year on the same day as the Kentucky Derby, attracts hundreds of pet owners and animal lovers from Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, according to Kayla Hahn, social media and marketing coordinator with Cheyenne Animal Shelter.

“[It’s a] fun, light-hearted day to get together,” Hahn told Cap City News.

Hahn said the shelter has been helping to put on the derby for over seven years. The event is oriented around corgis because the breed is popular with dog owners in southeast Wyoming.

“Short, little legs going that fast is pretty funny,” said Aidan Smith, tasting room manager with Pine Bluffs Distilling and event organizer for the race.

This year, 40 corgis and five mutt breeds participated in races. Like the Kentucky Derby, the corgis participate in “heats,” or individual races. This year, the Corgi Derby garnered enough entrants to fill eight heats, as well as a mutt heat. The winners from each heat competed in one of two semi-final sprints. Then, the two fastest corgis from each semi-final ran one last time in a final race.

The corgis who progressed to the final race were Noodles, Tucker, Ollie and Pavlov. Ollie, 3, bolted to victory and became the 2024 Corgi Derby champion. He has competed in past Corgi Derby events, and his owners operate an Instagram account named after him, @ollie.the.cowboy.

Three corgis prance along during the second heat race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Two corgis close in on the finish line during the fourth heat race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
The corgi Kaya, 4, smiles for the camera Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. Saturday marked Kaya’s first time competing in the Corgi Derby. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
The mutt Daliliah, left, and cattle dog Ziggy bask in the warm weather Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. Dalilah won the mutt heat race during the event. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Corgi owners encourage and hype up their furry friends at the finish line during the final race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
The mutt Dalilah is caressed by Zoey Woeber after the canine wins the mutt heat race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Viewers cheer on corgis from the stands Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Bystanders cheer on a sprinting corgi during the fifth heat race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
From left: 3-year-old Dan stands for a photo next to his dogs Monroe, Taco and Kari on Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Erin Young rubs the prone corgi Luna after the dog crosses the finish line during the sixth heat race Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Teddy, a toy bichon-poodle mix, is shown Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. Teddy, 4, is the mascot for the new ice cream business Teddy Trailer Treats. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
13-year-old Chewey, a long-haired chihuahua mutt, is one with the force for Star Wars Day on Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)
Molly perks her ears while wearing a Star Wars–themed costume Saturday, May 4 at Pine Bluffs Distilling in Pine Bluffs. The 3-year-old corgi ran in heat eight. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

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