Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minn logo

Wiener Dog Finalists Set (With Video)

Canterbury Park’s annual wiener dog races are turning into some pretty serious business. This year, five trials had to be conducted to determine who would be able to race in the Wiener Dog finals on July 4. Dogs from all over the metro area competed in trials on Saturday and Sunday with the top two advancing from each heat.

There were two things the owners of Aspen wanted the world to know about their four-year-old when he came off the track after winning his qualifying heat Sunday.

“He’s not for sale,” said Jake Launert.

“He’s a he not a she,” said Justine Launert.

Jake’s comment was made in jest.

Justine’s was a mere correction to a program item that implied Aspen was a she.

The Launerts were competing with Aspen for the first time in Canterbury Park’s annual wiener dog competition. Heat winners advance to the championship round on July 4.

The Launerts acquired Aspen from a Colorado breeder. Hence, the name Aspen. They attribute his success at Canterbury to the training he gets in their St. Louis Park neighborhood.

“He runs with a Boxer in the neighborhood, so he’s pretty fast,” Justine said.

He also does some 50 yard dashes to build stamina.


What works for one dog doesn’t necessarily work for another.

Dagwood, who qualified by finishing second in his heat, trains on “copious amounts of string cheese,” according to his resume. He is owned by Emily Sowieja and her fiancé, Alex Behrendt, both of St. Paul.

Although he does no outdoor training, Dagwood does run the hallway of Sowieja’s apartment after walks, a 50-yard workout.



Aspen, owned by Jake and Justine Launert
Beans, owned by Tyler and Alyssa Borgemoen
Charlie Brown, owned by Dustin and Crystal Brown
Charlie, owned by Tamra Gillen
Dagwood, owned by Emily Sowieja and Alex Behrendt
Doug, owned by Matt Nourie
Miss Daisy Mae, owned by Lynn and Todd Novitsky
Murphy, owned by Kellie Murphy and Tyler Zarbok
Oscar, owned by Chrissy Bitterman
Roxy Glamour Princess, owned by Kim and Layne Poppovich