One Amarillo family is off to the races in San Diego California , but it's their Dachshund Eli that will be competing ! After being named a finalist during last year’s Weinerschnitzel's Wiener Nationals race, the 4-year-old dachshund came back determined this past June at a Sox game at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium, taking home the $250 grand prize. The win secured him a spot in the 14th annual race at the San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade and Holiday Bowl in front of an audience of more than 100,000 people.

“He loves racing because he loves his little squeaky,” says co-owner, Anna Trevino. “And he wants his squeaky. Bad.”

He is fast and always a gentleman, just like a true Texas cowboy,” Anna praises Eli, who she and co-owner Cindy Johnston nicknamed El Cowboy because of his bowed legs.

Eli has spent months training with his family to be top dog in San Diego! Practicing in his home and at parks, the 14-pound, 16-inch wiener dog stays in shape by running and retrieving toys and eating healthy, Anna says. When it’s time to race, Eli completely ignores his opponents and instead solely concentrates on his toy.

Never heard of  Wienerschnitzel's Wiener Nationals ?  Overall, 3,500 dachshunds competed in the qualifying races, which took place throughout the Southwest. The seven dogs, including Eli, will ride in the Wienerschnitzel float after the race in the Big Bay Balloon Parade. The winner will be presented on the field at halftime during the University of Texas and University of California game at Qualcomm Stadium. For the past few years, one of the qualifying races has taken place right here an Amarillo.

They’re supposed to shoot out,” Anna explains. “Sometimes there’s a lot of noise and some start looking around and some don’t even make it to the finish line because they get distracted… But [Eli] is very focused.”

Anna and Cindy are confident Eli will outshine his competitors by a long shot, like he proved at the summer competition. Amarillo will be waiting to welcome home our Wiener Nationals champion !

Check out the video from a previous race here in town, and watch for the Kat Country 102 truck cameo ;)