Running of the Bulldogs celebrates 4 years at Canterbury Park

Pamplona, Spain, may have the Running of the Bulls, but a Twin Cities race track has its own popular tradition.

This is the fourth year of the Running of the Bulldogs at Canterbury Park, and 48 dogs took part in the canine competition to see which would come out on top.

There's nothing in the playbook for Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and his wife Jennifer to help their five-year-old bulldog Penny win the Super Bowl of dog races.

"I don't know if she's even going to run. This will be her first race, and we haven't trained her so we'll see how she does," Shurmur said.

She's one of four dozen dogs with an unbridled passion for beating the odds.

"We have not placed any bets, but I think some of our friends have probably bet against us," bulldog owner Wendy Beck said.

Canterbury Park came up with the race a few years ago to attract a different crowd. Little did they know, that was the starting line for a brand new tradition.

"We were doing wiener dog races for a while. It's popular with families and kids. We wanted to appeal to people who may not come out to the track for another reason," Canterbury Park Vice President of Marketing John Groen said.

Some of the dogs are natural sprinters right out of the gate, while others like three-year-old Chesty couldn't bear to stop after their race was run.

"I knew he'd make it across the finish line, but after that I didn't know if I could catch him or stop him. Maybe he'll run around the entire track? I don't know," Chesty's owner Jenny Price said.

In the end, first timer Frank the Tank blew up the competition, knocking off the two-time defending champ in a photo finish.

But they all deserve a place in the winner's circle.

"I knew he was fast. I didn't realize how fast he actually is," Frank's owner Tricia Olson said. "Can't wait to come back. Can't wait to defend our title next year."

Frank the Tank won a trophy, $50 and, of course bragging rights. But, the real prize is the T-bone steak his owner planned to give him for dinner.