Dach Racing

Every city has its own traditions which seem odd to outsiders, yet are fiercely defended by locals. The nature of these traditions can vary wildly, ranging from "Don't wear shoes after Harvesthome" (when asked, locals claim "real men don't feel frostbite") through to juggling multiple juvenile waterfowl as a form of entertainment. Compared to these, the Falkensburg tradition of Dach racing is fairly reasonable. One should note that Dachs are not raced anywhere else in the known world, which leads to the popular view that the sport is strange.

Dachs are not easily trained, being more inclined to lounge around if given half a chance. To counter this, dachs are exposed to the pungent, concentrated oil of the swamp thistle. This drives the animals into a fury, causing them to dash uncontrollably and even froth at the mouth as they try to flee the overwhelming scent. This is what aficionados of the sport find most appealing, strangely enough. The chaos brought on by rampaging, ornery animals makes the races a unique sort of spectacle. A well trained dach can give the owner a significant advantage over the competition - over half the field tends to consist of completely untrained dachs entered into races by desperate owners.

The dach racing season lasts 3 to 4 months, which consists of regular races almost every day. While there are purses to be won by canny racers, the real money in the sport lies in the incredible number of wagers possible on any given race. Beyond the usual bets to win, place or show, bets are typically taken on how many animals will finish the race, how many will be wounded or killed, and even on first blood (both which dach draws it, and which suffers it).

The highlight of the season is the Dachs Grosses Rennen, which is a 12 hour marathon event held on the same day as the traditional Bratpfilze feast. A veritable frenzy of betting, racing, beer swilling and mushroom eating, it is easily one of the busiest days in the city, outstripping even the Winterheart Parade in popularity. The final race of the season takes place at the Schlange Stadium, where the crowds are often standing room only.

Many enquire as to the legality of these events, given that they appear to be clear violations of animal cruelty laws. The reason for this can be traced back to Judge Konstantin Fenner and his great passion for the sport. While most of his laws were overturned when he left power, his decree legalizing dachs racing despite any other laws has remained on the books and unchallenged for over 80 years.

- Magister Wickham

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