All it takes is a wave of a favorite toy from their encouraging pet parent and they’re off!

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While the rest of the sporting world focused its attention on exceptional Olympiads in Tokyo, the anticipated second season of Ted Lasso, and pro baseball players making magic at Iowa's Field of Dreams, a dogged crowd of fans gathered for the annual Corgi Races at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash., in late July, which aired Saturday on ESPN. That's right: ESPN showed a corgi race video, and befuddled sports fans stormed social media to express their bewilderment but ultimate delight.

One user even likened the event to "free therapy," and honestly, truer words have never been spoken. Just following a swarm of corgi butts zipping across the track prompts an endorphin rush that will last us at least a week.

The family-oriented event (no wagering allowed) began in 2017 and was such a smash hit, Emerald Downs made it an annual competition. Participants are purebred Cardigan Welsh corgis or Pembroke Welsh corgis, and while all entries receive swag, only the top 12 compete in the championship race and then, just one spirited little corgi runner takes home the trophy.  

The year's race, returning after a 2020 pandemic hiatus, started with a parade of corgis—nearly 70 of the short-legged racers in all. While only the corgis with tails could wag with glee, it appears that all the doggos were happy to strut their stuff!

Then, six heats lead to the championship race. Foxy Roxy. Meeko. Outlands Willow Wisp. Butterbean. Mr. Beanz Sir Wiggle Butt. Fonzworth Beckham. Gravy. These and other herding wonders—some in training for a few weeks with short sprints and long runs with their coaches—uh, pet parents, wasted no time once they hit the dirt track. Angus, the 2019 winner of the corgi race, was anxious to defend his crown. 

"Corgis away!" is the announcer's rallying cry, and they're off!

Outlands Willow Wisp was an early front-runner after the first heat, enticed by a special stuffed toy that owner Lauren Kuperstein waved in front of her, who explained in an interview later that the champion "never actually gets to play with it because she likes to rip it apart. So I just brought it out for this because I knew she really loves it."

Foxy Roxy's owner, Lisa Duval, used a little water and whipped cream performance enhancement to top off three years of training for the race. Loki seemed to have a lock on the straightaway in the fourth heat before Angus made a final flag-waving surge across the finish line which, as you can see in the video below, was inspired by a giant stuffed beach ball and owners Davis and Marian Phan. 

corgis racing on a race track
Credit: Mark Ralston / Getty

Now, we could tell you who won the championship race, but that would take all the fun out of watching the whole thrilling event and going behind-the-scenes with the cavorting corgis! Honestly, the best 11 minutes of your life, right here. 

Doggie sports fans can catch even more live action this Thursday when ESPN and the American Kennel Club host ESPN's Dog Day "Bark in the Park" on August 26 to celebrate International Dog Day.

Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat are dogletes—many different breeds, not just corgis (as if that matters!)—competing in agility, flyball, dock diving, and a new weave pole challenge. Get in on the excitement from 7:00 p.m to 12:00 a.m. EST on ESPN2, the ESPN app, or check your local ESPN2 channel listings for more information.