Forty-six Basenjis (accompanied by fifty-six Basenji lovers) had a blast in St. Louis, Missouri at BRAT’s Basenji Fun Day. The event, hosted by the Route 66 Basenji Club, was held on Saturday, July 16, 2016, on the grounds of Purina Farms. Attendees traveled from as far away as Ontario, Canada, and Hereford, Texas.
The festivities began on Friday when attendees began arriving in advance of the next day’s activities. Many were staying at Budget Lodging, which had a nice good-sized fenced dog park behind the hotel where many were able to stretch their legs, let their Basenjis run around, and meet old friends and make new ones.
Later that evening, twenty-two of us descended on Tres Toritos, a nice locally-owned Mexican restaurant just a few miles from the hotel. The restaurant was very accommodating of our large group and everyone had a wonderful time. The food was outstanding and the company of fellow Basenji lovers made it a great evening.
Saturday began early with the set up of the silent auction, raffle items, vendor tables, and games. The event was held at the Service Center at Purina Farms, where we had two large fenced off-leash dog areas, a large shaded patio, picnic tables, and an air-conditioned room to cool off in. The Route 66 Basenji Club came well-equipped with several large canopies and a lot of extra coolers that we filled with ice and water to help keep everyone—humans and canines—hydrated throughout the day.
Welcome bags were provided to each primary registrant. The tote bags had the BRAT Basenji Fun Day logo that was designed for us by Mark Ziegler. Inside the tote bags were large plush imitation lambskin crate pads that BRAT won in the online Shelter Challenge last Spring, a large peanut-butter frosted “BRAT” dog cookie, a dog leash, book mark, and treats donated by Blue Dog Bakery.
The Route 66 Basenji Club outdid themselves with an amazing raffle. The club members created 24 baskets, each filled with wonderful dog and Basenji-themed items. Raffle tickets could be obtained two ways. They could be earned by winning them in the various games the Route 66 Club set up at the event or they could be purchased. There were games for dogs and games for people and games for dogs and people.
The dog games included the super-popular bobbing-for-hot-dogs tub. Watching the dogs bob for the hot dogs was pure entertainment. Some dove right in and gobbled up as many hot dog pieces as they could, oblivious to the fact they were standing in water up to the bellies (see photo of BRAT foster, Ella). Others tried as hard as they could to figure out a way to get a hot dog without getting even a molecule of water on them (Tania Doran’s Dotty). Others decided they could get huge mouthfuls of hot dog pieces by using their lower jaw like a ladle to scoop through the water (Tania Doran’s Barney).
The people games included the Basenji ring toss, which involved throwing hula hoops onto beautiful wooden Basenjis made by Route 66 Basenji Club member Dan Ryno. Another popular game was the poop-bag toss. No, the bags were filled with stones!
The contests were also a hoot. These included the always-popular costume contest and the Best Baroo contest. Terry Colbert’s Tav won the costume contest with his amazing lion costume. Suzee Aff’s Puck took second place with his—wait for it—hockey puck costume! All of the entrants deserve an honorable mention, as the costumes were all wonderful. The Best Baroo was won by none other than Dean and Terrie Sigler’s World-Famous Benny Booyah (and the Jesters on backup). Second place went to Dave Flannigan’s Nellie, who belted out a solid booyah of her own!
As the afternoon sun sank low, dinner was delivered by Purina Farms’ catering service. Dinner was light because of the hot weather. We had sandwiches or salads with sides of chips, potato salad or fruit cup and cookies. After dinner, the baskets were raffled and the silent auction was closed. After it was all said and done, we’re pretty sure no one walked out of the Basenji Fun Day empty-handed. Best of all, through the generosity of everyone who participated, the fundraiser was a great success. BRAT wishes to extend a special thank you to Jessica Ryno and the members of the Route 66 Basenji Club for hosting the event, making the arrangements with Purina Farms, doing so much of the leg work to make Basenji Fun Day happen, and for putting together the fantastic baskets for the raffle and then donating the proceeds of the raffle to BRAT. In addition, BRAT benefitted from generous individual donors who contributed proceeds from the sale of products at Basenji Fun Day and who donated items for the silent auction. BRAT’s large-scale, successful rescue efforts are made possible through the generosity of our donors and we cannot thank them enough.
This was the first Basenji Fun Day and, hopefully, we will be able to do this again. A great time was had by all!