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Doxie Derby is a popular Picnic Day event.

Picnic Day is here again—99 years and still going strong. One of the crowd favorites for the day is the Doxie Derby, a tradition for more than 30 years. There’s something charming about seeing short-legged Dachshunds run their hearts out by racing from one end of the 100 foot course to the other. Dozens of doxies race after a simulated rabbit pelt to prove who's top dog, while thousands of attendees cheer for their favorite pup. The event features jumbotron screens, ready with instant replays.

Second year students from the School of Veterinary Medicine coordinate the derby—a two hour event that runs repeated races and winning dogs advance to the finals. Last year, upcoming second year veterinary students connected with their counterparts in the College of Engineering to design and construct a high tech rabbit pelt puller to replace the aging hand cranked bicycle wheel contraption previously used for dragging a fake rabbit pelt across the floor for the dachshunds to chase. The new puller will make its debut tomorrow. (See video here.) The Derby runs from 1-3 p.m. in the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC); seating opens at noon. 

The honored Parade Marshal for this year’s Picnic Day is Dick McCapes, who received his DVM from the school in 1958 and worked here until his retirement in 1994. He and his late wife, Marilyn, met as undergraduates at the university and were married in 1955. Marilyn passed away last year after 56 years of marriage.

The McCapes have also been crucial supporters of the UCD Men's Rugby team. Their love of rugby stems back to the early days at the University Farm. Marilyn's father, Colby E. "Babe" Slater attended the University Farm from 1914 to 1917 where he played football, basketball and baseball.

Slater played for the United States rugby team in the 1920 Olympics where they won gold over the French, and won a second gold in 1924. Babe Slater and the US team are still the world's reigning rugby champions since rugby was taken out of the Olympics after 1924.

Every year at UC Davis the outstanding male athlete is awarded the "Colby E. Babe Slater Award" in his honor, and he was the first inductee into the Cal Aggie Athletic Hall of Fame.

Marilyn's aunt, Marguerite Slater, was one of the first three women to enroll in courses at the University Farm in 1914.

History on the McCapes was provided by The Daily Democrat.