sallyThe votes are in, and a former shelter dog will serve as the 2016 mascot of The Indie, a neighborhood road race set for Sunday, July 31.

The event, hosted by the Benson Neighborhood Association as part of the 2016 Benson Days celebration, includes a 10K, a 5K, a one-mile fun run and a kids’ dash. A portion of the proceeds will be used for neighborhood improvement projects.

Sally Marie, a 10-year-old rescue from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, topped a contestant field that included eight dogs, two rabbits and a cat. The voting was held June 3 at 1912, a gold sponsor of The Indie.

Local bicycling advocate Harry Baulisch, who lives with the winner, shares her story:

As a young, adventurous puppy, Sally ran away from home and was found, on her own, in the eastern part of the city. Taken in by Second Chance Rescue, she spent the winter of 2008-09 at the shelter. On March 11, 2009, her current human, Harry, met Sally and adopted her that day. He took her to her new home in southwest Minnesota. Sally continued her adventures running the fields and creeks and chasing pheasants, rabbits and squirrels. On March 1, 2015, Sally moved to Nebraska, settling in her human’s native state. Sally currently sleeps in Papillion but lives in Omaha, spending most of her away-from-home time in Benson at the Omaha Bicycle Company or visiting local parks and trails. You can usually find her greeting people, looking for pastry scraps that fall on the floor or just hoping someone will give her a scratch and a hug. Oh, and she really gets impatient waiting for Harry to finish his coffee!

As the official mascot, Sally will preside over The Indie, which gets under way at 8:00am July 31. For more information or to register, visit www.theindieomaha.org. For more information about Benson Days, visit www.bensondays.com.