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September 10, 2008 > Have fun and win prizes at Hamster Ball Derby

Have fun and win prizes at Hamster Ball Derby

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Kevin Whalen

On your mark... get set... roll! So do you think your pet has what it takes to win the race? Find out at the Hamster Ball Derby, which will be held in virtually all PETCO stores nationwide at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 4.

"While we have had many hamster races over the years, this is the fourth time we've had all stores participate in a national race day," said Kevin Whalen, Media, Vice President, Corporate Communications of PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. "It has become a regular event each year. We hold the contest as a way for people to have fun with their pets." Hamsters will race against each other.

The track is also open to rats, mice and gerbils however, other animals are not allowed to participate in this event. "We conduct fun races for other animals too, at other times. For example, on Labor Day Sunday we completed our fourth annual quest to determine the fastest Chihuahua in America," said Whalen. Earlier this summer, about 2,900 chihuahuas raced in 15 regional races around the country. Over the weekend, the 15 regional winners came together in San Diego, where they competed in the national finals. The winning time was 1.9 seconds to cover the 35-foot track. The tiny but strong Tiger, of Bakersfield, California, reclaimed the title of America's fastest Chihuahua, beating 14 contestants. The winner is 4 years old and became champion again after PETCO Unleashed National Champion 2006, by surpassing the 2007 winning Chihuahua, Maddy of New York City.

There is no fee for the hamster race. Just make sure to provide your small animal with healthy food and plenty of clean water to prepare for the race day. Chinchillas, guinea pigs, and other exotic animals are not allowed. All small animals must be in appropriate size balls to participate. Bring your pal in a ball and let the rolling race begin. Find the nearest PETCO to see if training is available between September 11 and September 29. The training schedule is a fun way to warm up for the race. Join and participate at your convenience.

The derby has in-store prizes for the top three rollers and fun for all the participants and viewers. The winner will receive a trophy, a Hamtrac Circle track and a poster about the upcoming Disney movie "BOLT," which will be in theaters on November 26. The second place winner will bag a ribbon and a 4-ounce Kaytee Hamster/Gerbil Garden Blend Stick. Third place will take home a ribbon and a 30-gram package of PETCO Chew Sticks. At the conclusion of the races, all participants should receive a sticker that reads, "My pet ran in the Hamster Ball Derby," and a coupon for $1 off Kaytee Fiesta Food (good at the next store visit).

"We encourage people to bring their cameras and record the event. Many customers post videos to YouTube and other social Web sites," said Whalen. On the day of the races practice rounds begin at 1:30 p.m. For more information or to find a store near you, visit

Hamster Ball Derby
Saturday, October 4
2 p.m.
PETCO stores

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