If you’re not a gerbil fan, you might be after attending the New England Gerbil Show May 3 and 4, 2013, in Bedford, Massachusetts. The event features a lot to see and do.
“This is our big gerbil convention,” said Donna Anastasi, vice president of the American Gerbil Society (AGS), which runs the show. “Gerbils from around the country and their caretakers and breeders will converge upon Massachusetts for an entire weekend of gerbil talk, gerbil judging and gerbil events.”
Just like cat and dog shows, the gerbil show has conformation classes that judge gerbils on body type, build, overall health, color and temperament. But that’s not all. Pet classes, agility (yes, that means jumping gerbils), vendors and more are also part of the gerbil show.
“The pet class is separate,” Anastasi, said. “We are very generous with pet class ribbons, given the great amount of talent and abundance of cuteness of our pet competitors. Conformation has its own ribbons. There is a first, second and third in each class and can be a Best Of Opposite Sex in a class.” She said that amounts to about 30 to 40 ribbons, with possibly more needed if a class gets very large and needs to be split or less needed if no Unstandardized gerbils participate.
All ribbons are nice, but Anastasi pointed out that more elaborate ribbons are awarded for the Best in Show gerbil and the Best in Show-Opposite Sex gerbil.
Anastasi said more than 100 people, including 20 AGS members, are expected at the event, and about 125 gerbils will be competing. That’s quite a few cute, furry rodents to see.
Outside of conformation, fun events at the show include gerbil agility, which Anastasi said was demonstrated at the Mid-Atlantic Gerbil Show in January. “It was a huge hit to see a gerbil go from being a complete agility novice to learning to do several jumps and obstacles over a period of one or two short training sessions,” she said. “So we decided to try it here.”
Gerbils will also compete in two races. “Gerbils are avid chewers, so a chew race is a timed competition where individual gerbils or gerbils in tandem gnaw at few inches of paper towel tube.” Anastasi said. “Usually the winner is obvious, but if not we resort to crowd applause to determine the winner.” In another race, gerbils in plastic balls roll it down a track to determine a winner.
For gerbil owners looking for inspiration, this show debuts the Innovative Habitat exhibit, which showcases people’s unique gerbil habitats. Builders will be on-hand to answer questions and possibly sell some items.
The shopping doesn’t end there. “There will be a nice assortment of small animal- and gerbil-related crafts, novelty items, and some new or used supplies,” Anastasi said. “Our members are very talented and bring along some terrific gerbil-related items. We have a raffle and silent auction, too.”
You can also buy the book Jackie The Jumping Gerbil and meet author Leslie Balch.
If you’re a fan of conformation, keep your eye out for six gerbils scheduled to compete in the Senior Class. These have already earned some show points and could possibly cross over to Champion status at this show if they earn enough points. Anastasi said that show points are awarded 1 to third place, 2 to second place and three to first place, plus “An extra 3 points for the two Best in Show gerbils.”
Anastasi said that the average life span of gerbils is 3.5 years. “This may be the last hurrah for some of these guys and gals who, despite their advanced years and months, have managed to stay in prime show shape.”
The below biographies were provided by the gerbils’ owners.
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