The Tube Race
Always a crowd favorite, the Tube Race was fraught with excitement and anticipation. Who would be the fastest? Who would be the first? And, most importantly, who would actually exit the tube instead of turning around and becoming a fuzzy pipe clog? Many a fast and feisty ferret was thwarted from grabbing the prize due to unexpected shyness and a basic misunderstanding of how the game was supposed to go. The ultimate winner, Tekkie, only exited the tube because there was a juicy iPhone tempting her from outside her comfortable plastic burrow, and we all know how much ferrets love expensive technology!
The Pop Can Tip
The Pop Can Tip was also quite the crowd pleaser this year. The object of the game is for the ferret to knock over as many empty pop cans as possible in the time allotted. However, as usual, the ferrets often had different ideas of how the game was supposed to go. My personal favorite was Millie, who not only did not tip over any cans, she actually stood up, held the top of one with her paws to sniff it, then laid back down, leaving the can completely unmoved. The ultimate winner was Biscuit (pictured), a healthy and hearty boy who was a crowd favorite due to his laid-back temperament, his bumblingly sweet nature, and his habit of spinning like a top whenever he got in a tube. I believe that he tipped over 15 cans, which was a great showing.
The Rice Dig
The Rice Dig was a new event this year. Since anyone who has ever left a house plant within reach of a ferret has discovered that ferrets LOVE to dig, we thought that this would be a great way to use those skills in a healthy way. The object of the game was for the ferret, upon entering the planter full of rice, to dig out as much as he or she could, hopefully flinging it into the air and over the edge, where it would be caught on a tarp and weighed. The one with the most rice by weight would win.
Well, it turns out that some of the ferrets need a little inspiration to start digging. For example, my ferrets need for there to be a very expensive houseplant inside the planter, along with the sounds of me screaming at them to stop, to really get into digging. When I put my little Darkpaw into the planter, she merely sat, a study of daintiness, as if she were a porcelain sculpture instead of the little plant-murdering fiend I know she can be. Little Cinnamon (pictured) appears to have taken on the same faux aura of sainthood in this photo. Ultimately, some of the contestants' contributions did not have to be weighed at all -- they could be counted in grains. I think Darkpaw had five grains. Yippee.
Edit: After a slow start, Cinammon ended up winning the dig with two teaspoonfuls of rice. Way to go!
As an aside: You should know that many ferrets love to dig and would benefit from having a rice box to play in. They look like little otters as they swim and snorkle in the mix. All you need is a box and rice (the sides should be a little high to prevent the rice from showering over the sides as they dig -- I use a Rubbermaid dishpan). Some people use those edible packing peanuts instead; some people use actual soil that has been sterilized. At home, Darkpaw has been known to snorkle through the rice like a pro, poking her face deeply into the mix while looking for toys that I have buried in there. Why she didn't show off those skills at the event, I'll never know.
The Final Score
All in all, we had about 200 attendees and made about $3100 for the Oregon Ferret Shelter. We all had a great time sharing our stories and showing off our companions while helping a good cause. We also had a great time at the auction, where we got to learn about all of the new things available in the ferret world (and about businesses that are ferret-friendly and deserve our patronage). To see the huge list of businesses who helped with our event, click here.
In addition, many people who were unfamiliar with ferrets had a good chance to learn about and appreciate our fuzzies, which is what these fundraisers and other outreaches are all about. I will always remember the little boy who carried Darkpaw around for almost half an hour, having fallen absolutely in love with her. I couldn't blame him -- I feel the same way. I hope that we can continue to have these events that help bring ferrets and people together in a fun and loving way.
Special thanks goes to Lisa Harris for her photos!