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Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Greatest (Hamster) Show On Earth

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

A winning hamster shows off his awards
Photos Courtesy of Catya
Many hamsters that were entered in the California Hamster Association show received award, or “bling.”

Greetings, beloved readers! (I noticed that I almost always begin with the same salutation, so I’m “mixin’ it up,” as they say.) I hope everyone had a great weekend — I most certainly had a fantastic weekend! You see, we had a California Hamster Association (CHA) show this weekend.

I’ve written before about how awesome CHA shows are, but this show was really amazing. It was one of the biggest ones we’ve had for quite a while. There were 48 hamsters entered, plus almost 30 hamsters from the sales table. A lot of two-leggers attended too. It was standing room only, with the crowd more than filling the room and a few people outside. What was really cool about this show was that, for a lot of people, it was their first-ever hamster show.

Watching people as they experienced their first hamster show reminded me of my first hamster show. I was pretty nervous the night before the show. I was finally going to meet Molly and Clare, my first Roborovskis, and there would be hamster experts there! I thought I was going to be in way over my head, and I was expecting complicated terminology to be flying left and right. Imagine my surprise as I discovered not a competitive group of hamster snobs, but a welcoming group of people who shared an instant bond of friendship because of our mutual interest in hamsters.

That’s also what the people who came to this weekend’s show found, I suspect. I loved seeing the beaming faces of kids who triumphantly held ribbons that their beloved “Fluffy,” “Snowflake” or “Hammy” had won. The kids’ cheers of encouragement as their hamsters competed in the ball race were as earnest and enthusiastic as those of parents at any Little League game. It was also neat to see how everyone there admired everyone else’s hamsters. Between judging sessions, I’d see a cluster of people surrounding a hamster owner, telling the owner just how beautiful and fluffy that hamster was.

Some serious genetic discussion took place too. After the main part of the show had ended, the hamster breeders stayed to “talk shop” and compare notes on their projects and genes, discussing their hamsters’ phenotypes, genotypes and pedigrees. Even some of the more “casual” owners stayed behind, eager for an opportunity to learn more about the world of hamsters. There really was something for everyone at the CHA show, as there always is. I’m hoping that every single person there comes back for the next show in April. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!


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