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Second Time Around For Ferret 500 Ferret Show

The Indianapolis-based Ferret 500 ferret show roars into its sophomore year with new surprises to reveal.

Marylou Zarbock
Posted: May 23, 2013, 10:50 p.m. EDT

ferret being judged
© Courtesy Brenda Taylor
A scene from a judge's table at last year's Ferret 500. (click image to enlarge)
ferret owner receiving award
© Courtesy Brenda Taylor
When someone's ferret wins, the joy can't be contained. (click image to enlarge)

Angora, panda, mitt, mutt, blaze, champagne and more. What do all of these words have in common? They’re the names of specialty classes in the Ferret 500 ferret show taking place June 1, 2013, in Indianapolis. It’s the second year for this show, which is sanctioned by the American Ferret Association, and benefits Five Points Ferret Refuge.

Brenda Taylor, co-founder and operator of Five Points Ferret Refuge, said that 133 ferrets are scheduled to compete at the show, between four championship rings and 18 specialty classes.

"All classes have sponsors and will be represented,” Taylor said. "Breeder, sable and late-alter classes filled up right before the deadline, which is great.”

For dedicated show-goers, ferret shows are not to be missed. Fewer than a dozen AFA-sanctioned shows occur in the United States each year, so opportunities to attend or compete are at a premium. People have been known to plan vacations around a ferret show.

Entries for this year’s Ferret 500 come from 11 states outside of Indiana, including people traveling from as far away as Alaska, Colorado and Massachusetts.

New to the Ferret 500 this year is the addition of the Angora class, which is not an AFA-sanctioned class.

"We added an Angora class to the show this year upon the request of the Angora group,” Taylor said. "Angoras are becoming more popular as pets, and it is an interesting example of the diversity of the species.”

Also new this year are additional fun events. Taylor said they’re holding a costume contest, ferret car racing on a track, contests for smallest and largest ferrets (named mini ferret and moose ferret respectively), a photo contest (participants must bring print photos of their ferrets to the show), a paper bag escape contest and a treat-eating contest.

"There will be ribbons awarded in each category and a grand prize winner for the fun matches as a whole,” Taylor said.

And something large is coming to the show.

"This year we plan to add a ferret mascot,” Taylor said. "An 8-foot, inflatable ‘ferret’ that will be available to travel to other AFA shows.”

vendors in show hall
© Courtesy Brenda Taylor
If you ever wanted to shop in person for ferret-related merchandise, a ferret show is a good place to do it. (click image to enlarge)
raffle table
© Courtesy Brenda Taylor
Many items will be raffled off at the show. (click image to enlarge)

In addition to watching ferrets compete in serious or fun events and ogling the 8-foot mascot, attendees can also shop. Vendors include Isabella Gucci Jones Collection, Crinkle Tunnels By Staci and American Ferret Association.

A raffle will add the spice of possibly winning a great prize to the day.

But a serious side lies behind the scenes. Taylor pointed out that after the competition, a secondary function of the show is financial support for Five Points Ferret Refuge. Revenue generated pays for medical bills, food, bedding and more for the ferrets in the shelter’s care. And the show is yet another opportunity to promote adopting ferrets into good homes.

"There will be board members and shelter director present all day,” Taylor said. "Showing ferret videos and distributing adoption and foster applications and answering any questions people might have about adoption or ferrets in general.”

She said that Five Points Ferret Refuge has adopted 43 ferrets into loving homes since the shelter opened in 2009. "We try to keep our population in the shelter at about 30, so that each ferret enjoys individual attention, socialization and enrichment.”

Although the Ferret 500 is a ferret-friendly event, only ferrets pre-registered for the show are allowed into the show hall, and no other pets can enter.

With all the planned events, there’s plenty to keep a person busy. The Ferret 500 takes place at the Marion County Fairgrounds, Exposition Hall, 7300 E. Troy Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana 46239. The public is welcome from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on show day, June 1st. Exhibitors check in from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and judging begins at 9:30 a.m.

"A spectator can expect an entertaining few hours, watching the judging of the ferrets, shopping the many vendors’ booths, participating in the judging of the costume and photo contests, laughing at the Ferret 500 car races, winning a raffle prize, admiring some of the nation's most handsome ferrets and being surrounded by a group of ferret enthusiasts who truly enjoy their frisky, fuzzy, little pets,” Taylor said. "All for a mere $5 admission. Who could ask for more?”

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