DeKalb Petco hosts annual hamster race

By Jaime O'Toole

DeKALB — After 5 years, DeKalb’s local Petco, 2072 Sycamore Road, DeKalb, was selected to host a hamster race Saturday. All ages were welcome to watch, and attendees were encouraged to bring their own hamsters to participate. 

DeKalb PetCo dog trainer Jacki Sodt placed Petco’s Chinese Dwarf hamster and Fancy hamster on the tracks in clear hamster exercise balls. 

“This is the hamster’s first time in a ball,” she said. This is her first time running the race alongside Petco Manager Priscilla Strossner as well. 

“We chose these hamsters specifically to see how they’d do,” Stossner said.  

The dark brown hamster, Hammy as Sodt called it, was hesitant to move, but once a customer started to chant, “I have beer” to the hamster in hopes it might lure him to the finish line, the little guy made his way down the track. 

While Hammy darted down the twisty tracks, the timid Chinese Dwarf remained in one position the entire time, making Hammy the winner. 

“Smaller ones aren’t as outgoing,” Sodt explained. 

Hammy, on the other hand, took off and explored every surface outside his track. 

He sniffed shoes, bumped corners and searched for an exit, while the Chinese Dwarf remained still. 

Since Hammy was no match for the Chinese Dwarf, Sodt grabbed another Dwarf hamster, much chubbier than the last. But still, no movement. 

The crowd watched Hammy continue to wander. 

“Not every Petco is selected, but their store was this year,” Strossner said. “Usually this race attracts young kids,” Sodt said, inviting families to leave with a new found pet.