By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Downtown Morinville is the place for hot motor sport action this weekend. Flags will drop and wheels will burn when the first Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies Hamster Race burns down the track during this weekend’s St. Jean Baptiste Festival.
Organizer and Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies owner Tammy Frieze said the event will take place Saturday behind the shop on 100 Avenue from 2 to 4 p.m. or in the basement of the Morinville RC Parish Hall if it rains.
Although the event is new to Morinville, it is not new to Frieze. Racing rodents is something she did at her previous pet store in Yorkton, Saskatchewan for six straight years, a tradition she wanted to continue in Morinville. “I started this because I have a love of children and pets and thought the two are just beautiful together,” Frieze said, noting she wanted to incorporate the two into one event. “I found these cars from one of my suppliers and thought that would be a fabulous idea to have a day of thanking the parents and their children for supporting me and giving back to the children.”
To prepare for the event, Frieze has brought in 60 hamster dragsters, a rodent replica of a traditional dragster, powered by a massive hamster-driven wheel. Race promoters can enter their own hamster in the race or choose from one of 12 hamsters Frieze has brought in special for the event. Hamster dragsters will race down a custom built track that can pit seven competitors at one go.
“I’ve created it this year so that any child with or without [a hamster] can come and enjoy,” Frieze said. “If parents are willing to put forth the effort and the time and bring them here for it, it’s a done deal.”
Frieze anticipates children will have the opportunity to race their or her hamsters four to six times during the event. Although children can register the day of the event, she is hoping families will sign up at the store before Saturday so scheduling the races can be done ahead of time, allowing more time for racing. Thirteen competitors were registered to race as of Tuesday afternoon.
First-, second- and third-place racers will receive a trophy to take home, and the top competitor will have their name engraved on a permanent trophy that will follow the event year to year.
But Frieze’s thank you to the community that has supported her business extends beyond hamsters in their ultra-fast dragsters. A variety of children’s games are planned for the afternoon event. “They not only race – I put on different events so that when they’re done, there’s going to be water balloon breaks, bean bag toss, a dart board with plastic darts,” she said. “There are all kinds of activities where they can win different stuff.”
Children and parents wishing to register for Saturday’s inaugural hamster drag racing can contact Tammy Frieze at Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies at 780-939-2528.