Hamster Ball Derby, Critter Run Rolling to PETCO Saturday

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Hamsters and other critters set to race in PETCO stores nationwide.

What: PETCO is hosting its annual Hamster Ball Derby and first-time Critter Run at more than 870 PETCO stores across the country. Last year's race drew more than 14,000 hamsters and their cheering human companions. Using hamster balls as their vehicles, hamsters will race down an eight-foot track in heats of four (hopefully, but not necessarily, toward the finish line). Following the derby, gerbils, mice, rats, chinchillas and guinea pigs with a need for speed will participate in the company's first critter run. Prizes will be awarded for the fastest hamsters and the quickest critters.

Why: The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) reports that there are approximately 9.6 million pet hamsters in the U.S., and each year hamster owners spend more than $336 million on supplies and toys for their furry friends.

When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007 at 2 p.m.

Where: At PETCO locations nationwide. To find a participating location nearest to you, visit http://www.petco.com/hamster.

How: Participation is free. Participants will need to have their own hamsters and hamster balls to participate. Spectators are encouraged to join in and cheer on their favorite competitors. No ferrets, rabbits or exotic animals can participate. For more information, visit http://www.petco.com/hamster.

PETCO is a privately held specialty retailer that provides products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. We operate more than 870 stores in 49 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a leading pet products and information destination at http://www.petco.com. Our nonprofit organization, The PETCO Foundation, has raised more than $34 million since its inception in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the foundation, we work with and support more than 4,200 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 200,000 adoptable animals every year.

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