From ferret princess to ferrets in ponchos, chocolate breeds to albino ferrets, competition, prize-winning ferrets to newcomers, there was room for every ferret lover at the 15th Ferret Buckeye Bash.
The Bash was held Saturday at Franklin County Veterans Memorial. The ferret show brought ferret lovers from near and far to have their pets judged in more than 25 specialty categories.
Getting together in the name of ferrets serves a bigger purpose than just showing off fuzzy friends, however.
The Bash sponsors local rescue shelter and Heart of Ohio Ferret Association and Rescue (HOFA), the hosts of the show, and is one of the largest in the country, said show coordinator Scarlett Gray-Scaling.
“The best fundraiser you can have to support a shelter is to put on a show. That’s what funds our shelter,” Gray-Scaling said. “Plus, it supports shelters from other states that come in (and) have a vendor table.”
Gray-Scaling also said the show includes between 250 and 300 championship ferret entries each year and 200 specialty ferret entries from as far as Japan. Each category has different criteria for judging the ferrets, depending on their breed and age.
“There’s not much we look for across the board,” said Ruth Heller, a ferret judge at the Ferret Buckeye Bash. “You’re looking for a fresh, good coat and personality.”
Heller said each category has special features for judges to examine, including patterns in their fur and bone structure of the ferrets, which makes every competition unique.
Each ferret costs $12 to $20 to enter, depending on their type and age. Competitors are judged by three different judges and the cream of the crop receive a rosette ribbon and an Ohio-shaped trophy, complete with a smiling model ferret.
Some participants in the show have been attending for years to get together with other ferret owners and watch their pets soar in the competition.
Barbara Burnett has been a ferret owner for about 20 years and has attended shows regularly in the past five years.
“You get to meet other ferret owners,” she said as she showed off her ferret, Buffy, who was sporting a large, sky blue tutu rimmed with navy sequins and a matching tule-filled headdress for the occasion.
Brenda Seffrin has worked for HOFA for almost two years and agreed that shows are the best way to meet other ferret owners. She also said showing her ferret makes the shows fun. Seffrin was showing her 1-year-old ferret, Quinnlyn, in the competition and said her pet had done well so far in the judges’ eyes, but was waiting to enter her little furry friend in other competitions later in the day.
“It’s exciting to see what (the judges) think,” she said as she held her young, dark brown ferret. “They’re all so unique; they’re just the best animals to have.”
Gray said the show is a learning experience as well for people who may not know much about ferrets.
“It brings people in for education. It’s an all-over education, getting ferret people together,” Gray said.
Seffrin said that people tend to have misconceptions about ferrets.
“I think people think they’re mean and they stink but they don’t,” Seffrin said. “It’s their bedding, if you don’t keep it clean, that’s what stinks, not the ferret.”
Burnett agreed that misconceptions about ferrets are common.
“People think that they’re rodents, and they’re not,” Burnett said.
Ferrets belong to the same family as weasels and minks, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
The Bash included other activities such as a best dressed ferret competition, a tube race and a paper bag escape where ferrets raced to escape from a brown sack. About 40 vendors were also available to sell ferret food, bedding and other goodies.