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Gerbils vie for ribbons at pageant

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:24 p.m.

BEDFORD, Mass. — The American Gerbil Society's annual pageant brought dozens of rodents scurrying to New England this weekend for a chance to win “top gerbil.”

The Bedford competition called for agility demonstrations in which the gerbils must overcome obstacles and race to the end of a course. Breeders of the small animals vie for ribbons based on body type and agility.

“A male gerbil should be a good, strong, hefty-looking gerbil,” said Libby Hanna, president of the American Gerbil Society. “If you are going to think of it in human terms, you might think of a football player ”

An ideal female gerbil will have a more streamlined appearance that even humans covet, she said.

“So she would be strong and athletic-looking — not really scrawny, but slim,” said Hanna, who serves as a judge in the show. “I usually use a figure skater as my mental image or gymnasts.”

The Friday-Saturday show drew gerbil enthusiasts and breeders from across the country and culminates in the presentation of champion and breeder certificates.

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