Shandi Anderson's pet ferret, Pepper, doesn't have any particular talent so she entered it under "cutest" and "most unusual" in the annual talent search for "People and their Amazing Animals" at S&W Feed on Saturday.
During her on-stage interview, the 12-year-old Douglas County girl was asked what the best part of owning a ferret was.
"Well, she's fun to play with," she said.
That was good enough for the judges. Shandi and Pepper qualified for the national competition, during which they could win $1,000.
Last year, another Pepper from Nevada did well in the national competition. Pepper the bicycle-riding rat terrier from Nevada, Mo., won $3,000 for being the third-most talented animal in the contest.
The most talented animal at S&W Feed this year was Bill Williamson's newest driving dog, Beauregard. Appearing to smile with a dangling tongue, the dog pulled a 1929 Ford Pickup behind the store, drawing applause and laughter.
Williamson didn't enter Beau in last year's competition because the dog was just learning to drive. In 2002, Williamson placed first in the national competition with a different driving dog, Budd. They won $10,000 from Purina - just before Budd was killed by a car.
The local performances are taped and sent to Purina Mills headquarters in St. Louis for the national contest. Winners will be notified by mail before Sept. 17.
Saturday's events at S&W Feed also included a barbecue lunch provided by Veterinary Services Inc., a supplier from Modesto.
Other suppliers and vendors set up tables offering freebies and samples in the front of the store.
"This isn't really a selling event. It's just a nice chance to meet some of our customers, talk about their animals, enjoy a great barbecue, and of course, see the driving dog," said Richard Merriner of Richdel Inc., which sells Select the Best animal health products.
Other vendors included Precision Pet Products, which makes doghouses and cages; AniMed, which makes horse supplements; and Farnam Co., another horse product maker.
Today, S&W Feed is hosting a poultry swap.
"You can buy, sell, or trade any kind of poultry," said Wendy Kolbus who owns the store with her husband, Stan.
For details call 882-1225.
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This year's winners from S&W Feed:
Most talented: Bill Williamson with Beauregard the golden retriever
Most unusual: Roxane Pedley with Beebe the standard poodle
Cutest: Shandi Anderson with Pepper the ferret
Contact Karl Horeis at email@example.com or 881-1219.