New Pastime Becomes Popular Throughout the Country
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SKIBO, MN Originated just a year ago as a new and different way to pass the time during the cold winter months, a new competitive endeavor has become popular with thousands of people throughout the country.

Just a year ago, four men in Skibo began to realize that they had gotten caught up in a winter rut. They decided that they needed to find a new way to pass the time. One of them, Roger Halsted, suggested that they should all go to the pet store to buy gerbils. Then they could take them back to the garage and race them. The others thought it was a stupid idea—but, considering they had nothing better to do, they decided to give it a try.

Even though the whole thing began as a joke, the original group of four soon grew in number. Within a matter of weeks, a group of twelve began meeting together each Tuesday to race their carefully-groomed and well-fed gerbils. And, each Thursday, they gathered again to design and build new, challenging obstacle courses.

Little did the original four members of the Skibo Gerbil Racing Association know that their idea would catch on all around the country. None of them would have ever predicted that, just a year later, there would be almost 100 chapters of the National Gerbil Racing Association throughout the country. Now, each week, thousands of members meet to race their rodents.

Halsted—now the president of the national association—says he can’t even believe how his wild idea has caught on in the last year. He says that, within the next year, they expect to begin sponsoring national competitions, where the world’s speediest gerbils will have the opportunity to travel thousands of miles to compete against others for the title of America’s Speedy Gerbil. A television deal with ESPN is also in the works.

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