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Keith Mott writes about winning fanciers past & present

FRANK & ANN TASKER

OF WAINFLEET

In a video tour of Lincolnshire, I visited Frank & Ann Tasker of Wainfleet and they had just won 1st. section, 1st. open Berwick Young Bird National for the first time with the North Road Championship Club. Wainfleet is near Skegness on the East Coast and the wind never stops blowing there, as the landscape is as flat as a pancake. Frank has a wonderful loft set-up, but is surrounded by lots of wires and pylons, which means he can't let his birds out a lot of the time because of the winds. He had a brilliant race from the N.R.C.C. Berwick race in 1995, recording several good birds in the open result, including 1st with the blue hen, ‘Jennyanna’. On moving to Wainfleet, Frank said his main aim was to win the N.R.C.C., having been 2nd, 4th, 5th. and 7th. open previously. He races only north road and likes middle distance races from 250 to 400 miles. Through the years, the Tasker loft has won countless major prizes, far too many to list, but the highlights in recent seasons are 1999: Vanrobaeys / Rohnfried Champion Loft of Great Britain 1st. (3,634 birds); 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th (5,678 birds); 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 19th, 20th and 29th (4,749 birds). 2000: Best National / Classic Performance in Great Britain 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, 13th, 15th, 26th, 27th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 43rd, 44th, 48th, 52nd, 56th, 72nd, 79th, 84th, 94th, 110th, 118th, 131 st open Berwick Young Bird National (4,023 birds) N.R.C.C. 2001: Best Federation Performance by a Loft in Great Britain 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th and 22nd open Whitley Bay (3,195 birds) Peterborough & District Federation. A brilliant loft performance!

Frank has been in the sport of pigeon racing for 50 years and races several systems including young and yearling hens on widowhood, young cocks sitting eggs and old cocks on widowhood. He pairs up on December 1st, youngsters are single reared and when they are 10 days old the hens are removed. The cocks finish rearing the youngsters and are repaired on April 1st, being put on widowhood sitting their first pair of eggs at 10 days. He races 48 widowhood cock, 36 yearlings and 12 old cocks and Frank says they are at their best at about 300 miles. The hens are never shown to the cocks on marking night and are hopper fed with Frank's own light mixture.

Frank & Ann Tasker's best pigeon is the 1987 ­bred Haelterman blue pied cock Champion ‘Filmstar’ and he finished his days at stock breeding countless club, Federation and Classic winners. When Frank speaks about his champion, you can hear the pride in his voice and quite rightly too, as he owned the ultimate in a racing pigeon. ‘Filmstar’ was wonderful to look at and handle and he was a champion racer and breeder. He was bred from the very best Mencke­ Haelterman bloodlines, with his sire ‘Blue Telsar’, being obtained via Claude Hetru of Lomme in France. ‘Blue Telsar’ was a direct son of ‘Eole’, the champion of the champions, being the winner of 1st open National Royan and 1st open National Poitiers. The dam of ‘Filmstar’ was ‘Jonge Whitenose’, bred by Frank & Ann Tasker and they say, she was one of the best breeding hens they have ever owned. Her sire is the base of the entire loft, the champion breeder, ‘Blue Eole’ and he was full brother to champion ‘Eole’, winner of twice 1st open national. A wonderful family of pigeons! Champion ‘Filmstar’ won 26 times 1st club, 12 times 1st open Federation and in 1986 was the RPRA Sprint Champion of Great Britain. He also won 2 RPRA Awards and 7th World Champion Versele-Laga. Frank says he is the base of his present loft and his children have bred at least 50 x 1st open Federation winners. He was grandsire and great grandsire of 10 1st open National and Classic winners including Champion Starlett, 1st. open Pontorson N.F.C. for Ced and Clive Allwight, ‘Champion’ Digit, 1st. open Nantes M.N.F.C. for Dave Sherratt, 1st. open Central Southern Classic Club Rennes for Tony Hayne, 1st open Central Southern Classic Club Bergerac for Staddon Brothers; 1st open Up North Combine Abbeyville for Les Thurlow's two champion racers for G. White & Son and, of course, Frank's own Champion ‘Millennium Filmstar’, 1st open North Road Championship Club Berwick National in the 2000 season. Champion ‘Filmstar’ is a once in a lifetime pigeon!

The Tasker widowhood loft has a wonderful outlook over flat fields and the cocks are trapped through open windows. He has a massive stock loft with wire flights and houses several different families, all in separate sections. The young bird loft is 24ft long and houses 60 youngsters each year. The loft has a corridor trapping and a litter is used on the floor. The young birds don't get much training, about six tosses before the first race. The young birds are paired up and are raced sitting eggs and on a semi-widowhood system.

One of Frank's top racers of recent seasons is the blue pied cock, ‘White Flight 14’, a grandson of Champion ‘Filmstar’. This handsome cock flew Thurso as a yearling, won from Northallerton, Fraserburgh, Morpeth and Bervvick and won several prizes in the N.R.C.C. including 7th open Perth in 1995. Frank says the grandchildren of Champion Filmstar have won more positions in the first 150 open in the North Road Championship Club Berwick Young Bird National in the past two years, than any other loft in it's history over the same period. Crossed with the incredible birds from Willy Thas, they have broken all records in the Peterborough & District Federation, which can rightly be claimed as one of the biggest and strongest federations in the UK. This mighty federation covers a 52 mile radius with five sections and an open average birdage of 4,000. Frank & Ann Tasker of Wainfleet, brilliant pigeon fanciers!

There you have it the great Frank Tasker of Wainfleet, one of our great pigeon racers!

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT 

B.I.F.S.

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