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Keith Mott

Writes about winning fanciers past and present

The Champions of Yester Year - Part 18


of Eastwood



This week I'm dedicating 'ON THE ROAD' to my Good friend Albert Taylor, who died about three years ago. This is very appropriate as we travelled many miles together around UK , whilst making my 'Many Miles with Mott' pigeon videos. I first met him in 1995 when he rang to congratulate me on my first two 'Many Miles with Mott' videos, saying in his blunt way, that they were the best pigeon tapes he had seen. He said they had one thing wrong with them, they didn't feature any north road fanciers. My reply was that, if' he could arrange some premier Midlands north road loft visits, I would come up to Nottingham for a week and feature them on our No. 3 video. The result was Albert arranging that video tour plus several other 'Many Miles with Mott' video projects' and we became great friends. We had some great times together, going on several long video tours of Cumbria , Scotland and the Up North. 'Combine areas together and we enjoyed every minute, of them. He had a big influence on the production of several of the videos' and, when I finished after. No. 18, I know he really wanted us to carry on and produce even more. He worked at a Nottingham brewery, as a clerk, all his working life and on taking early retirement several years ago, started writing for the Notts. & Derby Borders in the British Homing World. Albert and his brother Dennis had been in the sport for over 45 years. Before them, their father was also a pigeon fancier, from 1927 until the Second World War. Albert became interested in pigeons at the age of 15 when his father brought some fantails home and, with help from local fanciers, he started to race with gift birds. The brothers joined Eastwood & District FC and won their first race in 1958 from Lerwick (500 miles). The pigeon that won their first race was a cock that cost 15/- (75p) and it raced to a loft made of orange boxes and fish boxes, with lino on the roof! Dennis said that Larry & Michael Gaunt of Heage, their great friends, have been an enormous help through the years and a lot of their best bloodlines came from the Gaunt loft. An early mistake made by the Taylor Brothers was to send good birds to races they should .never have gone to, just to keep in club averages. The 1990 season saw Albert & Dennis will one of the greatest races in north road racing, the North Road Championship Club Lerwick King's Cup event. The brothers were new members of the' NRCC in 1990 and their winning pigeon, .which they called Tame Red, won the King's Cup at their first attempt. This was after one of the longest holdovers since the early 1930s from this racepoint, some 10 days in the basket Tame Red, one of a. batch of 28 young birds bred for the brothers by .Larry & Michael Gaunt of Heage, was clocked after just over 13 hours on the wing. This champion cock was quite a character and was so tame he walked up Albert's arm and stood on his shoulder. Tame Red bred many premier winners and only died this July at 14 years of age. Albert always said his biggest thrill in his time in the sport was seeing the NRCC secretaries, Ian & Marie Johnson, walking up the garden to verify Tame Red as he was probably going to be the out right King's Cup winner.

The Taylors ' main racing loft is 32ft long, with open-door trapping and four sections, all for widowhood cocks. I was very impressed with how light' and roomy the sections were: Loft white is used on. the floor, which is cleaned every day. Albert &.Dennis raced both widowhood and natural systems and maintained that the widowhood cocks win more prizes for them each season. Dennis is a retired shop fitter and was the main loft manager and really enjoys pottering around and cleaning out. Albert always told me he thought old birds start racing too early and young birds finish too late, in the year. Dennis insists that young birds should have more short races and fewer long ones, as they are still on the learning path.

The partners' second racing loft houses the natural racers, stock birds and young bird team. Most of the Taylors ' pigeons originate from Larry & Michael Gaunt, but there are also Verheyes, Lefebre Dhaenens and Jan Aardens. The old birds are paired up in February and the brothers breed about 70 youngsters each season. The two lofts are built well off the ground, which they thought was very important in good loft design, to ensure that they stay dry and well ventilated. The widowhood cocks get only four training tosses before the first race then are flown out around the loft twice a day. Tame Red proved to be a champion at stock, breeding countless premier racers, including the blue cock 03040, which won in 1997: 72nd Open Lerwick NRCC and in 1998: 18th Open Lerwick NRCC, 1st federation Lerwick, winning over £1,200 - a wonderful pigeon, The young birds get about 10 training pitches up to 50 miles before the first race, then one midweek toss during the season. The brothers tried the darkness system for one season but didn't like it. Albert's favourite condition for birds was for them to be sent natural to the long-distance races, sitting 12-day-old eggs. The brothers mixed several Belgian corn mixtures together to form their own racing corn and maintained that the birds benefit from every single thing in the mix, rather than feeding them just one grain. They used more maize as the distance increased. The lofts are scraped out 365 days of the year and they say that deep litter may be alright for some fanciers but was not really for them. Albert was a great lad and a 100% pigeon man. He was a great friend and is being sorely missed.

That's it for another week! I can be contacted on Telephone: 01372 463480. See yer!



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