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Show Racers And Shows

Doug McClary


It seems a long time since I wrote a pigeon article thanks to the British Homing World’s attitude to someone who had openly cheated and benefited from their dishonesty.  I am afraid that I could no longer stomach such an attitude as instead of condemning it all there seemed to be a quiet acceptance of it happening.


However, it is time to move on and to transfer some random information and thought to the written word.  I have been writing articles for pigeon magazines ever since the early 1970s when the late Colin Osman asked me to do so for the Racing Pigeon Pictorial and later for the weekly magazine. Since then, millions of words have been written and all in the interests of the beautiful Show Racer pigeon, my breed for over sixty years.


Colin Osman was a man of great vision within the sport of pigeon racing and he saw the advantages of bringing showing and racing closer to avoid much of the mud-slinging between the two factions which had existed.  My life changed once my writing started for it enabled me to be friends with so many of the top fanciers of the day. I would like to think that these efforts helped relations greatly between the two factions of the sport.


To pigeons.  I saw my first show racers at an agricultural show in Redruth,  Cornwall as a schoolboy and the sight of these magnificent pigeons hooked me then and they have remained with me ever since.   I was agog at the sheer beauty of these show racers and pledged there and then to have some. The biggest difference of course is that instead of being in England, I am in Australia, enjoying them in completely different circumstances.  The shows are nowhere near as intense as they were in England but the enjoyment of placing a fit and well prepared pigeon in the show pen is as good today as it was in 1953 when I entered my first show in Penzance.


I have been most fortunate to be able to bring my pigeons to Australia in 2004 and to be able to see them so readily accepted and respected. Few fanciers have been honoured in this way to spread the breed in two hemispheres and to guide them and the Australian fanciers to acceptance.   It has not been without problems of course for while the majority of Aussies were welcoming, one or two fought me and the show racers every step of the way. One man tried to change the show racer completely, using crosses with large heads because that was how he saw the breed but the majority wanted them to remain as they were when they first appeared here in 2004.  What he wanted to do was a direct insult to British fanciers who had produced the show racers and knew a thing or two about the breed, while here was a total novice to the breed trying to change it completely.


Fortunately Fred Frendo and I had formed the British Show Racer Club of Australia and were able to influence fanciers in the ways of the breed and to offer some control.


It has been an honour but I could never have guessed when I bought my first show racers that they would take me to so many parts of the world and to live in Australia.  I miss the shows and fanciers in Britain and I am writing these few lines during the Blackpool show and these are the times when the pangs of regret apply.  How I would love to be able to attend once again and to meet my many friends there.


Since moving house in June, both Ann and I have suffered a series of setbacks in health and I am not the man I once was.  Some days are okay but they are interspersed with those of negative energy levels.  The new house was not as we thought and has provided us with many problems and drains on money.  That last sentence provided a clue when I mentioned drains, for the first ever downpour we experienced, left us with water problems thanks to the drainage pipes being blocked by roots and years of neglect.  The result was that they all had to be excavated and replaced at considerable cost.  All levels were wrong and when trying to brush water away, it flowed back at me.  The cost was considerable where I could have purchased a new car instead.  The drains were part of the problems only and there have been many more.  Whether we will ever get the place right is debatable and right now we have doubts. I am hoping that better health will come back to me but at the moment I can’t walk very far so walks with the dog are limited.  I am considering another visit back to England but day by day my health differs and I just wonder whether I will be able to stand the stress of it all.


I have just finished the breeding season. I didn’t want to breed many but I have ended up with six or ten more than intended.  Disappointingly I have not managed a good selection of powder blue YBs – my stock colour, thanks to the failure of one powder blue hen to reproduce at all.  It has been an easy breeding operation thanks to good preparation in getting the birds slimmed down prior to pairing. Fortunately I am now able to purchase black minerals and these have made a great difference as they enable everything to remain dry in the nest.  I have fed them in a communal galley pot – a couple of spoonfuls at a time to enable me to keep a check on how the birds are doing with it.


The days have moved on and I have seen some of the results from Blackpool but await my copy of the BHW to see them all. Fortunately a number of fanciers have emailed with some details but I look forward to the BHW with all the photos and results. However, congratulations to Dennis McKane on breeding the winner of the BSRF championship class.  Dennis felt unable to judge the class owing to having an interest in it through the bird so good to see a Jersey islander taking honours on the mainland.  It is sad to note that Dennis resigned at President of the Federation as he has done well.



All fanciers here in Victoria are in lock down thanks to a killer virus that has hit a number of lofts, killing a fair percentage of birds.  It first shows itself over in West Australia and this prevented WA fanciers exhibiting at the National in July in Melbourne. Complacency told us all that it would remain in isolation on that side of this vast country but suddenly it appeared over here in the Eastern States of Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.  The National for July in Adelaide has been cancelled and the panic measures are telling us that all shows will be cancelled also and even the racing for this coming season.  It is all mindful of when paramyxovirus came here and the ensuing panic. At least they were able to supply a vaccine for the PMV but nothing seems available for the Rotavirus. Consequently we are in lock-down mode with no loft visits or mixing of fanciers.


Being a police officer I have kept comprehensive records of my birds and their showing over the years.  Hence, if I claimed that a bird had won a specific number of prizes, I could back the claims up with solid record.  I have seen several claims lately which are in my view extremely doubtful and not capable of proof. One in particular was pretty spurious.  All sorts of champions are declared by their owners with little or no evidence to back the claims up and I would suggest that this is a suitable topic for attention by the BSRF. I have a full record of every show entered since 1963 and all the wins and losses in that time.


I have managed this article more as a generalised topic than anything.  I will be pleased to hear from anyone who would like particular subjects covered whether they are of a showing nature or anything else within the sport.


My new address is;

 6 Camborne Avenue,

Mount Eliza 3930,

Victoria, Australia

and my email is as before:





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