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LES J. PARKINSON'S

Early start.

It is now mid-March and I have seen the odd batches going over that are in training, not sure if they will last the season starting this early but everyone to their own. The weather has been better than we would have expected for this time of the year. One thing is for sure and that is the winter months are not what they used to be. This change in the weather patterns is allowing fanciers to train their pigeons much earlier. The question we must ask ourselves is, “How long can a pigeon keep racing at its best” No doubt most of these early starters will not be expecting their pigeons to compete the programme, probably just the shorter races. That is how many fanciers start off but as we get older, we look to the more leisurely way of racing from across the channel, especially into the North West. Some racing into the northern half of the UK might find it more stressful but I don’t think so, it was always an excuse to sit in the garden and watch the world go by while the boss keeps the kettle going, or better still a glass of wine. Most pigeons will go out to 350mls in the modern day of racing pigeons and will do it more than once in a season. In fact, many pigeons will do 3-4 or maybe even 5 channel races in a season into the north. The southern based fanciers will obviously expect their birds to take up such a challenge much easier because of the distance covered. The one thing about channel racing is, if they hit the wrong line coming across that stretch of water, they are adding many miles onto their distance home. Then when that happens the races become much harder because they are more than likely going to be heading back into a head wind.  

 

What type of birds win?

Every now and again I look through articles that I have written and bring a few words out, this piece is the oldest I have on the net and is from 2005. What type of bird wins at what distance, the answer is simple, "All sorts" but the question should be "In what numbers, what percentage" Pigeon racing and the type of pigeon we race has changed over the years and they vary from one distance to another? As we are all aware there is always the exception to the rule but as a rule of thumb there is not a great deal in good pigeons at set distances. Years ago, the distance pigeons were generally bigger and longer cast, they were the good-looking Dordins and such families, most being streamlined. Then over the years the top fanciers started to breed to type and the sprinter became a powerhouse and as the saying goes "Built like a brick s__ house" The power was bred into the shoulders and when you handle most today's top sprinters they are like wedges. These are the pigeons that win when they must work hard and power their way home in quick time; even in a tail wind they show their strength. Having said that in a tail wind we have to consider the exception to the rule because there always is one. I remember selling at auction the pigeons of the late Mike Young who had an excellent team of pigeons. When I handled then they were as with many other distance families, a smaller type that didn't need to put as much effort into getting home. Their quality was reflected in the top distance lofts who were in attendance and after them, one thing was for sure they were not going to win in the show pen. On the other hand, most sprinters would win in the show pen because they are bred to strength and their strength makes them look good. The same went for the distance lines in the late Bob Lewis pigeons, they were in demand and neither had paperwork, but they did attract high prices. There are a few who go for type and the best of luck to them, you go for what you want but if you want to win you need to go for good quality bred pigeons that have the right breeding around them. If they are bred right then you will get the best out of them sooner or later, not all pigeons are going to suit and at times we must give and take in order that we breed the right pigeons. The days of the big bulky Dordins have gone, the beautiful pigeons that won in the show pen and on the road. Even the Dordins that are housed at Elimar are not as big as they were when we first brought them in 30yrs ago. Times change and in the modern day of racing pigeons the winning fanciers are becoming more and more selective and breeding pigeons to do a job.

 

Internet

Another subject at the same time was about the Internet which not many pigeon fanciers were into at the time, now look at them, some spend most of their evenings on the night over winter. This was a piece Chris Knowles did in 2015. Fanciers have changed and embraced the electronics’ that now surround our lives not just pigeon racing. We never know what the future holds and a good job, but you can be sure of and that is there is always going to be progress. Many years ago, pigeon fanciers would say they are too old for all the modern-day systems, but many have been converted and now see that it is the way forward.  

So, let’s go back to 2005. A subject close to me is the World Wide Web a system that is universal and becoming a window to the world of pigeon racing. We in the UK are fortunate to have the BHW, which is probably the biggest selling pigeon magazine in the world and does have extensive coverage. However, an increasing number of pigeon companies who supply products and of course clubs themselves are building their own website and for that matter individual fanciers with birds to sell, are making use of the Internet. It makes sense because the reach of websites is greater than that of traditional advertising mediums, making it more cost effective. One thing that we all like and that is our weekly paper through the door each week, so the Internet is not really an alternative but more of an addition to what is already available. This is a subject I've been giving a lot of thought to recently and have taken everything into account. To find out more visit www.elimarpigeons.co.uk

Nearly three years ago I was talking to Chris Knowles about the Internet and persuaded him to write an article of interest. This was published in the Gazette so was obviously only open to a limited number of fanciers so this week and next I am including that piece, of course with the Ed's agreement. The article was called The Internet - The Yellow Brick Road of Information!

 

"Yes, the above heading is more than true, the Internet is a modern-day wizard, it gives and finds you answers to questions, on any chosen subject and the answer, is objective and not an opinion. I have wanted to put pen to paper on this topic for some time now, but the sands of time have not been in my favour. Over the Christmas period, like most other pigeon fanciers, I am not only blessed with the company of friends and family and the gifts we share, I also have an extra special commodity to enjoy, that of time! Time in which I can do things, time that at the end of a normal working day/week, I can't seem to find. The combination of time and the inspiration that it takes to sit at my computer and put such an article as this together, seems ever more elusive. Within one of the roles in working life, I spent twenty years, from the mid-seventies to mid-nineties working in the computer industry, where I watched and worked on their development towards the level we know today. The progress is quite staggering when you consider the changes, like the size of a computer and its components, which are minute to what they were and the computing power, which is now massive to what it used to be. The only thing, which has changed very little, is the user! Twenty years ago, there were people who opened their mind to the progress and others who closed theirs. Today, even though computers are present in nearly every household, there is still reluctance from a large percentage of the population to come to terms with "THE COMPUTER". We need to look at the children of today, they know no different and accept them in the same way that the previous generation accepted calculators! Computers can make life and learning so much easier, all that is needed is the confidence and knowledge to use them. Nobody is born an expert; it just takes a little practice. With the above in mind and not wishing to speak down to regular users, I wanted in this article to point out what fanciers are missing out on, if they are not giving themselves the opportunity to use one of the strongest tools in modern day pigeon racing. I would like to thank Nikolaas Gyselbrecht of Belgium, who is the Webmaster of Pigeonparadise, one of if not the most frequently visited Pigeon Web Sites worldwide. Nikolaas, who is the son of the world-famous pigeon vet Carlo Gyselbrecht, has kindly allowed me to use Pigeonparadise to help illustrate my article. Connecting to the Internet: There are various ways to connect to the Internet and there are also many providers, such as BT, NTL and AOL etc. etc. If you are not connected and don't have someone in the family or a friend who can help, if you want to become a user and have a computer, then ring one of the providers and ask for advice, they will be pleased to assist. I personally use NTL broadband, which costs £14.99 per month for 24 Hrs a day access, and does not use my phone line, as it is connected via my set top box through which I receive my digital TV channels. I find it fast, convenient (I can still use my phone and Internet at the same time), and good value. Once you are connected, all you must do is tap in your destination site and away you go. If you look at the example page below from Pigeonparadise, you will see numerous references and topics, all of which you can click on and link into that specific topic. (Pigeonparadise is now more commonly known as Pipa)

 

Time and work.

Since those days’ times have changed and there are many pigeon web sites to be seen, many don’t last that long because there is so much work and time involved in keeping them up to date. As always there are some that build year on year, where will it all stop, we will never know, the average age of pigeon fanciers is not as low as we would like it to be, but there will always be pigeon fanciers looking for another race, another challenge, another piece of excitement on a race day.

 

One more thing.

Just before finishing on 2005 here is something that still applies to today’s racing. Year after year we hear about losses and that is something that will never change, however this year, we are hearing about more than the usual losses of good winning pigeons. When I say good winning pigeons, I mean "Good winning pigeons, not the average pigeon" pigeons that have won classics, topped the fed etc. We all send our pigeons with thoughts on their return but that is not guaranteed because anything can happen on their way home. There are many obstacles and reasons why our pigeons do not return, and it is never always the fault of the pigeon. They have an awful lot to contend with and those who live to a ripe old age and have raced for a few years are hard to come by, a few but no real numbers. No fancier really sees a lot of their pigeons growing to a ripe old age, there are always reasons why they don’t make it.

 

North West Classic Club

Kim and I are pleased with the way the NWCC are going, we are still getting the odd new members and gold rings are still selling. There is still time to join the club and get in on the act of some real good prize money starting at £1,000 per race plus of course money from the entry fee’s to be added. So, for the 5 races and Gold ring race there is £8,000 available before the season gets under way. This is still one of the best Classic clubs to compete in £17,000 paid out in 5 races during 2018 and that figure is expected to rise for the coming season. The first race is on the 8th June which gives you plenty of time to get them in their best condition for a channel race. If you are a member and have not paid your subs can you, please do so to save the costs of letters going out. If you are not sure whether you have paid or not you can look on the web site where all members are listed.

 

Sales.

I have heard fanciers saying that some pigeons sold on UK web sites are far too expensive, yes, some prices are going up but still a long way short of the average that many are currently paying in Europe to get the latest fashion. The problem is once you have paid and done your breeding the next fashion has become available therefore it is hard to recouple your initial layout. Anyway, the point is I was totally shocked to hear that a pigeon called “Armondo” that I had handled last year had been sold for 1.252 million euros. See photos, one being of “Armondo” and the other with LJP and Mr & Mrs Joel Verschoot who had just come out of the loft after handling this National winning cock. The pigeon fanciers who can pay that kind of money for pigeons are few and far between and if I won the top euro millions prize I would certainly not pay that kind of money for any pigeon. The story made BBC breakfast and gave some good publicity for the sport. Our GM was also there on BBC TV and gave a good account on the sport which is just what we needed. “Armondo” is heading off to China after two fanciers from the same country fought it out on the auction site, all I can say is the best of luck to them.

 

Mr & Mrs Joel Verschoot vendors of the worlds highest priced on-line pigeon "Armondo" (see below) with Les J Parkinson, the highest priced pigeon sold went for 2.78 million Euros

 

Photo.

I had a photo sent on email from Richard Young showing a prize presentation for the Crewe West End, and he thinks it’s about 16 years ago. They were the days when this club was the one where many were attracted too, they always had a good attendance and went to the likes of Alvaston Hall which is a nice place to go and one that is well up in the places to eat around Cheshire. Also, you can see from the photo that even the local clubs used to smarten up for such events as compared to today when the dress code is casual.

 

Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ. 01606836036 Mobile 07871701585. Email elimar908@btinternet.com web site www.elimarpigeons.com

Chris photos

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