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Thought’s from Les J Parkinson

 

There is always something to think about with pigeons, and the good fancier’s, no let me rephrase that because we are all good pigeon fanciers. All top winning fanciers are always thinking about their pigeons and what they need to do. Pigeon fanciers naturally think about what they are doing and do it, but the top winners go that one step further and think outside the box which is what makes them top winning fanciers. We can all have good pigeons, but we must be motivated that little bit more that others to reach the top. Racing pigeons can be so simple and I am including a fancier this week who made racing pigeons so simple when there were two and three times as many fanciers competing. 

 

 

 

This is how simple racing pigeons used to be, the ways of a legend, the late George Stubbs of Sandbach.

 

 

George "Stubby" Stubbs

 

I never get fed up with hearing about the older and past fanciers in the sport, the ones who were there when I was in short trousers. The likes of the fantastic Sandbach fancier George Stubbs. In the late 60’s when I first set up lofts in Middlewich one of the first fanciers to be noticed was “Stubby”. It was quite some time before I became aware of who the local fanciers were talking about, it turned out to be George Stubbs who had been one of the most competitive fanciers in Cheshire for over 50 yrs. I became more knowledgeable of this fancier over the next few years but then real every day contact, started with a change of job to Fodens of Sandbach. This was a new experience to sit around at dinnertime and see a fancier captivate the imagination of usually a dozen fanciers. The stories relating to many years in the sport came thick and fast. It soon became apparent that this was a fancier of great knowledge when it came to the racing and keeping of the pigeon. When you have had the chance to listen to George on a daily basis you can well understand why he become a “legend” in his own lifetime in the world of pigeon racing. There is no doubt about it many fanciers benefited through their conversations with George and have been in awe of his achievements. George was the type of fancier who was totally dedicated to the pigeons which is why over the years he dominated so much of his competition.

 

 

 

For many years George was fortunate that his late brother Jack was at hand to help out but after his death George had to work with the pigeons himself. Many top results were achieved whether in National Classic Two Bird Fed Open, Combine or Club, he won against the best and never shied away from competition. Confidence was always with George right from the early days, he was never been afraid of competition, which is why he stayed at the top for so long. With so many years’ experience you become expectant of the many remarks that he passes concerning the way a pigeon should be or how it should be sent to a race. These remarks go straight over the head of most fanciers and they did with me at one time but then one day I sat and recalled a few of his comments. The one that stood out “that a pigeon must be mentally fit as well as physical fit to win a race”. I heard this comment a few years prior to actually taking any notice, but then the realisation of what was meant by the remark came home and has not been forgotten. We watch our pigeons hot footing it around after the hens and think “Yes that pigeons fit” but then on the race day disappointment sets in because that same pigeon showing such vigour on basketing day was behind. After that I started to take that extra bit of care when looking at the pigeons with the emphasis on George’s comments, one to remember. A man of great knowledge who should always be listened too in a very positive way. Not even the greats win them all at a consistent pace even though getting near the top on a regular basis. The Middlewich two bird eluded George for 21 years before he actually won a first prize even though he had such an impressive record with the club.

 

 

George Stubbs & Dave Allen

 

The National events were always competed in with a forceful team especially when the two blue pied hens were racing back in the 70s. Even though he had many National achievements behind him with various pigeons it was these two hens who were so reliable year after year in all competition, but the channel was where they shone when sent week after week swapping from eggs to y/bird and back again, you have to be good to do that. Even though he has always looked at the new strains he would stick to the original old family that has made him so famous over the years. You could see the odd Busschaert or Janssen creep in or whatever he had a mind to try, he like Denis Gleave was always willing to try the odd ones from any strain that was about and not fill the loft with the one family that was flavour of the month which has brought so many fanciers down to earth after getting into winning ways, a mistake many have made over the years. We read of the named families from the continent, which is amazing because they generally have a family based on the Janssen’s where as George successfully blended a family over many years.

 

 

 

 

This family is based on continued success unlike many of the continentals who based the majority of prizes on one in every so many. Really, we should in the British Isle begin to recognize our own strain makers such as George whose reputation preceded them in the pigeon world, but we hardly ever do. George’s family were originally based on the Osmans via a g/son of “Olympic” the sire of Georges cock was strongly believed to be the best son of “Olympic”. Then there were further additions via a g/son of “Marcella King2 x “Marrennes Beauty” from Jarvis of Wakefield. There was also an excellent pigeon out of a daughter of “Strysdale Queen” based on the Edmondson family. From then on came two sons of the “Tofts Record Cock”, which is where the heavy blood red splash pigeons came from. As at the time you could see these were certainly based on the old families, as is the case with a son of “Barcelona Billy” and a very good “Vandy Cock” from Perry of Stockton on Tees. I suppose there will be a few reading these notes and reminiscing on what they had all those years ago.

 

 

George Stubbs & Brian Newsome

 

These lines were moulded over many years into a first class winning family, it was a few years before further introduction were made via what was commonly known as the “Millwards” a family that was made very famous around the Cheshire area by George who could very often be heard saying something like “this weeks winner is off the Millwards”. This family was one of the most notable lines that were introduced because of their consistency over a long period of time. Many National positions must be credited to these lines as well as many achieved in club fed and open competition. This is the only loft where I have heard this family credited with such performances, I wonder how many other fanciers could give them some credit to the Millwards at that time but have declined because they were never a real flavour of the month like so many of the Belgium strains. You see “The flavour of the month” was the same all those years ago so is nothing new to a pigeon loft. George like one of the other top fanciers Denis Gleave was never satisfied and neither should they be of bringing new pigeons in, after all that is why they stayed at the top for so long.

 

 

 

 

The next in line to join the “Stubby” lofts were from Wilf Hart the legendary Crewe winner who’s success stayed with the family via Stuart who has flown as a good pigeon as anyone in the town the pigeon to come from Wilf was known as the Pilot hen which was cross into the already established family to produce a host of winners especially from across the channel. Then it was on to the Krauths that have made such an impact in so many lofts in those days especially locally. This time it was to the lofts of Dave Johnson over at Buerton where again so many winners have been produced. Knowing how good these lines were George also brought in the Paul Dewsnap line of Krauths a family that was well known to George at the time because of regular competition with the Holmes Chapel club where they both competed. He then had odd ones from what were the more modern-day strain such as the Janssen’s and Busschaert’s and who knows how many other strains that are not common knowledge. What we must never lose track of with the lofts of George Stubbs, is the fact that he would never introduce large numbers of any particular family. It was only odd ones to test and if they were good enough, he would gradually build them into his already established family. Bearing the above in mind one can well appreciate why many fanciers believe that George should have been credited with his own strain of pigeons. After all he has kept to his base strain and introduced only a limited number of pigeons from any one family of pigeons and not like many have done bring in a near complete team of pigeons.

 

 

George Stubbs, Charlie Millar and two scary subjects in the background

 

Everything was so simple for George and his pigeons, there was never any high-tech systems here every part of pigeon racing was made as it should be simple to do with no hassle at all. The corn was always simple with none of the continental mixtures just a straightforward corn from the local merchants. I have very often wondered if it is necessary to buy the expensive corn, is it physiological why we buy the best corn on the market, do our pigeons need expensive brands, it may be a case of fanciers like life as they do themselves, give them the best even though it may not be necessary, after all it worked for George for many years.

 

 

 

There were no flashy loft’s, this one stood the test of time, a strong structure that even a hurricane would have had trouble shifting. Size well one could say very spacious measuring some 32ft long 12ft depth and 9ft high. The corridor is the full length and the height is not all for the pigeons because there was a false wire mess interior roof, which allowed plenty of fresh air to flow through the lofts. There was also a good corridor and veranda. I bet that there are a few fanciers about who remember George obtaining the wood to erect this loft. There were several offices being altered at Fodens, the old ones being dismantled and George was off the mark quick to pay out a few quid to get them delivered for what must be the strongest and cheapest loft around that has clocked in more winners than I care to mention. The modern-day lofts may be fancy with closed in fronts of glass heating and pan tiled roofs, but I dare bet there are not many that have seen so many top-rated pigeons trap like lightening on race days.

 

 

An old Mid Cheshire Fed presentation where George Stubbs was a premier winner.

 

 

I was looking through the compiled list of prizes that George had won and would not even consider putting them all in the article because there are so many. Here are just a few that George picked up over the years in the NFC 13th sec 66th open 27th sec 97th open 8,851 birds 13th 25th sec 84th, 137th open 9,743 birds. 9th sec, 106th open 11,964 birds 12th, 18th, 38th sec 45th, 59th, 140th open 10,311 birds. 5th sec, 96th open 10,049 birds, 9th sec, 581st open 9,353 birds, 28th sec, 64th open, 10557 birds 2nd, 4th sec 17th, 26th open 15th, 16th sec 71st 74th open 7676 birds 8th sec 316th open 7,156 birds, 1st 3rd sec, 13th, 20th open 9,685 birds 12th sec 471st open 4,585 birds. 14th, 33rd sec 112th 190th open 10,032 birds 1st sec, 70th open, 10,508 birds 7th sec, 48th open 9,680 birds. 7th sec 84th open 5,070 birds, all Nat FC positions and know doubt I have missed a few. You must also remember that in those days there were over 6,000 in the National FC and far more members entering than there is today and in general entering much smaller teams. There were regularly in excess of 10,000 birds entered into a single race.  

 

 

Some of the most prominent channel positions outside the National include 1st Cheshire 2 bird Rennes 1st club 1st Fed 1st Combine Nantes 1st Middlewich, 2bird Rennes 1st Elworth Nantes 1st Elworth Rennes 1st club 1st Fed 1st Championship Niort. 1st Elworth Sartilly 1st club 1st Championship Rennes 1st club 1st champ Nantes 1st Audlem 600mile club Nantes 1st Cheshire Social Circle Nantes 1st Audlem 600mile club Guernsey 1st Holmes Chapel Rennes 1st Sandbach FC Nantes 1st Middlewich 2 bird Angouleme 1st Audlem HS Guernsey 1st Sandbach Niort 1st club 1st Fed 1st champ Nantes. They are just a selection of channel wins there are many more that could go on the list but of course all those hundreds of prizes from 2nd down. What is more impressive is the vels go from 333ypm to 1390ypm proving that these pigeons are hard workers? What you must remember is, these were big clubs in their day with many top winning fanciers to compete against.

 

 

 

 

I have only written the above to show that you can win no matter what, all you need is to put common sense into practice and you are away. And you need Patience, Motivation, perseverance and Dedication or whatever else you want to call it.

 

 

Chris photos

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