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“ON THE ROAD” WITH KEITH MOTT

 

CH. ‘Mr. T’ – Mr. & Mrs. Alan Spedding of Cumbria

The pigeon that everyone was talking about in the late 1990’s was the great ‘Mr. T’, which was Alan Spedding’s pigeon, bred by him out of Don Spedding’s stock birds. His sire was Don’s champion blue cock, ‘The Irish Blue Cock’, which will be featured in the next ‘Stories of the Champions’ article. It was on a ‘Many Miles with Mott’ video tour of Cumbria and Scotland that I visited the Show Racer loft of Alan Spedding, soon after he had won Best in Show at the Old Comrades Show for the second time, and I must say, I have always found him to be a very nice guy. He started up with the Show Racers in 1988, taking over the birds when his relation, Donald Spedding packed up, and previous to that Alan raced pigeon with some good success. Donald was a professional singer and had to sell his team of birds to peruse his career in entertainment, and when he had his sale; Alan purchased two pairs back to start himself set up. Donald Spedding was very successful with his wonderful team of birds and is rated by some as one of the best Show Racer fanciers ever in the U.K. Alan told me; Donald was a brilliant stock man and had a natural gift of knowing which pigeon to pair together, to produce winners. He still spends a lot of time at Alan’s loft and his advice has help a lot with their recent success in the National shows.

         

 

Alan is a member of a big Show Racer society in the north west of England and it has lofts as far apart as Blackburn and Carlisle. As well as winning Best in Show twice at the Old Comrades, the Spedding loft had won B.I.S. twice at the Louella Classic and had a winning pigeon on the top table every year it was staged. The first pigeon I handled on my loft visit was the champion blue chequer hen that had won Best in Show at the Old Comrades Show a few weeks before. To say she was beautiful would be an understatement, she was perfection! She was a late bred, being out of a half-brother, half-sister mating and won the Old Comrades in her first season showing. Her dam, a blue chequer hen, was the nest mate to the champion blue chequer cock, ‘Mr. T’, winner of Best in Show at the Old Comrades in 1994. All these National show winners were bred down from Don’s famous blue cock, ‘The Irish Blue Cock’, bred by Harry Spratt of Ireland. The next pigeon with looked at on our visit to the loft in Cumbria was the Old Comrades champion of 1994, blue chequer cock, ‘Mr. T’. This wonderful pigeon was five years old at the time and Alan said he had two more show seasons left in him. He won firsts at the Old Comrades three years on the trot and won Best in Show in 1994. Alan had a dream several nights on the trot, about a week before the Old Comrades and in this dream ‘Mr. T’, won B.I.S. at the Old Comrades Show. On penning his birds in the N.E.C. the following Friday, he told all the show lads about his dream and they all had a good laugh. Can you imagine the looks of amazement on their face on the Saturday when they walked in to the show arena and saw ‘Mr. T’ had won Best in Show! Really spooky! ‘Mr. T’ was a champion in the truest sense of the word, winning a long list of prizes at Classic and National shows!

 

CH. ‘SPARKY’ – Mr. & Mrs. Ron McCarthy of Rhymney

I received a phone call from my good friend, Colin Carter, in March 2014 to inform me that the ‘master’, Ron McCarthy, had packed up his pigeons the week previous because of one or two health problems. Ron, now 81 years old, was going to retire from the Show Racer scene a year or so earlier, but was persuaded by the lads to carry on, but had now decided to call it a day! His 30 bird strong Show Racer team has now gone up to the north east of England and are now the property the Wheatley family of Middlesbrough. This really is bad news as Ron was the ‘master’ of the show pen and his wonderful record in Society and National shows must rate him as one the greatest showmen of all time in the UK! Colin told me we will still see Ron about at the main National Shows as long as he can get a lift to venue and he will still enjoy the sport as a spectator. We look forward to seeing the ‘master’ next winter!

        

 

Ron McCarthy and his late wife, June, won Best in Show at the 2009 BHW Blackpool Show for the record fifth time with a wonderful young dark chequer Show Racer cock, now named ‘Colin’s Cracker’ and he was bred by Colin Carter of Churchdown. He was bred from a cock loaned from Ron McCarthy which is also the sire of Ron’s Champion ‘Blue Boy’ winner of BIS at the BHW Blackpool Show in 2006 and the dam of ‘Colin’s Cracker’ was Colin’s good dark hen, winner of many firsts including ‘Champion Hen’ at the Edinburgh Show, plus is dam of many winners. On one of my ‘Many Miles with Mott’ video tours of South Wales, I visited the premier Show Racer fanciers, Ron and June McCarthy of Gwent. In Ron’s 60 plus years in the sport, he has won many top positions, including B.I.S. Cardiff Charity Show, B.I.S. Show of the West, B.I.S. Birmingham Mail Show, B.I.S. Midlands Show several times, B.I.S. R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show several times, B.I.S. B.H.W. Blackpool Show (a record five times), Supreme Champion at Blackpool and Supreme Champion Young Bird Southern Classic Show. A fantastic loft performance in classic shows! Ron says, although it was many years ago, he rates his wonderful blue chequer cock, ‘Sparky’, as his best champion pigeon. He won thirty six firsts and many times Best in Show at Classic and National events, including BIS at the ‘Peoples Show’ and BIS at the ‘Show of the West’ held at Swindon. This wonderful cock was winning in the ‘golden’ era of showing in the late 1960’s, when Harry King and other Show Racer ‘superstars’ were at their best.

 

CH. ‘COTSWOLD JEANIE’ – Colin & Jean Carter of Churchdown

When walking around the National shows in the winter months, we quite often bump into Colin Carter and win or lose, he always seems cheerful. Colin and his late wife, Jean, were fanciers who enjoy their pigeons, top or bottom of the result sheet, they always enjoy themselves! Being one of the premier Show Racer partnerships in the U.K., more often than not they have pigeons on the winners table, which is great achievement as theirs is a small team loft, with quality and not quantity being the criteria for their pigeon regime. Colin’s wife, Jean, was his pigeon partner and was very active in the sport, playing a big part in the management of the birds and attended all the big shows with him.

        

 

Colin’s first show birds came from Cyril Lowe of Guernsey in 1965 and at that time Bill Harris was a stoker on the boats that went on regular trips to Guernsey from Portsmouth. Bill would bring show birds over from Cyril to go to the big London shows. When Colin saw these Show Racers he was hooked and when Cyril Lowe found out he gifted Colin with several pairs. At that time Colin married his wife, Jean, and started a family. In 1970 work took the Carter family to Gloucestershire, where they set up home in Churchdown and because of lack of time all the pigeons had to be sold off. Colin restarted up in the sport in 1991 with a few race birds and joined the Newent & Dist. F.C. On visiting the Old Comrades Show at the N.E.C. Birmingham that winter, Colin bumped in to Doug McClary, who he hadn’t seen for over 20 years. One thing led to another and he soon had some of the McClary Show Racers in his back garden, replacing the racing pigeons. He joined the Monmouth Show Racer Society and more show birds were introduced, mainly from Ron McCarthy, Tony Williams and the Wheatley family in the north east of England.

 

Colin won Best in Show for the third time at the 2015 BHW Blackpool ‘Show of the Year’, with his champion silver hen, ‘Cotswold Silver Star’. This hen was bred from Steve Wheatley and Ron McCarthy stock birds and the Blackpool show was her first time in the show pen! Colin and Jean have had very successful 2014 / 15 show season and another principal pigeon was their mosaic hen, ‘Cotswold Southern Belle’, and she won this time: 1st Blackpool show and Best Inter Society (350 birds), BIS RPRA Southern Region Show (729 birds), BOS Stithians Show, 1st South West Open Show and 2nd ‘Duchy’ Open Show. What a great season! Colin has owned many champions pigeons in his time and when I asked him which was his best bird, he had a good think and finally answered, ‘my good hen ‘Cotswold Jeanie’. She was my most consistent pigeon, being shown 44 times and taking 37 cards, including twice Best in Show and six times Best Opposites Sex in Classic and National shows. She was best hen at the Edinburgh International Show and was a fantastic breeder, producing many premier show birds, including ‘Colin’s Cracker’ winner of BIS BHW Blackpool Show in 2009 for Ron McCarthy of Wales’.

 

The Brain Tumour Charity

A few weeks ago I wrote a preview to this year’s RPRA Southern Region Show and in it I mentioned the donation the show made to the Brain Tumour Charity in 2015. As a direct result of the article Mr. A. Holtby of York phoned me to tell me his dear friend had had the problem and donated a further £200 to the charity. A wonderful gesture, thanks to Mr. Holtby! The RPRA Southern Region show and pigeon auction have donated thousands of pounds to charity over the last 35 years and one of the charities last year was the Brain Tumour Charity, which is based at Farnborough in Hampshire. Show worker, ‘Jock’ Price and his wife, Liz, lost their dear daughter a few short years ago to a brain tumour and they were happy with the decision to donate to the charity from the 2015 show. ‘Jock’ and Liz were presenting the £500 cheque at the Brain Tumour Charity head office in Farnborough and he asked if I would like to come along and take some pictures for the fancy press. Goes without saying, I was more than happy to attend and enjoyed meeting Liz and the Charity staff.

 

This week’s article is the third part of a four part Show Racer special, featuring some of the best UK champions of recent years.

‘HAPPY NEW YEAR’ and the very best of luck for the new 2017 racing season to all our many friends in the pigeon world from Betty and me.

I can be contacted with any pigeon ‘banter’ on

Telephone number: 01372 463480

Or email: keithmott1@virginmedia.com

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT

(www.keithmott.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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