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THE 2013 DUCHY SHOW

by Keith Mott

 

The month of November saw Terry Haley and myself make the 240 mile drive down to Bodmin in Cornwall to judge the South West Show Racer Society's annual Duchy Open Show. The Duchy Show is open to any fanciers in the UK and John Robilliard tells me they come from as far away as Wales, Gloucestershire and the Midlands to compete. The show’s 37 classes are for Show Racers and Racing Pigeons, and this year’s event attracted a 602 bird entry. Although Terry and I were a long way from home, it was good to see all the old familiar faces we see every year around the Show Racer scene. The judges on the day were: (Racing Pigeons) M. Underhill, R. Prettejohn, M. Hannaford, A. Nolan, B. Brown, (Show Racers) Terry Haley, Tony Baugh, P. Bedler and Keith Mott. Tony Baugh was given the task of judging the specials from the 35 class winners and with the quality of the pigeon there, what a hard job that was!

 

Tony awarded Best in Show (Show Racer) and Supreme Champion to beautiful blue chequer hen named, ‘Abigail’, owned by Brian and Caroline Seward of Brampton. Brian told me on the day that this latest champion was bred down from his wonderful family of show racers that had won many championships through the years. Best Opposite Sex (Show Racer), Best Young Bird and Best Opposite Sex Young Bird were won by David and Jill Fisher, with a wonderful duo of mealies. Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams won Best Racer in Show, plus other premier awards, with a handsome blue cock and also lifted the Best Opposite Sex Racer award with a blue hen.

 

Originally the Duchy Show was put on for many years by the Duchy Racing Pigeon Club and when it disbanded about seven years ago the South West Show Racer Society took it over, and this year’s event is their seventh open show. The SWSRS has 35 members with their lofts in mostly Devon and Cornwall, with a couple of members living in South Wales. The Society holds five shows each season, three club events and two open shows, one in November and the other in December. The competition in the Society is very keen and the members do very well at all the National and Classic shows throughout the UK. The Societies chairman, John Robilliard, told me, a few years ago the club out grew their old HQ at a local hospital site and managed to secure the Luxulyan Village Hall, which is a brilliant venue to stage big pigeon shows, with a nice well lit hall and good catering and parking facilities. The hard working secretary is, Liz Watts, who has her loft in Camborne and the President is Ken Hearn. The Society had some really bad luck recently when they lost a lot of their equipment in a fire, including all their tables and trestles. They are having fund raising events to raise money to replace their lost equipment, including small pigeon auctions at the club shows.

 

Winners at the 2013 Duchy Open Show were: (Racing Pigeons) Class 1: 1st W. & L. Jefford, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 3rd Mr. & Mrs F. Hole: Class 2: 1st Mr. & Mrs. F. Hole, 2nd David Stuart, 3rd David Stuart: Class 3: 1st Laverne Young, 2nd Phil Neville, 3rd Phil Neville: Class 4: 1st David Stuart, 2nd David Stuart, 3rd Phil Neville: Class 5: 1st M. Neville, 2nd David Stuart, 3rd David Stuart: Class 6: 1st Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 3rd David Stuart: Class 7: 1st Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 2nd W. & L. Jefford, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter: Class 8: 1st Phil Neville, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 3rd W. & L. Jefford: Class 9: 1st Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 3rd Ronald Williams: Class 10: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams: Class 11: 1st Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams, 2nd W. & L. Jefford, 3rd Ronald Williams: Class 12: 1st Phil Neville, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. P. Wilson & son, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. F. Williams: Class 13: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 2nd Cooper & Son, 3rd Ronald Williams: Class 14: 1st Cooper & Son, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 3rd Cooper & Son: Class 15: 1st David Stuart, 2nd  Mr. & Mrs. p. Wilson & Son, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter: Class 16: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 2nd David Stuart, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. D. Hole: Class 17: 1st Mr. & Mrs. D. Hole, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. Frankie Hole & Daughter (Show Racers) Class 18: 1st R. & J. Thresher, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 3rd Nigel Rescorla: Class 19: 1st Nigel Rescorla, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 3rd Jill & David Fisher: Class 20: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 2nd John Robilliard, 3rd Mr.& Mrs. B. Stuart: Class 21: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Brian Seward, 2nd R. & J. Thresher, 3rd Nigel Rescorla: Class 22: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 2nd John Robilliard, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter: Class 23: 1st John Robilliard, 2nd Mr. & Mrs Colin Carter, 3rd John Robilliard: Class 24: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 2nd Jill & David Fisher, 3rd E.T. Houilbecq: Class 25: 1st Jill & David Fisher, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 3rd Jill & David Fisher: Class 26: 1st John Robilliard, 2nd R. & J. Thresher, 3rd Littlejohn & Fry: Class 27: 1st John Robilliard: 2nd E. T. Houilbecq, 3rd E. T. Houilbecq: Class 28: 1st Jill & David Fisher, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter: Class 29: 1st Jill & David Fisher, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. B. Stuart, 3rd R. & J. Thresher: Class 30: 1st Paul Cammock, 2nd Jill & David Fisher, 3rd Mervyn Hoskin: Class 31: 1st R. & J. Thresher, 2nd Paul Cammock, 3rd John Robilliard: Class 32: 1st Nigel Rescorla, 2nd Nigel Rescorla, 3rd Mr. & Mrs. C. Carter: Class 33: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 2nd Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 3rd Jill & David Fisher: Class 34: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 2nd R. & J. Thresher, 3rd R. & J. Thresher: Class 35: 1st Mr. & Mrs. Colin Carter, 2nd Hearn & Prouse, 3rd Nigel Rescorla: Class 36: 1st John Robilliard, 2nd Jill & David Fisher, 3rd R. & J. Thresher: Class 37: 1st R. & J. Thresher, 2nd Paul Cammock, 3rd Jill & David Fisher.

 

Talking to Brian Seward the day after the show, he told me, he had not slept to well with the excitement of his big win and he and his wife, Caroline were highly delighted with their success at the ‘Duchy’ Show. Their Supreme Champion, ‘Abigail’, is named after their eldest granddaughter and she won as young bird at the ‘Duchy’ and won her class at the 2012 BSRF Southern Show. In 2012 she was mated to a gift pigeon from Alastair Tankard and they produced four youngsters, two of which have won first prizes. This wonderful hen is bred from a long line of premier winners, with her dam, ‘04273’, winning a first at the Camborne show, as well as cards at the BHW Blackpool Show. ‘Abigail’s’ sire is a blue cock, gifted to the Sewards by Roland and Julie Thresher and he won a class at the ‘Duchy’ Show last season. The Supreme Champion’s grand dam, ‘04192’, was bred from Jill and David Fisher stock birds and she too was a champion in the show pen winning, four firsts as a yearling, as well as 1st all winners champion class at the Devon & Cornwall Show Racer Society. A wonderful line of winning Show Racers!

 

Brian was a pigeon fancier at a very young age, with his father, Arnold, being a very successful racer before and after the Second World War. The late Arnold Seward flew both North and South roads with outstanding success in club and Federation, but his main success was gaining premier positions in the National Flying Club, and from Palamos. Arnold got his interest in pigeon racing from his uncle, Arnold Record, who flew in the Record & Talman partnership of Exeter before the war. In the 1970’s Brian’s pigeon racing conflicted with his work in the family business and their two young sons’ activity of horse riding. The late great Show Racer fancier, Mike Hale of Cornwall, suggested that some show birds might be more compatible with Brian busy life style at that time and Brian decided to changed codes, and Mike supplied him with his first pair of Show Racers. Brian’s father, Arnold, also changed over to show birds and they enjoyed showing and judging at all the major shows together. Arnold passed away in 1993 and Brian found it very hard to travel around the country show on his own, so packed the pigeon up. Doug McClary kept in touch with Brian through his none pigeon years and gave him regular judging appointments. Brian was invited to judge at the 2005 BHW Blackpool Show, where he received a wonderful welcome back by his Show Racer friends and he soon had a new loft erected in the garden. The smart new 18ft x 8ft structure was soon followed by a basket full top quality Show Racers, gifted from Jill and David Fisher, and Jill’s father, Mervyn Patt. Within two years these stock birds produced both adult and young bird champions in the Devon & Cornwall SRS. Brian and Caroline retired from work in 2008, which gave them more time to be involved with the pigeons and they became joint secretaries of the Devon & Cornwall SRS.

 

Brian and Caroline’s cottage was originally a stable before the war, when Brian’s grandfather’s business delivered bred by pony and trap across Exmoor. It is Exmoor which still plays a large part in their retirement, as they help as volunteers on the Exmoor National Park. They have licences to monitor Dormice and Otters, and to lead walks over the moor. Exmoor National Park have big adventure days, when the theme is about the war and Brian has a stand with information leaflets about the ‘Pigeons In War’, which he backs up by taking a basket of birds to display, which proves very popular. One school in Minehead has had visits from the Exmoor National Park, when Brian and Caroline take the children out on nature walks. Recently Brian attended with a ranger to discuss ‘Pigeons In War’ at the school assembly and he took some pigeons as a surprise, which really went down well. He borrowed a pair of racing birds from local fancier, George Hensley, so messages could be attacked to the birds and then they were released. The children whooped with encouragement as the birds soared into the sky and yelled the direction of home as they circled over the school getting their bearings. The birds quickly returned to their loft and George read the messages, which thanked him for the loan of his birds!

 

The beginning of November marked the start of the current 2013 show season and I must say I’m looking forward to visiting all the major shows, this winter. Although I love long distance racing pigeons, many of my racing friends can’t understand my passion for showing pigeons. I can never turn pigeons off and when racing is finished in September, the Mott loft goes into showing mode. I have to have my ‘fix’ twelve months in every year. I suppose I’m a bit of a frustrated show man at heart! I think breeding pigeons for type and winning with them at a Classic show is as much an art as breeding outstanding racers, and winning a National race. I derive as much pleasure out of seeing a Best in Show winner at the National shows, as I do a National race winning pigeon, but I think I’m one of the lucky ones, as I can enjoy both sides of our great sport. Although I’m mostly known for the racing side of the sport, I have a big involvement in the Show Racers scene and have judged at all the Classic and National shows through the years, which I have really enjoyed.

 

What a great day we had in Cornwall! Thanks to all the workers and a special thanks to the Society secretary, Liz Watts, for her wonderful work on the day. I judged five classes on the day and the birds entered were in great condition, which is full credit to their owners. I can be contacted with any pigeon banter on telephone number: 01372 463480.

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)