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With 40 years under the belt in pigeon racing there have been some ego morphs. Starting in 77 with YB sprinting and then open racing, a taste of success hardened my resolve towards Federation races which was a logical increase in difficulty.

After many years of slogging way in club/fed and open racing the next evolution was in NFC racing. This was hard and difficult with some tough Pau races at 735 miles against the wind. Ongoing now was the foundation of my own strain of related pigeons-a most fascinating obsession. I have to admit that Denney was formidable competition and difficult to beat.

Getting ambitious I hit my personal, racing ceiling with the Barcelona and Dax Internationals. The metamorphosis has been the evolution and change involved in racing from 71 to 879 miles with related birds of my own creation. The process continues in other lofts and locations to this day. Perhaps the final transition will be the legacy of my books which have been great to write. What is a man without a dream and purpose in life??

Giving Pigeons Away:
It is very sporting and nice to exchange pigeons and give them away. In this manner you often get the best of possible breeding and the gentlemen of the sport, especially marathon men, do this to spread goodwill and bloodlines. Some of the men of the North do this and elsewhere. Jack Ross said good pigeons are given Jimmy in 1977 when I started racing-how true and enduring the message was.

We give birds from Barcelona performance birds-i like the purist ethic of this action. The sporting action must be followed by severe progeny testing of all the birds in race reality. Believe me very few birds will prove to be good enough and from any origin -it does not matter if you have paid thousands of pounds for what are advertised as great birds. In raw truth it is down to the brain and expertise of the fancier who races them!!!

Genuine And Real: For many years, I have aimed to discern the good and real qualities in the life of pigeons and people. There are some about, believe it or not, some staring you in the face and others are more subtle. With the games people play, every night and every day you need to be shrewd, have refined instincts and a good nose.

People reveal themselves, when the chips are down and they are under survival pressure, or heightened by being on the edge. I have been sharply aware of these factors on my global travels. Over the years I have been given some top class birds of great origin as kind and sporting gestures. These are good honest people in terms of the act, and on reflection and in the eye of nostalgia the memory tastes sweet. If you test the waters with people and race all your birds out, you will find them for what they are. The hardcore will be left of the human race and some great birds.

Jim Emerton