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PRESS  RELEASE                                         

BTS 19                                                                                                                       20 July 2017



In continuing to try and find an answer to the question of a poor, some will say disastrous, series of channel races the majority of fanciers have experienced during the 2017 season, I have been asking some talented and vastly more experienced fanciers than myself for their opinions on the matter and have attempted, through these columns, to bring their views to the Fancy at large and my latest series of chats have resulted in the following conclusions.

To try and put all the answers I received into one article would take almost a full edition of any publication and so I have tried to concentrate on the two principal answers I received when I posed the question “What is going wrong?”

The first, and probably most predictable, was that we, the fanciers were to blame for breeding from stock that was incapable of producing offspring that were up to the job. Comments like “We have been concentrating on sprint racing for too long now and breeding from birds largely imported from the Continent, that were brilliant at returning extremely high velocities from short distance races but were not up to the job when it came to the distance”.

Whether this is true or not I am not in a position to judge but common sense tells me that I would not expect Usain Bolt to win a marathon or a marathon runner to succeed at the 100 metres dash, so why should their offspring of birds carrying all the incorrect genes be expected to do so!

Other comments that came strongly to the fore was that today’s birds did not have the stamina to cope with anything other than blow homes from the distance and this was primarily caused by the modern trend of feeding a “light feed” which now seems to be the fashion, due to highly successful marketing campaigns by their suppliers. Certainly, the days of beans, maize and tares are long gone but whether the small seed alternative is the correct diet for a long distance pigeon I leave you to decide.

Whatever the cause of today’s Channel racing problems the general consensus of the experts I spoke to was that it was certainly not the weather or the wind direction. The problems lay at other doors and needed to be resolved before yet another death knell was tolling on the sport of pigeon racing.

The Staffordshire Moorlands Old Bird Season 2017

Our season has now come to an end and concluded with a testing but fair Channel race from Ancenis, a race of about 400 miles plus to most of our members. Returns were what you would have expected from a water race with a majority of competitors getting birds on the day and early the following morning, so to sum up the Federations Old Bird racing season for 2017, I think the words “Extremely Successful” come to mind and with my President’s hat on I would like to thank all the officials involved for the highly professional way they carried out their duties and say that you should all feel extremely proud of yourselves. NOT A COMPLAINT FROM ANYONE, as far as I am aware and I think that must be some sort of record. Thank you, one and all.

Liberation conditions at Ancenis for the SMDF race on 15 July 2017


The membership as a whole also deserves my thanks for supporting what was a new regime to them following a somewhat tricky start to the year. Your support has been beyond the call of duty and although I have said it before in these columns, I make no apology for saying it again YOU HAVE BEEN BRILLIANT.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED.

Now we have a Young Bird season to look forward to, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a healthy and trouble free time. All the plans have been put in place and provided we can count on membership support in terms of birds sent, I am sure that in financial terms the Federation will be in perfect shape for next year and beyond.

The organisation for our two showpiece young bird races, the Breeder/Buyer and Gold Ring races,  are now firmly in place and should provide all participants the opportunity to win some much needed extra cash for all those Christmas presents you intend to buy!  So Good Luck to everyone.

Finally, for this week just a few words about the Federation Prize Presentation event scheduled for Saturday afternoon 2nd December at the Kidsgrove Working Men’s Club, Kidsgrove. As I have already told you in previous articles the format this year is the same as last year. Insomuch that we will be having a Show, an Auction and a FREE Buffet to go along with the actual Prize Presentation.

Gerry Clements, from Manchester, has kindly agreed to come along to present the Prizes and for those who have not heard Gerry in action before I recommend that you don’t miss this opportunity.

“2018 Young Birds will be put up for auction and this year they have been kindly donated by just about the most successful flyers of the modern generation.

Birds from Gary Daykin, who has won just about everything there is to be won in the Midlands National Flying Club, R & B Smith,  who are surely at the top of careers in pigeon racing at National level, Brian Lee, who surely needs no introduction at local level but is also a star in the National and Classic Club racing, Alistair Ewart, who again needs no introduction from me, and possibly Leach Bros (yet to be confirmed) from Hebden Bridge, again renowned National flyers and a kit of young birds to be auctioned as one Lot from the SMDF Fed Toppers of 2017. What an opportunity to obtain some of the best birds that would normally not be available to purchase.

If you can’t attend the Prize Presentation and would like to make a bid for any (or all) of the birds you can telephone our Secretary, Jill Smith (01260 223563) and place a bid in advance which will then become the opening bid on the actual day. That way everyone gets a chance to be part of the day’s events and presents equal opportunities for all.

There you have it for this week, all the news and all the up-dates.

Cheers for now

Brian T Smith

Press Officer SMDF