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by UK Press Officer Tom Harris

10th anniversary and a record number of entries

Friday 31st October was an important day for the Arona team as it was then that the doors closed for entries for the 2014/15 event, and they are pleased to announce a record number of entries in the history of the Arona one loft race with the final figure of 2,700 arrivals at the lofts participating in this year’s campaign. Included amongst the numbers and new participants are some very well known and highly profile names from within the pigeon fraternity from various countries who have entered this year for their first time.


During the month of October, like many other fanciers who visit Tenerife with interest in the race, I also made my annual visit to the lofts during my short stay on the island, accompanied by fellow friends and Welsh fanciers Dylan Russel and Eddie Cooke. Upon arrival at the lofts we were welcomed at the gate by Jose and Gladys Ledesma and were led to the lofts where we could clearly see the main batch of pigeons freely exercising, a vision I recommend anyone to experience.


With the latest arrivals still adapting to their new lofts and surroundings under netting conditions, Jose indicated to us that at the time of our visit there was estimated to be just under 2,500 pigeons already entered for competition with a further 200 or so expected before the doors closed. There will obviously be a small percentage of losses that occur during the breaking in period, some caused by our troublesome friend the peregrine which could be easily seen tormenting the pigeons during our visit.


It was clear to see that each entry was seen to be in excellent condition with most now well into the moult and considering the numbers involved the team have managed to keep any obvious aliments away.


With the traditional refreshments offered, we had the opportunity of sitting down and discussing the plans for this season, and whilst the main format and programme remains the same as previous years in regards to early training preparations etc which start early December, there seems to be just one alteration to report, that being the review of the liberation site for the final race. This year it is planned to move the liberation from the north east coast of Fuerteventura to a site in the south east to near the town of Gran Tarajal. This will of course affect the distance slightly but it will give the pigeons a straighter line of flight during their double island crossing and therefore hopefully result in better returns, which is something we’re all hoping for on the final day.


With the visitors’ photos done we were given the guided tour of the complex and after viewing the new arrivals confined within the loft, we were invited into the back office where everything was shown and explained in regards to the workload involved behind the scenes, which highlighted the upmost transparency whilst organising and managing such a highly profiled event as the Arona one loft race.

On the promotional side of things, for the first time since 2009 representatives made the journey into Europe to the Kassel show in Germany where they were representing and promoting the Arona one loft race to a much wider audience. Upon viewing the photos the presence of the Arona gathered much interest and it is planned if everything goes well to be present at the BHW show in Blackpool in the UK in mid January.

Arona OLR at the Kassel show 2014 


So the month of november has come around, which means the workload now increases in regards to administration, as each pigeon is assigned its individual Unikon ets ring and the photos are taken. This as you could imagine will take some time due to the numbers, but once completed, with the advantage of the internet fanciers will not only be able to see how their entries have matured since handing them over throughout the past months but also follow every performance over the forthcoming weeks from each of the early training races and hopefully through to the final, the first of which commences around the first week of December, as the following plan explains.


3 Dec Training Flight 1 Approx 3 km

5 Dec Training Flight 2 Approx 5 km

9 Dec Training Flight 3 Approx 10 km

11 Dec Training Flight 4 Approx 15 km

13 Dec Training Flight 5 Approx 25 km




Please note these dates depend on the weather and are subject to change at short notice.


Before finishing, here in the UK we would like to thank Mark Williams and Karl in Germany for organising the safe transfer from the UK to Tenerife for the British and Irish entries. After recently being in touch with Jose, he and the Arona organisation would also like to pass on their sincere thanks to the many race coordinators from around the world for all the hard work that they have done over the past months in regard to the collecting and transportation of the pigeons from their respected.

For the latest news and to follow the day-by-day updates and livestream straight to your home once training gets underway visit the Arona website at