From the Barrow Valley 6.
Sometimes when I think of the next generation of pigeon fanciers and where they might come from, I really do wonder if they are going to come from the youth of tomorrow or is there another reservoir of potential pigeon men out there.
When I look at the members that we have at the moment. Most of whom I know quite well and their families, as a lot of us are of a comparative age and brought up families at the same time. From most of the members I know, none of their sons or daughters have taken up pigeon racing, each member I know has at least two or three children and yet none or very few are interested in keeping pigeons, granted they will all help out when needed, more so the daughters than the sons, I wonder why is that?.
Since the new millennium started, there has been a big increase in the number of migrants arriving on our shores, in Ireland they are mostly from Poland or Romania, lately I see Latino and other nationalities. From these a few have settled in really well into this country and now, having married and brought up families here are looking to renew the hobbies and pastimes that they had in their youth in their own country, from this cohort of migrant workers we have had some super pigeon men emerge.
First to come to mind is Slawek Wololzyn or Slavic for short, he arrived in Ireland in 2007 from Poland to the Newbridge area in Co Kildare, once settled there he joined the Newbridge RPC where he was a real competitor from the off winning many club races and topping the Mid Leinster federation on occasion, in 2014 he moved to Carlow and again set up a loft on the outskirts of town, however the competition in the Carlow area required some new pigeons for the job in hand, with that in mind Slavic contacted Bolek Kaiser in Poland and introduced some new stock, in addition Bolek provided Slavic with the management information he needed to be successful with his new introductions, since that time Slavic has raced in all of the clubs in the Carlow area and has been very successful in all of them, winning out of turn in them all. He has won the Mid Leinster Fed and the South Road central Fed on the South road and has also topped the Leinster North road fed on the north road, he much prefers sprint racing rather than channel races, however he can also clock from the channel when he puts his mind to it. 2019 and 2020 have been very good seasons for his loft winning a total of eight first federation races over that time and also winning the South road central federation overall averages and highest points winner in the Fed to boot. Slavic would like to thank all the members in each of the clubs that he flies in for their support and help when he has found it difficult to attend the club in person, trying to cope with being a full time worker and also rearing a young family, he has not found it easy to pull everything together, and without the help of friends and club mates it could have been very difficult for him to continue in the sport.
Slavic outside his lofts and holding his Fed topping blue cock.
Piotr is yet another Polish immigrant who came to Ireland in 2010 and in no time was up and running with a new loft and pigeons, however work constraints have made competitive racing nearly impossible for Piotr to race his pigeons on a regular basis, with the exception of a few races each year which he partakes in within the Barrow Valley RPC. Therefore his main interest is in the breeding of top quality young birds which are tried out for him by friends and associates. Piotr can be very proud of his lofts and gardens which are kept in immaculate condition and are a credit to him and pigeon keeping in general, we are hoping to see a lot more of Piotr in our club over the next few years, but as with most of these young fanciers, work and rearing a young family will always come first with them, and rightly so.
Some of Piotr's young birds & Inside of lofts.
Piotr's beautiful lofts and garden.
Stefan Ogorzaly is another member of our club, the Barrow Valley RPC, he joined in 2016 and immediately made an impression as not only a very efficient pigeon man but also as a very good clubman, helping out with the chores associated with running the club on a weekly basis during the racing season. Again we have yet another young man trying to juggle domestic duties, rearing a young family and working full time, along with racing a competitive team of pigeons. Since joining the Barrow Valley RPC Stefan has made an impact by winning the overall averages in his second year in the club, on occasion winning the first three or four places in the club, he also has won the young bird derby and the young bird national at club level taking prominent federation and national positions in the process.
Steffan receiving the Young bird National Cup from Jimmy Hurley & Steffan receiving the shield for over all averages. from Joe Brennan [l] Frank Archbold [r]
Bogdan Stroe came to Ireland from Romania and settled in Carlow in 2001, getting a job and finding accommodation would have been his first priority in the first few years, after settling and starting a family his attention turned to racing pigeons, in 2008 he built his loft and joined a local club, like the others he has also been in most of the clubs in town and has finally settled on the Carlow & District RPC where he has been a leading figure in the results over the past few years, at first racing didn’t come easy, what with work commitments and rearing a young family, it has taken time, however he seems to have found his feet and can be found at the club most weeks now, during the racing season. Bogdan also likes the sprint races, but has been known to clock a few good ones on the channel as well, such as 5th section 34th open from Penzance, and just last year he was 2nd from Talbenny, which are always difficult races into this part of the country, he has also had plenty of good positions in the federation whilst racing up the land.
Bogdan Stroe holding one of his race birds and infront of his lofts.
Adam Sitek is new to racing pigeons in Ireland, although he has raced before in a partnership in his native Poland before arriving in this country in the year 2000, again after settling, he started keeping a few fancy pigeons just to keep his hand in. Adam is a very shy person and at times difficult to get a few words out of, however he is an extremely generous person and is a great benefactor to the Barrow Valley RPC whom he joined two years ago, 2020 was his first year racing young birds and although he had a fairly large team of birds it wasn’t long before he found out the vagaries of racing pigeons in Ireland. Still having a fine team, he stopped racing after the fourth race with an eye to the future and looking forward to racing his yearlings this year, unfortunately like most of these new arrivals, Adam has now also joined another club in his own locality, so we may be seeing even less of him in the future, however he will always be welcome in our club, the Barrow Valley RPC. Best of luck in the future Adam.
Adam Sitek inside his stock loft & Adam Sitek outside his old bird racing loft.
Mohammad Niaz is a Danish citizen born to Bengali parents, he came to Ireland in 2003, as a child he was brought up, surrounded by exotic birds and pigeons and has always had a liking for birds. He started keeping pigeons in this country in 2005 and then moved to the racing scene in 2009 at Enniscorty, with the intension of taking the sport a bit more seriously, however due to work commitments racing was curtailed, only racing occasionally up to 2014 when a little more time for the birds became available, since then Niaz has been very competitive, he likes racing inland but prefers the channel events and national racing, he has won the channel averages in his club and federation and has continued to clock well from most of the channel races he has competed in over the last four years, including the old bird Penzance Derby and the young bird Barlycove derby in his federation, there are lots more top results, but these two in particular stand out in Niaz’s mind as being memorable.
Mohammad Niaz with his good blue hen, Dream Lady.
This is just a small insight into the possibilities of swelling the number of members in clubs in this country, our club the Barrow Valley RPC have always been open in their support for immigrant fanciers that would like to get up and running in the sport of pigeon racing in Ireland, they may not always stay in the club that they start in, but it does give them the chance of getting on their feet in order to participate in a sport that we all love and enjoy.
Personally I can speak from experience, as when I lived in London and was without pigeons for a few years, the first time I had ever been without them from the age of nine, it was near been the death of me, I couldn’t wait to get back home to get started again, so I can relate to all of these people, when I meet them and talk to them, you realise how heartbroken they are from being without their beloved birds, the least we can do, is to try and encourage them to get up and running in the sport that they obviously miss from their homeland.
Hopefully we will hear a lot more of these fanciers and their performances in the future, however the same thread runs true with each one of them whereby it is Family first, work second and Pigeons as and when they can find the time to fit them in.
Until the next time, stay safe & keep well.