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N R C C Perth2 25-06-18

NRCC Perth 2 2018

 

By George Wheatman

 

Age is no barrier to success in pigeon racing. Ask Bob Boulton. He is 85 and has just treated himself to a Father’s Day present by winning his third open race with the

North Road Championship Club.

 

His latest triumph was from the Perth 2 race after a one-day holdover, and follows open wins from Dunbar (2002) and Thurso (2013) and it follows a pattern because two of these successes have been with gift birds.

The Dunbar win was with one he bred himself but which was unsold when he put it in a breeder buyer sale; the incredible runaway win from Thurso was by a bird bred by David Birch; and the latest winner was bred by local fancier Paul Whiting and was among a batch he gave to Bob to try out last year.

It is a blue yearling cock bird which negotiated the young bird season successfully and consistently, and carried on in similar form this year, but waited until the Perth race to land its first win. It is a pigeon that the discerning Mr Boulton has always liked and is of Leon Van Rijn lines originating from the successful loft of Adrian Duggins.

 

The first two open winners to Addlethorpe, in East Lincolnshire, were named Rocket and Rocket 2. Rocket lived out a long life before dying of old age. Rocket 2, and a son of Rocket, perished when a weasel found its way into the loft, but there is still a Rocket in the Boulton team because the Perth winner has been named Rocket 3, and will not be raced again this year.

 

Many years of experience have gone into a host of successes for the Mr and Mrs Boulton partnership as Bob has had pigeons since he was a boy. Wife Phyllis is equally enthusiastic and, although not too well at the moment, is a keen follower of the team, waiting anxiously for them to return on race day and keeping a record of the timings.

 

Bob, a character always with a story tell, either from a long, eventful life, or from his favourite sport of pigeon racing, is not a person to make too many concessions to the advancing years, but did give away all his stock birds a couple of years ago in a bid to cut down the workload (along with grassing over some of his always well maintained garden).

 

That is when a group of local fanciers came up with the idea of breeding youngsters for the maestro to try out. So Bob raced a team of young birds last year from Paul Whiting, Paul Dawson, Pete Rodgers and Bob Lancaster, and these make up his yearling team this year.

 

Another team of 32 young birds from the same bunch of friends is undergoing the Boulton-style preparation for this year’s young bird racing.

The gesture, very much appreciated by Bob, has brought new interest, and a new challenge and he says a big thank you to all of them. He feels duty bound to give these birds every opportunity to perform to their best and so reflect the quality of the fanciers who bred them.

Rocket 3 has already commanded some dominance in the loft. Before being put on roundabout, the birds were paired and allowed to rear babies up to ten days old. While the rest settled comfortably in their nest boxes, Rocket 3 opted to be different and chose a corner of the loft as his home. It has stayed that way all season and he bosses an area of the loft floor around his corner. Moreover, as the rest of the birds are fed in their nest boxes, he has to grab his food by stealing it from others via smash and grab raids.

 

Talking about food, the birds are fed a general mix, plus Premium Versele Laga from PJ Lofts, and their diet is supplemented by titbits of hempseed, linseed, rapeseed, Hormorform and peanuts, with multivitamins, garlic and cider vinegar placed in the water at intervals. In the build-up to a major race, they are fed several times a day, always with fresh corn.

 

They exercise around the loft twice a day, at 7am and 4 pm, are raced regularly, and trained from about 10 miles as often as Bob thinks necessary. Between exercise periods, Bob advocates peace, quiet and rest for the birds.

He said that the birds had been exercising well and showing good form, but there was a sizeable gap before the arrival of his second bird from Perth. He sent a team of 10 cocks, and had nine home on the day and the tenth next day.

 

He also had another win to celebrate Father’s Day in his Alford club from Driffield with a bird that also topped the Peterborough and District Federation.

Looking to the future, Bob is planning to have a new loft, consolidating all his present lofts into one, with the help of friends.

 

Talking to Bob has always been one of the joys of being the NRCC Press Officer and, on past occasions, this is part of what he has recalled about his involvement in the sport:

 

“I got in to pigeon racing when I was a boy. We used to go round the barns catching them. I always kept mice and rabbits and we used to take them to school and sell them. Rabbits were half a crown each, and white mice a shilling.

 

“You knew full well that when you sold a white mouse to a lad that it would be coming back because his mother would not let him keep it. There were no refunds so you got a white mouse and the shilling.

 

“I used to keep a little rabbit or two, and a mouse or two, in my desk at school, and I remember the day when the teacher, a Mr Barton, told me to open my desk. I told him that I would rather not, but he insisted, so I opened it, and the mice came out and the rabbits came out.

 

“He said I was banned from the class so I just collected my mice and rabbits and went and sat on the lawn. Mrs Muggleston, from the next class, saw me and said what are you doing out there Boulton. I said I had just been kicked out, lock stock and barrel, my mice, my rabbits and me. She said you take your mice and rabbits home and then you come back in my class.

“I should think I was about 12 or 13 years old when I started racing the pigeons with the Skegness club. A bloke used to come along after he had clocked his pigeons and wait for mine to time them in his clock. I couldn’t afford a clock.

 

“We had pigeons from here, there and everywhere, as long as they had a ring on. It was a long time before we started winning.

Skegness had a very strong club with some excellent fanciers. The NRCC young bird national has been won in Skegness several times.

We have been lucky enough to have our fair share of wins.

 

“I worked 52 and a half years with the intention of enjoying my retirement in racing my pigeons. We have both enjoyed the sport a great deal. There have been ups and downs, and the man has not been born yet who wins every race.

 

“When things don’t go right you have to analyse the situation, and try to put things right. Often you need to look no further than yourself for the reason the pigeons have not done as well as you expected.

When everything goes right it is a very satisfying feeling. And there is no better feeling than winning a national race. We are lucky to have experienced that feeling three times now”.

 

The birds were liberated in a light south-west wind, which varied in strength en route, and, not surprisingly, the preliminary result is dominated by fanciers on the eastern side of the country. The first six places in the provisional result are filled by Section C (Lincolnshire) members, and they are joined by Section F (mainly Norfolk) to complete the first 20 positions.

 

This monopoly by these two sections is first broken by Section A members, Nuttall and Son, and Roger Hallsworth, who will be contesting the first two positions in this section.

 

My perusal of the provisional result by no means an official verdict suggests that the Section B winner will be, not for the first time, Kevin Lawson; topping Section I at 364 miles, is AP Neal, while another long flyer (367 miles) F Dawkins and Son are likely winners of Section H. Potential winners of Section E are Fitzjohn Brothers.

 

Listed as the first 20 in the provisional results are:

1 Mr and Mrs Boulton (Section C) 1394; 2 Dayton and Sayers (C) 1381; 3 R Mamwell and Grandson (C) 1371.79321; 4 D Perry (C) 1371.732928; 5 Mr and Mrs D Evans (C) 1368; 6 Wright and Mr and Mrs Newbold (C) 1365; 7 D Hicks (F) 1348; 8 Upsall and Grandson (C) 1333; 9 T and W Wilson (F) 1327; 10 Simmons Partners (F) 1326; 11 Mr and Mrs P Newbold (C) 1323; 12 DJ Brackenbury (C) 1317; 13 GT Symonds (F) 1316; 14 Woods and Batch Loft 2 (F) 1312; 15 S Rudledge (F) 1310; 16 J Spunders (F) 1304; 17 RJ Burrage (F) 1290.867712; 18 NC Barran and R Frew (F) 1290.581236; 19 I and S Rich (F) 1289.061364; 20 E and A Crotch (F) 1289.698413.

The next race for the NRCC is the big one, from Lerwick for the King’s Cup, on June 30th, marking Wednesday June 27th, entries in by June 22nd.