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Tony Byrne Jim Emerton 19-11-18


1. As we know Jim, preparation for a Barcelona pigeon begins before the egg is even laid, but can you please tell us in some detail about your practices, preparations and expectations for a Barcelona candidate?

Barcelona International racing is the dream of many and the practice of the few. The philosophy of Nick Harvey and myself is to race every bird bred out of Barcelona 710 miles into West Country, England. All our stock are 700 mile to 1000 mile bloodlines. We set a clock for Barcelona only as it is our specialism. All the birds are on open loft, young and old in a colony in nature for immunity and orientation. Young are trained in big jumps to around 60 miles against the wind for solo flights. My unique marathon mix is fed to all racers, and we medicate before pairing and the moult. Our supplements are Chevita/Vydex/Rohnfried with hormoform/matrix/ peanuts/hemp/tovo and G10S and sunflower hearts etc. After I toss with the WSR Combine, the birds now separated, follow the BICC prog. Stopped after Cholet they are paired, and sent to Barcelona on the first young of the year in July. With around 900 miles flying from by the Pyrenees, we expect to clock in the hardest of races as the birds are sent in great condition as our champs have shown. Yearlings go 350 to 500 miles and every single one. It is a formula that works for us ,where the timers enhance the stock team. Jim Emerton.

2. What particular physical or mental attributes, if any, do you place at the top of your selection list when choosing candidates for Barcelona?

In my years of marathon experience and insight, the truth lies in race reality. A bird in the clock from Barcelona International manifests and demonstrates the phenotype, genotype and total inner qualities needed. It is sound ,empirical evidence ,and tests out any perceptions, predictions you may have had in advance of the race. All our birds at 2 years of age are sent to Barcelona, no matter how they seem to be to hand, eye or any human, cerebral process of the mind. Do not be conned by good looks, breeding or pedigree-the proof of the pudding lies in the actual race itself. In anthropomorphic terms we seek stamina, navigation, instincts, survivability and love of home. It is essential that your birds go to the race, and 12 hrs on the wing will test the birds 3 to 5 weeks before the big race is due. Forget all theories other than liberation in the Barcelona International race-suck it and see, SHIT OR BUST! Jim Emerton 71 to 879 miles.

3 . Can you talk to us a little more about your Barcelona strain please? What are the origins and key pigeons added to the mix over the years?

Yes the creation of my versatile strain was with 7 original foundation birds from Louella and one from the Ponderosa. All specimen pigeons they were 4 Descamps van Hasten dark chequers inbred of the old Alois Stichelbaut strain, lines of Remi of 54,Ware Ijzeren, Ijzeren Kennedy, and handpicked for purpose. In to these I put a direct Emiel Denys cock ,closely related to the great Tee, a gdaughter of Woodsider, Rossall King. Claire and dt of Faith. This gave me performance genes up to 1000 miles. The last of the magnificent 7 was a gson of the Kleine Donkere of van Wanroy. I selected well as these lines won the sprints, middle distance, distance and marathon events up to Barcelona level at 879 miles, as with Denney to compete with the birds were tested right through the racing progs. Inbreeding to the foundation 7,i introduced 4 Denney inbred birds from his Stichelbaut -based champions into the gene pool, the best of Jim Donaldson from his top pair and Circus Boy, and a cock from the 9th open Pau over 700 miles of marathonist Trevor Robinson. In those days progeny testing was severe over 735 miles Pau,San Sebastian 737 miles and Barcelona International 879 miles to Holtby. Today my partner Nick Harvey and I inbreed to my old strain of 42 years and enter every single 2 year old into Barcelona International 710 miles into the West Country, England. Barcelona is a fusion of discipline, wonder, awe and ambition, where we have built our strain. Google Evolution of The Emerton Strain for minute detail on its creation.
Jim Emerton.

4. What do you see as the best way to encourage more people to try their hand at the International racing scene and what are your thoughts on the direction the fancy needs to take to encourage more youngsters into the sport?

We need to make International racing available to all by the proximity of marking stations, particularly in the North of England with the BICC. This will happen only with the support and organisation of people in the North. All serious distance/marathon racing should be International, and I hope for unity between the BICC/BBC/NFC/MNFC to meet this objective, on a regular basis in the future, as the sport is too political and polarised between the major clubs and organisations. Logistics and politics do not interest me as I am dedicated to the pure racing side of the sport viz Barcelona International, as all our birds go at least 710 miles to it. There needs to be more publicity to promote individual strain making from International racing, praise for the birds and the personality of the people who take part, and public awareness of the elite, and special nature in the hierarchy and history of the sport. A radical change in perception from sprint racing only is needed, with more emphasis on distance and marathon racing. All distances are risky for man and bird, yet the traditional onus was on the distance bird over 500 miles or marathon over 700 miles, where the wonder birds were 1000 milers. Many people dream of Barcelona, yet you need to be encouraged to send to the greatest race on planet earth. It can all be realised in race reality with good birds and systems, and the right human psychology, as the survival of the sport is in human hands. Education of children, students and the fancy is at the hub of what is needed to negate rampant jealousy and develop a more rewarding and sporting psychological climate rather than hatred. My thesis is optimistic and idealistic in the face of declining membership and the erosion of morale. People need to be happy in the game and less stressed-try some mindful meditation, and reduce reliance on the money -making ethic.
Jim Emerton.