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L J Puntitled


William ‘Barcelona’ Stribling

Of Weston Super Mare       

With Les J Parkinson


We all meet many people at the Blackpool show which is still a meeting place for many fanciers far and wide. This year being 2019 I was talking to a fancier who has had some very good results in the National races from Barcelona but was disappointed that he had not had much coverage for his winners. This is something that I have often heard but I must say that after 41yrs of writing I have tried to get some fanciers to open up about their wins, but many are reluctant to do so. Taking everything into account I have to say at times it is down to the fanciers themselves because they and only they are the ones who can supply the information for fanciers to compile an article. Bill’s passion for pigeons began through a neighbour when he was about 8 or 9 years old in Ilfracombe, North Devon, but he didn’t start actually racing until 1964 at the age of 22. In North Devon it was very hard to race but in 1970 he was 9th Open 6th Section NFC Nantes. Bill and Rosalind have three children, Gary, Jackie and Bill junior. Unfortunately, none of their children or Rosalind share Bill’s enthusiasm for the birds but they do support him on the presentation nights. Bill was saying that he has raced pigeons since son Gary was a baby and is now 59yrs, but it's only in recent years that he has had good success in the National events where he likes to compete. His early days of pigeon racing took place in Ilfracombe, North Devon before moving toWeston Super Mare back in 1971. His love for pigeons continues, now retired and at 77yrs old and it does not look like he is going to change his ways. Bill’s son Gary said, “He takes great pride in his birds, he's always saying, when racing, it's all about quality and not quantity”


Bill with one of his 1st Sect. winners                            -                                Bill Stribling's lofts      



There is no big range of lofts here as can be seen on the photo and it is a loft that is easily manageable for Bill. The loft is 16x6 split into 3 sections, two being 6ft and the other 4ft for stock birds. Bill was saying that all the pigeons are exercised together a system that I have only heard a few fanciers doing but it obviously works for Bill. They are all paired together in late January. Over the winter the birds are fed in what I refer to as the old fashion way of feeding beans and barley which when you look at the content barley is a good feed. I remember Mick O’Grady winning the shows and he was feeding a lot of barley, they looked well. For racing they have beans, peas and tares with no maize, for some reason his pigeons do not like it, this surprises me because when I was racing, they always went for the maize. This is it with pigeon racing, we all have our own ideas and what works for one does not necessarily work for others, be very boring if we all did the same.




Bill only houses about 38 pigeons in all and they include about 6prs of stock birds and for 2019 and there are 25 to race including a few late breds. Therefore, you can see that Bill is not a big team fancier and is quite happy to enter his team of about 6 and achieve good results, as he said quality and not quantity. When Bill first started, he was content to race in the local clubs but then the challenge of the National races got to him in his 20’s so that is where he has mainly competed ever since. The strain of pigeons Bill has kept over the years, are all based on the old British strains. When he was racing in Ilfracombe Bill obtained pigeons from Jim Barnes of Kent, then Reg and Myrtle Venner of Street. Bill’s Venner bloodlines were also supplied from Dave Vowles of Street. He has also swapped pigeons with Phil Newton, Bill likes to call Phil’s pigeons “the Van Newtons”. One of the pigeons Phil gave Bill bred 2nd Open 1st Section BBC Palamos which was a Staf van Reet x Ken Hine cock bird. Still looking to improve further stock were added from Ken Hine out of his best Titmuss pigeons and they clicked from the word go.

In the early part of the season they are on the roundabout system up to the 250/300ml stages and then changed to the natural system for the remaining races. They are raced to the coast with the WOE Combine going to such race points as Cholet, Messac and Fougeres before going to Barcelona where Bill gets most of his satisfaction from racing pigeons. Bill was saying he sent 3 in 2018 and baring incidents these same 3 will be going back to Barcelona in 2019.


500                                                            -                                               Bil'ls Boy


 Dave                                              -                               Sylvia     


Bill’s preference is the extreme long-distance racing and his most memorable performances over the years have been in 1981 when Bill won a Spanish Diploma with a pigeon who flew Palamos 3 times in race time and also Pau 4 times. As an 8-year-old, this pigeon also took 4th Section 18th Open. Some of the good pigeons include “Sylvia” 16th sec 72nd Open BBC National Palamos 712mls. 2nd sec 4th Open BBC National Barcelona 728mls, 458th International Hens7,637 birds, 1525th Open International 27,669 birds. 5th sec 27th Open Palamos BBC National. 6th sec 42nd Open BBC National Barcelona. “Dave” 1st sec 3rd Open BBC Nat Barcelona. 1st sec 2nd Open British International Championship Club. 36th sec 77th BBC National Carentan. 14th sec 70th open National FC Cholet 7,006 birds. “500” 7th sec 97th Open BBC National Bordeaux. 49th sec 193rd Open National FC Alencon. 58th 419th National FC Tarbes. 19th 99th Open BBC National Bordeaux. “Bill’s Boy” 42nd 189th Open National FC Saintes. 1st sec 8th Open BBC National Messac. 1st sec 2nd Open BBC National Palamos. With these pigeons you can see that the main aim is competing in the National races whether it is the National FC of the BBC National where Bill has also had some very good results. Bill started racing in these clubs 1964 and has enjoyed this type of racing ever since with some really good results. A benefit to Bill came in 2004 when he retired from his job as a bus driver which he did for many years. When it comes to racing Bill has an ambition which is to set a friend up to race from Barcelona to Dublin, now that is a big aim in the pigeon world. Bill did say they are both very committed to achieving this goal so who knows, mountains are there to be climbed, and this is a tough mountain. We don’t see much in the way of winning in the club by Bill because he does not take the interest in it that he does with the Nationals. Like many more National minded fanciers the clubs are using as a training facility for these National events.

Bill relaxing with his Trophies  

What Else


Over the years Bill had many conversations with the legendary Roly Fear of Fear bros fame, they were one of the top racing lofts from the South West, the success has rubbed off on Bill by the looks of it. He went on to say that times have really changed in pigeon racing with so many big teams about, but he did say that is up to them, he is happy sending his small team of 6 and achieving some very good results.


Gary Added On Dad Bill


“Clearly he's passionate about pigeons and he sadly know the hobby is slowly dying. I know he wishes that the big players and clubs could do more for youngsters, encouragement is greatly needed in this department by these people so that this sport continues for many years to come and brings the rewards that so many sports do” Thanks Gary.




Personally I (LJP) prefer the longer races and they are coming back in fashion with a few fanciers who have been racing in the sprint to middle distance races. I always like to read about how simple some fanciers find it racing in the longer races when other’s fail to clock year after year. But with pigeon racing it does not matter what distances you prefer as long as you are enjoying racing.


Les J Parkinson.

11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich,

Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.

01606836036 Mobile 07871701585.

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