East Midlands & Yorkshire
Dave Fussey of Bridlington
Dave is a full time farmer were he farms beef cattle and sheep as well as growing potatoes wheat Barley and Beans so as well as keeping racing pigeons and show racer pigeons Dave is a very active busy man the farm has been in the Fussey family for over 130 years were Dave’s Great Grandfather William Fussey first purchased the farm and it has grown in size over the years with the farm over time acquiring more land to expand the farming capacity and it has been passed down the family generations ever since. Dave is married and has two sons and a Daughter and one of Dave’s son is also a full-time outdoor pig farmer with a farm in Lincolnshire, so the farming tradition is still continuing. Dave first got into keeping pigeons by not his family keeping them but by chance so this is how Dave became a pigeon fancier at the age of 9 years old he was walking home from school when he came across a lost flown down racing pigeon so he court the bird and took it back to the farm and placed it into a rabbit hutch were Dave nurtured and fed the pigeon back to health and with doing this act Dave contracted the pigeon Bug in time the bird was fully fit and Dave released the bird and then missed having a pigeon or some pigeons. So Dave and his cousin who also cared for the lost racer visited Dave’s Grandfathers farm knowing that there was some strays and feral pigeons that were nesting in the farm yard out buildings on their farm so Dave and his cousin would climb into the roofs and take some youngsters back to Dave’s Farm were Dave’s father gave them an old chicken shed were they made this into a pigeon loft making their own alterations and kept the young birds in here and in time had them flying out and living in the shed. From time to time a cattle feed sales rep who visited the farm regularly saw Dave’s pigeons and could see how keen Dave was with his pigeons as the sales rep was the secretary of the Bridlington Fur & Feather show society he encouraged young Dave to come along and take part in the forthcoming show That weekend Dave attended the show were the society rented a room at the Bridlington railway station for the event inside there were classes of rabbits Guinea pigs fancy bantams and pigeons at the show Dave took a home bred large chequer hen he liked to have ago this was entered into the novices class show were a class of Four birds entered was present Dave only achieved third place out of four and was quite disappointed but had a great afternoon and the foundation of the showing profession began. A few weeks had passed and Dave was walking home one day when a car pulled up and a man said are you the young keen pigeon man I saw at the Bridlington show were Dave replied yes the man of Herbert Braithwaite was his name replied I have some pigeons for you Herbert lived in the same village as Dave’s grandmother and had been passing Dave walking for some time and realised who he was so Dave attended Herberts house where he had a son of Derek who was also a keen pigeon fancier with his father Herbert took Dave down to the lofts for a look round and Herbert gifted Dave two pairs of Show racers a pair of blues and a pair of reds the Braithwaites were a well know competitive showing loft and are still that to this present day Herbert told young Dave I’m giving you these to help start you up right in the game and boy did he just do that when later we look at some of Dave’s showing results up to this present day. Dave was so happy he ran home with his new birds and placed them in his makeshift pigeon loft and started improving it more. The following year Dave joined the national pigeon union to obtain some rings and transfer over the two pairs he had from Herbert to him and to ring his new bred show racers in time Dave had a new loft to replace the original chicken shed and got rid of most of the original birds he started with and concentrated on his new show racers. That year Dave re-entered the Bridlington fur & feather show and also tried the neighbouring Driffield fur & feather show as well. At The Bridlington show Dave entered some young birds bred from the birds from Herbert they bred Dave some dark chequers and reds were he entered some of these back into the novice class and also into the open show racer classes and at this event Dave with a young dark chequer hen won an open class show beating Herbert and Derek with their own family of birds and in a young cocks threw the wires Dave also won this with a blood red pied cock so Dave’s novice status was broken and this led to mighty things in his show racer career. At the Driffield show the blood red pied cock won through the wires class at Driffield as well. Dave continued annually to show at the Bridlington and Driffield fur and feather shows but also in time competed at Withernsea open show and the Malton Agricultural show were Dave started to win classes. One year Herbert Braithwaite and his son Derek asked Dave if he would like to come along with them to have a look round at the Great Yorkshire Amalgamation Show at Harrogate which was a big yearly show racer and racing pigeon calendar date event so Dave jumped at the opportunity and attended the show Herbert and Derek did show some birds here but Dave observed around at the birds and the big names around that year Dave noticed a pigeon advert in the Racing pigeon magazine Later of some show racers for sale bred from at the time the famous Greensheilds family of birds that were of most winning lines to fanciers around In the show racer world so Dave wrote and sent a letter to the gentleman of Gordon Macaw of Scotland Dave received a reply letter saying some birds were still available to sell so Dave purchase a pair in his reply to blend into his family of show racers the birds were delivered to Bridlington Railway Station and consisted of a Mealy cock and a red pied hen. Dave transferred these birds into his name and settled the birds in and bred some young birds off them the following season Dave took the mealy cock to the Great Yorkshire Amalgamation Show at Harrogate and he scored In the open class this was Dave’s first card in a large competitive open event so he was absolutely delighted and he was also achieving wins and high prizes in all the other local show events when Dave was 18 and 19 years of age like most young men do he was going out drinking a few paints with friends and would have a few regular paints at the pub were the Bridlington HS pigeon club was situated and became good friends with the racing pigeon fanciers were they all mostly persuaded Dave to take up racing pigeons rather than the show racers with Dave loving pigeons he took a interest in the racing pigeon game. So Dave purchased a racing pigeon loft from a local fancier and became a member of Bridlington HS and most of the members bred Dave some young birds to get him started and he purchased a few youngsters from local club sales but still kept his show racers Dave raced his young birds steady in his first season but with no success like he achieved with his show racers. Dave stuck at racing for several seasons flying steady and slowly building a team up so he could send to every race a Bridlington HS in time he broke his novice status with a win with a chequer hen that was bred and gifted to him by Bob Webster of Burton Fleming the same village as Herbert Braithwaite who first properly set Dave up in the world of pigeons.
Best through the wires
Dave was now scoring the odd consistent prize in the club with his racers and these took the front seat and he moved away from the show racer scene with just focusing on his racing pigeons he moved away from keeping show racers and dedicated himself to improving his racing pigeons Dave purchased some Delbars from George Harrington of Hull who was flying well and a Delbar hen from the Ponderosa stud Stand at a attended Blackpool show were Dave started now to move up a gear with more winning ways of prizes occurring also Dave invested in some direct Felix Powell bred pigeons were Dave visited Felix directly in Belgium with local fancier Brian Bolton of Bridlington who later became famous with the partnership of Bolton & Williamson with obtaining some great Jan Ardens with fantastic results achieved in the Yorkshire Middle route Federation and Yorkshire championship clubs when at Felix’s Dave purchased two direct young birds to breed off and fly on the new widowhood system Dave was now establishing but these two young birds developed into two cocks so that breeding year Dave purchased a Jansen hen at Blackpool show to pair to one of the cocks and the other cock was to be paired to one of Dave’s best home bred hens from the word go these produced the goods with one light chequer cock in particular that was paired to the Jansen hen bred winners in the club and Yorkshire middle route federation and also a 1st was achieved in the at the time the competitive Goxhill Championship club which the famous pigeon auctioneer and flyer Tony Cowan who help form this club flying from Tumbridge wells as a yearling bird the following year as Dave was two Felix Powell hens short to pair up to the two cocks he revised Felix Powell in Belgium with local Bridlington fanciers of Lenny Cockerell John Williamson and again Brian Bolton so Dave purchased off Felix two hens to pair to the original cocks which Dave now had the original Felix Powell’s paired together and they were breeding the Goods From the start the eggs were laid!! Dave was the highest prize winner in Both Local Competitive large Bridlington flying clubs and the Goxhill Championship club and in this same season Dave sent to Pau with the National Flying Club flying 747 miles he achieved 3rd section K and 23rd open and being the first bird clocked into Yorkshire this being one of the Delbars Dave invested in. Dave achieving some great sprint wins in both clubs and the Goxhill Championship club and the Yorkshire Middle Route Federation continued for some seasons but Dave really enjoyed the Pau race achievement and the long distance bug was infectious to Dave so in time Dave moved away from the sprint scene and started to invest in 500 plus mile strain pigeons and would purchase only a few distance pigeons at any pigeon auctions or sales he attended to try and create his own distance family of birds and
1st ENE Sec MNFC
Also purchased some great pigeons from the top north east up north combine partnership of T Marshall, Marshall & Smith of Seaton Sluice With Direct birds being obtained and their world famous the Machine bird of a direct son from this being purchased from Ian Stafford who purchased this great bird some birds Also obtained from Barry & Peter Winters of Howden North Yorkshire Also with a direct son off the Legacy bird from Mark Bulled of Harlow also purchased some birds off one of Yorkshire’s finest Brian Denney and also Dave purchased a daughter off the famous Pennines height bird and a few other birds Dave thought were of capabilities of breeding the distance goods. In time slowly has kept pure birds off these obtain groups of birds but has also blended them altogether including his reliable Delbar family all Dave’s old bird team are only ever flown on the widowhood system so let’s take a look at some of Dave’s best achievements at the distance in the NFC after his great Pau achievement 1993 Nantes 11th section K 331st open 12,027 birds flying 481 miles with a Delbar 2001 Guernsey Old hens 3rd section K, 7th open Herstel 6th section K ,68th open 2003 Falaise Old Hens flying 360 miles with a home family created blue hen 2nd section K,48th open 2006 Chale Old Hens 2nd section K 128th open, Bordeaux 638 miles 10th section K,345th open with a blue Delbar x a own created family cock 2007 Tarbes 751 miles 11th section K 39th Open 2009 Saintes 578 miles 2nd section K 37th open with a direct Brian Denny bred blue hen which was a direct daughter off Brian’s famous Dark Dancer pigeon 2009 Tarbes 17th section K 384th open with another direct bred chequer hen from Brian Denney 2011 Tarbes 14th section K, 139th open Fougeres Old Hens 401 miles 5th section K 300th open Fougeres YB with the young birds that flew 401 miles Dave achieved 7th section K ,17th open with a home created family little Dark chequer hen 2014 Tarbes with two birds coming close together 14th section K , 377th open and 20th section K 393rd open Falaise Old Hens 11th section K 54th open Falaise YB 6th section K , 87th open 2018 Coutances Old Hens 354 miles 9th section K , 82nd open with a Marshall, Marshall & Smith pigeon 2019 Fougeres 7th section K, 111th open with another Marshall, Marshall & Smith bird over to some Midlands National performances now were Dave has won 38 Diplomas in the last three years flying Seasons in the Midlands National FC Dave flies in the East North East section in the club a few highlights now 2017 Coutances YB with only two birds being clocked in the East North East section on the day Dave achieved 1st section 171st open with this being a very hard tough race with and the bird of a Marshall, Marshall & Smith X with one of Dave’s own family bird dropping in the loft in the dark 2018 Bordeaux 2nd section 115th open 2019 Fougeres 1st section 80th open this was with a Marshall, Marshall & Smith widowhood hen 2019 Bordeaux 3rd section 150th open with a Brian Denney X Frank Tasker widowhood cock Dave has achieved many other good consistent section positions in the NFC and MNFC with him competing in as many races he can.
While Dave was concentrating on his Distance families of pigeons his wife suggested that their two sons Daniel and Mathew should get involved with pigeons as they shown some interest and she recommended that they should have some show racers like Dave first did so Dave erected a loft for his sons and could think of nowhere better to obtain some show racers for his sons than from Derek Braithwaite the son of Herbert so when Dave approached Derek on the subject he kindly once again gifted them some birds to get them started up on their feet also Dave was friends with the world famous George Corbett who was famous for his Busschaert racing pigeon strain Corbett Busschaerts and once George sold all his famous Busschaert birds to the Louella pigeon stud he himself set up with show racers and showing them so George also gifted Dave’s sons some birds also. Daniel and Mathew had some local success results with their birds in which they kept in the local shows but in time as they grew older and their work and cricket commitments grew they moved away from pigeons and Dave found himself left with these birds and the bug he first had with them had bitten him and he decided to keep the show racers as well as his racing pigeons Dave registered with the show societies and set about to take off from where he left this hobby into improve on what he had achieved and left and he has certainly done that at some very high levels which we will look at shortly Dave kept the birds his sons left behind and has improved them slightly with in new knowledge that Dave has gained from becoming a Friend with a very well know name in the show racer world of Alistair Tankard of Hunmanby near Filey North Yorkshire Dave has obtained some birds from Alistair’s show racer family and he also purchased a good red cock at a show racer club sale Held by Snainton from Alistair Tankard and later a very good red chequer cock with one White flight was obtained from John Lynn of Richmond North Yorkshire these birds which Dave has blended into his birds and Dave’s old Knowledge and Alistair Tankards new knowledge Dave has achieved some great performances and is a well know name in the national show racer scene.
Champion of Blackpool
Let’s see some of Dave’s top performances.2018 The Countryside Live Harrogate show 1st old hens handling 1st old hens through the wires with 2 x Dark chequer hens The Great Yorkshire Agricultural Show Harrogate 1st old cocks handling with a red cock 1st In another handling class with a dark Chequer cock 1st old cocks through the wires with a blue White flight cock 1st in another through the wires class with a Dark chequer cock Olympiad Liverpool 2018 1st old cocks handling with a dark chequer cock 1st old hens handling with a dark chequer hen. Snainton Show 1st old cocks handling with a blue cock that also achieved best opposite sex 1st old hens through the wires with a Dark chequer pied hen The Snainton Open show 1st old cocks handling with a red cock 1st in another old cocks handling class with a blue cock 1st old cocks through the wires with a Dark Chequer cock Snainton Cup Show 1st old hens handling plus best in show with a red hen 2019 Blackpool Show 2nd yearling hen handling with a red chequer hen 2nd old hens through the wires with a Dark Chequer hen. 2019 Great Yorkshire Agricultural show Harrogate 1st old hens handling with a red hen 1st old hens through the wires with a Dark Chequer hen 1st young bird hen handling with a Dark Chequer hen 1st young cocks through the wires with a red chequer cock Driffield Agricultural Show 1st old cocks handling plus 1st grand challenge and Best in show with a red chequer cock 1st young bird hens handling and Best young bird with a Dark chequer hen Countryside live show Harrogate 4 x 2nd prizes was achieved The NEHU South Sheilds 2019 Show 1 x 2nd and 1 x 4th Snainton Show 1st old hens handling with a Dark Chequer Hen 1st old hens through the wires with a Dark chequer pied hen North Yorkshire show racer society show at Thirsk 1st young bird hens through the Wires and Best opposite sex with a powder blue hen Olympiad Show Liverpool 2019 1st young bird hens handling then Best show racer with the powder blue hen that had won at the North Yorkshire show at Thirsk. Snainton Open Show 1st old hens through the wires with a Dark chequer pied Hen 1st young bird cocks through the wires with a Dark chequer cock Blackpool 2020 Champion show pigeon out of the supreme champion show class this was achieved with the powder blue hen that won at Thirsk and the Liverpool Olympiad. Dave has also had some great success with showing his racing pigeons and representing the UK in the European Olympiad shows 2015 Budapest Olympiad show 25th open standard old cocks class with a home strain created blue cock 3rd UK 51st category C Sporting Class Long Distance with a Chequer White flight cock who is one of Dave’s own created family which originates from his Pau Delbar cock 2019 Poznan Poland Olympiad 2nd UK 83rd open Standard old cocks with a own family bred blue cock 2nd Uk 75th open Standard old Hens with a blue hen bred by Ian Stafford and James Parker she is a granddaughter bred from the famous Machine pigeon in which this partnership obtained Some questions I asked Dave now
(Q1) Dave What do you feed your racing pigeons for the inland races and for the distance Chanel races?
I feed Versele Laga Super widowhood corn mixed with some of my own grown Barley for the channel races I stick with the super widowhood corn and remove the Barley and replace this with my own grown Tic Beans and a few days prior to the race I will add a high protein fat feed that is whatever is available at my local pigeon supply store shop of a high fat mix feed or peanuts to the mix will be added.
(Q2) Dave how many old bird racers do keep?
I keep 28 pairs of racers racing both the cocks and the hens on widowhood most of the yearlings will only be raced to the south coastline with only a select few being sent to the continent races the two year olds and above aged birds will be sent to the channel races as many as I can send to and the birds are right to be sent to.
(Q3) Dave how many young birds do you breed?
I normally I breed around 80 young birds with having two teams of young birds with the most in the first bred team which are flown on the Darkness system and then a later bred second team that are flown on the natural old school system.
(Q4) Dave do you believe in line breeding pigeons and do you regularly purchase pigeons?
Yes I do believe in line breeding as you need to relate to a breeding base line of a good performance bird that you have or know has achieved high performance or bred off high performance birds with proven pairings and birds I do pair uncles to nieces and half-brothers to half-sisters to work back to a line. Obtaining new stock is a yes always! If something at a show auction or organisation sale catches my eye, I will purchase it and try it out as you cannot stand still in this ever-changing game.
(Q5) Dave do you believe in sending young birds over the channel?
Yes I strongly believe in this and thoroughly enjoy in doing so I have sent young birds to Fougeres and Coutances and Falaise at the 300 plus mile mark and had good racing and hard racing but racing is never easy but I have always been pleased I normally send about 6-10 at the end of the season to these races with keeping some back for continuously growing the race team but I idolise the ones that come back from the long Chanel races and they seem to shine for me.
(Q6) Dave do you give your old bird race team much training flights before or during the racing period?
I give my old birds probably 3-4 training flights at 20 miles before their first race and after the first race no training flights are given to my old birds.
(Q7) Dave is there anything you would like to see happen in the racing pigeon world?
Simply I would like to see more people take up this great sport we have to enjoy. Some show racer questions now continuing now
(Q8) Dave what do you feed your show racers prior to showing?
They are fed a high protein mix I create which consists of a standard young bird no maize mix which I add plenty of my own grown Beans Barley and wheat I add more so Beans To the mix which will add plenty of body to the birds for the handling shows.
(Q9) Dave what do you feed your show racers when they are moulting?
The same above mix but I add fresher new season grown wheat and I will also apply some black Rape seed in as well that’s it.
(Q10) Dave how many stock show racers do you keep?
I don’t keep any stock bird show racers I only keep and breed from my main showing team which consists of 11 pairs.
(Q11) Dave is there any new coloured show racer or family you seek to obtain to blend into your family of birds?
No not at this time I am more than happy with my show racer team of mainly Dark chequers reds and blues with an odd pied one.
Q11) Dave how many young show racers do you breed?
I order 20 rings every year so only 20 I may breed a few extra if I think any of the original ones bred may not make the grade I stride for.
Winner many 1sts
(Q12) Dave what would you like to see happen in the show racer scene?
I would really like to see the Doncaster old comrades annual show start to re cater for the show racers again and hold show racer show events as this was the case from the start and for many, many years at the show but the organisers moved away from the show racer scene and events we are all pigeon fanciers and should all be together as unfortunately pigeon fancier numbers are declining. Dave currently flies his racing pigeons in the Yorkshire middle route federation and now the Flamborough HS and is looking forward to the National flying club and Midlands National club races for the coming seasons. Dave many thanks for taking part in this article and all the best for the future.
The Rat Man.