Mr & Mrs Plunkett & Earls talking to Jim Emerton
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jim Emerton for allowing me to write this Question & answer format, and it's still beyond me why he would ask me.?
1: Please tell us all how you became fascinated by long distance pigeon racing.
1. I've been involved in pigeons on & off for 20 odd years, And Let me state from the start I'm no expert or claim to be of this wonderful sport of ours but if I can help anyone I will to the best of my ability. My first pigeons wear stray bird's giving to me by my uncle who was a founder member of our main club in our town" He left me to do my own thing for a couple of years and then we became partners and raced together till he passed away" I then raced by myself under the same name and still do.my late uncle's main passion was Channel racing and he won his share of them over the years' at first I could not understand the idea of this discipline bird's coming and going all day in and out of the loft food in front of the them 24/7 Fresh water 2 - 3- 4 times a day Then on race day the shock of seeing bird's dropping in all around us on race day's 10 minutes ahead of us" watts it all about I taught to myself till it clicked Witt me there was a system to follow and it was regimental for this pigeon men, faster pigeons medicated 1 - 2 -3 days a week feed light trained hard, I found out there and then our bird's had different gears and wear's we feed with a shovel and heavy they feed with a fork & light we juggled around a bit with feeding & management and managed to Top a few Fed's but it was not for me going forward, too much work" I enjoyed the laid back approach so channel pigeons was my choice so myself & youngest daughter Ciararose set up or stall for this and bought the best pigeons we could get our hands on the type to fly the channel in to Ireland not an easy ask" I managed to win a National from St Malo in France in two Ireland Sending only the one entry she didn't let us down winning all pools ?2,000 not bad And one thing I will always remember was something someone remarked when basketing for the National you are only sending one' I said yes but she’s a good one' she had flown from the National in France the year before finished 44th as a yearling so was expecting a good race from her if i had her in the right condition. So this win gave me the boost to keep focused going forward, As you are out racing every week in your club you have a lot of weekend's off: The channel racing you are not sending every week, it's not everyone's cup of tea but suits me fine. But like the land races it's a different system applied. So I basically set my stall out for these French national's now' And over the next few years and if I'm lucky to get a good one I will be happy, as most people know it’s not easy to get pigeons in to Ireland with the to sea crossings and I take my hat off to the men who have mastered this in to the Emerald Isle. Brilliant fanciers and pigeons for to repeat performance year after year is the true sign of a long-distance family of pigeons without a doubt Course & distance repeated that's the true test to me. Below our National winner Ciararose"
2; Where do you live and fly your birds my friend?
2. We live in a seaside Town called Bray" and I race with my daughter Ciararose she has been helping me from age 4 and still with me today.
3: Do you love the natural world around you?
3. I love everything natural I love wildlife been brought up around animals I love nature the smells that come with the changing seasons" people need to slow down they cram so much into their daily lives they don't have enough time to breathe" you need to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. The outer beauty will capture the eye’s’, but the inner beauty captures the heart"
4: Who do you admire in the pigeon racing world and why?
4. Without doubt my good friend Jimmy Cullen he is a living legend in the art of breeding and racing long distance pigeons in to Ireland the past 40 years and is still at the very top of his game a past winner of the coveted kings cup and Miller gold cup and The two biggest prizes in Irish long distance racing" And much more two much to mention" and the main reason I took this path in to distance racing he has blended this family of long distance warriors tested to produce a bird's capable of flying in all-weather fast & slow and the harder the better for these warriors' He is a master fancier and stockman luck and chance play no part in the scheme of Creation of such a family of pigeons and there is no law in nature more certain than the law of heredity and no doctrine more true than 'like begets like.
5 What is the essence of a good pigeon and fancier?
5. Watt is a good pigeon I suppose many things make up a champion pigeon breeding and racing in Breeding it must produce the goods or it has failed at the job it was picked for' results count of the stock otherwise it would be foolish keeping them. And Racing the one's that repeatedly perform at the business end in the National's at the distance they are rare and not easy to find but they are the pigeons that give champions their name on the big stage. most top pigeons ooze quality silky feather constitution 100% not the type you need to prop up with medication well balanced & the thing you can't see and probably the most important thing Heart ???? and what I believe the number 1 thing for me is Bloodline's for without this all the rest is useless they have to be breed for the job;
6 What do you think about Irish lads flying with the BICC, and the general scene in Ireland?
6. There is great interest in the extreme distances in Ireland at the moment all it needs is a growing all the time all you need is some likeminded people and bingo it will get up and running please God over the next few years with the right promotion of it I'm sure it will be a success
7 Do you read books and articles on the sport, and enjoy writing?
7. I read everything think I can get my hands on I've been always like that I'd read the back of a cigarette box' I use the internet a lot to keep up on the international's I like to read about the Dutch long distance pigeons" and saying that the absolute cream of Dutch and Belgium long distance stuff came to our shores a lot of them failed miserably at the business end" and are no match for the tried and tested old Irish distance blood. Yes, I like to read every time I open a book, I learn something new.
8 What is the origin of your birds?
8. My loft is based on my good friend Jimmy Cullen's S.G. Biss pigeons which I am honoured to have he has gifted me so many top class pigeons over the last couple of years I am blowing away all direct of his best any I keep them as he has for almost 40 years on their own no crosses performance pigeon mated back in to originals They have done everything asked of them in to Ireland fast or slow they are never far away rain or shine a tough all round bird in mind & body watt more could you ask for and I will be forever grateful to Jimmy’s friendship a true gentleman of Irish long distance pigeon racing. plus my old Irish family of Walkinshaw's I've been putting together for last few years same as above kept together no crosses.
9 How do you race them?
9. All birds are raced natural as hen's & cock’s go to the distance noting spared they all have to be tested no matter watt there off and as my good friend Jimmy keeps telling me there not all good one's not matter watt you read in the fancy press just keep it simple let them come and go at their leisure give them the love of home and let them pick their own spots put a piece of board over them happy days (comfort) my loft was built for the bird's no for me and not much to look at its 50 years old now built be my late uncle and dose me fine. I said to good friend jimmy one day my loft not great Jim he looked at me and said David pigeons don't have a degree in carpentry is it dry yes then it's fine that's good enough for me;
10 How do we cultivate love of home -the drive-in a pigeon.?
10. The love of home is very important and at the end of the day these little bundles of feathers will strain every sinew in their body to reach their home. the lofts don't have to be the up market type you see all over the pigeon videos and mags lofts are for pigeons not fanciers once it's dry and well ventilated you’re on the right road, you have to stick to your budget at the end of the day And if you have money to spare buy the best quality bloodlines you can afford for your desired distance.
11 Thoughts on strain building and inbreeding please?
11. I covered this in number 8 I have the two families kept separated and that's it all distance stuff no sprint or middle-distance blood are kept.
12 Any thoughts on politics?
12. No politics for me enough obstacles as it is. I'm for helping people achieve Not to Deceive.
13 You are honest and modest; how can we improve the sport?
13. Not an easy one but you have to do your up most to encourage youths and funding them to get set up in a sport that is getting very expensive and there is a place for ex pigeon fanciers to get back in to the sport as I've noticed a lot of them getting involved after circumstances changed in their lives we all need to encourage people in all walks of life not just pigeons.
14 How do you rate The Barcelona International and the birds timed in it?
14.The Ultimate Test Bird - Man - or woman - And Most importantly Bloodlines Simple as:
15 What are your ambitions now?
15. The Main thing for myself is to enjoy my pigeons and breeding my own family someday if I'm lucky enough to breed and race a few good pigeons along the way even better and who knows someday I might get to see a Barcelona pigeon home to the Emerald Isle As the saying goes chose a job you love" And you will never have to work a day in your life" Ambition Roads were made for journeys' Not destinations;
16 How do you regard the drive to make money out of birds?
16. Not for me i do Not partake in the selling of pigeons for money & never will not my way" I believe money brings the bad out in everything. well watt I have seen in my lifetime" The Best things in life are free if you can find trust.
17 Has Ireland in great history in marathon pigeon racing?
17. As far as can remember there has been a interest in long distance pigeon racing but it fell away in 80s 90s as the sprint strains arrived to or shores and Fed's programme was sprint based 80 to 197 miles but the National offer you French race's and it's ones choice watt distance they prefer and the best of luck to one and all.
18 What feeds and supplements are good?
18. This can be a minefield because you can pick ten champion fanciers and they will have ten different answers on this very subject I can only say watt I would consider a good feed system for my pigeons after picking some top class fanciers the last few years" Malting Barley shunned by many I believe is a underestimated grain out there and I am a big believer in it. At one time farmers fed barley to fatten their pig's And the pigeon fanciers feed barley to get rid of surplus fat" don't be put off by the spin around barley a lot of top flyers use it all year round" I mix 3 brands of corn together all brands are of such good quality there is very little in quality now a day's feed wise this is hopper fed without stint no rationing" If you won't the fire to burn you have to stoke the fire because when they are asking the big question they better be ready the birds are trapped to a hand full of linseed on entering the lofts every day after excise. on building up to the longer races you can up your fats a few days before basketing done over a period of time seeds/peanuts or oils watt ever your choice all have good effect tonics are a choice of the fancier some for and some against it your call at the end of the day" me my self don't hold any weight in them just my own view I trained most of my life in different sports and you used all the latest wonder products over the year's and to be honest felt no benefit from any of them. the best results I have had was from fresh natural food and plenty of it, so this is watt I base my feeding on pigeons on fresh good variety of grains. and always fresh Grit daily never left lying around the Cheapest and best supplement you can give your pigeons but never advertised (why) no profit in it £10 for 25 kg ?When you can get £30 for some plop plop wonder tonic???? The odd lettuce is on the appears on the menu now & again & fresh water as often as possible you want sickness that's your first port of call ladies and gentleman. I will call it a day I could keep ramble on" thank you for asking me to give my thoughts on this wonderful sport of Racing pigeon