Well another year is well and truly under way and I am still not able to get pigeons into a loft to race but I am looking at a possible solution. I bet there are fanciers out there saying, “You are probably better off without them”. Why on earth would a pigeon fancier think that, they are so much enjoyment to have whether you are winning or losing. My last season was 2014 and I am missing them more and more, considering how busy we are that doesn’t seem possible, but it is. As I was saying to Elizabeth, pigeon racing might be a 365 day a year job but the most time needed with the pigeons is in the summer because the bulk of the work is exercising, cleaning out and training them. Yes, breeding can be time consuming but again I am not all that busy with my work during that period. There is also the fact that pigeons in the garden would get me off this seat a bit more and leave the jobs in the capable hands of the girls who do a really good job. I do have about 20 pigeons knocking about available if and when I need them. If I required pigeons what I would look at, a question that I have been asked many times since I parted with them. That is always a difficult question because it all depends on what races I want to compete in during the year. In 2003 I turned to nearly all National racing and had some very good result with a small loft as compared to some of the big teams that are about today. I must say, if I had the time and space, I would also have a big team so that I could compete in all types of competition.
Because of the way I race pigeons there have been a couple of sales recently that I would have been seriously attracted too and they are two clearance sales, the McGee from France sale and the Bradshaw of South Wales sale. There have been some really good sales about over the winter months and you could have bought top pigeons from many of them, the bigger ones were Curtis-Wall-Lunt the specialists up to 350mls and the all-rounders of Crammond & Langstaff. There have also been other working teams that have become available and no doubt some happy buyers. With the two that I would have looked at, my view was these two lofts were based on the longer races which I like to compete in and if I start, I will still look at those races, however given room I would also like to compete in the shorter races making the season a bit longer. Pigeon racing is swings and roundabout’s because fanciers try both at some time or another and moving from one to the other takes time which ends up with losing time. You cannot swap from an all-out sprint loft to one for the distance overnight, its just not possible, to get a good winning distance team takes time. However, a sprint team you can work on in a much-sorted period of time because yearlings are as good as anything when it comes to sprint racing, that is where they have the final touches put to them for the 2/3yo stage when they start to learn the game and slow down, losing that edge that made them top class winners. I also believe that if the fancier get’s it right they can find a few in any family that will go on and compete in and win in the longer races. We then have the ever-present problem in many pigeon lofts “Patience” something that many do not have for the longer races. I know fanciers who will site for hours and rise early for their pigeons in the longer races, I have done it myself many times. Then we have the dash home fanciers who as soon as the pigeons are liberated want them in the loft so that they can forget about that race and move on to the next, a lack of patience but they enjoy what they are doing and as long as they are doing that, they are maintaining their interest in racing pigeons. A few years back I would talk at length to Cameron Stansfield about the distance fanciers and he knew them all because he had such a good memory for distance pigeons, sprinter’s no chance. The art of racing pigeons is knowing what to do and when to do it to get the pigeons right for any race. You cannot just chuck them in without any thought and proper preparation and expect them to win. We know the sport is on the decline, but rest assured there are fanciers coming back into the sport, we have seen that with the sales. We know of at least 10 who left the sport years ago but getting into the 50’s or so are looking for a bit of interest in their lives and are reverting back to their younger days of racing pigeons. So, it is not all doom and gloom in the sport, and I have said many times the sport needs to target fanciers who left the sport to bring up a family and are now 50 plus, these are the fanciers who have the time and money to have another go. Yes, we can still target the younger members of the community and the schools where there is a possibility of new members. I suppose a lot of the lack of interest in the sport to the general public can be put down the pigeon fanciers in general, we should have come up with a professional publicist to deal with the media. There are plenty of people within the sport who could contact the general media but what we needed was someone who through experience would know the ins and outs of the media and in pigeon racing they are not plentiful. The sport does so much good and there are many great achievement’s that don’t get recognised outside the sport. What we are good it is getting the bad points from pigeon racing into the general public and that is what we don’t need. We do get a lot of social media but the vast majority of that is limited to people within the sport and does not get through too many people at all if they don’t have pigeons themselves. What I will say is there are people within the sport who have gone that one step further, but they have not had enough support to go even further. That is where a truly savvy media person would make a difference, someone who has been out there in the likes of the city and know what the game is all about.
Brian Lee at NFC
The organisations have started to put their race programmes out and the North West Classic Club is competing from the following race points. They start at Carentan on the 8th June which is 2 weeks later than in 2018. Moving on to Fougeres 20th June, Messac 6th July and finish the old birds at Saintes on the 12th July which is a Friday. The young bird race from Carentan is on the 14th September. Prize money starts at £150 per section and £550 for the open then we have the additional money from entries so it should be a good pool to draw from. The Gold Ring race starts at £2000 and last year saw over £6000 paid out in the joint YB race. The club are doing well and had 14 resignations at the AGM and have covered them with New members already and we still have the Blackpool entries to sort out. The club also has the new Marking Station at Bolton where we have already had 9 new members and expecting more. We hear that clubs in the North West are looking at using the Classic Club programme as their channel programme which ahs to be good for all concerned.
The Mid Cheshire Fed programme has also come through and they start on the 13th April, Worcester twice, Cheltenham, Mangotsfield twice, Wincanton, Portland, Cheltenham, Carentan, Mangotsfield, Fougeres, Mangotsfield, Messac, Mangotsfield, Ancenis. Then the young birds start on the 27th July at Worcester followed by another Worcester, Cheltenham, Mangotsfield twice, Wincanton, and Yeovil.
Nigel & Wendy Shaw with LJP and one of their very good racing cock whose brother was on the front page of the BHW a few weeks ago
I have also received the programme for the South West Cheshire Fed who start at Cheltenham on the 13th April followed on consecutive weekends to, Bath twice, Frome, Yeovil, Portland, Frome, Portland, Bath & Carentan on the same day, Frome, Fougeres & Frome on the same day, Bath, Messac & Bath on the same day. There is a none fed race from Tewkesbury on the 13th July. Then Tewkesbury plus Ancenis on the same day, Cheltenham twice, Bath Twice, Frome, Yeovil, finishing at Portland on the 7th September.
The photo is of Nigel & Wendy Shaw with LJP and one of their very good racing cock whose brother was on the front page of the BHW a few weeks ago. Only a yearling and look what he ahs won so let’s see if he can keep it up this year as a 2yo. There is also a photo of Brian Lee at the National, he has been a great help to us with the North West Classic Club and he does fly a really good pigeon.
We look forward to see you at the Blackpool Show, why not call and see us.
Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ. 01606836036 Mobile 07871701585.
web site www.elimarpigeons.com