The Blackpool 2020 Experience
Where to start. Its amazing how the time turns around year on year. Only 12 short months back we were there and then Bam it’s come again. I am not sure how you all feel about it but for me I will never miss it now. I have only been going 3 years now and have loved every one. This one by far the best for more than just the superb loft visit I have done with none other than Frank Kay of Bolton. More of this shortly. As per usual of trip starts on the Thursday with a visit to Liverpool and the usual session that comes with and heading to Blackpool then with more of the same.
So, to the good bit. On Friday I arranged a loft visit with Frank Kay in Bolton and I can honestly say this without exaggeration WOW WOW WOW?.. and I would go more and fill this article with that but will not so we can get to the meaty bit. Frank fly’s his own local, National clubs’ ad well as BBC and BICC. His birds are pushed all the way to Palamos (BBC) and Barcelona (BICC). A mere 851miles from Palamos and 870 miles from Barcelona. That is not forgetting to mention the mere 727miles his yearlings and other birds compete at for Tarbes or race points such as Messac, Fougeres, Carentan amongst others with such regularity that Frank does not use the term “IF” they come but “WHEN” they come. Frank has been sending to all these race points for so many years that when it comes to a family that can compete at these extreme distances, and I mean extreme at 870 miles not 600 miles, they are a certainty every time in the basket. For the last few years the yearlings have all gone as far as Tarbes and 2 years plus are Palamos with the BBC or Barcelona International with the BICC. In Ireland I couldn’t race these distances if I wanted to without joining the one or other of the clubs mentioned above. That being said for the most part I wouldn’t dream of sending the yearlings to similar distances. I think his achievements over the years are nothing short of astounding.
So, whilst in the lofts we were going through the birds and Frank was handing them over whist commenting about them 1xTarbes, 2xTarbes, 2xTarbes, 3xTarbes and 1xPalamos. I could go on. I can honestly say it was the most pleasure I have had visiting a loft in a long time. The calibre of birds were something to behold, and that is just the race birds. Birds that are able to achieve the likes of this are and must be bred from something special. When we say the handful of stock kept it was clear where the apple had not fallen far from the tree. The birds in stock, predominantly race birds retired after having flown the likes of Tarbes themselves and being children of others that had done Barcelona or Palamos, were nothing short of beautiful. I understand that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ well I can say these were amazing. After handling several I could honestly see why Frank is so passionate about such extreme marathon distances. To have cultivated and developed a family like he has is fantastic.
I had to question about why he sends the birds at such a young age, yearlings, to Tarbes at such an extreme distance and the simple response was that he doesn’t believe in waiting. Where do you go after a response like that? What a role model for those out there wanting to have a go themselves and there are several.
The photos included are of left to right Myself, Christopher (Cousin), My Dad, Joe and the main man himself Frank. You can see how his birds trap, nothing elaborate or fancy here. The cock with the open wing is a son from his 3xTarbes and 1xPalamos. And lastly my Dad holding one of the mothers of the loft. Again I will say it before moving on in this article, it was such a pleasure to visit such a fancier as Frank Kay with birds second to none. WOW WOW WOW???
So that was Friday and Saturday was to roll over but before that myself, dad, John Ghent and Gaz went to dinner. It was one of those where the company was fantastic meaning the chat just carried on and then it was the food also. The food was superb meaning we didn’t want to leave and chatted way past when we should have. So, here is another Thank You to John and Gaz for a fantastic night eating before the dreaded drink took over. I have also put in one of those photos in out for dinner. And of course, this is the social side of the event.
And so, it rolled over and show time came round. I will say it was later than usual time for me to head round and was about 1pm. It was quiet enough and to be honest for me was much better. We got to walk around and have look at the stalls with a proper view and chat to who we wanted. It was a pleasure walking around with my dad taking in the stalls. I was delighted to be able to introduce my dad to John Halstead, someone he has admired for many, many years. It was great to see John again and have a chat about what’s happening someone I have admired whilst growing up. Together we can keep pigeon racing alive. Walking around there were some fantastic stalls with products to beat the band for those who wanted them. Amazingly enough there were plenty of youngsters for sale also and from various different lofts. Some good some not so good. One of the best stalls I did visit and chat to was the Tumley Loft Stud. I had a half hour chat with James and Vicky Cook. James and myself have been crossing paths over the last couple of years and this year I felt we really had a good chat after Vicky was done eyeballing me? Sorry Vicky I have to say I have been following James’s videos myself online and he work ethic is second to none. The birds are 365 days a year commitment for all of us racing but when its your business wow that’s dedication.
I also had a great chat with Tony Byrne of Endurance Stud who is in also in his inaugural year of his Barcelona International One Loft Race. For distance men and even those with no interest this is an amazing opportunity with amazing prize money up for grabs. For each of the entrants it will be a 3 year program where the same bird is in effect in 3 One Loft Races over the lifetime of the program. They will race out as young birds and yearlings with the 2 year olds competing at the Barcelona International. What an achievement if one of you readers had a bird there coming from such a daunting but respected race. Tony and his team have set his stall and sights on the ultimate in pigeon racing and to achieve it will be something special indeed. For that reason, I am on board with Tony as part of his team as a central point of contact for those wanting to get involved from Ireland. If you want to take part contact myself or Tony and make the arrangements. From Ireland there will be no shipping costs for you the individual fancier just gets the birds to myself in Dublin and Tony and I will look after the rest. We will have a few shipping dates to be confirmed at a later date. Any other information you require can be found at the website here http://barcelonaiolr.co.uk . I’m looking forward to an amazing journey with Tony and the Team.
With the show done on Saturday we would have an early start on Sunday to get to the airport and so it was a very, very social evening with the gang and a great night out. I met cousins I haven’t seen in years and by all accounts will make sure that that particular thing doesn’t happen again. And so, it’s all go now for breeding and making preparation for racing. We shall see what happens in 2020 within the sport and hopefully all will get what they want from it.
Until next time
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