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Lets take the champion racing pigeon question first as this is a very interesting question and is also very subjective depending on both geography and on occasions on personal beliefs. What I mean by this is pigeon racing is fragmented with there being lots of different clubs, combines and unions. The oxford dictionary definition says “a champion is a person, team, etc. that has won a competition, especially in a sport.
The world/European/National/Olympic champion.” Well this definition used in the context of racing pigeons makes it as clear as mud because of what I mentioned above regarding club’s, Combine unions etc. So unless all these establishments get together and define what constitutes a champion, specifically for racing pigeons creating a standard, the naming a champion racing pigeon is always going to be slightly ambiguous.

Unless someone can inform me different, I have searched for this but nothing seems forthcoming. I don’t mean to demean the true champions but I’m highlighting the fact that it’s open to interpretation which makes it open to abuse. Say for instance, in the pigeon sales market! Not having ever owned what I would call a champion racing pigeon, I can only base my opinions on my own experience of having one or two what I would call good racing pigeons and expanding on the indispensable qualities I think would make a champion. Firstly I would have to say that you have to acquire bird’s from a family that are already performing to a high level at the distance you want to complete at being as close to the performing bird’s. This should give you a fighting chance to race successfully as the hardest work like the structure of the body type and wing will be there or there abouts. The other important qualities like it’s homing instinct and health that you can’t see will only be realized through racing reality. Then to fit with the definition win at a race at a national or international level. So to summarise there are lots of variables in the champion racing pigeon some that the fancier has control over like feeding, conditioning, training and providing a safe, dry and well ventilated home but invariably there’s lots of uncontrollable variables a fancier can’t control once it’s outside in nature so luck has to play it’s part.

The only tips from my own observations I can give you are it’s the quiet ones that just are always there going about their pigeon business and they are the bird’s who never get sick. This is what I believe are the essence of a potential champion and the true champion is the one that achieves it’s goal which is to win that ultimate race.

Now lets look at the personal qualities of a great fancier I don’t think that even a great fancier would easily be able to answer this question because he or she is probably too focused on their bird’s to even contemplate the question, there’s the first quality for a start having a total focus on the objective. I can though having known a few in my time pass on some of my observations bearing in mind that as time has passed, knowledge and communications have expanded over the years making the world a smaller place and champions I’m talking about were local and seen as idols to other fanciers. But I’m sure there are common traits and eccentricities which we all can probably identify and recognize the first would have to be the will to win.

I have never met a pigeon fancier yet that doesn’t want to win, without going into detail about the trait it’s a human thing a darwinian survival of the fittest in a modern form and the great fanciers are obsessed and fanatical with it, it’s the sense of achievement that endorphin dopamine rush that we all crave.

So to summarise firstly all respect to the true champion racing pigeons which I believe it’s status is under stated due to the fact a champion racing pigeon hasn’t been provided with a clear precise definition of what a true undisputed champion is. The essence of a champion racing pigeon is it born or made by the fancier, I think it’s probably a mixture of both but it’s qualities of health, homing instinct and it’s ability to perform under stress are essential to reach the level of a champion are there from birth. The personal properties of a great fancier well I think its very similar to champion racing pigeon in that some are born and some have moulded themselves into one. What are their basic traits well they are single minded approach to achieve their goals using patience, dedication and numerous life learned skills, some fail some do well and a few make their dreams a reality. The best bit to take away from this is that never forget the champion could be you it’s all there for the taking should you decide to pick up the metaphorical baton and run with it.

Dave Bunker Brierley 2021

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