Patrick McDonald – Glasgow
It all started when I went to a late bred sale which was held in the small town of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. At the present time I had fancy (Horseman) pigeons but went to this sale with another fancier in the Horseman Club who also raced pigeons. The reason for attending the sale was because the fancier that I was with at the time was going to purchase some late bred pigeons for breeding. During the sale I got to know some fanciers from around the area and a few offered me some un-rung young birds which were from their breeders. As I had fancy pigeons I had no space to keep the late bred birds so from that day I decided to quit with the fancy birds and start Racing Pigeons.
A few months past and I got to know more fanciers some of which bred me young birds for racing the following year. The first year was not as good as it was a learning curve for me but I was keen to learn how to win races – the real way. As keen as I was, I was pigeon daft and was reading many articles on the internet and in several magazines. This gained me more knowledge about the sport and also about the fanciers in it. I was surprised that in my club I was the youngest member racing in my own right.
When the race season started I never had a lot of young birds and only raced the birds in about four or five races, the best result that I had was fourth prize. Time went on and the following year was coming in fast. By this time I knew a lot of fanciers that had a lot of good results to the present time and I acquired some young birds from each of these guys for racing.
At this point I was happy that the team was getting stronger and in July of 2007, I won 1st Prize in Open of the Glasgow Federation from Kelso which was around 78 miles to my loft. The next week there was a race from Otterburn and I also won 1st Prize in the club then went on to winning the young bird averages in the club that year. That year took me on to win Runner-Up in the RPRA Cumbria Region young fanciers’ competition. I was very happy with this.
From DVD, Videos and Books I familiarized faces so when going to places like the Kassel Pigeon Market, Germany and the Blackpool Show I knew who the Champions where and so I got speaking to them about their methods of racing and breeding and put them into practice myself. Some of which I was told didn’t work for my birds so some alterations to the system had to be made.
SUCCESS LEVELS WERE RISING
The team was getting stronger and the system was working well as I thought it would. The birds were exercising around the loft daily like rockets. Not much could go wrong and the first old birds race of the 2008 season was coming up. The first races were bumpy and such prizes like 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were gained but as the third race took place an Open Federation win was achieved from Otterburn, Northumberland. The following week the federation was racing from Catterick, North Yorkshire and a West section win in the federation was gained from here on I win another two old bird races namely Wakefield and Leicester.
After this I was getting the young birds prepared for racing as it was in a few weeks time. I had bought six young birds from a fancier from the West-Flanders area of Belgium and was eager to try them out. The first young bird race was from Cockenzie at the East of Scotland.
I sent about 30 pigeons and got about 20 in a batch most of which where dropping like rockets on the landing board and took 1st, 2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th prize in the club. The season went on faster than ever as time flies when you are enjoying yourself and I had won most of the young bird races. That year I ended up re-applying to submit my results for the young fanciers competition and in the Cumbria Region and this time was more successful and won Best Young Fancier of the RPRA Cumbria Region and was in that year 2nd Best Young Fancier in the United Kingdom.
Since starting this great hobby I have learned a lot but I think the biggest downside to it is the financial situation. The sport is now getting a profession for a small number of us in it and the prices of Club fees, Grain and Equipment are soaring so it is no wonder many fanciers are leaving it. Of course many of us try to encourage other people to join I think personally that it may be a hard job especially for young fanciers as it is virtually a working mans sport. The reason for my keeping it up is because my mum and dad have helped me with the training and feeding etc. I have also been influenced by many fanciers and also by the ones that got me started. In particular a fancier by the name of Wim Clermonts from the city of Groningen, Northern Holland has influenced me, as from the age of 13 he has been among the best fanciers in the Netherlands. Now in his fifties, Wim is still competing in high competition and races with a strong and selectful team of pigeons from the Eijerkamp Lofts in Brummen and also birds from the sensational Koopman Lofts in Ermerveen.
I would like to wish all of the young fanciers much success for the coming years and also I would like to thank the many fanciers that helped me with pigeons when I was getting established. I shall now move forward for next year and hope that only my results and birds get better. I have learned that I must act fast on getting my birds prepared for next year. When that season has come to an end for racing you must prepare your birds for a good moult. Everyone knows that when the birds are wintered well your chances are better for the races starting in April.
Until next time!