I have been involved and been trainer of one loft races for such a long period that I sometimes forget some of the race winners names etc. Having spent time in Saudi Arabia, then the MDPR race onto Skycomrades and then Allflight Carnival Lofts I must say I have seen most of the ins and outs of one loft racing. I have made big mistakes and have definitely stepped on some toes along the way. I have met great friends and have lost sadly a couple over the years. I must have handled some of the top pigeons any fancier ever wishes to handle. I have also seen some real duds that fanciers entered and hope they could become winners. Not every fancier will get it right to breed a one loft race competitor; many breed out of their click pair but they forget that we as trainers do not have the time to give each and every pigeon the individual attention that the owner would at home. In my own race loft my so called click pairs babies are marked and if they come late they get special attention the next two or three days at the olr they all get treated; well as a trainer I treat all the same.
I do not keep pigeons back because they were late etc. To me a one loft race has always meant all in the baskets all of the time and the best of the best survivors and tough pigeons will score upfront. Maybe the times have changed and we might need to look at managing the kit better; paying special attention to the later arrivals but then is that fair on the pigeons that can do it week in and week out? Should they not rather get the glory than one that was nurtured to be in the final? The one thing that I can say is that I with all my experience have made mistakes and will still make mistakes in the future but I love your pigeons sometimes more than what you love them. They have given me so many great memories and thrills along the way! I have sat hands in my hair sometimes after a tough training flight were I lost more pigeons than I was supposed to.
I have seen a virus going through a loft and taking out 20% of the entries just like that. I have also had finals won by big margins and even finals where more than 40 pigeons arrived together; the one thing I can say is that those lone flyers are remembered for a long time and that not many pigeons arriving 2nd are remembered for very long not even talking about 5th or 10th. Here I lie on a bed in Trompsburg having had to do the driving myself for the final due to various reasons but I enjoy doing the driving as I know that no matter what happens tomorrow I cannot put the blame on anyone but myself maybe it will be a great summer final with pigeons arriving close together or perhaps the weather does change and then I will get it from all over but I will stand tall and will if it is so destined train another batch of pigeons another race series and have another winner and another ace pigeon.
I know not all the current customers will return but I also know new customers will be bringing their hopefuls to take part. I have read that we as olr’s should not spare any costs in taking care of the pigeons so I ask the same of you; give your babies the absolute best treatment food vaccines etc because you are laying the foundation that we must build with! I wanna wish everyone all the best for tomorrow and ask only one thing and that is to stand up for tomorrow’s champion because no matter what the front pigeons have gone through the mill already and their little bodies have endured so many already and they deserve the glory of winning or being upfront because on the day they are the winners. I hope to see many new faces as entrants and I can guarantee you as I have for the last 22plus years I will try my absolute best to get as many pigeons to the finals as always and to get as many of them back from the final race as well.
Good luck to all.