February 29, 2020

Secretary’s Report

Firstly, January came and went with The Show of The Year being the main attraction. Personally, I gave it a miss this year and my only observation is the wallet feels heavier”! But I’m sure everyone will have enjoyed their yearly jaunt to Blackpool not least when meeting old friends.


At the Sportsman we held our AGM which as usual was well attended. All officials remain as last year. (However, we would welcome an Assistant Secretary for 2020 with a view to taking over the job in 2021 when I step down). We kick of the season with 37 members although new applications are still being accepted. Annual subscriptions remain at £20.

Our main financial concern is around transportation costs from Toft Hill to Sheffield. With the NFC tightening its financial belt we do face ever increasing cost in transferring the birds to meet up with the NFC Transporter (a round trip of 250 miles). For this reason, we will be running another young bird sale which will start Thursday 17th April and end 10 days later (Sunday the 27th) There will be a full advert in the Pigeon Press with details of each lot. The auction will be controlled through The Compare the Pigeon website”. The sales list is already well in hand and we have again received some generous pledges of young birds from top National UK lofts as well as top class young birds from our club members. So put the date in your dairy and take time to study the sales list you will be impressed by the quality available.

Messac National Show Race

Club member Gary Heslington stepped forward to be run the Club annual Show race on 22/2/20 to be flown in conjunction with the Messac National. In total there were 37 birds in the show pens for the judge Kevin Winter, to sort out. After a diligent selection he awarded BIS & BOS to Craig Thompson with Paul Kitching & Jeff Walton taking second places in the cocks and hens respectively. He also picked up the Deweert Trophy for BIS.

In total members will be competing for £285 race prize money split 1st £170 and 2nd £115 with an additional £120 Pools in the kitty. Best of luck to everyone competing. And a big thank you to Kevin who did a grand job judging.

Vanrobaey Sponsorship

Since the AGM I have also had confirmation from Vanrobaey Feeds that for the fifth year in a row they will Sponsor our full National race card with prizes from their range of both pigeon feeds and a quality racing supplements. Many thanks to Tom Demeester and his Agent, Terry Knox for their great support.

2020 Racing Season

We are rapidly approaching March and many fanciers are well advanced with breeding even have babies parted. Those more interested in the long to extreme distance races are less enthusiastic about early breeding nevertheless I suspect many long hours will have been spent wrestling with sorting out pairings. Unfortunately, the elephant in the room, is the fickle weather. It is some years since we experienced heavy and prolonged spells of snow in the North East, just maybe we have seen the last of the 6 feet snow drifts. Indeed, I believe the evidence of Climate Change requires us to review when we start and end the racing season, perhaps it is time to grasp the nettle and introduce mixed old and young bird racing as standard practice in the UK. Strategically leading Pigeon Administration bodies and National Clubs should be driving any reviews as individual members will themselves be unable to bring about change. Hopefully the RPRA will step up to the plate on this score.

Presently the heavy rainfall has caused horrendous flooding demonstrating the impacts of unpredictability brought about by Climate Change. It is for this reason and the lack of national leadership that I suggest fanciers reflect on racing conditions encountered in the last couple of years not least the extreme temperatures. If in 2020 we experience more violent rainstorms or extreme heat perhaps even a combination of both, I suggest fanciers may be challenged to reconsider their own approach to loft management and racing.

Personally, I have already selected the main target races for my team and decided greater discipline on my part is required. Firstly, not putting all one’s eggs in the same basket will be my starter for 10. Advancing the training schedule of the yearlings and adjusting the feeding regimes and arranging a full pre-racing health check in March has also been pencilled in the diary. There remain some 6 weeks before Saturday club racing starts let’s hope for a fair wind and good returns. Before we know it the first Nationals will be just around the corner and it will be time to rock and roll. Best of luck to All.

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