How long have you been racing pigeons?
I have been racing pigeons since 1974 when I joined the
Georgia/Carolina RPC in Augusta,Ga. In the late 70's, I also flew with the
Nashville,Tn club and the Smokey Mtn club in Knoxville,Tn. I transferred back
to the Augusta,Ga area around 1979 and I have raced every race series since
What family of pigeons do you fly?
I fly several strains including Janssens
(019,Kiezer),Hofkens,Houbens,Krauts, and Sampson. I had 2 birds on the drop on
the BPR. First to clock was a hen of Kraut,Hofkens,Janssen breeding. Second
was a linebred 019 Janssen Cock. Both birds go back to my old 1997 CBS Janssen
Cock from Rick Mardis. He has been a fantastic breeder and a high
percentage of my best flyers are down from him.
Do you feed any special mix for the longer races?
No. I feed a 14% developer from Brown's to my race team. I
add some barley the first of the week and may add some extra safflower day of
shipping for the 400 and 500. During the race season I also mix various oils,
minerals, and brewers yeast to the feed.
What system do you use to race your pigeons?
I currently fly the natural system, primarily to eggs. It's
hard to beat good hens flying to the nest for the longer races. I have flown
dual widowhood with success back when I was out of town a lot. It's ideal for
someone who does not have much time or flys a small team since you can ship your
best birds more often and not have to worry about the nesting cycle as with
natural flying. I hope to downsize soon so I can go back to dual widowhood.
You can save a lot of time and money training birds, feed, medications, etc.
I normally fly young birds to the perch, but have flown the
light system in combination with widowhood with the sexually mature birds. For
someone in big competition, the latter by far gives the best results.
I know you have won in the past what do you think is
your best win and why?
When I think back over the last 36 years of racing, I think
about how exciting it was to win the first 8 positions in my very first young
bird race and winning 1st in the first 500 mile race I shipped. In our club
it's always an honor to win the Fred Arant Memorial 400m old bird race, who
was one of my old friends and mentor that passed away in 2002. He was a master
breeder and flyer and I owe a lot of my success to him.
My passion has always been distance racing and some clubs
just don't have enough members or can afford to ship the distance races. We
have been fortunate to have the opportunity to fly the BPR and also the S.E.
Open and I hope both continue to be successful in the future. They allow the
guys in the small clubs to compete on a much larger scale to test their birds
and their management of the birds. I have done well in the SE Open, placing
2nd one year and winning the state award and mileage categories several times.
My goal is to place as many birds as possible in the top 10-20%. Needless to
say I was on cloud nine and could hardly sleep when I found out I had won the
BPR. As long as I still have that kind of passion for this sport, I will be
racing these amazing birds.
Do you believe in eye sign?
This is a very controversial topic and I will comment only
on my own experiences in studying and applying it. I have found it useful in
the breeding loft more so than identifing racing ability. In the past I have
picked out the foundation breeders in several top lofts by eyesign alone, so
for me there is something to it. Several important things I have found:
Different families or strains have different levels of
eyesign. An average breeding eye in one family may be very strong for another
I use it as only one of the tools for selection.
Just because a bird has a great breeding eye does not mean
it will be a great breeder of winners, but a very high percentage of great
breeders do have terrific breeding eyesign.
Nothing replaces the race basket, it is the ultimate
tool of selection and final decisions should be based on it.
Do you sell pigeons?
I do occasionally sell a few birds but normally I do not
advertise. If someone has an interest in my birds they are welcome to contact
me at 706-863-9642 or
If you were to give a new flyer advise what would you
If they are really serious about being competitive, I would
tell them to try to get the best birds they can from no more than 2 good
flyers that are willing to mentor and teach them. We have all seen new members
join and they start off with a poor quality of birds from too many sources and
taking advise from to many people that really don't know or realize what it
takes to be competitive.
I would also tell them that you get out of it what you put
in it, like anything else in life. But if you don't learn correctly you can be
like the golfer who practices the wrong swing everyday and can't break 100.
Consequently they loose most of their birds, get discouraged and are gone.
My final comments would be that pigeon racing has been a
major part of my life. I have had many hobbies in my life, but nothing equals
the enjoyment that this sport has given me. I have always tried to keep it in
perspective, besides it's still only a hobby.
I would also like to thank Danny and the other
organizers of the BPR for their efforts in providing the opportunity to
compete in a race such as this and would encourage everyone to support it in
the years to come.