pigeon This I Believepigeons
I do not intent to hurt anyone in this article, I have been requested to state facts and my experience which I will gladly do. There is nothing I need such as recognition, I proved myself and I wear no man’s collar. I’m in two hall of fames, the NPA and the AGBBF, I won the Levi Service Award, Dean of the NPA Roller Master Breeder award, Past Pres. Of NPA, PRC, URCA, Sec. of PRC and NBRC. When you can top this please call on me and I’ll shake your hand.
In 1946 the Roller world was in a state of shock. The Pensom Strain came in and got a lot of publicity. Many of us tried them out. Pensom said any kind of Pensom Roller was a Champion, we American breeders did not go for that. We wanted a bird that proved to be best in the air; also a bird to be shown. We found if a bird had a weakness in type, feather, keel, or expression it would not meet these goals. We would not keep it or even think showing a faulted bird. We studied these birds constantly to get proper balance and rapidity of spin.
I received letters from hundreds of breeders and got opinions and they insisted we get some Standard to go by. It was a fact that birds in a certain weight range were ideal…to kit tight, all make the figure eight, spin tight and fast, all in unison. After several years we bred what Pensom didn’t. He said all his birds were A-1, we did not go for that. The strain had many faults, too many variations that we bred out of them.
I was Secretary Treasurer of the Pensom Club for eight years so I knew first hand what was going on, also President of NPA and President of PRC, President of URC, and Secretary of NBRC, so I’m not new at what I say. Don’t fault me unless you’ve been there. My first concern in pigeons is fellowship. I’ll never forget my good friends that helped me put that Standard together: Paul Vaughn, Russ Harter, Roger Baker, Ralph Brown, Tom Jennings, Al Gierach, Frank Hampson, Reeves Milburn, Art Kehl, Gil Opperman, Bill Harvey, Bill Goza, Rueben George, Al Hazelhorst, Ciro Valenti, Ty Wells, Lou Trimmer, Dick Owens, Dick Orr, and others. All were true dedicated fanciers that cared for the true Roller pigeon and not a dollar.
So, we made a Standard to suite the perfect Roller; so, why even so gullible to think of making a new standard. Rollers have deteriorated so fast in the last ten years by evading the standard that majority of true Roller fanciers are fed up by letting their officers and judges violate the responsibility bestowed upon them by letting a clique let unqualified birds win. They did not possess the guts to stop this. They let the fancy down and lost the faith of the members to an all time low. The pictures I saw of these so called winners do not represent a Roller or a Standard. These late “winners” should be shown in the Long Face Tumbler class. They insult the Roller pigeon. Put them on a scale and you will find out why they are not in a class of the true Roller pigeon. The main reason we got this Standard was because some imported birds varied so much in type, expression, station, feather, etc., and the American birds were all messed up too.
A Roller is to be a performing breed that is why Rollers became popular in the first place. A Roller is a dual purpose bird that can perform in the air and also show well. It is to be built and weighed to spin. Our Standard fits that bird in the air and on the ground.
A bird had to be balanced right to roll right in a straight line, type has to be there, proper feather, good keel, and wents, back cover, tail and expression all has to go together for a bird to spin tight and come out of the spin clean and back to the kit.
As far as performance was concerned some baldheads, selfs, and marked birds were as good as any imports. I know because I tried both at different times. The best imports were from Mr. Walker who came from England and he had means to buy or raise better birds than other importers. His birds were closer to what we wanted. There were not many of these top birds as he was not a dealer. We lucky ones grabbed them up. They were so good they had to be recognized as Pensoms. We would lend our birds to each other and if you had on loan a cock bird then we called it the name of the lender such as a Lutes cock or Vaughn hen. Today you never hear of that. We shared credit with others and that’s sportsmanship. We would mate birds up for newcomers and help them anyway we could, we had respect and harmony, it took years to spread good will but it worked. It took me 11 years to pick a roll down in a second. That’s why a bird’s eyes are important, when I was positive I could do that the Rollers changed over so rapidly that we practically eliminated roll downs in the following year’s youngsters.
I also heard of a judge that said he judged by his own standard, imagine that!! A guy like this years ago would get drummed out of a club quick. Are you going to let this group get away with it? You have a Standard, so stick to it. Get new officers and a scale and judges that can read the Standard. If not, you’re a weak person that does not believe in right or wrong. You officers and judges showed us you are on the wrong track. I’d be ashamed to admit I had a part in such bad judgment. Before you show, make sure the birds are weighed, that will eliminate those crows that are supposed to be Rollers. Disqualify them. That list of the “Last of the Greats” did not do much homework.
For you younger officers in Roller clubs, please look back from 1946 till now before you state facts, because it’s deceiving if you don’t. I won Grand Champ at two later York, PA shows. At York, PA there were two shows in two years that had over 800 Rollers. I know because I judged those two shows. In 1954, the NPA National broke the record for Rollers, 852 birds. So don’t pat yourself on the back on the recent shows. I had best old Pensom in the PRC show and best Young Hen in the URCA show. On December 7, 1941, at Watertown, WI, there were 501 Rollers shown. A record for that time. Others had 800 or more birds several times and they were not combined shows so by a fair comparison combined annual show today should have 1500 to 2000 birds. But numbers aren’t everything, fellowship is so important and the knowledge you should get means a lot. In order to get more breeders we gave our birds to them free if we felt them worthy. People would call you a Huckster if you made a practice of selling birds. Dealers didn’t last long, but it seems this has changed, the good will seems lost and people are getting ripped off. We did years ago also, but soon found out your best birds were given to you, which we felt was a compliment to the bird and its new owner.
I feel you are the boss of your loft and whatever you do is your concern so be happy and enjoy your birds, breed best to best, cull and pride yourself by helping others, the friendship could last a lifetime. At a show, we would introduce each other before judging and answer questions and help the other fellow. Now, it’s not being done, what happened? Have people forgot manners, always remember fellowship has prevail first.
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