And the least we can say is that they have been very successful at it! As notified in our introduction, the Easley’s are only focusing on the most demanding OLR such as Victoria Falls, SAMDPR, Pattaya and of course the Hoosier. In addition to these races that we can consider as the ‘big four’, they also enter several others one loft races throughout the USA. As this discipline is very popular in the US, the inland competition is rough and you always have to keep the quality on your breeding loft as high as possible. You also have to stay sharp & focused to make no mistakes in your breeding strategy. It is not a surprise that the USA is still considered as the top OLR contender in the world next to Germany.
How it all begun
Born and raised in a family of pigeon fanciers, Ken Easley has a busy professional life as CEO of a big construction company. He also lived in Siberia where his company had developed and built a big sport complex. It was then only in 2006 that he decided to spent more of his time on the pigeon sport, the passion of his childhood. He decided right from the start to focus only on the OLR competition because it is the only discipline that gives equal chances to all the participants. Ken put on paper several points on which he wanted to work to give the necessary orientation towards his passion and give the right impulse to his fresh start. He did this through the analysis of the main results from the races he wanted to shine on. In that way, several names could come to the fore. One name in particular caught all his attention: the German fancier Alfons Klaas. In 2007, Klaas won indeed the final victory from the SAMDPR as well as the World Ace Challenge organized in the USA while sending... only one pigeon. This foreign pigeon managed to beat the cream of the crop from the American pigeon sport on their own ground. Alone against the whole world. For Ken Easley, the decision was clear: he needed to introduce those Klaas pigeons to start building his own loft.
The first of those imported German pigeons that left his stamp on the Easley stock was the 'Konbird', the current base pigeon. This cock was bred from a half-brother of 'Konstantin' while his mother was a full sister of 'Birdy'. With such a genetical package, it was useless to say that the descendants of 'Konbird' achieved marvelous performances in various OLR throughout the world.
Targeted investments with 'Puggle' & 'Sunce'
In his quest for reinforcements, Ken had always a particular attraction for the SAMDPR (South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race). In fact, his biggest dream has always been to win its final. And for him, the shortest way to try to achieve it was going through purchasing pigeons that had performed very well in the final. Several pigeons that won the early prizes from the 2017 Final attracted his attention and especially a cock named 'Puggle'. It was the first pigeon that arrived from the final but he was however beaten in the race by a group of three pigeons that followed him closely and managed to enter the loft before him. That's how 'Puggle' ended on the 4th position of the final. For Ken, it didn't impact his performance in any way, which is why he took the decision to import 'Puggle' on the other side of the Atlantic. Several months later, his parents would follow him as well.
- 'Puggle' (DV01288-16-515)
Along the same lines, Ken was also attracted by another pigeon from the final race, 'Sunce'. This hen won the 2nd place from the 2017 final and, that was even more remarkable, she was also bred from the same ancestors as 'Puggle' (in a more distant generation). For Ken, this could not be due to chance and he took it into his head to purchase these two pigeons together in order to pair them up.
- 'Sunce' (DV05077-16-58)
- 'Saad' (KU16-021256)
The following year, Ken returned on his quest for reinforcements after the SAMDPR final. This time, his attraction got caught by 'Saad', a pigeon that won the 6th prize of the 2017 edition final against 2.434 pigeons. Arguably, 'Saad' is one of the best investments Ken ever made to this day. Indeed, two years after his own participation in the SAMDPR, his own daughter 'BB 8' performed in a similar way as she won the 5th prize from the SAMDPR final 2019 winning at the same time the 1st Knock Out Winner title, offering to her lucky breeder a prize money of 70,000$.
Big Andy One Loft Race 2021
This 12th of April 2021, the final of the Big Andy One Loft Race 2021 was held on Cumings (400 miles - 640 km) with a total of 901 pigeons at the start. Ken Easley won the 9th prize with 'Hippolyta' that also won the title of 1st Grand Average. 'Hyppolyta' is a direct daughter of 'Saad' x 'Dino' (7th prize Algarve Golden Race 2016 final & 5th Ace Pigeon General).
- 'Mukiwa' (CU15-Easley-31)
Finally, what is more rewarding for an OLR fan than breeding and sending a pigeon that stands out in one of the most prestigious one loft races in the world? As he was able to build up a solid collection of top performers over the years, Ken Easley also had the chance to taste the joys of victory with one of his pigeons on several occasions. The biggest achievement was probably achieved by 'Mukiwa' in the SAMDPR where this pigeon was probably one of the best from the 2016 edition:
Car race 1 (138 km): 138th
Car race 2 (184 km): 3th
Car race 3 (238 km): 111th
Car race 4 (285 km): 20th
Car race 5 (341 km): 11th
In the very difficult final, 'Mukiwa' won the 83th prize against 2.162 pigeons. Thanks to her performances on the previous races, she won the title of 1st Hot Spot Acebird SAMDPR 2016, 1st 'Knock Out Winner' USA & 2nd Acebird SAMDPR 2016. After the final, Ken Easley was determined to bring 'Mukiwa' back home. There, she became mother of the 1st prize winner on the 305 miles race from the California Classic in 2019 (first drop).
The less we can say is that Ken regularly had the right feeling when it was time to purchase a pigeon to strengthen his stock. He never hesitated to untie the strings of his purse to purchase what he deemed necessary. With such a collection of pigeons on the loft, his dream of winning the grand final of one of the big four OLR in the world seems to be reachable.