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Geoff & Catherine Cooper (UK): ‘The dream becomes a reality’

A few months ago I was talking to Geoff Cooper and he told me that his future ambition was to try and win an international race.

He told me "I know it won’t be easy but Catherine and I have won pretty much everything which we can in England, so now we want to try and achieve the ultimate victory in the International arena." The results that Geoff was referring to include 1st National F C from Tarbes,12th International Dax, 39th International Dax and 86th  International Perpignan. Additionally the loft has nine 1st prize placings in three National provinces which is a record number of wins for this award.

'Farmer George' 1st International Winner

Little did either of us realise that just a few weeks later I would be phoning the partners to congratulate them on a fantastic win from Bordeaux against a huge International entry of 22,029 birds with their two year old Blue Chequer widowerhood cock named ‘Farmer George’, with a velocity of 1159 mpm. This bird as his pedigree will emphasise, is full of National winning blood. He is a Grandson of ‘Farm Boy’ a giant in the Cooper’s loft at Peasedown St. John. Quite simply ‘Farm Boy ‘ has achieved more than most fanciers dare fantasise of winning in both the racing and breeding lofts. On his dam’s side he is a Grandson of ‘George’ the winner of 1st National Tarbes. Never has the saying about ‘the apple falling close to the tree’ been more apt and fitting. If proof is required of ‘Farmer George’s’ racing prowess then his 3rd West section placing in the British International Championship Club should satisfy even the most ‘Doubting Thomas’!

Click here to see a summary of their results of 2010

The birds are a real family at Geoff and Catherine’s, for over 30 years of skilful blending with Geoff’s old family and the pigeons obtained from the Deweert family of Kortemark, Belgium an area steeped in long distance racing. Of course during this period of time judicious crosses have been introduced then slowly removed. So that the base remains loyal to the ‘Old Line’.

Amazingly a second arrival was clocked shortly after the International winner and this bird is right up there as well. This bird is a son of P.D. a bird which has twice been 2nd placed in the National at section (Provincial) level from Alencon and Tarbes. This bird is now called ‘Shiraz’ because Geoff and Catherine were enjoying a glass of this fine wine when he homed. This was courtesy of a bottle gifted to them by their friend John Smallcombe in gratitude of his 1st Section winner that same day in the National F C Tarbes race which was bred from a pair of G & C Cooper’s birds. Without any doubt this was truly a ‘Champagne day’ for a wonderful partnership and more importantly two lovely people.

So yet again another example that emphasises the standing that British racing pigeons are rapidly gaining. Brits are proving to be both fierce and dangerous competitors even though their birds must face a dangerous obstacle in the form of the English Channel a stretch of both volatile and temperamental water.