Race result can be found here : Race result ( choose Race Results and then choose 24-11-2013 )
The AU is the biggest federation in the USA, with over 10,000 members. Every year they organise their convention, always in a different city. This year Tampa was the place to be. Top racers from all over the States came and registered themselves for the 5-day AU Convention lasting from Wednesday 20 till Sunday 24 November.
Like you all probably know Tampa is situated in Florida, the Sunshine State. The weather was really good. Tampa and more precisely Spring Hill has a very high concentration of pigeon racers, with the area Little Belgium where you have over 100 pigeon lofts in just a few square kilometres. Nearly all of the people who migrated to that place did it especially to race pigeons.
For almost half a year, they organise races up to 4 times a week. A real paradise for pigeon flyers! Famous fanciers like Tony Melucci are located in this area.
PIPA was invited by the board of the AU to join the convention as speaker in the seminar that was organised and to bring in birds for the auction organised on Saturday 23 November. The seminar was a huge success and the auction was one of the best ever held in the USA.
For the seminar, Jos Thoné, Marc Evans and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht (assisted by Big Andy) were invited to talk about pigeon racing (and Nikolaas about how he founded PIPA) and the fanciers who attented the seminar were able to ask questions afterwards. There was great interest and many questions were asked.
The auction included pigeons from Jos Thoné, M & D Evans from Myrtle Lofts (UK), PIPA Elite Center, Big Andy, Dirk Deroose, Batenburg-van de Merwe and Gyselbrecht-Leliaert. The entire auction proceeds mounted up to nearly 200,000 USD, making it one of the most successful auctions ever organised in the US with probably up to 300 people attending it. All fanciers that participated in the auction were very satisfied.
Robert Darr bought Jos Thone's most expensive pigeon, a full brother of Cavendish for 6,100 USD. Jos his other pigeons were also sold for high prices. George & Jennifer Rankin had successfully made a bid on several nice Jos Thoné pigeons. They are performing extremely well with Jos his pigeons in one loft races.
Robert Darr, 2nd on the right, is the new owner of a brother of Cavendish
M & D Evans also had a very successful auction with a pigeon sold for 9,100 USD and many other very expensive birds. His partner John Marles is racing very well with the M&D Evans pigeons in USA. This could be gathered from the prices people paid for them.
Marc Evans from Myrtle Lofts
PEC auctioned 4 birds in total. The 2 children of New Freddy were sold for 10,500 and 9,500 USD, being the two most expensive birds in the auction. The cock was sold to Kenny Rhodes, who became famous in USA after having purchased Charley. The buyers of the daughter were George & Jennifer Rankin. The 2 children of Bender were sold for 7,500 USD together.
FLTR: Andy, Mr. & Mrs. Rhodes (buyers of the son of New Freddy), Jennifer and George Rankin (buyers of the daughter of New Freddy) and Nikolaas
Big Andy put up 17 pigeons for auction with an average of about 800 USD. Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht and Frederik Leliaert sold about 7 pigeons with an average of around 1000 USD. The average of Dirk Deroose's birds was about the same. Hugo Batenburg his pigeons were sold for 2000 USD on average.
Furthermore, a special AU race with 3,500 entries was organised. Everybody in the US can find a loft in the Spring Hill area to race pigeons for them by paying an entry fee. This means that you have a breeder and a handler. The handler is the one who races pigeons. So you can have handlers who race pigeons for e.g. 20 different people. The handler himself can't race his own pigeons. Big Andy for example housed pigeons for about 20 different flyers. His loft manager was Sam Younan. Sam is a top flyer, who came to the area from Chicago for three months only to race the pigeons in the house of Big Andy... Can you imagine?! Big Andy had a pigeon that won the 7th prize in the race (bred by Fred Goodchild, both parents purchased through PIPA). The pigeon lost the 1st prize with 18 seconds. The father is a nephew of Chipo, the mother a full sister to New Gaby.
During the AU Concention there was also a separate programme for the ladies included a museum visit, some shopping, etc. Bus tours were organised each day.
On Saturday evening a wonderful banquet was held followed by a dance act.
I would like to thank the AU and Bill Mitiu and his wife Karen in particular as they are the ones who invited us. Also a big thanks to Andy and his wife Iralda for inviting us to stay in their house for a few days and for the nice party they organised in their new place in Florida. Iralda, thanks for the hospitality you have shown to all of us!
This was my second time visiting USA - and the first time for pigeons - but it will definitely not be the last!
Thanks to The Pigeon Photographer for some of the pictures.