Geoff & Catherine Cooper (Peasedown St John, UK)

The Cooper’s are a household name in the pigeon sport, and after a lifetime of racing and breeding, in 2018 they still feature in the International races. At the same time, they can hold their own in local club and federation races, which they use to begin the fitness regime for the season.

In fact they held their own against top sprint men this year again, and in one race were 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th federation from 1400+ birds! in races of less than 100 Km. This is achieved with the same birds  that win first prizes at International level, proving that the partnerships family of birds are capable of winning from 50 to 700 miles.

Geoff and Catherine Cooper have a long established family of birds that can claim to be true all rounders. One of their main winners and top breeder is of course the fabulous, George.

At over 900 km George is the National Flying Club’s fastest winner to date from Tarbes. A clear demonstration of speed and stamina. George is the sire and grand sire to scores of birds to win at National and International level, not only for themselves, but for fanciers world wide. A true champion pigeon!

This year, Blue Checkered hen 'Farm Solo' GB.16.N.88734 has won two 1st sections/ Provincial, including 2nd National Pau International.

Farm Solo 2 x 1st section and 2nd National Pau 2018

She is bred from a son of George when paired to a daughter of Starlight. Yet another grandchild of George winning top prizes!

Take a look at her pedigree here.

This years National Flying Club Grand National Tarbes winner was a grandchild of George. (2018 being what most would claim as the toughest Tarbes race ever, with only 162 birds clocked from 2172 birds.) Last year's 2nd Grand national winner was a grandchild of George and the year before that the 4th Grand National winner was again a grandchild of George.

Evidence of the families breeding potential becomes obvious when researching the results. These birds can truly race, and are capable of racing all day and get up next day and race some more! The Coopers long list of results are evidence of their ability to continue to be Internationally renown.

This year has been a tough one, and with the relentless north east winds, and hot weather, particularly over the wider part of the English Channel where the Cooper birds have to navigate, it has been an even greater challenge.

It would be worth explaining a little more about why any discerning fancier has such high regard for the Cooper partnership. For those who race in the uk of course, it would be taken for granted that the English Channel presents a very high degree of difficulty, if your birds are entered in long distance races. So for those who live outside the UK, it is essential to realise why this is the case. After a liberation from an international event, which will be in the region of 900 +km. Birds like the Coopers may have flown for 12 hours or more, and then they are faced with widest part of the Channel. Here, they have to make the decision to commit to this daunting task, or, sit it out on the northern coast of France until dawn.

Winds from the bay of Biscay and up the western coast are often stronger on this Atlantic coast line. This is the route, which the Cooper birds will take, if they are to gain a top position in International and National races. Let me say without fear of criticism, the birds that are to face the English Channel with only a few hours of daylight left, are in the minority. Only the brave ones, the fittest ones, the keenest ones, will attempt this.

In most long races, this is the case. The ones that can make it on the day to their loft, are the ones that win top prizes and bring a tear of pure joy to the owners of such birds. Even if they rest in France from the extreme distance, they will have to face the Channel in the morning after flying twelve hours or more the day before. Pigeons of this caliber are to be treasured, and to breed from them, is to increase the potential of future racing.

So when we consider the long history of top results achieved by the Cooper birds, we know we are talking about birds, that win at all levels with tenacity!

Geoff and Catherine are master breeders and racers and each year they maintain the speed and stamina combination in their birds. Through very selective breeding from birds that are currently winning at International level, they have continued to maintain their family, and winning status. Rarely, if ever are their birds out of the limelight when it comes to long distance racing.

They are very knowledgeable and discerning fanciers, and have been mentors to many a good pigeon man.

You may wonder what motivates fanciers of this calibre? When asked , Geoff replies, even though I have timed many day birds from long distance races it is still the greatest feeling to do so. Winning first prize is the icing on the cake, but the joy of getting birds on the day from over 900km still makes my heart beat with joy.

Highlights of this year racing National and International:

2-3-4-5 sec/prov.
10-102-104-105 National

Alencon 1-2-5-6 Sec/ Prov.
139-145-201-214 National

Cholet 13-14-27-28-31-34-51-53-58 Sec/prov
13-14-28-29-32-35-36-53-60-76 National

Poitiers 5-8-11-23-27-32 Sec/prov
12-15-21-53-67-85 National

Pau 1-2-3-7-8-9-10 Sec/prov
2-27-31-70-71-77-80 National

Agen 3-10-13 Sec/Prov
16-47-57 National

St Vincent 1-2 sec/prov
3-24 National

Performances from 100 km to 900 + Km!

Farm Darkie, 1st section, 3rd National St Vincent who was also 3rd section (behind two loft-mates) 3 weeks before St. Vincent. 

Here you find the pedigree of Farm Darkie, GB.15.N.88820. Another grandchild of George!

When speaking with Geoff recently he noted that they had won 71 times, 1st section/provincial in their racing career. I also asked about his goals, and in reply he says, ‘to continue their endeavors in the International races’.

In this writers opinion the west country Wizards could very well be the UK’s 1st International winners once again. Its for sure, if the weather is kind or unkind, the Coopers family pigeons are a force to be reckoned with, and their birds will respond against all odds, consistently.