Mike Ganus with his wife Debbie and granddaughter Margo
Approaching the finals of the 21st South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race and the Victoria Falls World Challenge Pigeon Race we introduce to you one of the biggest favorites for overall victory in both the one loft races on African soil. After all, Mike Ganus from US Granger was the big winner of the 20th edition of the SAMDPR (final January 2016). Mike Ganus was born in South Bend Indiana about 10 miles from Granger where he lives now. Mike grew up with his brother Ron and his sister MaryAnn in a family of three children. He married Debbie. Together they have one daughter, Laura. Mike and Debbie are also the proud grandparents of three-year-old Margo, daughter of Laura and her husband Howard. Debbie is very important to Mike. She is not only his wife but also his best friend. She is a hard worker and his biggest help at his passion, pigeon racing. She knows a lot about pigeons.
Mike made his entry in the sport in 1972. The races were approached seriously. Mike was convinced quickly that he had to cross over to Europe to get the very best pigeons, so he did. From the year 1978 onwards, many fanciers were visited in Holland, Belgium and Germany. For his first visit he went to Rene Truyen, a very good friend of the world-famous Janssen Brothers from Arendonk in Belgium. A visit to the Schoolstraat loft was the logical outcome. Since that time Mike has gone two or three times to Europe each year, always looking for the very best pigeons. There was also a close friendship with Ad Schaerlaeckens (Baarle-Nassau, NL). Together they visited all the top lofts in the Netherlands and Belgium. Ad was also a mentor to Mike. Since 1987 Mike's profession has been with the pigeons.
Mike visited many top lofts in the Netherlands and Belgium including the Janssen Brothers;
on the photo Mike with Louis Janssen
Always looking for the best
Mike Ganus went looking for real champions. He doesn't believe that there are that many super ones. Mike never returned to America with many pigeons. He never liked having a lot of pigeons, he was only looking for the very best. Over the years he bought nothing less than 26 national ace pigeons. Those investments paid off. In the 30 years that Mike participated in pigeon racing he has had more than 200 victories. The best example of a successful investment is undoubtedly NL96-9669302 Rocket. That cock performed greatly at the lofts of Rinus van Gastel (Roosendaal, Netherlands) and even finished as 1st Ace Speed in the Dutch national competition WHZB 1999. In the Netherlands, he already proved his value as a breeder. He is the father of the super breeding cock Dragon Rocket and he is also the grandfather of Dragon Rocket's son, Rocketeer. The sons and daughters of Rocket are still breeding winners at the loft of Mike Ganus and so are his grandchildren. Rocket is seen by Mike as one of the very best racing and breeding pigeons of all time.
Mike Ganus bought the NL96-9669302 Rocket, probably the best racing and breeding pigeon of all time
One loft races
After 30 years of top sporting success in America, for the past ten years Mike has only raced in one loft races around the country. Six years ago he also started racing in different countries. Some of his first international successes;
Thailand Grand One Loft race winning (2nd) International Entry - 656 birds - 560 km. Derby Arona Tenerife (Canary Islands) 9th and 12th International Grand Average Ace Pigeons Algarve Golden Race (Portugal) 51st and 64th - 1,783 birds - 510 km
South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SAMDPR)
In 2011, Mike visited the SAMDPR for the first time. He went there to see the final race, which the entire world was talking about. Mike was very impressed and wanted to collect the best birds from the final race to add them to his breeding lofts in America. Mike was determined. He wanted to win this race in South Africa. He realized immediately that for that purpose he needed the very best pigeons. Pigeons who can deal with head winds, high temperatures coupled with high humidity and this for more than 10 hours. And where do you find better pigeons for those circumstances than in South Africa itself? The winners of today would be the breeders of tomorrow. That way Mike came, saw and conquered in SAMDPR. In the 20th edition in 2016 Mike Ganus, known as Ganus Family Loft (GFL), was the big winner in the final. But that wasn't the only success on African soil. Here you can find Mike's best results until the 21st edition of the SAMDPR.
Laura is a Big Winner Today
Ganus Family Loft (GFL) wins with Laura is a Big Winner Today the 20th edition of the SAMDPR
The great dream of Mike Ganus came true in the 20th edition of the SAMDPR. In the final race GFL267-2015, Laura is a Big Winner Today, proved to be the best of all and so she lived up to her name. She won the gruelling final race, about 541 km with a head wind, with an unprecedented lead of 15 minutes, which had not happened before. On the final day only 43 pigeons managed to reach the loft. And that was not all. The pedigree of the winner showed that it was obvious that Mike's strategy had paid off in hard cash. Winners of previous editions of the SAMDPR form the base of the most impressive victory of the first 20 editions of the most tough but honest one loft race on African soil. Browse here through the pedigree of Laura is a Big Winner Today. We would like to inform you about the parents and some grandparents to prove that Laura is a Big Winner Today had the right genes for victory. It will not surprise you that after this spectacular race Mike wanted to bring this wonder hen back to America. And again he succeeded. Now she is breeding at the GFL. Will she be the mother of another winner?
Sun City, father of two winners of the SAMDPR
DV02656-10-85 Sun City, father of Rubellos and Laura is a big winner today, winners of the SAMDPR in 2012 and 2016
With the victory of Laura is a Big Winner Today, DV02656-10-85, Sun City is the father of the winner of the 2016 SAMDPR final race, 1st Country Challenge and 7th Grand Average. But the success story of Mike Ganus is even more remarkable when it is revealed that Sun City is also the father of DV1696-11-222, Rubellos (raced by Team Ruhr-Schink from Germany), the winner of the SAMDPR final race of 2011/2012. This was unprecedented. And just like her incredible half-sister she came all alone, 3 minutes ahead. Sun City, father to two different final race winners, when he was mated to two different hens from two different continents. No bird in the world has ever bred two winners against the best birds in the world. Sun City did. He was bought on the PIPA auction site in 2014.
GFL51-2014 Margo's Treasure, mother of Laura is a big winner today
The mother of Laura is a Big Winner Today is GFL51-2014, Margo's Treasure. Laura won with a lead of 15 minutes. It will become clear how that was possible when we look at Margo's Treasure's pedigree. Both her parents were the key players of the final race of the SAMDPR 2012/2013.
In the edition of the African one loft race 2012/2013 the number 1 (NL12-1231153, Untamed Desert) and the number 2 (DV01219-12-0029, Said in Spun Silver) of the final race were the same pigeons that stood out throughout the racing season with top performances. Both pigeons arrived together but the winner just walked in a few seconds before the number two. The winner proved himself in the hot spot races and the second bird of the final was, inter alia, 1st knock out winner and 4th average ace bird. There was a leading role for Mike Ganus in the auction that followed after the grand final. He became the new owner of both impressive pigeons. He brought them to America, paired them together and the result of his efforts was Margo's Treasure. In this way the winners of the 2012/2013 SAMDPR edition became the grandparents of the 2015/2016 winner, Laura is a Big Winner Today. Untamed Desert was bred by Hans and Evert-Jan Eijerkamp (NL) and raced by Henk Jurriëns and Ton de Kovel (NL). Look at the pedigree. Said in Spun Silver was raced by Helmut Mann (Wetter, DE).
NL12-1231153 Untamed Desert, 1st place final race SAMDPR 2013
Winner of the Million Dollar Race 2012-2013 edition 1. prize final race South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race 553 km against 2,793 b. 57. Hot Spot V SAMDPR 380 km - 2,960 b. 89. Hot Spot IV SAMDPR 344 km - 3,290 b. Grandmother winner of the final race SAMDPR 2015-2016
DV01219-12-0029 Said in Spun Silver 2nd in the final race SAMDPR 2013
Said in Spun Silver
2. prize final race South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race 553 km against 2,793 b. 1. Knock Out winner Million Dollar Race 2013 4. Grand Average acebird Million Dollar Race 2013 23. Hot Spot V Million Dollar Race 380 km - 2960 b. Grandfather winner of the final race SAMDPR 2015-2016
More than 20 top racers of SAMDPR are now top breeders in the Ganus Family Loft
Mike Ganus owns more than 20 top pigeons who have distinguished themselves over the years in the SAMDPR. His breeding loft is populated by three final race winners and also by two birds which bred final race winners. At the end of this article we show you two winners of final SAMDPR races. For them, the task is of bringing forth new top pigeons.
DV0849-14-141 Sanjay 1 1st place SAMDPR final race edition 2014/2015
Sanjay was not only the winner of the final race. This bird also won 1st Country Challenge. Find her pedigree here.
DV7164-13-0270 Halover, 1st place SAMDPR 2013/2014 (raced by Karl Ziefle, Germany)
Dreaming about the future
We asked Mike about his plans for the future. His answer was clear: He wants to win again in the most prestigious one loft race in the world. And if possible, the final of the 2017 race. For Mike this is the Super Bowl of the Million Dollar Race. Mike is one of the top favorites. The results of the training races and the hot spot car races are promising. You can see them all here. We wish Mike a lot of success in realising his dream. He did his job with passion. Now it is up to the birds.