The entire Vic Falls World Challenge Pigeon Race team was present at the celebration, which took place on a wonderful location: The Wallow at the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. Even the Minister of Agriculture of Zimbabwe and his team were present to support the event. After some time, a surprise vistor arrived: Mr Sylvester, a cheetah. To entertain the guests with a one-off experience, we all had the possibility of feeding very big elephants. During a nice celebration, general manager Geoff Armand and the Minister of Agriculture handed over prizes, after which the celebration party was concluded with a tasty lunch and some drinks. Congratulations to all winners and a special thanks to the organisation of this wonderful event!
Saturday's final race: Bader Al-Jewesry (Kuweit) wins the first Victoria Falls World Challenge Pigeon Race
While tension and the fear for a disaster was increasing because of heavy rainfall along the race path, suddenly three pigeons appeared up in the sky above the loft and touched the landing board at the same time around 2.40pm. They didn’t immediately enter the loft as they were wet. After a little over seven minutes, they went in and the winner's name appeared on the screen: Mr Bader Aljewesry from Kuwait. Bader was supposed to be present but at the very last moment didn't make it. Second in the race was ADO Family from the USA, who were immediately informed and congratulated on their performance by their friend Mike Ganus, who was attending the final. Both parents of the second-prize winner come from Mike Ganus, who also did great with seven pigeons (out of nine) in the top 90 and several pigeons in the top ten of the ace bird championship. The bronze medal was for Belgian fancier Michel Wouters, whom you can on one of the photos in the gallery below when his emotions are starting to take over after seeing his pigeon was clocked third. Around 100 pigeons arrived on the day of liberation, which can be called a huge success! It was a unique experience seeing pigeons arrive in such an environment! Check it out for yourself in the photo gallery below.
Winner was Bader Al-Jewesry, his pigeon 2016KW-022723 arrived at 14:47:23 in the lofts of Victoria Falls. He won $200,000 prize money.
Thursday morning 26 January started with a visit to the loft premises. No-one was allowed to enter the lofts as the pigeons were to be basketed in the afternoon. The pigeons were given a bath in the morning to relax. Around 3pm, the loft managers started to put the birds into baskets, ready for the actual basketing in an open tent. After entering the pigeon's ring number into the system, the bird was given a stamp and put into one of the baskets. Everyone could feel that the birds were in perfect health and physical condition. Around 6pm, all baskets containing fifteen pigeons each were loaded onto the truck. In total, 413 birds will compete in this year's final race. The day was concluded with a nice dinner and some traditional entertainment. Browse through the basketing presentation here.