RON POOLE - 1st National Flying Club Tarbes


The NFC Tarbes Grand National winner reached his loft at twelve minutes past eight in the evening, after flying 543 miles in just under fourteen hours to Ron Poole of Horsham. Known to his friends as “Whacker” this 81-year-old fancier has seventy years of pigeon racing experience under his belt and during those years he has taken up the Grand National challenge a few times.

He has diplomas for previously being fourth, sixth and ninth open NFC, with four 1st Open combine wins that he is immensely proud of. In fact he was 1st Open combine from Dax and 9th Open Grand National Pau on the same day, but having suffered with illness over recent years he was forced to put his efforts on hold for a while until, with the kind help of his close friend Clive Turner and an improvement in his health, he made his preparations at the beginning of this season with the Tarbes Grand National as his goal. 

Ron Poole at his lofts.On the day of the race Ron was sat in his garden from early evening looking towards the lofts thinking that as he fancied his pigeons to do well, a good time would be around 8pm. When his bird arrived he had a feeling that it was about right but still surprised when the secretary called to say that his pigeon would be verified on behalf of the NFC, with a tense morning following as the northern flyers timed in the next day, and as the wind was north west, he crossed his fingers to hope that it was only a matter of time before he was confirmed as the provisional winner, which proved to be the case.

Ron has a tidy set up with a small stock loft, a young bird loft and a tiled old bird loft. He paired his race birds at the beginning of February in order to race them on widowhood for the first few weeks of the season, and uses the local club racing to get them fit. Once they had been over the channel, with his winner being sent to Messac three weeks before Tarbes, Ron re-paired the old birds with careful timing to be feeding a 10-day-old single youngster and looking to drive the hen to nest again, which is his preferred motivation, as with with many long distance flyers for races over this distance. His feeding is a traditional high protein mixture and he adds a seed mixture to suit the distance required.

He told me that since 1967 a photo of his combine winner from Dax called “Whacker’s Pride” has hung on his wall with pride so with that name taken, he has decided to call his NFC Tarbes winner “Lofty”. 

Winner "Lofty" in his box.The three year old chequer cock is sired by a pigeon from Ray Hammond of Albury, with the dam being of Eric Cannon bloodlines. Ron had acquired two hens direct from Eric Cannon that had done very well for him, so he went to Ray Hammond because he knew he had also been successful with Eric Cannon lines. The late Eric Cannon of Wormley, had won four N.F.C. Pau Certificate of Merit awards, which is won by a pigeon that has taken three positions in the first 100 open in the NFC Grand National result and is considered to have been one of the very best long distance fanciers in the UK. Many long distance enthusiasts still seek out his bloodlines to this day. It is fantastic that his legacy is still providing the results at the distance and I am sure he would be smiling down at Ron Poole on his very special win.
If only we knew how to select the very best pigeons in our loft to race over these long distances, then we could nurture only those and resist the temptation of acquiring ever more stock, housed in extended lofts. Thinking of this I once stated to a friend of mine “I have too many pigeons, it’s making hard work of it and have decided to keep only a few of the very best  quality”. He took no time to reply with the quip “Once you have worked that one out, please come and sort through mine” because many an old hand will tell you the basket is the only true selection process. 

With that in mind we have to acknowledge the five outstanding pigeons timed on the day from Tarbes, flying between 528 and 563 miles as well and truly selected, and I acknowledge that there were many others which were flying much further that would have crossed the channel before nightfall, displaying their tenacity in equal measure, but to get one on the day at those distances with the undesirable obstacles experienced by them this year, must be a magical feeling indeed.

Ron Poole at his young bird loft.Finally I would like to remind members that Merit awards are aimed at recognising those fantastic pigeons, and I would point out NFC rule 16;
A certificate of Merit shall be awarded to: - 
  (a) Any pigeon that is placed in the first 100 in the Open result of longest O.B. race 3 times.
  (b) Any pigeon placed in the first 200 in the Open result of the longest O.B. race 3 times flying over 650 miles. 
So if your pigeon qualifies for this award please remember to submit your results along with the ring number to our secretary Sid Barkel in good time and allow us to give them the recognition they truly deserve.


Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.