By: Whitney Sabrowsky, AU Youth Ambassador
January 16th, 2010 announced the date of the 32nd annual Mid Minnesota Racing Pigeon Club show and auction. A break in the freezing temperatures called northern fanciers from their lofts to a central Minnesota show in Osakis.
Some may roll their eyes at the prospect of “talking birds” from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, but for flyers from around the state and beyond, it is the perfect way to spend a Saturday in winter. The north features dedicated fanciers- - some guys traverse from the Dakotas to the show. Flyers from seven different racing clubs were present at the Mid Minnesota show.
Grandpas brought their pigeons and junior member grandkids to the show- - what a perfect way to mentor and bond with kids! Speaking of junior members, the Mid Minnesota show offers both a junior member old bird and young bird class. Ten kids showed their homers.
With encouragement from grandpa, sisters, Jocelyn and Nicole Hennekamp, have started their own little loft. The girls live a half mile from their grandparents’ home. This being the case, they find time to bond with grandpa, Ron Roth. Ron recalls that he enjoys teaching kids and always made sure that Jocelyn and Nicole tagged along when he cared for his pigeons. Eventually, grandpa had to give the girls some birds to call their own. Starting with young birds, 2008 was their first racing season. They had a blast clocking their pigeons with a manual clock. Ron Roth chuckles when Jocelyn and Nicole state that the best part about racing is beating Grandpa with his own pigeons!
New for the 2010 show was a junior member bake sale. Young flyers in the club plan on using the proceeds from the sweet sale to send birds to the National Youth Race and to pay entry fees for races in the Minnesota Invitational Series.
For junior member, Jacob Solbreken, the show was especially exciting as it was his first time attending such a function. Jacob is taking flight in his first year with homing pigeons.
Birds know that they are special when nearly all of them are called by name. The pigeons in Sarah Anderson’s loft live a life of being pampered by their fancier. Seventeen-year-old Sarah loves her birds and the reward of her labors is in the race results. This high-flying junior beat the “old guys” in the 2009 old bird season. Sarah received the coveted title of Champion Loft and clocked in 1st for Average Speed. Attending the Mid Minnesota show with her folks is an annual event for Sarah. She has been racing and showing birds for seven years. Not only does Ms. Anderson race well, her pigeons often win at the show. Last year, Sarah went home with three first-place plaques.
Even though the show came to its close, the day was not yet complete for Mid Minnesota juniors. Collapsing show cages, washing tables, and sweeping floors were tasks that occupied the young flyers.
Whether at shows or while shipping birds, it is a touching scene to view kids and older fanciers together with pigeons. Unique friendships bond young and old; it is amazing what pigeons are able to accomplish. Isn’t it?