Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Homing Pigeons 101 - Club Structures

The racing pigeon sport in the United States is made up of clubs, combines, concourses, associations, federations and national organizations.

The American Racing Pigeon (AU) was founded in 1910.  The AU issues club charters to groups which have a minimum of five members.  The AU also allows for individual memberships.

The national organization sets uniform rules of conduct and national race rules.  However, the national organization is merely a policy making entity whose involvement in local affairs is to handle rules interpretation and accept apeals on disciplinary matters.  The AU also funds research by veterinarians and scientists, promotional materials and seminars, and a multitude of other activities designed to enhance the sport and assist its members.

Local organizations (clubs, combines, concourses, associations, and federations) are responsible for conducting pigeon races, which include setting the dates, distances, and providing transportation and care of the pigeons to their release point.  Officials called race secretaries are in charge of checking the weather conditions to make sure that birds are not released in extreme weather conditions which would jeopardize their ability to return home.

When two or more clubs combine, each club generates its own results and award first, second, third, etc, places within the club.  All the clubs results would then be consolidated into a single race result which would be the organization result (combine, concourse, association or federation) and again would issue diplomas which are awards for an individual bird's achievement in a particular race for first, second, third, etc.

There are some regional races flown in the United States which are distances of from 500 to 600 miles and have individuals from multiple states participating against each other.