Friday, April 10, 2015




Exceptional Young Bird Futurity Racing

By Coop Kohli  (

Lee Kohli, AU Lakes Zone Director

26 Essentials of a Great Race

What makes a futurity race great?  Good men, first and foremost, with an appreciation for the uniqueness of the great bird, and a sense of longing for the sport’s great traditions.  From there, (1) it needs to have an impressive number of birds competing.  (2) It needs to be a great social occasion, and (3) be known and respected nationally. (4) It needs to be noteworthy relative to prizes, and have a payout that spreads the wealth generously down the sheet.  (5) It needs to be able to be won by any prepared participant, and unable to be dominated from one year to the next by any one player.  (6) Its victory needs to be awesome so that a winner might say, “I can’t believe I actually won that race!”  (7) The race needs to be affordable to the normal Joe who pays for the race, and who struggles to stay within a working family’s weekly budget. (8)  It needs to have a reputation for honesty and timeliness, tempered with boldness when firmness is necessary.  (9) The race must thrive because of exceptional accounting and money handling procedures while (10) being governed by widely available race rules.  (11)  It needs to draw in the best genetics from across the country making its competitiveness meaningful.  (12)  It needs to generate a sense of excitement among the participants that make it possible, (13) and to be championed by those that steer it because they love doing it, not because they intend to profit from it.  (14) It needs to be implemented by an enthusiastic and experienced group of volunteers.  (15) It needs to be managed by a technologically astute race committee, and open to the wide range of clocking systems used throughout the sport.  (16) It needs a comfortable, central location for shipping, supported by a volunteer staff that makes race-entry and race-closing bird-safe, mistake free, timely and welcoming.  (17) It needs good shipping equipment that is in keeping with its other qualities.  (18) It needs honest, nonparticipating drivers that are ‘pigeon men’ buying into the idea that the race is special, and that integrity and bird care and is front and center.  (19) It needs to be relevant to the sport’s improvement, (20) supported by superior auctions so participants can improve genetics, and (21) by seminars, and other learning opportunities that improve race preparation and loft management techniques for those willing to struggle in the pursuit of victory.  (22) The race needs to have a long track record of success and satisfaction, and (23) needs to be flown on an off-racing day so unexpected influences and intersections with neighboring combines and their own flocks of racing pigeons can be eliminated.  (24) A well run race needs to encourage public critique, and to be massaged constantly between seasons by race managers, adjusting for little things that make the race more competitive and fun for everybody.  (25) Then, finally, when they really know what they’re doing, they need to do something about that dreadful wind!  

GNEO Race 2011

GNEO Race 2011

GNEO Race organizers: Jan Capan, Bob Tauscher, & Pat Quilter

The Breeder’s Cup

One of the best kept secrets in pigeon racing is that there actually is a race in Ohio that measures up to many of these suggestions, and it is championed by a great club that seems always to be at the center of things positive in Ohio pigeon racing circles.  The men of the Greater Akron Racing Club, (G.A.R. Club), with Jim Bedell as President, and Pat Quilter as ABC Concourse Race Secretary, have been nudging and motivating improvement into the hobby, regionally, for years.  “Improvement doesn’t just happen.  It requires generous contributions of your personal time, occasionally your personal funds, and sometimes it gets done without much appreciation from your friends.  But, you do it anyway, knowing it is necessary, and the right thing to do”, said the 66 year old Bedell. 

The GAR club has always been noted by neighboring clubs for its leadership and originality.  Debate is sometimes fast and furious in the Akron Club, but from this intense discussion comes great direction and strategy.  Under their guardianship, the GNEO Futurity Race is run like a sound business, progressing with an understanding that profit and innovation are both necessary, and not menacing.  For example, in 2010, the new Breeder’s Cup format was started by the club as a way to redefine and support ‘managed’ increases in out-of-area participation, leading to 32% growth in the size of the race compared to the previous year.  Growth in the race is planned and measured, while individual racing participants continue to be respected and appreciated.  Determination, knowledge and hard work characterize these men.  All in northeastern Ohio benefit, and very few in Ohio think about where regional pigeon racing would be without the exceptional efforts of this great group of hard-working men and women.

(You can learn more about the GNEO Breeders Cup program for OOA flyers, or other important details about the race at