Wednesday, September 13, 2017


COOP KOHLI, AU LAKES ZONE DIRECTOR                                     SEPTEMBER 12, 2017



Tonight, I am wondering if I am the only pigeon flyer in America that doesn't know the meaning of this message sent to our Infractions chairman after the AU board ruled against this man’s interest in an AU infractions dispute? Should anybody donating their time for the good of the national effort to improve pigeon racing really have to put up with this? Did some of us forget that these guys are volunteers? Yes, of course, I googled it, and found the meaning to be somewhat vague and varied, with considerable leeway as to how it could have been intended, but it certainly sounds like a veiled threat to the reasonable mind of this writer. It makes one ask, “what is the sport becoming?”


Likable, fair-minded and knowledgeable, 67 year old
Ron Pairan, of Millersport, Ohio, has been a member of
the Lancaster Pigeon Club since 1987, joined the AU Board in 2006 as Lakes Zone Director, and was elected AU Vice President in 2014, but in addition to that, he holds undoubtedly the most thankless job in the sport; Chairman of the AU Infractions Committee.

A 2013 AU Legend of the Sport, Pairan is also an American Trenton Breeder and AU Certified Judge, who knows a little about breeding good pigeons, and the racing of good pigeons, having won the Triple Crown One Loft Race in 2001 and 2012, having placed 21st once in the Million Dollar Race, having had birds in the first drop in the Devore Classic and the Devore Challenge, having won the Joe Stankos Memorial Race and the Miami Valley Sportsman's Race.  Pairan has also bred 28 AU Champions and 3 AU Elite Champions, and has won numerous Digest Awards. He has also never missed an old or young bird race series since he started racing. In Ohio, Pairan has held numerous offices in his club and combine, and is currently the Race Secretary of the COC Combine. The value of that experience for you and me, is that Pairan understands how hard it is to make a pigeon club work even when things are going well, and can relate easily to the issues that AU members call him about when seeking guidance to solve their own organizational problems. He understands “fractious”, in other words.

While on the AU board, Pairan created The Master Loft Award, the Yearling Award, and compiled the Youth Idea Book (which is a free download from the AU website), and created the current complaint form placing emphasis on trying to solve infraction issues locally, whenever possible. He and his Lancaster club-mates have done many public pigeon releases, and Pairan has been a presenter and speaker at the Cincinnati Home Schoolers Convention for the last 2 years, trying to encourage youth into the sport. Now, again, why is this background important to you and to me? Because
Pairan knows the sport, and none of us want some bozo running the Infractions Committee that’s throwing Hail Marys all the time. The seat requires extensive experience, as well as self-control as you can see from jab thrown at Pairan in the opening of this article, and Pairan has lots of both things going for him.

While there is nothing tough about being Vice President of the AU organization when you are sitting in the shadow of the President Tom Coletti and Executive Vice President Jay Holder (who also shields you from most of the sun’s rays), in his role as Infractions Chairman, Ron Pairan is out there alone, holding the proverbial tiger by the tail, and taking the heat while heading up a very important AU committee. “Since 1999, 51 infractions have been filed, and 10 members have been expelled from the AU. The work is complicated, time-consuming, but important to the integrity of the sport”, said
Pairan. In this role, the straight-forward, former school teacher of 35 years, occasionally has to go head-to-head with some bristling personalities when interpretations don’t go their way, but he can take the pressure, something he learned many years ago as President of his local Teacher’s Association. At its very best, all the decisions the committee makes “will be wrong” in the eyes of the losing party, and may be wrong to both parties, if both sides need some correction. “Another thing that people need to remember is that, because we try to protect the privacy of the people involved, rarely does the whole story ever get presented to the general membership”, Pairan added.


Here is how the process normally works: a call comes into the national office from an individual with an organizational problem that is not getting attention. The call gets directed to Karen Clifton. Many calls come in that result in no followup, but still get all the attention they need. After a discussion and an initial evaluation, if no other options are viable as determined by Clifton, and if the caller still wishes to file an infraction, dates are noted and notes are taken. The file is numbered, and the details are forwarded to the Infraction Chairman. More calls are made by the Chairman, and more discussion of the dispute takes place. If the initial caller can't get the problem remedied at the local level, the Infractions chairman assigns the case to one of three AU Investigators. One AU investigator is a Prosecuting Attorney, and a second generation pigeon flyer. A second is currently a Criminal Attorney. The third is retired after having served his state as a State Investigator in child abuse cases for 32 years. Again, more calls are made, details are probed, and more questions are asked, as the facts in the dispute are sorted out. One function of the investigation is to confirm that the organizations are following their own by-laws, and are not violating AU rules, according to Clifton. After the process is completed, the investigators summarize all details in a written report, make recommendations on how they think the problem should be remedied, and pass the information on to the AU Board, where the topic is discussed by the full board again before a final decision is made. Never is the decision on settling an infraction made by one man, but Ron Pairan has the unleasant duty to share the news with those involved.

Sometimes when infraction committee decisions don't go the way the offending parties want them to go, the thought of bailing from the AU to the IF enters one’s thinking. In cases like that, it is important for flyers to know that the AU and IF have a Letter of Reciprocity, meaning members in poor standing in one group are unable to ignore the rulings of the organization they are with, by jumping to the other group.  The IF is notified whenever parties subject to sanctions part ways with the AU.  In the end, no one wants to get tied down in these issues, but sometimes there is no way out.  When that time comes, we are thankful that there are guys like Ron Pairan and his investigative team to help sort out the details.  However, in the end, it is always more satisfying to keep problem-solving and decision-making at home.