Thursday, September 30, 2010

Woodinville Lions Host Fall Flight for Sight Pigeon race.

Woodinville Lions Flight for Sight hosted the Puget Sound Futurity race this past weekend, turning the final race of the season into a community fundraiser as well as a fun event. Two hundred and thirty birds competed from 25 regional lofts with one hundred and eighty eight birds were sponsored with a $5.00 donation for the Lions clubs local Sight and hearing programs.

The birds were released Saturday, September 26th. at 8:00 am from Tri-cities, OR, a distance of 355 miles from Woodinville. The winning bird, a Blue hen, sponsored by Kelly-Power-Ellis, was clocked at 2:17:08 PM at the loft of 90 year old Elwin Anderson of Everett. The pigeon, having flown the 347 miles distance in just over 6 hours, at an average speed of 1621.781 YPM, (Yards per minute), just over 55 MPH!

The second place bird, sponsored by Mike Strevel of Clinton, WA which clocked at 2:23:33 flying a distance of 348 miles, and at a speed of 1600.080 YPM.

Of the 230 birds sent, 85 made the flight in less than 7 hours to finish in the points.

Five regional racing pigeon clubs, Sno-King; Greater Seattle; Everett, Stilly; and the Top Gun clubs supplied birds for the race.

The Flight for Sight raised $940.00, with proceeds going to the Woodinville Lions club’s Sight and Hearing program, which will be used locally to provide glasses, eye exams and hearing aids to those who otherwise would not be able to afford them. The lions also accept old glasses and hearing aids at recycling locations at the Woodinville/cottage Lake Library; Kingsgate Library; Woodinville Pharmacy, Low Vision Clinic, Redwood Eye Clinic or at the Woodinville Lions Club located across for Leoita Jr. High at 19008 168th Ave. NE

For more information regarding the Woodinville Lions club or the Flight for Sight race contact Herb Cartmell at 425-486-4725 or visit their website at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Forty-Two Days & Counting

Little more than a month away from the party of the century!!

Keep your eyes on the status of the loft training reports.

Office staff is busy with last-minute details.  Today's shopping trip included party favors and beverages.

At the checkout register, it appears the task was successful in selecting items of great interest.

As we near the celebration, we continue to look for those things that will make it special and bring a smile to your face.

We're eager to see you here!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Woodinville Weekly staff writes:

The Woodinville Lions Club, in conjunction with the Sno-King Racing Pigeon Club, will hold another Flight for Sight Race to benefit local Lions sight and hearing programs, which provide eye care, glasses and hearing aids for those needing assistance. "All the money raised stays right in the Woodinville area to serve our community," said Herb Cartmell, the club’s president.

The race will be held Sept. 25 with the sponsored birds being released from Sutherlin, Ore., to fly back to their home lofts in the Seattle area.

"Each bird carries a small microchip band on its legs that will register the exact time the bird returns home," Cartmell continued. "A GPS reading is taken from the release site and applied against each participant’s loft for distance. Once you have the time on the wing, you can divide it into the distance to each loft to arrive at a yards per minute in speed. Of course, the fastest speed wins."

"On average, the birds can fly between 42 and 55 MPH in normal conditions. Sutherlin is 300 air miles from Woodinville," Cartmell explained.

The cost of sponsoring a bird is a $5 donation and the birds will be randomly matched with their sponsor on the night before shipping.

The sponsor with the winning bird will receive a $300 cash prize.

Last year the Woodinville Lions provided eye exams and glasses to nine individuals and a set of hearing aids.

The Woodinville Lions recently expanded their service area to include Duvall and Kenmore.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a bird in the Flight for Sight races, their sight and hearing programs, or in joining the Woodinville Lions Club is asked to contact Herb Cartmell at (425) 318-9477 or visit with Web site at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Colorado's Foothills Club Featured

Excerpt from article appearing in the Denver Post
Colo. clubs race thousands of homing pigeons
By Jason Blevins
Photographer: Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

The white-winged pigeon had flown 150 miles when it finally landed atop its home in Wayne Rozendaal's backyard.

"Come on now. Get on inside," says Rozendaal, checking his watch. "Many, many a race has been lost on the roof."

As if hearing his owner's plea, the bird squeezes through a tiny one-way gate, where a scanner reads a computerized chip in the pedigreed pigeon's leg band.

A quick calculation shows the bird — one of about 1,100 released by the Foothills Racing Pigeon Club a little more than three hours earlier in Burlington — had flown home at about 41 mph.

"Pretty fast," Rozendaal says with a shrug. "If he keeps it up, he could be a champion."

There are six racing-pigeon clubs in Colorado, most dating to the 1960s. While the venerable sport — its roots trace back to ancient Greece — has not seen robust growth in the past four decades, it remains vibrant.

The state's roughly 150 fliers, known as fanciers, race thousands of homing pigeons in 20 weekend races every year.

"I do it with my kids, and we get to see the benefits of our work every time we see our birds come home," said Tim Calerich, a Brighton racer with a 250-bird loft whose passion for pigeons was seeded by his late father.

The sport got a bit of a boost last week, when Boulder County zoning leaders categorized pigeons as pets, ending an argument raised by neighbors of a Gunbarrel pigeon racer.

Those neighbors, irked by fancier Jim Williams' 35-bird backyard loft, argued he was raising poultry, violating zoning codes against residential livestock.

Denver's zoning codes consider pigeons "household animals" and allow for lofts of up to 25 birds.

In the U.S., where there are about 15,000 registered racing-pigeon lofts, racing has remained a hobby, whereas in Europe or Taiwan, contest purses rival American horse racing. Breeders here can sell a race-proven champion for several thousand dollars, but most birds trade for a few hundred or less.

Breeding pigeons rest on their perches inside their loft at Wayne Rozendaal's home. Denver allows up to 25 homing pigeons, classifying them as household animals.

"It used to be the sport of kings," said Al Christeleit, a nationally recognized pigeon racer from Gypsum. "It's amazing when you raise a bird from an egg and watch it race 500 miles in a single day. It's a real sense of accomplishment."

Every flier gets the same age-old question from kids and newcomers: How do pigeons know the way home?

The birds are trucked in crates across open plains in the middle of the night and released shortly after dawn in areas they've never visited. Circling up from the release, they'll take a couple of short laps and then, invariably, fly straight home for hundreds of miles at speeds that can top 70 mph. How?

"God has kept that little secret locked up," Rozendaal said.

While the source of a pigeon's uncanny sense of direction remains something of a mystery, fanciers have strong ideas about what makes a pigeon fly faster. Breeding, training and diet have reached an art form for most racers . . .

The biggest threat to racing pigeons is other birds. Hawks and even owls can terrorize racers, and some pigeons return to their lofts scarred from encounters with the winged predators. Rozendaal has seen his birds hobble home with crooked wings and broken legs, which seem to heal with rest.

"Their metabolism is something I can't comprehend," he said, cradling one of his racers. "They are amazing animals, that's for sure."

For the entire article, see