When racing with a club on a regular basis there will be a smash race sooner or later. This is a race where many pigeons are lost. It may be due to bad weather, a break down of the hauler and let out from an odd location behind mountains or just an odd circumstance, maybe even falcon attacks. This is when you really learn something about the pigeons you are working with. You may lose some of the faster ones. I have lost birds that have built themselves good reputations as young birds only to be lost on a smash race.
Some of the “perceived to be” lesser birds that hang around in the top 20% from first place may show themselves to be the sharpest and toughest pigeons in the group.
In 2008 I sent pigeons to the World Ace Challenge, the Vegas Classic and flew them locally. I bred three brothers from one pair that flew in all three. One flew local; one flew in the WAC and one in Vegas. The one in the WAC placed 12th in the 300 mile race. He also placed 60th in the 400 I believe. He never won top honors but was always there and one of only 160 plus pigeon left at the end of the competition. I had them mail him home to me. The other brother flew in Vegas and the results were similar. The last brother flew local and to my surprise had the same results. I sent other full brothers to all three and the results were similar too. That was a good lesson and well worth the price of admission.
It takes good pigeons to win, plain and simple. I flew the youngest brother in old birds locally. He had an equal first trapping behind his loft mate, a hen, and placed respectable in the others as well.
The next race was a 500. The hauler broke down at 400 miles and released the birds on the side of the freeway. They were behind a 16,000 foot elevation mountain range in Colorado. Many of the club members were calling wanting to know if I had received any pigeons as happens in a smash race. I was worried because I hadn’t flown in the 300 due to work schedule and my pigeons hadn’t been out that far since young birds, in fact I hadn’t had time to road train them at all. Out of 8 pigeons I got back four. The first one home and in respectable time was the third brother.
After talking to the guys in our club everyone had heavy losses with a couple of guys getting none back. This is something to consider keeping in the line of pigeons, toughness, tenacity and good intuition.
I had a champion hen in the breeding loft in an individual pen for a couple of months. I sent her as well. It was her first race of the season, a 400. She came in second for us. One faster diploma winner and a National Ace hen never made it back. So, speed is good but it isn’t everything.
After you have all the important ingredients built into the family it is a matter of maintaining and enhancing it.
(Part 5 of 6) Building Consistency – The “Smash” Race by Ken Easley