Pigeon Racing Partnerships: the good, the bad, the just plain ugly!
Pigeon racing can be enjoyed by anyone. Competitive pigeon racing takes dedication, skill, the ability to adapt, learn, improve and hopefully strive to achieve success. It takes time, talent and money. It’s sport that one can enjoy well into their old age. We are limited by physical ability. It is the thinking man’s sport. In this sport we have fellowship, make friend ships and we even have rivalries. Sometimes, fanciers decide that by forming a partnership, they can achieve success. It seems like an excellent thing to do. This section covers partnerships in pigeon racing so that if you are considering forming a partnership, you can make an informed decision.
Different types of partnerships
1. Breeder-Handler Partnership: In a breeder/handler partnership, one person is responsible for breeding and the other is responsible for training and racing the birds. Often the breeders are kept at one location and the race birds at another. In this partnership, each person can focus on their task. This partnership can have huge rewards if both are talented at what they do. There are many fanciers that love pigeons and love the aspect of breeding but do not enjoy the actual racing. There are lots of fanciers that love to race, but are not skilled in the art of breeding. It is a partnership that is destined to happen.
2. Old Bird-Young Bird Partnership: In this partnership, one fancier focuses on the old bird racing and the other on young bird racing. This is usually done from one site. There are many enthusiasts that only want to race young birds. If each fancier is talented with their type of racing, huge rewards are possible. That advantage is that for the young birds, they continue on to an old bird career. In the loft of a pure young bird enthusiasts, the birds career is ended after their single young bird season.
3. One team, two partners: In this situation, two fanciers work together to manage and race one team, whether it be young birds, old birds or both. Each participate fully in each aspect or share task, but the actual management and racing are shared by both.
4. Syndicate: This is starting to become popular in many areas where relocated fanciers are not allowed to have lofts and pigeons in their area. Another fanciers allows another fancier slots in his/her loft for another team. There could be several teams flying out of one loft. This is an excellent option for those forced out of the sport due to economics and relocation.
5. Family Racing: Quite simply, a husband, wife and possibly children work together on a race team. This may not really be what you think when talking about partnerships, but in reality it is a working partnership, as many top fanciers will enthusiastically admit that it is with the help of their spouse that allows them to achieve more than they could on their own.
Benefits of Partnerships
1. Sharing of tasks: Things are easier when the tasks can be shared. Various partnerships will split the tasks between training, going to the club for clock in and clock out, cleaning the loft, care of the birds, clocking birds, etc.
2. Sharing of funds: In many partnerships, the cost is split equally allowing double the purchase power towards better quality stock or in reducing the cost to the individual fancier towards racing in general
3. Sharing of talent: Look closely at any group of fanciers and you will discover someone has a natural talent for training young birds, another is great at motivating old birds on a certain system, another has a knack for breeding and pairing breeders, yet another seems to have a special gift for picking birds in just the right form. In a partnership, talents that compliment each other when combined can form an amazing team.
4. Fellowship: Things are more enjoyable when we share them with others. Even though in a partnership one person can not claim all the glory, they can share it, and especially if there is more glory to be had. It’s great to have someone just as excited or devoted as you to bounce ideas, make plans and enjoy the sport.
Pitfalls of partnerships
1. Difference of philosophies: In a partnership, both parties should be in agreement on the direction of their program, the goals they wish to achieve and how they are going to get there. I’ve seen partnerships fall apart because at heart, even though they shared a passion for racing, both parties wanted to achieve different goals. I saw one breeder/handler partnership disintegrate because the breeder wanted to breed towards long distance and had acquired birds towards that goal and the handler though they competed in both young and old bird races, really enjoyed and put their heart and soul into young bird racing and not old bird racing. When the breeder wanted to pull out of the arrangement a few years down the road, it was a terrible split. A wonderful friendship fell apart.
2. Difference in financial capability: Both partners need to be willing and capable of contributing the same funds towards racing. The competitive spirit may drive one partner who is much more affluent than the other to push more funds into racing. Expecting to be matched the more affluent partner drives the partner of lesser wealth to the poor house. They say the number one reason couples fight is because of money. It’s not much different in a partnership.
3. Equal is not always equal: One of the greatest pitfalls in a partnership is that eventually, one partner feels he is contributing more work than the other. It’s very hard to actually split everything straight down the middle, especially if the loft is located at one fanciers home and not the other. Once again, this happens in relationships and it also happens in partnerships. The feelings of working more than the other lead to frustration, contempt and eventually a partnership is falling apart.
4. Politics, club rules and voting rights: A lot of partnerships were started and it was not until the following season when ballots were sent out did a partnership realize they were loosing a right to vote. In some clubs, two people competing as one team only have on vote. It’s a legitimate rule that was put in place so that John Q. Flier doesn’t make his wife a member, then his oldest son and another child, and even though John Q. Flier is only racing one team, his loft has 4 votes towards decisions that impact racing. Many clubs decided, “Put up or shut up!” Clubs started to adopt rules towards members competing in a certain amount of races each season to retain a voting right. Due to this, when two fanciers race one team, they lose the vote of one of the partners. Then people get really upset because they are paying club dues, and they have flown years in a club and they can’t believe they are being treated this way. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m just saying I understand the logic behind it. If you enter into a partnership, ensure you understand the constitution and by-laws of your club and how this will affect your ability to vote.
When a partnership clicks and two fanciers can combine time, talent and financial capability, towards a unified goal, they are capable of achieving far more than they could on their own. When partnerships don’t work for all the reasons discussed, it can be one of the worst things to happen to friend, colleagues and fellow members. If you decide to enter into a partnership, ensure you have thought it through and that both are committed. Ensure that you and your partner honestly do compliment each other and have the exact same philosophies and expectations.
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