Thank you cliff I enjoyed your response.
I received this in the spring, sorry Kyle for my late posting of it.
my last thought would be just for everyone to get their kits in the air and support yr division flies and the national flies,Utah is known for great rollers and we need to keep it known for our great birds
I ask some of our area directors of few questions. This is a real important part of our club and these guys work hard to get the flies put together. I want to thank them for all they do for the hobby. Thank you guys for your time!!!!!!!!!!
Ok, I’ll make the best of this.
1- Tell us about you, where you work, live etc.
I’m 42 years old. I’ve been in Riverton Utah for the last 15 years. I’ve been a Journeyman electrician for 20 years now, when the economy went sour I took a maintenance job at Nelson Labs. I grew up in Sandy Utah just around the corner from Jay Starley, I started out in rollers at the age of 14 never really had any quality birds but I liked the rollers most, now and then I would go see Jay fly his birds he gave me a few but I really wasn’t that serious. At the age of 16 the birds took the back seat. 2005 I got back into the hobby and of course I went straight to Jay, I wanted to get started on the right foot.
2- What was your greatest challenge this year?
My greatest challenge this year was raising a lot of top quality birds. The last two years the hawks really moved in my area. My A – team been attacked so many times they got in a bad habit flying on a tight left wing I could never break them, so as of now seems like I’m starting over I got rid of 30 or more birds trying to move forward.
3- What was your greatest triumph this year?
My greatest triumph this year was training young birds this Spring and Summer I flew the pants of these birds trying to get some kind of team going, as of now I have around 18 young birds that is shaping up nicely. Hopefully next Spring I can be competitive again.
4- In doing this assignment you get to see many kits, any stand out in your mind?
I really enjoy this hobby, seems like the more time I put into it the rewards are greater. The kit that stands out in my mind would be Jay Starley’s he makes it look so easy, his birds speak for themselves. I always look forward to see his birds fly.
5- Any great ideas you have learned from your many loft visits?
Last couple of years I tired to vist as many lofts as I could, I was in the planning stages of a new breeding loft that really helped me out.
6- Is their an individual bird that made an impression?
The bird that really made a impression on me would be my foundation hen this bird came from Tom Van Den Bossche from Maine. She produced more top quality birds than any other bird in my breeding loft, I bred her for 5 years never flew her , Tom told me she is just for stock and was he right. As of 2010 one evening my daughter was feeding my birds while I was away this top quality lavender flew out the door and never returned I could say I was a little mad but i got over it, now I’m breeding from her off spring.
7- What does the club members need to do, to help you?
I not sure if the club needs to help me personally .What I like about this club is it’s members I can talk to anyone for advice I’m always looking to improve.
8- Any tips for the fliers?
The tip I would give to any flier is , stick to it don’t give up this hobby has it ups and downs, ask many questions, see others fly their birds most everyone is helpful, that’s what helped me.
9- Any last thoughts?
Like I said earlier I’m pretty much starting over I can’t wait until all my young birds start performing. Thanks for everyone that keeps this hobby alive.
S.L.C Fly Director
Thanks David for all you do, I hope I answered all your questions correct.
It was a joy to think of these fun questions for our club president Mr. Nick Moreno, better know as Mr. Nick Let-em Rip Moreno.
In the few short years I have gotten to know Nick I have learned alot from him and found him to be an awesome roller man and friend. He is one in a million thats for sure.
Nick I thank you for your time and fun well thought out answers.
1-TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF? MY NAME IS NICK MORENO; I LIVE IN EAGLE MOUNTAIN UTAH. I’m in the construction industry, I specialize in concrete waterproofing and coatings, my largest job to date would either be the Four Seasons Resort in Teton Village or the IHC hospital on 53rd and state SLC Utah, the best thing about my work would be the flexible schedule, because we all know the construction industry is either feast or famine.
2-HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE “LET M RIP “Slogan? I ALWAYS MONKEY AROUND WITH JINGLES, NICK NAMES AND LOGOS. I think it started with coaching little league baseball and football with my two boys Manie and Dillon Moreno, we always came up with cool team names.
3-YOU ARE WORKING WITH 3 FAMILIYS OF ROLLERS, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REWARDS AND CHALLENGES? I WORK WITH ADAM HILLS, GUIL RANDS AND NORM DRECKSELS. I believe most people try to select there pigeons by brand name, 8 years ago I also started out with multiple strains from sources outside of Utah, two or three years after starting in rollers, I decided to select my birds from people I wanted to call my friends, rather than choose pigeons from outside of our own state of Utah, from people we will never see, I’m happy to call Adam Hill, Guil Rand and Norman Drecksel my friends, I breed one round of pure Adam Hill’s, one round of pure Guil Rand’s and one round of pure Norman Drecksels each year, I then breed two rounds of my own family, I have elected two spend the next 10 years combining the three strains equally (33.33%) as to leave the Moreno strain for my grandson (JET MORENO), Awesome!.
4-WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ROLLERS? I HAVE A FAVORITE ROLLER IN EACH OF THE THREE STRAINS. My Hill favorite is an Ash red cock bird #825 and his daughter, recessive red hen #934, 934 spins 30 feet clean, fast, (A) wing position. My Rand favorite is a cock bird #305 and his son #945 will be his replacement #945 is a 30 foot clean, fast (A) wing position. My favorite Drecksel is cock bird #25 gifted to me by Norman before I inherited his flock of rollers.
5-WHATS YOUR FAVORITE ROLLER MOMENT? MY FAVORITE ROLLER MOMENT WOULD HAVE TO BE THE DAY MY TWO YEAR GRANDSON LOOKED UP IN THE SKY WATCHING MY KIT OF ROLLERS FOR THE FIRST TIME, JET (MY GRANDSON) SPUN AROUND ABOUT THREE TIMES AND FELL TO THE GROUND. LOL : )
6-WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS AS CLUB PRESIDENT? WORLD PEACE!
7-WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS FOR YOUR FLOCK? THIS COMING 2013 SEASON I WILL MINIMIZE MY PROGRAM FROM ONE HUNDRED BIRDS A YEAR TO 50 BIRDS A YEAR, QUALITY OVER QUANITY, I WILL SPEND THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO FINE TUNNING MY STOCK LOFT, I ONLY STOCK ONE ROLLER A YEAR FROM EACH OF MY FAMILIES AND IF IT IS NOT AN EXCEPTIONAL ROLLER I WIL NOT STOCK ANY FOR THAT YEAR.
8-WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING FOR 2013 BREEDING SEASON? QUALITY OVER QUANITY, I WILL BREED SLOW AS TO ALLOW ME MORE FLY TIME, RAISING BABIES IS ONE PART OF IT, IF YOU CANT FLY THEM DON’T BREED THEM,
9-HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY FEEL ABOUT THE PIGEONS? MY TWO SONS MANIE AND DILLION DON’T MIND AT ALL AS LONG AS I DON’T ASK FOR HELP, MY BOSS DIANE JUST WANTS ME TO BE HAPPY AND AS LONG AS I COMPLETE ONE HONEY DO EVERY WEEKEND SHES HAPPY : )
10-WHAT TIPS CAN YOU SHARE WITH NEW PIGEON HOBBYITS? I WOULD ADVISE THE NEW HOBBYITS TO TAKE THE TIME TO CONSTRUCT A LOFT AND KIT BOX PRIOR TO A PURCHASE OF BIRDS, I WOULD ADVISE THEM TO GO AROUND TO EVERYBODYS LOFT AND WATCH THIER BIRDS FLY, I WOULD ADVISE GOING TO THE USRC MEETING, GOING AROUND ON THE WORLD CUP FLY, THE NBRC FLY AND THE UTAH STATE FLY, LEARN ABOUT JUDGING, RULES, QUALITY OF ROLLERS AND I WOULD ADVISE TO SELECT YOUR BIRDS BY THE PERSON WHO RAISES THEM AND NOT JUST THE PIGEON IN THE SKY, CHOOSE YOUR BIRDS FROM SOMEONE YOU LIKE, I WOULD ADVISE LEARNING HOW TO CARE FOR PIGEONS PRIOR TO GETTING PIGEONS, LEARN TO MEDICATE AND VACCINEATE. I WOULD ADVISE GETTING YOUR BIRDS FROM ONE SOURCE RATHER THAN FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES, I WOULD ADVISE GETTING YOUR BIRDS LOCALLY SO YOUR MENTOR CAN HELP YOU TO BECOME SUCCESSFULL IN YOUR ENDEVORS, I PRIDE MY SELF FOR CHOOSING MY BIRDS FOR THE FRIENDS I WANT TO SURROUND MY SELF WITH.
11-WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS? GOOD QUESTION, I HAVE CHOOSEN MY BIRDS FROM THOSE WHO I HAVE MADE SPECIAL CONNECTION WITH, SPECIAL THANKS TO MR ADAM HILL, MR GUIL RAND AND MR NORMAN DRECKSEL, MY FRIENDS, MY MENTORS, IM PROUD TO REPRESENT THEIR GOOD NAMES. JORGE PENA, MY COUSIN JORGE LIVES IN SYLMAR CALIFORNIA, WHEN I WAS 8 THRU 11 YEARS OF AGE I REMEMBER JORGE HAVING ROLLERS, I REMEMBER HIM SHOWING ME THE SKIN AROUND THE EYE OF A BLACK PIGEON AND SAYING THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR, I REMEMBER HIM SAYING THIS BAND SAYS NBRC THAT MEANS THIS PIGEON COMES FROM A GOOD CLUB, I REMEMBER RUNNING THROUGH A FIELD TRYING TO CATCH A BLACK AND WHITE GRIZZLE, JORGE SAID IT WAS A SUICIDE ROLLER, I REMEMBER IT LIKE YESTERDAY, WHAT WAS I JUST SAYING? LOL. JORGE MY COUSIN I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU I LOVE YOU AND ALL OUR FAMILY FROM BROWNELL STREET, THANKS FOR MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY.
Thank you again,
Thank you so much for your time Jon!
Jon Farr and Blake Coates
Dave Curneal asked me to answer a few interview type questions about me and flying rollers. There ended up being a bunch of questions, I hope my reply doesn’t turn into a novel …
Tell us about yourself, how long with rollers?
I grew up in south Utah County, Payson. Graduated from USU in Logan and have been living/working in Idaho since. I work for USDA wildlife services to protect agriculture/livestock from damage by wildlife/predators. I have 5 kids ages 13-20.
I had pigeons as a boy, started out with racers. Within a few weeks, I was nearly wiped out by house cats. I sent a few on some distance races, but as a boy I didn’t train hard enough to excel. I couldn’t ride my bike that far. I got a pair of rollers when I was about 14 and the next year got a whole loft of them. I have no idea if they were good or not. When I got into high school and sports, the birds took a back seat.
I got into rollers this time as a result of telling my kids about boyhood experiences. They all wanted to get some pigeons too. I told the kids they could pick what kind they wanted. Of course with 5 kids, they chose 5 different varieties. I decided to get some rollers at the same time. Being the good father that I am not, I overrode my kids want to have pets with my desire to be competitive. They lost interest (due to my interference) and I inherited the loft.
I got my first rollers in 2000 from Dennis Briggs and Dirk Deboer. They were a line down from the Telstar hen of Jim Gilespe in Boise. I dabbled in a few other families over the years until 2005-6. I had a severe Chlamydia outbreak at my loft and lost all my kitbirds and about ½ my brood stock. To get restarted I got Starley bred birds from Adam Hill, Rod Forbush, Brent Martindale and others. These I bred to what I had left of the Deboer birds, to get the birds I am using now. The loss hurt badly but in the long run it helped my program move forward, thanks to generous friends. I bought a loft from a man in Idaho in 2007 of Easley/Starley birds that contributed to what I have now too.
I know you fly Starley lineage of birds, what do you like best about the birds you have now?
The Deboer’s and Starley’s are both capable of very good quality rolling. The originals from Dirk were seldom in the roll. The Starley crossed onto them worked to increase frequency without trading off quality. Jay’s family seems to naturally like to work together. Teamwork is something I have tried to accentuate. Dirk stopped working his family of birds about the time I got started and it became increasingly more difficult to get access to that blood. I got some birds from Adam Hill and Tom Monson to supplement my breeding. There are numerous guys with Jay’s birds and it has been easier to trade birds within that family line. The birds I am breeding/flying now are easy to manage. They don’t require a lot of prep work to have a good fly. I am always in search to improve my birds. I keep a few pairs as projects, a research and development department.
Tell us about your favorite kit and birds.
When I got serious about wanting good rollers, (about 2002) I determined to go around to as many lofts and see as many kits fly as I could. In 2004, I saw what is still the best kit I have ever witnessed, at Ken Billings. He flew a 20 bird kit of 20 outstanding rollers, deep, fast and frequent. My eyes could hardly take it in. I saw a very good kit at Larry Hollingsworth, his last competition fly. Beaver Dayton has flown some terrific birds. I have seen good kits over several lofts in Utah. Jay, Adam, Guil, Lenny, Blake, Brian, Brad and Scott Campbell have each flown kits I still remember. I had a very nice kit in 2005 but I went to watch/support my regional fly and the instructions I left for feeding got misunderstood, the kit tanked. I am proud of the kit I won the national championship with, but I think I have flown other kits that were better at times. I saw my only “full turn” in 2009 from one of my own kits.
Favorite birds are a little more personal. Again I have seen good ones in many places. But I’ll tell about a few of my own, not because they were better, but I knew them more. Adam gifted me a black cockbird, 00 UTAH 592. 592 produced very well for me and moved my breeding program a huge step forward. He was a great looking bird too, I thought. I got a blue check hen from Dennis Briggs, 2003 AP 16, that was brilliant in the air and produced very well. I lost most of her blood in 2006. I raised a lavender cock in 2007 NBRC 70 that had great speed, clean spin and good frequency. He would vary his depth from 10 ft to 40 ft and would pace his frequency to match the kit he was flying with. 70 got picked out in every kit I flew him as an all-star. I don’t name many birds, but I had one I called Steady Eddy, 07 NBRC 35. He was a mongrel mix of bloodlines. He wasn’t so exceptional, although he won our Idaho individual bird fly-off, but he gave the same kind of show every day I put him up. It didn’t matter if he was fat or thin, wind or heat, he went to work and it was pretty. I lost him to a falcon spring of 2011. I raised a hen in ’08 I named yo-yo. She did 30-40 ft every nice and went back like she was wound up on a string.
In building competition kits and judging, tell us what you’re looking for?
As a judge, I try my best to score by the rules of the fly as I understand them. I don’t put any of my personal preference into it. They must break together and be sufficient depth and quality to score. When I am judging, I cannot pick out a ‘best bird’. I try to watch with a different ‘set of eyes’. I am watching for the complete package as a kit. If I let my eyes get stuck on 1 bird, I am cheating the rest of the team of attention.
When I am putting together a kit for competition, I will practice judge them a few times. If there is any single bird that stands out from the rest, it must be because it is superior. If I notice a bird that is sloppy, too frequent or short more than once, I pull it. I look for birds that are good quality and depth and compliment the rest of the team. I don’t want birds popping off, rolling on their own, no matter how good or deep they may be. I don’t like birds that habitually roll off the back of the kit or roll as soon as they rejoin the kit. It disrupts the kits rhythm and limits opportunity for bigger breaks. I look for birds that routinely fly through breaks and pull them, regardless of performance. I expect them to contribute to the team’s performance.
Tell us about breeding, what you look for in stock selection? What kind of relationships work best?
I will first confess I do not consider myself a very good breeder of rollers. I owe most of any success I have achieved to others breeding. With that said, I’ll share my opinion. To qualify for stock, they must be good, without significant performance fault (no wing switching, bumping, out flying). They do not have to be perfect or even exceptional. I prefer them to have good performing brothers and sisters too. I prefer an H wing style. I prefer good, clean, balanced spin over extreme speed. They must be smooth in, smooth exit. They must have heart to return directly to the kit. I expect them to work in sync with a team. I prefer them to be 20-40 ft.
I fly all of mine for at least 2 full seasons. Sometimes I will pull in a yearling bird after WC and breed it over the summer, but if I do, it always goes back into the kit and flys through the next year. I like to re-fly any bird I breed from at least once. It tells me about its character if it can get back into form and resume its previous performance status. Several of my breeders have been from brood loft to kitbox and back multiple times. I know it’s risky in today’s skies with hawks etc, but it was something the creators of these birds did regularly and I think it’s important to do in order to maintain stable spinners.
When I put pairs together, I always do it with a purpose in mind, based on the attributes shown by each prospective parent and if possible how they have produced in the past. I try to compliment each mate with its match. I have not had much success breeding from full bro/sis matings and mixed success with parent/offspring matings. I like ½ bro/sis, cousins, uncle type relations to breed from. I don’t take relationship into consideration much, more of an afterthought. I do try and color balance a little. I avoid doubling up on grizzle, white flights/pied and recessive red.
What are some challenges of flying rollers in Idaho?
The biggest drawback to flying where I do is remoteness from other roller guys. I am 3 hrs from Cache Valley, 4 hours from Boise, 5 hours from Missoula, where there are other serious roller fliers. There are a couple of other roller guys around me but none that are into flying. They are more of hobbyist roller keepers. Where I live it is cool climate and windy in springtime. My property is open and so is the surrounding country. It helps to not harbor hawks but there is no protection from wind and elements for the birds. Raising a family (children) here has been more important than flying pigeons. Maybe when I retire I can look for ideal roller flying country … next to Thayne Lee?
What are some things we can do to better the hobby?
Get involved and stay involved, participate. Be a part of making your club happen. Don’t sit home and expect guys to come to your place and do it without you. Realize everyone is unique and personalities don’t always mesh, but learn to set that aside and be supportive of the club/hobby. Go around and watch /birds/kits perform, outside of your neighborhood/region/state. It will help prevent loft blindness and foster fellowship in a hobby that relies on a social network. Be honest. Honest with yourself about your birds and honest with guys you fly with or trade birds with. So many relationships and clubs have been ruined by men who believe they and their birds are greater than they actually are. Don’t make excuses for bad performance from your own birds, ever. Realize they aren’t machines, but don’t take your eye off the prize of producing the very best kind of rollers you can. You cannot get attached to birds/names/lofts/pedigrees and still make decisions that will improve the birds you breed/fly. Adopt a long term perspective with these birds. They aren’t easy to breed and fly well and it will take most of us years to realize progress. There will be many more disappointments than victories.
I had the joy of asking Bryan a few questions for this months interview. Bryan has been the president of the Utah State Roller Club and does well with his birds in the comps. I have had the joy of watching his birds many times and they always put on a nice show.
Some of my favorite birds come from Bryan.
Thank you Bryan for your time,
1- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Southern Utah on a small farm. I spent a lot of time riding motor cycles, horses and ATVs in my younger days. I also spent a good amount of time searching for Indian artifacts. (No digging, just looking at the writings on rocks and finding pottery and arrowheads and pieces lying on top of the ground.) I have had pigeons from the time I was about 10 years old. I caught barn pigeons first and had fun raising them... Then the lost homers came in with the barn pigeons and I caught a few of those. I played with the homers for a few years and then found that there were pigeons that did flips in the air. I had seen some of them at the home of Cory Fountain in Marysville, Utah. He would not part with any, but the next year (7th grade) the school took a trip to the state fair and I bought 2 pairs of rollers and snuck them home on the bus. These birds were awesome to me because they did do flips in the air. That was all they did too.. No spinning except for the occasional suicidal one. I went on an LDS mission to Japan and when I returned, my father had gotten rid of the rollers. I moved to Cache Valley to attend college and met an angel and married her. In 2003 I met up with Randy Balls while dealing with him on Quail or other birds. He turned his rollers loose for me to watch. It was winter time. I had never seen a roller spin. I did that day and I had to have some. Randy raised me 15 or so birds to get me started and I ordered 15 or so from a John Jones in Colby Kansas. This got me started back in the rollers and it has been a fun, challenging hobby ever since.
2-How long have you been in the hobby?
Since about 1980 but really in competition rollers since about 2004.
3-Tell us about the birds you are working with now.
The birds I have that have produced good spinners are a mix of birds from Randy Balls, John Jones and Dee and Laurel Julsen.
I play with a little color project or two. I have some recessive reds, some reduced, and almonds that I breed from each year. I produce some very good spinning birds out of these birds too. These birds are also from the same lines as the birds above but I have separated them out as color projects.
4-In flying the different families of birds, do you run into struggles?
Not really... Either they kit and fly the time or they do not stay on the place... Every family produces some bummers and every family produces some good spinners.
5- What do you do to prep for a fly?
I usually feed a lower protein diet(White wheat) for about three days. I watch the birds fly time and if they fly more than an hour I cut their feed each day a little until I get them to fly for 15 minutes to an hour. Preferably about 25 minutes. I watch any birds that come down early during this time and they are pulled from the kit. I also watch for birds that stray from the kit too often during this time. They are also pulled. I then feed a cup of peas or so followed up with all the pigeon mix they can eat on the fourth day. The fifth day I give them about 1 cup of pigeon mix. On the fifth day I pull their water in the evening and then fly them the morning of the sixth day. Young birds seem to have a problem dealing with the stress of messing with the feed. I have found in my older birds that they roll when they are thinner. If I feed them too much they stop rolling. For the most part my young birds are quite active and roll well from about 6 months to a year when they are fed generously. For this reason I sometimes pull the young birds and feed them separately for 10 minutes or so and then put them back in with the kit to insure that they get plenty to eat. Just like us, the young birds are apt to play hard while the older ones really don't feel like it unless they are in good physical condition.
6-Any projects coming up?
I received a couple of Drecksel birds from Dave Curneal. I plan on Mixing them in with my black bald heads(my birds are not really that well marked) to see if I can get a little better marked bird that still rolls with good speed and depth. Some already have a bit of my line in them and so I think they will fit in pretty well... We will see. I also got a pair of Drecksel Bald heads.. I plan on working with them in an effort to get a good bird to give to Nick Moreno for an 11 bird fly with only the Drecksel birds.
7- Any suggestions on how to fly with the birds of prey in the area, to keep loses to a minimum?
I have kept pretty good records of when the birds of prey are usually in town and could save more birds if I would lock them up when I know it is AIR SHARK season. I have found that about October 15th to the end of December the SHARKS are usually in town. I have noticed that when the snow is about half way down the mountains in the fall they show up... They usually come again the end of March and hang around for must of April and May or until the snow is Melted about halfway back up the mountain... Usually about May 12th. Summer and winter are usually fairly SHARK free unless a coopers sets up shop and stays. The Falcons other hawks are usually not a problem during this time. Randy and I live close together and so this year we notified each other of any SHARK sightings and the birds were locked up for 7 to 10 days each time a Bird of Prey was seen... This seemed to help a great deal as last year I lost more than 40 birds in the fall and this year I have lost to the talons about 7.
8- What do you look for in a potential breeder?
I look for a fast spinning bird that has control. One that kits good, and does this for a period of 1 year. I usually have to pull them early, at about 14 months(Rolling for about 8 Months) or so to insure I don't loose them. I get more hens that roll with the speed and style then I do cock birds with my birds. When a really good cock birds comes along, chances of him flying for more than a year before I pull him is slim. However If I breed from him and he does not produce any good spinners he will be put back in the kit.
9- How long do you try to fly a bird before it is considered for stock?
One year on cock birds and about 1.5 years old on hens.
10-Any favorite birds? Tell us about them.
Well, There were there were several that the coopers hawk got, and another one that the Merlin got. There was also many fed to the Peregrine Falcons, and a bunch that the Goshawks got.
I also had a recessive red cock that produced good birds like crazy... I lost him 2 years ago in a loft rolling accident. Of birds that are still alive, I have 2 lavender cock birds, one red grizzle cock, one red grizzle hen(Randy Balls bred this one and gave it to me as a squeakers), one black bald head hen(Squeakers from Randy here too) and one black spread hen that I have been able to fly, witness the screaming spinning demon inside of them, and get them out of the air before losing them.
11- Any stories?
I had a bird roll from about 50 feet up one day and bounce off the landing board and right through the trap door in to the kit box. I have not seen that again.
I just like going to the competitions when at all possible. It is fun to see other peoples birds and what they can do. Some of the best memories I have are just spending the day with others watching the birds fly. It is sort of like hunting... Shooting a big buck is not nearly as fun if the hunt is done alone. Sharing the excitement with some one else always has a deeper emotional value.
12- What was your highest score?
I had a dream once where I scored about 600. That is probably the best I will ever do!!!!!... In reality about 300.
13 When do you put your pairs together?
The joke is that I put them together on Valentines day and split them up for a resting period the day before valentines day the following year. I like to raise about 100 squeakers. I try to put the birds together the first of March but I always get excited and put them together in February. I then try to separate them in about October but have left them together until December.
14-What are some of your other hobbies?
I like to fish, hunt, fly radio controlled Airplanes and want to fly an RC helicopter. I like to play the piano and the guitar and have wrote a couple of my own songs on both. I can not write down the music so I have to record the song when it is done or it is soon forgotten. I like to garden and have a little orchard here at the house.
15- What is your favorite part of the roller hobby?
My favorite part of the roller hobby is going out and letting the birds fly... It is a form of deep relaxation for me on a day to day basis. On fly day, for some reason it is not so relaxing at my house for me, but I find the same calming effect while watching rollers fly at others houses on fly day.
I had the opportunity to give Norm a list of questions for him to answer. I have to say thank you to Norm for doing this and also to his daughter Debbie for typing the answers for me. I already knew most of the answers but wanted to get them straight from Norm so I would not mess anything up
1- When did you get started out with roller pigeons?
2- Who did you get your first baldheads rollers from?
Frank Farrington. I bought six (6) birds from him for $1.00 each.
3- The Baldhead Birmingham Roller is what you are best known for, what are some of the other breeds you have tried?
Mookies, Clean Leg Tumblers and Oriental Rollers.
4-Why did you stay with the Baldhead Rollers?
They had color and patterns. The parents were docile and you could breed all the things you wanted out of them. They had all the qualities of what I wanted to breed.
5- Opal is one of my favorite factors/ conditions, tell us about your opals.
I received my first opal from John Fife. I bred these but was not getting anymore white bars. I matted a red bar cock with a checkered hen and got an opal white bar. Thats when I first recognized that opal was a condition of a feather rather than a color. I got a white bar out of that pair because the hen was carrying the opal factor.My questions were how did I get it? Why was it there? I learned to recognize it was not white it was a factor.From then on I started to look at the feathers and the condition of them to recognize the opal factor. The opal highlights the color of the feather. I came to recognize this in the young because the feather color was changed to an extent. Also, if you mate an opal with an opal the outcome can be lethal to the unborn. I witnessed the death of many healthy young birds in the eggs which were the result of matting an opal with an opal. It was not worth the risk.
6- Tell us about the "Red Badge " from your friend Paul Bradford.
My birds were rolling so often that after six minutes they were worn out. I had a pair, a grizzle hen and a blue cock that were good high fliers. I used all their posterity to get my birds to fly higher which was successful after a lot of trial and error. I used a red badge offspring from Paul to get my birds to fly higher and still maintain their performance. I believe this red badge cock Paul had came from Gus Litchenwall who lived somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
7- How did the color " Brown" come about in the roller pigeons.
To my knowledge no rollers in the world had brown color until Gary Gilbert crossed a brown African Owl with a Birmingham Roller. Unfortunately shortly after that Gary harassed his wife and she shot him dead! Wayne Meyers had a brown baldhead hen that he raised from Gilberts cross. Then Wayne died but prior to his death he told me I could have any of his birds I wanted. I took the little brown baldhead hen and started the the family of brown baldheads rollers.
8- What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome with the addition of the color genes?
It was more or less learning what you could do I guess. You had to recognize how you obtain the color or pattern. A lot of guess work. You could never do it without experience. Recognition was the key. I did not have mosaics until I introduced brown. That was all trial and error.
9- You are my roller mentor, who was yours?
Thank you. I have enjoyed your visits since you were a young boy! I really did not have a mentor as no-one was pursuing, or had the same goals, as I did with my birds.
10- Are there any favorite birds you could tell us about?
I never singled one bird out except I had a little hen that had the type of style of what I was pursuing. She was a little black baldhead.
11- I now that you are an avid gardener and worked in the landscape industry. What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
Family! I enjoyed pursuing my beautiful wife! I also built and raced and raced stock-cars from 1947 until the sixties. I like horses and owned a mustang from age 15-17. My friends and I had a riding club where we would meet and chase Jack rabbits. I was also a boxer in the Navy on the ship the USS Hyde, I served in WWII.
12- How did the "Tight check or Closed Check" get into rollers?
There are three different checkers. The checker,the Checker-checker and the light print checker. The The light (Tight/ closed ) checker is from the homer pigeon. The Checker-checker is more of a loose print checker. The Checker is a standard checker. I believe from a combination of the birds the the tight checker or closed check came about.
13- When did you get your first Opal pigeons?
John Fife sent away and got a blue bar cock with white bars. That was the first opla I had ever seen.
Gar Gilbert crossed and owl pigeon with a roller pigeon and got a brown roller. This was the start of the brown bird. Gary let Wayne Myers have a brown with opal. Wayne had a brown bar opal baldhead hen. Prior to Wayne's death he gave me the opportunity to have any birds I wanted. I brought the brown hen home which was the start of my brown birds.
I believe the closed checkers appeared when we combined the other checkers. I cant say exactly how the closed checkers came about but combining the three different patterns eventually produced the closed checkers.
14- Where the Monson Bell Necks developed in part from your stock?
15- You told me that you had several goals to achieve with these birds, what were the goals?
Colors and patterns in a performing roller. The looks and the ability!
16- What was your favorite thing about the birds?
That they were docile and took care of their young ones. They were not wild birds. Even the young, before they could fly, would be in the coop on the ground and come by my feet nudging me to lift them up for a drink of water. They knew I fed them and they were loyal to me. I could be down the street on my way home and whistle for my birds and they would fly to meet me. Although it was not something I condoned, they would enjoy eating out of my hand. The birds were my gift from God. Maybe he entrusted them to me.
17-Whe people talk about roller pigeons, the name Norm Drecksel always rises to the top. Your known in the hobby as "The Master of the Baldheads" That has to be a great feeling! What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment within the hobby?
Spinning ability, Color and patterns, I have accomplished my goals!
18- As a kid I used to ride the bus to your house, how did you have the patience for a kid, to come over and talk pigeons?
I was interested in teaching kids. I wanted them to know what it was all about and because of my love for pigeons I desired everyone to have some. It was never about the money, award or trophies but promoting the breed. I remember a little ten year old boy, maybe it was you, (yep )who came by and wanted to pay $10.00 for my Opal Black Checker. I told him it was not for sale because I had to learn how I got it. It was my first black opal. ( I ended up getting 4 blues for the same $10.00 )
19- Paul Bradford, Thomas S. Monson, John Fife and you started the "Utah State Roller Club" What were your goals of the club, and do you feel they have been met?
My club goals were the rolling abilities, colors, patterns and the type of birds. As far as I am concerned, my club goals were met. Thomas S. Monson was very busy being an Apostal for the " Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" however he participated when he could. I suppose he still has the type of birds he has had for the past fifty years.
20- What advise can you share with us concerning these marvelous little creatures we call the "Baldhead Birmingham Roller" ?
Patience! Patience! Patience! Trial and error. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Patience! Patience! Patience! If you don't succeed try again.
Patience! Patience! Patience! Know what you're looking for and what you want to obtain.
Patience! Patience! Patience! Use a family of birds, don't get a bunch of birds from here and there. If it doesn't work, don't try it that way again!
Thank you so much Norm for the answers. I have always enjoyed our visits and talks. Norm Drecksel my friend and the "Master of the Baldheads"
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