SA Million Dollar Pigeon Race

The SA Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SAMDPR) is about more than just pigeons. In the words of race director and founder Zandy Meyer: “It’s a meeting place for bakers and candlestick makers.”

SA Million Dollar Pigeon Race
- Advertisement -

From around the end of January to mid-February every year, pigeon fanciers from more than 30 countries around the world flock together to await the arrival of the pigeons in the final race. At the same time, they enjoy all our country has to offer.
The SAMDPR pigeons are homed and trained at Linbro Park, north-east of Johannesburg. These birds are a distinguished breed – the role models of the pigeon racing fraternity.

To enhance the quality of the gene pool of their pigeon stock, professional pigeon breeders in Europe study the breeding history of top quality racing pigeons around the world. When reference is made to performance in the SAMDPR in a bird’s pedigree, the gene pool is considered more valuable and the price goes up!

Big bucks
The main race cash prize pay-outs range from US$200 000 (first), US$120 000 (second), US$75 000 (third) to US$7 500 (for pigeons placed 11th to 15th) and US$500 (positions 251 to 300). As we’ve noted before, prior to the final, there are five Hot Spot Car Races. Prizes of US$1 000 go to each of the first 20 paid entries home. In addition, the owner of the winning pigeon walks away with a new car.

- Advertisement -

In the Two Pigeon Challenge, each participant has a team of three pigeons. In the Hot Spots, the team with the highest combined velocity between the first two paid pigeons home wins US$2 000. In the final Hot Spot, each of the first five entrants to have a pigeon home wins US$5 000. Thereafter the first entrant from the remaining countries in the top 250 wins US$1 000, providing the country has more than three individual entries.

The Champion Club Challenge is for SA pigeon clubs, which nominate members to enter pigeons into the SAMDPR. It’s a way of winning cash which can be used to boost a club’s kitty. Club members usually sell shares against the entry among themselves to ‘finance’ the US$1 000 entrance fee.

The competition was held on 12 January, in conjunction with Hot Spot Car Race 5. First was the Jeffreys Bay Pigeon Racing Club with Rene (time: 11:08:06,92). Nature’s Toys 3, entered by Delmas & District Pigeon Club (11:11:06,37), came second. Third was Germiston & District Homing Society with Francesco (11:13:04,32).

Note: The SAMDPR was held just prior to going to print. The top five places went to Untamed Desert of Ton de Kovel (The Netherlands) in 7 hours, 46 minutes and 11,78 seconds; Said in Spun Silver of Helmut Mann (Germany) – 07:46:24,48; Purdey of Team Esser-Klaas (Germany) – 07:46:39,68; Dacapo of Hans Schougaard (Denmark) – 07:50:49,83 and Paul L of Josef Lang – 07:51:09,21.

Entering the SAMDPR

  • Entry fee: Ever since the race’s inception in 1996, the entry fee has remained fixed at US$1 000/pigeon.
  • Reserves: Two reserve pigeons may be sent as back-ups to the main entry at no additional charge. The reserves will be trained and may be ‘activated’ at any stage by paying the entry fee.
  • Risk protection: Should a paid-for reserve pigeon stray before the final, and hasn’t won any prize money in the pre-finals, the entry fee is refunded. Should a fancier’s team of three pigeons all stray prior to the final race, a free entry is allowed in the following event.
  • Main race: As with all One-Day Loft races, the SAMDPR pigeons are trained for race-readiness in the final race, which carries the bulk of the prize money. (Please note: terms and conditions of entry are subject to change. For more information, visit

A full report of the race will be published in Thomas Smit’s next column in the 1 March 2013 issue.

Contact Thomas Smit on 011 680 4778 or at [email protected]. Please state ‘Pigeons’ in the subject line of your email.