Pre-final update of the SCMDPR

The 12th annual Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SCMDPR) will be held on 2 February. Fanciers from 26 countries entered their best youngsters for the event, which pays a whopping US0 000 (R1,4 million) cash to the first bird home in the final race.

- Advertisement -

The 12th annual Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SCMDPR) will be held on 2 February. Fanciers from 26 countries entered their best youngsters for the event, which pays a whopping US0 000 (R1,4 million) cash to the first bird home in the final race.

Between May and August last year 4 902 pigeons were sent to the loft complex in Sun City to train and participate in the race’s training events. After being road trained for a combined distance of about 7 000km, to get them fit and experienced, only 2 900 of the entrants have made it to the main event. The entries for this year’s events came from Germany, South Africa, the US, the UK, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, Austria, Belarus, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Swaziland, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

The five hot spot car winners

The owners of the winners of the five pre-final or hot spot races walked away with a car each. A 000 (R7 200) was also awarded to each owner of the first 10 pigeons home in each of the hot spot races. The SA bird Speedster Two, entered by Vision Syndicate and bred by André Carelsen was placed first in the first hot spot race, placed 7th in the fifth hot spot race and earned 000 (R36 000) in the International Challenge Category. In the second hot spot race the Belgian bird Hoshi, entered by Jimmy Brands and bred by GMB Dingemans, was placed first. The third hot spot race was won by the German bird Habaayib, entered and bred by Brack-Esser. Both parents of Habaayib are from Belgium. The fourth hot spot was won by the Austrian bird Shy-723, entered and bred by Lutz and Franziska Primes. The sire of Shy-723 came from the Netherlands and the dam from Belgium. The fifth hot spot race was won by the Belgian bird Hand of Peace, entered and bred by MH Mitchell.

- Advertisement -

Superior Belgian Breeding

Except for the influence of two cocks from the Netherlands, most car winners were bred from Belgian stock, though Belgium owned less than 10% of the pigeons entered and also only won two of the five cars. The dam of the Hot Spot Champion Pigeon and current Ace Pigeon, Birdy, comes from Belgium. The Champion: Birdy Birdy was entered by Sudhoff and Van Beers from Germany. It was bred from a German cock mated to a Belgian hen. Birdy was crowned the Ace Pigeon of the five hot spots and is currently in the lead as overall Grand Champion. Birdy scored nine times in the top 100 of all the published flights and three times in the top 15 in the five hot spots. It didn’t make a single mistake in any of the published training flights. Birdy’s dam is 10 years old, which disproves what the critics say about breeding from old hens.

Loss of perspective

The question of pigeons that get lost while homing warrants attention. Not all pigeons that stray are inferior. Many are entered at the age of six months and older after having been homed and trained at their owners’ lofts. While the trainers at the SCMDPR are committed to “homing” all the entries, many older pigeons are too strong and become fly-aways if they have not settled into the loft at Sun City. They break away during training flights and are believed to go in search of their original lofts. Race organisers don’t argue with fanciers who are of the opinion that their pigeons should be younger, and good results are often achieved by some of the younger pigeons.

However, a good number of pigeons stray simply because they are too young for the enormous task. Despite an impressive pedigree, proven breeders can breed youngsters with inferior “intelligence” or rather, poor orientation skills. This can’t be predetermined and such youngsters are likely to stray in a race. Injuries are another unfortunate reason for a few losses. Some fanciers are negligent and don’t first establish that the young birds are already eating properly without the assistance of the parents. Pigeons that have made mistakes are carefully brought back into the training programme, but all the attention in the world will not make a weak bird more capable.

The lofts at Sun City aren’t overstocked or overcrowded as is sometimes alleged. There is enough room and perch space for all the birds. All the pigeons get the same treatment, but not all of them respond in the same way.
Don’t forget the auction of the top 100 winning birds in the Sun City Super Bowl on 3 February. – Thomas Smit ([email protected] or call (011) 680 3778). Visit or phone Marion on (011) 680 1118 for more on the race.