Paul Smith from the UK and Zandy Meyer holding the winning pigeon, East of Eden
The final race in the 13th Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race (SCMDPR), the richest
pigeon race in the world, was held on Saturday 31 Jan 2009. At 6am, 3 082 pigeons from 28 countries were released outside Trompsburg to fight the 552km back to the
loft complex at Sun City, in the Pilanesberg. The wet duck weather had cleared up and the pigeons could take off in cool, dry conditions of 17ºC, against a light head wind. The day got warmer, but the heat wasn’t intolerable and the birds were spared the
typical hot highveld sun. The headwind was the most challenging obstacle. After nine hours 17, minutes and 54 seconds of flight, the winning pigeon East of Eden, owned by Mr and Mrs
Clayburn from the UK, entered the loft. Four more arrivals trapped within the same minute, followed by a sixth pigeon a minute later. The seventh pigeon trapped after another four minutes break, tailed by four more birds a minute later. In total, 11 pigeons clocked a flying time under 10 minutes, with the last arriving at nine hours, 54 minutes and 45 seconds. The pigeon in position 100 arrived at 4:45pm, totalling 10 hours and 45 minutes on the wing. The pigeon in position 250, the last carrying prize money, arrived at 6:16pm after almost 12 hours on the wing. Many pigeons flew into the night, reaching the loft around 9pm.
Altogether, 346 pigeons made it back on the day of the race. Seven different countries scored within the top 10 positions of the final. For more information go to www.scmdpr.com. If you think you’ve found a stray pigeon from the race, call
Marion on (011) 680 1118 or Thomas Smit on 082861 5593. |fw
The top positions are:
1st: East of Eden, owned by Mr and Mrs Clayburn, UK (US0 000 or R1,94 million).
2nd: Pompey Lauren owned by Pompey Boys, UK. (US0000 or R1,16 million).
3rd: Good Aim owned by G Koopman, the Netherlands. (US 000 or R725 000).
16th: Sello, owned by JK Gaddin (US 500 or R43 500), plus R150000 as the first South Africa Pigeon in the race. Giggs, entered by Team Fritz from Germany, scored the most consistently, on a sliding system measured over four hot spot training flights and the final, to win US000 (R241 700) as the knock-out champion.