Always the dupe (21-06-2016)
"Wow, look at him, this man has super pigeons," he suddenly shouted, pointing at a race result showing 57 times the name of a Dutchman.This meant the fancier had won 57 prizes. We, Harry and me, said nothing.
Moments later, again a cry of surprise. We saw that he was looking at the site of a club on which championships were published. He pointed to someone with 9 Ace pigeons within the first 30.
"He does not understand one sh*t” of it, I said to Harry. Harry: "Right. And such people are buying pigeons here.’ The Oriental apparently felt that we were talking about him and looked at us quizzically. "Forget it," I said. "No big deal." But it was a big deal. The man did not realize that the Dutchman with 57 prizes had entered no less than 162 birds in that particular race. Given the fact that one of every three birds wins a prize, this meant that no less than 105 birds did NOT win a prize at all. 105 Pigeons that did not win a prize? That is what I call 'wow'. And the man with his 9 Ace pigeons? What the Chinese did not know and could not know was that it was in a club with a handful of members only.
I often write about this matter, I know. And also about the inability of many to interpret results correctly. The reason is that I want to defend the ‘small fancier”. He is underestimated, the performances of mob fliers are often overestimated. Nearly all great names race very many pigeons and racing very many birds is the reason that many got a great name. Some of them do not like it when I say that interpreting race results correctly is a kind of art but so what? I do not write to make friends. Besides, ‘friends’ you cannot 'make'.
It just irritates me when the media make fanciers into something that they are not. It makes me as frustrated as a castrated rooster in a henhouse. I admit, the fact that I myself race very few birds has certainly to do with it. Actually, the man with few pigeons is almost always the dupe of everything.
Take the Dutch province of East Brabant. In the very first young bird race in 2015 year more than 50% of the birds got lost. What losing half of the birds means for someone who races 100 birds and for someone who races 10 birds should be clear.
Losing proven real good birds is another story. That is a bad thing for the man with many birds, but not as bad as for the ‘little man’. The mob flier can fill gaps, the ‘little man’ cannot. I will give a theoretical (!) example.
Suppose that such a 'small fancier' breeds as many good birds as his fellow sportsman, the mob flier. Take one good pigeon out of every 10 for arguments’ sake. If the ‘small fancier’ with 10 racers loses that one good bird that he owns he is finished. If the mob flier with 80 racers loses his super he has 7 left.
And there's more. The ultimate fun in pigeon sport is to watch the home coming. Now suppose there is a very bad race that lasts one hour. (Prizes 1:3). And suppose the mob flyer has 60 birds in the race, his fellow sportsman only 9 and they both win their share: That means the first fancier wins 20 prizes (one third) and the other guy wins 3 prizes (one third as well). In theory, it comes down to it that the first fancier will see a bird coming home every 3 minutes. (20 birds in one hour). The ‘small” fancier sees a bird coming home every 20 minutes only. That is not what I call fun.
In many races fanciers with a very limited number of pigeons perform infinitely better than (some) mob flyers Those mob fliers SEEM to steal the show because winning 40 prizes is more impressive than winning 5 prizes. Even though the first entered 70 pigeons, and the second only five. There was this race that a fancier named Herman Bevers won 1st and 2nd with only 2 pigeons in the race. But no headlines for Herman, even no attention at all. The man that won 1st with his 64th nominated bird got all the attention.
You know what G v d Wouwer told me some years ago: “To-day everybody knows me, but you know what? In the past I raced much better. But that was at short distance and with few pigeons. And in such a case you will never get the credits that you deserve, no matter how good you are."
Belgian Mr H is a seeker. He is especially interested in winners against thousands of birds and even more when it is a bird from a big name. And what did he find? Many of these winners are just average birds or even less. Do not take me wrong. I have nothing against mob fliers. The few real good friends that I have nearly all race many birds. What frustrates me is the "overexposure" in the press of fanciers who do not deserve it, made up by press men who cannot read results well or who have other motives, such as a sale.
Another theoretical example to indicate the position of the 'little man: If he races 4 birds that all win a decent prize he was good. If the 4 first nominated birds of a mob flier all fail to win a prize, this poor performance can be camouflaged by other birds. In provincial or national result sheets I involuntarily look for those ‘small men’ that perform well with few birds. And believe me, the ‘big shots’ are no different.
To these ‘small men’ they go to buy birds. Nearly always cheap birds. When, later on, those birds turn out to be good they charge a plurality of what they had paid for their babies.