The British Homing World Show
Dubbed Crufts for pigeons, the British Homing World Show of the Year has been held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens for the past 40 years. This year’s event took place in January and 2500 pigeons arrived to compete to become Supreme Champion. The show was visited by 25,000 breeders and fans from across Europe.
A Great Day Out for the Visitors
The British Homing World Show of the Year is one of the world’s largest gatherings of pigeon fanciers. It attracts breeders, pigeon racing enthusiasts and those who are simply curious about both the birds and the sport. With trade stands, various groups and organisations, talks, films and the showing of the best birds in the country, there is plenty to see and do for the visitors.
Costly Pigeon Purchases
Fanciers were able to buy a range of accessories and equipment including a £25,000 mahogany loft for the more discerning pigeon to a pedigree bird costing £10,000. Many pigeons changed hands at the show and was sold at the 200 plus stands.
In the build-up to the event, owners keep their lofts spotless, bringing in fresh water in basins so that their birds can bathe. Dirt is then carefully wiped off with a soft cloth and the breeders wear gloves when handling the birds to avoid transferring oils to their feathers. The pigeons arrive at the show in tip top condition.
Racing pigeons are light and lean and often suffer damage to their feathers but show birds are larger, plumper specimens with pristine plumage. The birds are judged for their looks and their demeanour which should be composed.
The Supreme Champion
More than thirty prizes were up for grabs at the show. The Supreme Champion bird was presented by breeder John Bell of Ayrshire. It was the fifth time that he had claimed the trophy. The winning bird had already become Scottish Champion and has produced several prize winning offspring.
This was a major triumph for pigeon fancying in Scotland but the number of fanciers in the region has halved in recent years. Racing pigeons were popular in mining communities but these have disappeared. Nonetheless, there are still around 6,500 fanciers in Scotland and many more across the nation. The show demonstrated the enduring popularity of pigeon fancying in the UK.