“TWELFTH INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE”.

ON

FINAL RACE

IN

THE 21st SOUTH AFRICAN MILLION DOLLAR PIGEON RACE

(THE BIGGEST & GREATEST PIGEON RACE IN THE WORLD!)

(THE RACE WITH THE PROVEN TRACK RECORD)

(THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN THE PIGEON WORLD)

DUE TO BE HELD AT

HERON BANKS GOLF & RIVER ESTATE,

SOUTH AFRICA

ON

SATURDAY 4th FEBRUARY 2017.

 

ANOTHER RACE SEASON FINISHES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN SUNSHINE.

 

The UNITED KINGDOM TEAM has a really fantastic result and won the following OPEN positions:- 11th, 13th, 28th, 55th, 58th, 71st, 74th, 80th, 94th, 117th, 121st, 124th, 136th, 141st, 163rd, 181st, 184th, 190th, 195th, 201st, 223rd, 232nd, 233rd, 237th, 286th, 291st & 296th OPEN and US$48,000 (£40,000) in Prize Money, plus they also won 2nd cash prize in the Zandys Meyer Mercedes Car Nomination and US$11,900 (£9,917), 1st Overall Ace Pigeon and US$10,000 (£8,334), 1st 2-Bird Average and US$2,000 (£1,667), plus US$23,273 (£19,395) in the Global Nominations. TOTAL WINNINGS were US$95,173 (£79,313).

 

The IRISH TEAM won the following positions:- 106th, 128th & 214th OPEN and US$3,750 (£3,125) in Prize Money.

 

Firstly, let my apologise for the lateness of this International Press Release but as most of you know I also treat this race as my annual holiday and whilst I am in South Africa for the race, I also like to visit other parts of this outstanding continent. Over the past twenty one years I have visited plenty of different areas and have loved them all. Anybody that is thinking of entering the race in the future or travelling out to South Africa for a holiday, I will be only too pleased to offer them some advice of where to visit.

 

I arrived with Tad Truszkowski at Emerald Resort about 4pm on Monday 30th January 2017 and we settled into our accommodation, showered and agreed to meet later for a few drinks and something to eat at the lodge when I was staying. We also met Sara Blackshaw and her son Maitland who is now working for the SAMDPR. We decided to have a braai (barbeque) and a few glasses of wine and arranged to meet early on Tuesday morning, so we could go over to the lofts and watch the pigeons arrive from their training toss.

 

Tuesday dawned and we all made our way over to the lofts and watched the pigeons come back from their short training toss. It really was some sight to watch over 2,400 pigeons return to the lofts and watch them trap. After this experience Sara, Tad and myself decided to play a few holes of golf around Heron Banks Golf & River Estate before coming in and having a light lunch at the golf clubhouse. Then back to Emerald Resort to meet a few other fanciers that were checking in during the day. As we walked in we were greeted by Gerry McCourt, Karl Donnelly and Jos Reilly and we joined them for a few drinks before going back to get showered and changed for the evening. We all met later and Tad and myself went out to the Breeze Restaurant for a meal before returning for a few more drinks with fanciers at the bar.

 

Wednesday dawned and for those fanciers and friends that had arrived earlier or during the day the race organisers had laid on something special because it was their 21st Anniversary of this great race and this a two hour sunset cruise up and down the Vaal River which included drinks and canapes. This was attended by lots of fanciers and friends and turned out to be a lovely way to start an event, the weather was fantastic and as we made our way back everybody experienced a fantastic African sunset. A fabulous evening was enjoyed by all that were present. It was also great to see all the loft lads present and enjoying themselves and meeting some of the pigeon fanciers from all over the world.

 

So after months of hard training and numerous races which covered thousands of miles under their belts it was time to basket the pigeons for The 21st SAMDPR, we travelled to Heron Banks Golf & River Estate, Sasolburg, Vaal River, South Africa on Thursday 2nd February 2017 to race mark the pigeons for this great International Pigeon Race. Once again fanciers were greeted at the lofts and they enjoyed a braai (barbeque) prior to the basketing and for those that had never visited these brand new lofts before it was a chance for them to view the inside and the outside area of the massive state of the art 300 foot pigeon loft. Whilst this was going on the loft staff were busy basketing the pigeons and loading the baskets onto the transporter to take them to the Emerald Resort, Hotel & Casino across the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark where the pigeons were to be basketed for the Final Race. The transporter arrived and the pigeons were unloaded and everything was set up at the E&E Centre at the Emerald Resort to start the race marking at 12 o’clock and four marking tables were all set up and ready to go, the Auditors EW Coetzee & Associates were again all present and lots of willing fanciers joined in and helped during the basketing of the pigeons.

 

Everybody was complimenting the loft staff and race organisers the way the pigeons handled and many fanciers that have done this race marking for numerous years stated it was the best condition the pigeons had ever been in. This after a very trying and testing year in training and racing because of the heavy rain, thunderstorms and extreme temperatures during the race series. However, as is usual with this great international race, if the pigeons are basketed for this Final Race then they sure are ready for their final hurdle. After about four and a half hours the task was finally completed and thanks must go to all the pigeon fanciers and friends that assisted us during the race marking because without their help this massive task would have taken much longer to achieve. A few pigeons were taken out because of injuries and these were placed in separate baskets for the Veterinary Officers Dr. Marthinus Hartman and Dr. Francis Le Grange to check them out and in total 19 pigeons were withdrawn from the race as not being fit to compete. A few pigeons were given new electronic ring and these details were then added to the database and finally at about 16.45 the Auditors finally announced that we had basketed a total of 2,432 pigeons from 35 different countries for the 21st SAMDPR. After this massive task we all made our way back to the Emerald Resort Hotel which would be our base for the next few days to have a few drinks at the bar. After a few beers to unwind with fanciers from many different countries, it was off to the lodge to get showered and changed before going out for something to eat.

 

Once again another new event had been organised for Thursday evening, it was going to be a River Boma Braai Relax and enjoy a traditional South African Barbeque under the stars at the River Boma on the side of the Vaal River. However, this has to be changed because the ground was just too wet under foot. So it was moved inside to the Breeze Restaurant and once again this turned out to be very well supported and great fun event with fabulous food and everybody really enjoying themselves listening to some outstanding South African drummers. Once again another new event that went down very well with all that attended. As it quietened down people made their way back to the bars and finished the evening off talking about how they were going to win the 21st SAMDPR.

 

Friday dawned and Sara Blackshaw (Director of Air Sport Internationale, The Presenters of the Race) had arranged a Country Co-ordinator’s meeting to take place in the Kilimanjaro Room. Also in attendance were Michael Holt (Race Director), Pieter Saayman (Systems Administrator), Willi van Beers (Loft Manager), Marion Branford (Administration), Paul Smith (International Race Co-ordinator) and all the Country Race Co-ordinator’s that were attending the race. This meeting took about one and a half hours and numerous things were discussed and minuted. It is always an interesting meeting because you get different views from numerous countries. New competitions are talked about, plus slight changes to others. The other thing that was discussed this year was the devastating Reo-virus that is affecting Australia at the current time and also the increase of a team of pigeons from 3 to 4 pigeons. Lots of other items were raised and discussed. ***SPECIAL NOTIFICATION*** One of the important changes was that it was decided that as from now instead of a team of 3 pigeons making up a team, it has been increased to a team of 4, which will be one x primary pigeon and three reserves pigeons. The feeling was that this will decrease the number of Free Entries from one season to another and will also give the smaller entrants a better chance to have a pigeon make it to the main race. The meeting soon came to a close because two new events had also been arranged for later in the day and they were a golf and a fishing tournament for those that wanted to participate.

I had entered the inaugural 18 hole golf tournament, with Tad, Sara and about 13 other pigeon fanciers from literally all over the world. Sara had hired clubs for those that had not brought theirs with them. The weather was ideal for golf and it was decided to play a pairs competition as it would be a quicker game. We stopped half way round at the clubhouse and we all enjoyed a beer, glass of wine and a light lunch, kindly supplied by Air Sport Internationale. A very civilised way to play a golf tournament I thought. Then off we went again to complete our last 9 night holes and when we all came in we had a couple more drinks before returning to Emerald Resort. Thanks to Gary Lance the owner of Heron Banks Golf & River Estate and all his staff for making us all so welcome. Another first for the SAMDPR. The winners will be announced at the Welcome Function on Friday evening.

I did enter the first fishing competition on the Vaal River as I was playing golf but according to all those that participated, it also turned out to be great fun, Air Sport Internationale had hired all the fishing rods and purchased the bait and I believe from what I was told it was exceptionally well supported and whilst there were not too many fish caught but as usual there were lots of stories about the one that got away. Well done Willi van Beers for assisting with organising this extra bit of fun. Yet another first for the SAMDPR. The winners would be announced at the Welcome Function on the Friday evening.

Quite a few people went on an excursion to Parys a lovely town about 30 minutes away, which has many antique shops, nick-nack shops and numerous restaurants. Once again those that went all had favourable comments on the day trip. Well done to Deirdre Kallmeyer from African Olive Travel Concepts for sorting out this trip.    

For those that did not to participate in either of these activities this was a day of rest for most but for those involved in making sure the race goes ahead it was work as usual as everything had to be set up in the E&E Centre in the fantastic Emerald Resort, so that all visitors can enjoy the race during Saturday.

Friday evening at 19.30 was the Welcome Cocktail Party in the Kilimanjaro Room in the Emerald Resort Hotel, which was right next to the Restaurant and Bar area. The setting was outstanding and place was packed and food and drinks were available. After about one hour Sara Blackshaw took to the stage and gave a report on tomorrow’s race and she wished everybody success. The pigeons had arrived safely at the race point and had been fed and watered ready for the early morning liberation from 552km (343 miles). Then with the assistance of Joan-e Holt (Public Relations) the race sponsors and all the Country Co-ordinator’s that were present were called up to the stage and given a small gift for all their hard work and efforts over the past year. The Official Race Sponsors were then called to the stage and they were as follows:- Peter Furstenberg from Shine Interactive, Keith McLintock & Brett Lindsay from Big Brave Digital, Deirdre Kallmeyer from African Olive Travels Concepts, Dr. Henk De Weerd from Belgica De Weerd Clinic, Sudhoff Veterinary, Rohnfried Products, Brother Copiers, Medpet, Turf Pet Hyper, Unikon (Deister Electronics Clocking System) and Pigeons On Line. Two very special mentions were for Heron Banks Golf & River Estate and of course Emerald Resort, Casino & Hotel. All of these were met with applaud and the Country Co-ordinator’s that were present then had a team photograph taken. Then Sara Blackshaw announced the winners of the two special competitions held earlier in the day, and the winners of the pairs golf tournament were Paul Smith from United Kingdom and Sara Blackshaw from Switzerland and Paul walked to the stage to pick up their trophy. The winner of the fishing tournament was Andy Skwiat from United States Of America with a 2.57kg carp, with Mike Ganus also from USA taking second place. Andy proudly walked to the stage to pick up his trophy. Paul, Sara and Andy were all applauded by those present, all will hopefully be back to defend their titles next year. Yet another well supported event and place was buzzing with excitement for what tomorrow might bring for one lucky fancier or syndicate. Then Henk Jurriens from the Netherlands was called to the stage to reply on behalf of the guests he thanked all the SAMDPR staff for their sterling efforts throughout the last year and said he was looking forward to the Final Race taking place in the next few days and wishing all competitors the best of luck and he hoped to see everybody for the 22nd SAMDPR. He was duly applauded as he left the stage.

Saturday morning dawned and we soon learned that it was raining hard at the appointed race point and a decision was made to bring the pigeons back to a slightly shorter race point where hopefully they could get a liberation but unfortunately the rain did not stop. It was then decided to bring the pigeons back and try to run out of the rain and then get a liberation from say 100 miles, so that at least everybody that had turned up tom watch the race could see pigeons arriving on the massive screens in the E&E Centre. Sara Blackshaw (Director of Air Sport Internationale), along with Michael Holt (Race Director), staff and other Race Co-ordinator’s decided that if it was possible to get a race from somewhere ASI would offer 10 prizes, these would consist of 3 cash prizes of 1st US$5,000, 2nd US$3,000 and 3rd US$2,000 plus 7 Free Entries into the 22nd SAMDPR. Other prizes were also offered by some of trade stands that were present in to E&E Centre, a great gesture appreciated by all present. Michael Holt was in constant contact with Corrie Naude (Convoyer/Trainer) from about 3.30am but every time they spoke it was still raining. Finally, it was decided to bring the pigeons back to the loft and put the pigeons back into the loft and then wait for a better day for a liberation.

This is the first time in 21 years that this great international pigeon race has had no liberation and has had to bring pigeons back from the Final Race and nobody wanted this to happen because everything was set up for today but at the end of the day a decision had to be made and it was good to see that the race organisers thought about the pigeons and not was supposed to happen during the day. The weather forecast for the next few days was not good, with more rain. I can assure you this was not a decision that anybody wanted to make but at the end of the day it was the correct decision. Of course what made it worse that many of the international visitors were due to check put on Sunday or Monday, so would not now be around for the Final Race.

After breakfast, I then walked over to the E&E Centre and met a few friends and talked to some of the Trade Stand people. Everybody I spoke to said it was the right decision not to liberate. For those that arrived late on Thursday or early on Friday morning there were buses that would take them to the loft at Heron Banks Golf & River Estate so they could see the set up before the race pigeons were liberated on Saturday.

The E&E Centre was starting to fill up with many fanciers from all over the world, plus lots of South African fanciers and friends that were turning up to enjoy the day activities. It was good to see the trade stands that had supported this event doing good business and my friend for many years Alan Jordaan was interviewing fanciers and other people on the stage. Food and drinks was available and the big screens were showing the Hot Spot Car Races that had taken place earlier during the 2016/17 race series. Despite the disappointment of not having a race, everybody was in good spirits and as all the food had been laid on the lunch in the E&E Centre started at 12 noon and the tables were soon full of pigeon fanciers and friends from all over the world having a good time and talking about what might have been. The big screens were showing film of the transporter returning back to the lofts passing through heavy rain most of the way. At this time there was still hope that there might still be a possibility to get in a short Bonus Training Race which will create some interest for all the visitors but as time went on it was clear that no race was going to happen and at 14.00 the decision was made that the pigeons would be returned to the loft for the Final Race to take place on another day.

It was decided to continue with the Awards Dinner on Saturday evening and rename it a Celebration Dinner as this was the 21st year of this great international race. So as soon as the lunch finished the Emerald Resort staff started to prepare for the Celebration Dinner which was due to start in the E&E Centre at 19.30. Time for all to go back to the hotel or their lodges and get ready for the evening event.

As we walked into the E&E Centre at 19.30 for the Celebration Dinner it looked stunning to say the least, fanciers and friend poured in and soon all the tables were full. Our Master Of Ceremonies for the evening was Keith Lindsey who got everybody in the right mood before introducing Sara Blackshaw (Director of Air Sport Internationale) spoke about the race conditions on Saturday and stated that whilst it was a tough decision to postpone the Final Race, it was the right decision because at the end of the day Air Sport Internationale had to think that the pigeons come first, even though many people had travelled thousands of miles to be present for this great race. Sara then closed by wishing everybody the best of luck for the Final Race whenever it took place. It was then the turn for Michael Holt (Race Director) who also had a few words to say about the training and racing that had already taken place and congratulated everybody on their achievements prior to the Final Race. Once again he stressed it had been a tough year with heavy rain, thunderstorms and record temperatures. Unfortunately there is not a book written that tells you how to run a pigeon race, so we have learnt from scratch and found out what works and what is practical and what benefits all. Then Joan-e Holt (Public Relations) joined Sara Blackshaw (Director of ASI) the others and special awards were given out to Michael Holt (Race Director), Pieter Saayman (Systems Administration), Willi van Beers (Loft Manager), Andre van Wyk (Loft Manager), Corrie Naude (Convoyer/Trainer), Josef Bekker (Trainer), Marion Branford (Administration), Joan-e Holt (Public Relations), Dianne Holt (Accountant), plus of course All The Lofts Lads. Once again it was mentioned that Gary Lance the owner of Heron Banks Golf & River Estate and of course the staff of Emerald Resort, Casino & Hotel had gone out of their way to assist from the start of this new venture, without their help and assistance we could never have hosted such a race. Dr Stephan Steyn, plus George Le Roux and Pedrie van der Merve of SANPO was also a great help over this stressful time, thanks again for all your help. Dr. Marthinus Hartman and Dr. Francois Le Grange (Veterinary Officers) for all their work during the year. All were given much applause. Hope I did not miss anybody out, if I did I do apologise. As it happened this function turned out to be outstanding mainly because I suppose at the end of the day there were no winners or losers. Well done to all concerned by making this such a memorable evening for all that attended. The disco was outstanding and everybody stayed till late in the night.

It should also be noted the fantastic amount of work and effort Sara Blackshaw (Director of Air Sport Internationale) puts into this race, she works tirelessly to make sure that this pigeon race keeps where it has been for the last 21 years and that is THE BEST IN THE WORLD.

Many more meetings took place to get weather forecasts for the next few days, plus all the camera crews and media had to arranged once again which in itself was a logistic nightmare but the “RACE TEAM” worked tirelessly to make sure everything would be ready for whichever day was selected to have the Final Race. Food also had to be arranged for those fanciers that had stayed on to watch the race, plus all the South African fanciers that wanted to come down and watch the race unfold.

Finally on Monday morning it was decided the best day for the Final Race to take place would be Wednesday, so everything was put in place to re-basket the pigeons later in the day. The Auditors were called to be present and the basketing would start at 4pm. I along with Tad, Sara, Maitland and a few others made our way to the loft to join the Loft Staff and assisting in any way we could. Once again the Loft Lads had this task of to a tee and the pigeons were guided into the baskets and other Loft Lads loaded them onto the transport, this went very smoothly and after about one and a half hours the 2,432 pigeons were basketed. A further 2 pigeons that had returned were race marked by the Auditors and added to the baskets, making 2,434 pigeons basketed for the Final Race. The transported was due to leave in the early hours of the morning as it would be cooler and there would be less traffic on the road.

As per the race rules of this great International Race any UN-ACTIVATED pigeons after one week after the 5th HOT SPOT CAR RACE has taken place are listed on the SAMDPR Web Site FOR SALE at US$1,100 (£917) each and anybody in the world can purchase any of these pigeons and whatever Prize Money they win in the Final Race goes to the new owners. However, if one of the UN-ACTIVATED pigeons that had been purchased wins a position in the top ten, the TROPHY and GOLD MEDAL goes to the person that originally entered it, plus the original owner gets any funds raised from the auction after the Final Race.

This year 157 pigeons were NOT-ACTIVATED by their owners after Hot Spot Car Race 5 and when the list went on the SAMDPR Web Site a total of 120 of these were sold prior to the race, meaning that just 37 pigeons were actually not flying for Prize Money in the Final Race. As usual quite a few of these pigeons will win Prize Money for their new owners. GOOD LUCK TO ALL CONCERNED.

Once again I must also give a “SPECIAL MENTION” to “BEN (THE BLOG) WILLIAMS” who for years now has taken photographs of fanciers, friends and of course the winners on his iPad at every function and event during the race weekend. He then places everything he does on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for fanciers and friends to see what is happening from thousands of miles away. YOU DO AS STERLING JOB MY FRIEND, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

THE FINAL RACE entry consisted of 2,434 pigeons from 32 different countries and was made up as follows:- Australia 48, Austria 24, Bahrain 3, Belgium 134, Bulgaria 3, Canada 35, China 10, Czech Republic 33, Croatia 5, Denmark 8, Germany 572, Iraq 5, Ireland 27, Italy 13, Kuwait 152, Mexico 3, Netherlands 129, Norway 8, Poland 45, Portugal 2, Puerto Rico 2, Qatar 7, Romania 54, Saudi Arabia 33, Slovakia 12, Slovenia 7, South Africa 180, Sweden 2, Switzerland 18, United Arab Emirates 5, United Kingdom 205 and United States Of America 635. This total was made up of 2,254 International pigeons and 180 pigeons from South Africa.

There was 37 pigeons in the Hold Back List that were not basketed because they had been deemed by the Veterinary Surgeons not to be fit enough to be basket, these were made up by 1 from Australia, 1 from Austria, 3 from Belgium, 3 from Czech Republic, 1 from Denmark, 7 from Germany, 1 from Kuwait, 1 from Netherlands, 1 from Poland, 1 from Romania, 1 from Saudi Arabia, 3 from South Africa, 1 from Switzerland, 2 from United Kingdom and 10 from United States Of America. If any of these were paid up entries the owners will get a refund as per the rules of the race.

Once again the weather conditions at Colesberg were not in favour for a liberation, despite what all the weather forecasts had said, in fact it had rained all through the night so at 04.40 the transported pulled out and moved slightly east to Gariep Dam where the weather was clear. The pigeons were plenty of time to settle and be watered and to get used to the surroundings. The weather forecast was checked again and it was then decided to liberate at 06.40.  

Finally, the convoy were liberated at Orange Free Lodge at the edge of Gariep Dam on Wednesday 8th February 2017 at 06.40 fine and cool with a partly cloudy sky and with a light head wind and a temperature of 19c (66f). The new race distance was 493km (306 miles). As the day moved forward the temperature would rise to around 28c (84f) mid-day, light head wind but turning to a light tail wind at the home end. The wind at the lofts was looking it was going to help the pigeons. A reasonably steady race was anticipated by the loft staff and the view of most was that the winning pigeons would arrive between seven to eight hours (13.40/14.40).

Pigeon fanciers and friends started to arrive at the loft to watch the pigeons home and the braai (barbeque) was going at full belt and the people were all waiting for the first pigeon/s to arrive. There must have been about 100 people that turned up to watch the race unfold.

LIVESTREAM (YOUTUBE’S NEW LIVE BROADCASTING PLATFORM) was available to watch online on the SAMDPR Web Site and pigeon fanciers from literally all over the world were logging on to watch the race unfold. Keith McLintock & Brett Lindsay and Big Brave Digital and staff are the company involved with this side of the race. The figures run into thousands watching at the same time. Keith Lindsay was at the race loft doing interviews were going out live, plus Facebook and Twitter. These were seen by thousands of fanciers, friends and people all over the world. The work and effort these guys put into doing this job professionally is remarkable, everything has to be done correctly for it to be seen by all who log on to watch what they cover. They film at all the 5 Hot Spot Car Races, at the liberation and of course the Final Race and of course this gives all the pigeon fanciers or interested parties the chance to view these events LIVE and as they happen. THESE GUYS DO A SUPERB JOB AND ARE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD.

Special words of praise must also go to Keith McLintock & Brett Lindsay and staff from Big Brave Digital and also to Peter Furstenberg and his staff from Shine Interactive, they do a wonderful job with all the media and technical worldwide coverage, that is watched literally all over the world. They do a magnificent job. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GUYS.

The excitement at the race loft was building up when all of a sudden a blue checker was spotted all on its own at 13.52 heading straight for the loft, everybody was thinking is it mine and it finally landed on the top of the loft but did not want to go in, it messed around and only went down onto the concrete platform when 3 other pigeons arrived about 3 minutes later, now we had 4 pigeons home as they decided which was going to trap first, they were joined by another. The excitement grew as the pigeons moved nearer to the trapping pads, then finally a blue bar went in first and was clocked at 13.56.09.29, once again for the second year running THE STARS AND STRIPES OF AMERICA had won 1st Prize. These 5 pigeons were well clear of the sixth pigeon and full details are now below.

WINNER OF 1st OPEN 21st SAMDPR, LITTLE MISS NIKKI FROM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING 1st OPEN went to TOM SHILLING from UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with pigeon named LITTLE MISS NIKKI bred by TOM SHILLING, which was officially clocked at 13.56.09.29 to record a winning velocity of 1235ypm or 18.8389 m/s (42mph), winning a GOLD MEDAL and US$200,000 (£166,667) Prize Money, plus the WINNERS JACKET and 1st OPEN TROPHY. This outstanding pigeon also won The Zandy Meyer Memorial Mercedes Car worth US$85,000 (£70,883) and The Knockout Competition worth US$25,000 (£20,833), plus Global Nominations worth US$15,096 (£12,580). Total race winnings of a staggering US$325,096 (£271,013). What a great pigeon which had previously won 4th HSCR1, 92nd HSCR2, 1484th HSCR3, 885th HSCR4 and 342nd HSCR5. Also finished 2nd USA, 6th in The Overall Averages over 22 races that counted. Plus this outstanding pigeon then sold for ZAR350,100 (US$26,600) (£21,881) when it was auctioned. 2nd Open Gabriel Valo from Germany with his pigeon named Sunce, bred by Gabriel Valo, which was officially clocked at 13.56.16.50, winning a GOLD MEDAL, Trophy and US$125,000 (£104,167), 3rd Open Team Hooymans from Netherlands with pigeon named Hali, bred by Jan Hooymans, which was officially clocked at 13.56.23.20, winning a GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$75,000 (£62,500), 4th Open Team GSA from Germany with pigeon named Puggle, bred by Siegbert Wandrach, winning GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$50,000 (£41,667), this pigeon was officially clocked at 13,56.36.79, this was actually the first pigeon to make it back to the loft but it would not trap, tough luck Siegbert, 5th Open Cradock Homing Society from South Africa with pigeon named Rene, bred by P. Joubert, winning a GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$35,000 (£29,167), this pigeon was officially clocked at 13.57.04.34, 6th Open Ahmed S Al-Juwaisri from Kuwait with pigeon named Saad, bred by Ahmed S Al-Juwaisri, winning a GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$20,000 (£16,667), this pigeon was officially clocked at 14.04.00.54, the next pigeon was a Defaulter Pigeon which means it was not paid for, just goes to prove if the make it to the race, they are worth entering, 7th Open penguin Syndicate from Belgium with pigeon named Elzir, bred by Jos & Ken Beyens, winning a GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$17,500 (£14,583), this pigeon was officially clocked at 14.04.58.75, 8th Open Rory Smith Loft from United States Of America with pigeon named Foxy One, bred by Rory Smith, winning a GOLD MEDAL and US$15,000 (£12,500), this pigeon was officially clocked at 14.13.58.00, 9th Open Ruediger Schoenau from Germany with pigeon named Tobias Turbo, bred by Ruediger Schoenau, winning a GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$12,500 (£10,417), this pigeon was officially clocked at 14.14.16.84, 10th Open Schuka - Kumpmeyer from Germany with pigeon named K4, bred by Schuka - Kumpmeyer, winning a GOLD MEDAL, trophy and US$10,000 (£8,333), this pigeon was officially clocked at 14.12.21.70. Then 11th Open Millys Loft from United Kingdom with pigeon named Dundees Back, winning US$7,000 (£5,833), 12th Open Team Ellenbroek - Seelen from Netherlands with pigeon named Hailsham Hilo, winning US$7,000 (£5,833), 13th Open Lloyd & Kelly from United Kingdom with pigeon named Jamie, winning US$7,000 (£5,833), 14th Open Team Hooymans from Netherlands with pigeon named Egyptian Wolf 1, winning US$7,000 (£5,833), 15th Open Helle & Jens Pedersen from Denmark with pigeon named Miss PePe, winning US$7,000 (£5,833), 16th Open De Schrijver - Brantegem from Belgium with pigeon named Chacu, winning US$5,000 (£4,167), 17th Open Jochen u Nadine Huenten from Germany with pigeon named Veni Vidi Vici, winning US$5,000 (£4,167), 18th Open Robert Darr - Donald Bicknell II from United States Of America with pigeon named Saygi, winning US$5,000 (£4,167), 19th Open David Demko from United States Of America with pigeon named 972Laureat-054Cahors 109, winning US$5,000 (£4,167), 20th Open Kader, Nadia, Ahmed, Moerat, Boewer & Demko from United States Of America with pigeon named 972Laureaat-054Cahors 6, winning US$5,000 (£4,167), this pigeon was officially clocked at 18.11.28.23, 21st Open Wilfon - Rhodes from United States Of America with pigeon named Gold Star Legend, winning US$3,500 (£2,917), 22nd Open Pieter Veenstra & Yu Dong from Netherlands with pigeon named Pipo, winning US$3,500 (£2,917), 23rd Open Naje Ead from Kuwait with pigeon named Super Crown, winning US$3,500 (£2,917), 24th Open CP Syndicate from Kuwait with pigeon named Ashkan 6, winning US$3,500 (£2,917) and 25th Open Dr Mildner - Riemekasten from Germany, winning US$3,500 (£2,917).

For full result please log on to the official SAMDPR Web Site www.samdpr.com where you can see what time all the pigeons were clocked and what they all won. There were 300 cash prizes so that means another 275 cash prizes were up for grabs. I would love to list all 300 winners but unfortunately, limited space does not allow this to happen.

Only 288 pigeons were officially clocked on the day up to 21.52.50.40 and 8 of these were NON-ACTIVATED PIGEONS so that left 20 cash prizes to won on Thursday morning. The first pigeon being clocked at 05.24.28.79 on the Thursday morning and the 300th at 06.08.10.75. The top 20 pigeons had 8 different countries represented in this result and then 5 other countries were represented by pigeons in the top 50 Open in this race, with 15 different countries represented in the top 100. A total of 1,472 pigeons were officially clocked. More pigeons have homed and the total home now listed on the SAMDPR Web Site shows 1,530 pigeons have made it back to the loft in Heron Banks Golf & River Estate. Full result can be seen on www.samdpr.com

 

CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING 1st UNITED KINGDOM, 11th OPEN went to MILLYS LOFT with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE which was officially clocked at 14.14.52.50, just 18 minutes 43.21 seconds after the race winner, which won a cool US$7,000 (£5,833) for its efforts. This pigeon was also sold at auction after the race for ZAR215,000 (£13,438), 2nd UK, 13th Open Lloyd & Kelly from Didcot with pigeon named Jamie, which won US$7,000 (£5,833). This pigeon was also sold at auction after the race for ZAR21,600 (£1,350), 3rd UK, 35th Open Tim Atkin from Rugby with pigeon named Drinky, which won US$3,500 (£2,917). This pigeon was also sold at auction after the race for ZAR12,000 (£750), 4th UK, 55th Open Speedbird Strain - Aylesbury Bucks with pigeon named Demolition Lady bred by the late Peter Entwistle from Aylesbury, which won US$2,000 (£1,667), 5th UK, 58th Open Gran Canaria One Loft with pigeon named Zig bred by Mark Williams from Dyserth Lofts, which won US$2,000 (£1,667), 6th UK, 71st Open another for Millys Loft with pigeon named Dundee Boy bred by Michael Mellor from Crewe, which won US$2,000 (£1,667), 7th UK, 74th Open Team Lincs with pigeon named Evden bred by Paul & Tracey Stacey from Sleaford, which won US$2,000 (£1,667), 8th UK, 80th Open another for Milly Loft with pigeon named I Love My Boys, which was also bred by Michael Mellor from Crewe, which won US$1,750 (£1,458), 9th UK, 94th Open Manchester Maestros with their pigeon named Lady Lilly 3 bred by John Crehan from Manchester, which won US$1,750 (£1,458), 10th UK, 117th Open another for Millys Loft with pigeon named Dundee Magic bred by Michael Mellor from Crewe, which won US$1,500 (£1,250), 11th UK, 121st Open Carlos Dream Syndicate, administer by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet with pigeon named Carlos Magic bred by Jos Reilly from Dublin, which won US$1,500 (£1,250), 12th UK, 124th Open Lucky Devils Syndicate, administered by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet with pigeon named Lucky Dream bred by Bob Fenech from Attleborough, which won  US$1,500 (£1,250), 13th UK, 136th Open Orbital Lofts, with pigeon named Orbital 2 bred by Roger Lowe from Reading, which won US$1,250 (£1,042) for High Stakes Jack as they Activated it because Roger did not Activate this pigeon. Roger entered 3 pigeons and got all 3 to the Final Race, great performance, 14th UK, 141st Open Grumpy Old Men, with pigeon named Billy Boy with pigeon bred by Tony Kent from Wareside, which won US$1,250 (£1,042), 15th UK, 163rd Open Zandys Dream Team, with pigeon named Zandys Star with pigeon bred by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet, which won US$1,100 (£917), 16th UK, 181st Open another for Team Lincs with pigeon named Stamford, again bred by Paul & Tracey Stacey from Sleaford, which won US$1,100 (£917), 17th UK, 184th Open Paul Smith Syndicate, administered by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet with pigeon named Stansted Beauty bred by Jimmy Richards from Laindon, which won US$1,100 (£917), 18th UK, 190th Open another for Paul Smith Syndicate, administered by Paul Smith from Stansted Mouintfitchet with pigeon named Stansted Gold bred by Jimmy Richards from Laindon, which won US$1,100 (£917),  19th UK, 195th Open Hilamb Syndicate, entered by Ken Ambler from Keighley and Hillcoat from Sowerby Bridge with pigeon named Jupiter bred by Ron Hillcoat from Sowerby Bridge, which won US$1,100 (£917), 20th UK, 201st Open Rutland Lofts, with pigeon named Scaff 2 bred by AJ Whitehouse from West Bromwich, which won US$1,000 (£833), 21st UK, 223rd Open Crammond, Langstaff & Gilbert from Fontwell and Windsor with pigeon named Southfield Pro bred by this partnership, which won US$1,000 (£833), 22nd UK, 232nd Open Trainspotters, with pigeon named King Waggy bred by Mr & Mrs K. Wagstaff, which won US$1,000 (£833), 23rd UK, 233rd Open UK Elite Syndicate, administered by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet with pigeon named Essex Flash bred by Lee Fribbins from Frating, which won US$1,000 (£833), 24th UK, 237th Open another for Lloyd & Kelly from Didcot with pigeon named Fatso, which won US$1,000 (£833), 25th UK, 286th Open Estuary Syndicate, with pigeon named SL1 bred by Peter Oberholster from Keysoe, which won US$500 (£417), 26th UK, 291st Open another for Paul Smith Syndicate, administered by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet and with pigeon bred by Jimmy Richards from Laindon, which won US$500 (£417) and 27th UK, 296th Open another for Lucky Devils Syndicate, administered by Paul Smith from Stansted Mountfitchet and with a second pigeon bred by Bob Fenech from Attleborough, which won US$500 (£417).  A total of 133 United Kingdom pigeons were officially recorded, which was a fantastic result for the UK Team.

 

THE UNITED KINGDOM COUNTRY CHALLENGE for the first nominated pigeon clocked in the Final Race went to MILLYS LOFT with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE which won US$6,120 (£5,100) for its efforts. Sorry I can’t mention everybody that clocked pigeons but space does not permit, if anybody wishes to look at the full results they can log onto www.samdpr.com

CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING 1st IRELAND, 106th OPEN went to DONNELLY & KIRKWOOD, with pigeon named ZIMBA bred by KARL DONNELLY, which was officially clocked at 16.18.23.09, 2 hours 22 minutes 13.80 seconds after the race winner, winning US$1,500 (£1,250), Karl had travelled out to South Africa for the race but went home the day before the race finally took place, however sure he will be pleased to know we celebrated for you and the bill is on its way mate by pigeon post. All joking apart mate, WELL DONE. Then 2nd Ireland, 128th Open Philip & Mark Smith with their pigeon named Gaelic Hope, which won US$1,250 (£1,042), 3rd Ireland, 214th Open Moran & Bowden with their pigeon named Beautiful Alannah, which won US$1,000 (£833), 4th Ireland, 419th Open Padraig & Caoimhe with his pigeon named High Hopes, 5th Ireland, 421st Open Johnson & Leonard & Sons with their pigeon named Leonard Lad and 6th Ireland, 462nd Open Joe Kennedy & Son with his pigeon named Joshua. The Irish team got a total of 17 home.

 

THE IRISH COUNTRY CHALLENGE for the first nominated pigeon clocked in the Final Race went to PHILIP & MARK SMITH with their pigeon named GAELIC HOPE bred by PHILIP & MARK SMITH which won US$440 (£367) for its efforts.

 

GLOBAL NOMINATIONS ON THE FINAL RACE amounted to a staggering US$252,998.25c (£211,000) which included 114 pigeons entered at US$1,000 (£833) per pigeon entry fee with the top prize worth a cool US$85,000 (£70,883) for the Zandy Meyer Memorial Mercedes Car Entry and a grand total of 902 pigeons including 75 pigeons from the United Kingdom and 8 pigeons from Ireland and a total of 4,576 Global Nominations were actually placed. Once again the UNITED KINGDOM TEAM members did really well with MILLYS LOFT taking 11th OPEN with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE, this pigeon won a cool US$11,679 (£9,733), this pigeon also came 2nd in The Zandy Meyer Memorial Mercedes Car Nomination and won a further $11,900 (£9,917) for its efforts. WELL DONE MICHAEL A FANTASTIC ACHIEVEMENT. Then LLOYD & KELLY from DIDCOT taking 13th OPEN with pigeon named JAMIE that won a cool US$6,596 (£5,497) for its efforts, then taking 74th OPEN was TEAM LINCS with pigeon named EVDEN bred by PAUL & TRACEY STACEY from SLEAFORD which also walked away with a cool US$357 (£298), then MANCHESTER MAESTROS taking 94th OPEN with pigeon named LADY LILY 3 bred by JOHN CREHAN from MANCHESTER and this pigeon walked away with just US$17 (£14), then another for MILLYS LOFT taking 71st OPEN with their pigeon named DUNDEE BOY bred by MICHAEL MELLOR which won US$3,179 (£2,650) for its efforts and then last another for MILLYS LOFT taking 80th OPEN with pigeon named I LOVE MY BOYS once again bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE and winning US$1,445 (£1,204) for its efforts.. WELL DONE TO ALL THESE FANCIERS. IT REALLY HAS BEEN AN OUTSTANDING RACE SERIES FOR FANCIERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AS THEY HAVE WON MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE OF GLOBAL NOMINATIONS RIGHT THROUGH THE 2016/17 RACE PROGRAMME.

 

REGIONAL NOMINATIONS FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM TEAM in the FINAL RACE amounted to US$3,451.85c (£2,877) with 50 pigeons entered with 225 Nominations and there was 4 fanciers sharing to spoils and these were as follows:- MILLYS LOFT took 11th OPEN with their pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE which walked away with a cool US$2,295 (£1,913), then another for MILLYS LOFT in 71st OPEN with pigeon named DUNDEES BOY bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE which won US$807.50c (£673), then TEAM LINCS took 74th OPEN with pigeon named EVDEN bred by PAUL & STACEY TRACEY from SLEAFORD and this walked away with US$161.50c (£135), then MANCHESTER MAESTROS  won 94th OPEN with their pigeon named LADY LILLY 3 bred by JOHN CREHAN from MANCHESTER and this pigeon won US$119 (£99)) and lastly another for TEAM LINCS in 181st OPEN with pigeon named STAMFORD bred by PAUL & TRACEY STACEY from SLEAFORD which won US$68.85c (£57) for its efforts. WELL DONE TO THESE WINNERS.

THE OVERALL AVERAGES after 22 official races in the 2016/17 race series finished as follows:- 1st UNITED KINGDOM, 1st OPEN and US$10,000 (£8,334) went to MILLYS LOFT from UNITED KINGDOM with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE with a total flying time of 49.26.09.75 to cover the 22 races that counted, winning this category by 2 hours 2.58 seconds, 1st GERMANY, 2nd OPEN and US$5,000 (£4,167) went to REINHARD GEBHARDT from GERMANY with pigeon named AMAZING DAY bred by REINHARD GEBHARDT that took 50.21.16.89 to cover the 22 races that counted and then 1st SOUTH AFRICA, 3rd OPEN and US$2,500 (£2,083) went to THE PLATINUM LADYS from SOUTH AFRICA with pigeon named DALEEN bred by TRIPLE J LOFTS that took 50.37.33.39 to cover the 22 races that counted. It was amazing to see the pigeons that would have taken 2nd and 7th in this category, both were Defaulter Pigeons.

1st UNITED KINGDOM, 1st OPEN went to MILLYS LOFT with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE with a total flying time of 49.26.09.75 to cover the 22 races that counted. 2nd UNITED KINGDOM, 18th OPEN went to MILLYS LOFT with pigeon named DUNDEES BOY bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE with a total flying time of 53.48.07.49 over the 22 races that counted. 3rd UNITED KINGDOM, 34th OPEN went to ZANDYS DREAM TEAM with pigeon named ZANDYS STAR bred by PAUL SMITH from STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET with a total flying time of 55.48.45.45 for the 22 races that counted.

1st IRELAND, 266th OPEN went to JOHN BYRNE & SON with their pigeon named SADHBH  bred by this partnership with a total flying time of 78.23.05.80 in the 22 races that counted.

The 2-BIRD AVERAGE IN THE FINAL RACE carried a US$2,000 (£1,667) cash prize and that was won by MILLYS LOFT from the UNITED KINGDOM with pigeons named DUNDEES BACK and I LOVE MY BOYS with a total velocity of 33.039 m/s. 1st UNITED KINGDOM, 1st OPEN was MILLYS LOFTS with pigeons named DUNDEES BACK and I LOVE MY BOYS with a total velocity of 33.039 m/s. 2nd UNITED KINGDOM, 21st OPEN was TIM ATKIN from RUGBY with pigeons named  DRINKY and RANIERE ROCKET with a total velocity of 22.622 m/s. 3rd UNITED KINGDOM, 25th OPEN was LLOYD & KELLY from DIDCOT with pigeons named JAMIE and SHES GOOD with a total velocity of 21.881 m/s. The UK had 12 teams in the top 82 in this category. 1st IRELAND, 97th OPEN was MORAN & BOWDEN with pigeons named BEAUTIFUL ALANNAH and FIGHTING ELLEN with a total velocity of 16.146.

The 3-BIRD AVERAGE IN THE FINAL RACE carried a US$3,000 (£2,500) cash prize and was won by STANLEY MEYLER from UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with pigeons named WEXFORD 18, WEXFORD 16 and WEXFORD 17 all bred by STANLEY MEYLER with a total velocity of 38.746 m/s. 1st UNITED KINGDOM, 13th OPEN was SPEEDBIRD STRAIN - AYLESBURY BUCKS with pigeons named DEMOLITION LADY, AYLESBURY JEWEL and SHOCK-WAVE all bred by the late PETER ENTWISTLE from AYLESBURY with a total velocity of 24.480 m/s. 2nd UNITED KINGDOM, 15th OPEN was ORBITAL LOFTS with 3 pigeons all bred by ROGER LOWE from READING, 3rd UNITED KINGDOM, 17th OPEN was LUCKY DEVILS SYNDICATE, administered by PAUL SMITH from STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET and with 3 pigeons bred by BOB FENECH from ATTLEBOROUGH, 4th UNITED KINGDOM, 21st OPEN was PAUL SMITH SYNDICATE, administered by PAUL SMITH and with 3 pigeons bred by JIMMY RICHARDS from Laindon. There were no teams of 3 pigeons left for the IRELAND team. WELL DONE TO ALL THESE FANCIERS CONCERNED, YOUR PIGEONS SURE DID YOU PROUD.

THE KNOCKOUT COMPETITION and a US$25,000 (£20,833) FIRST PRIZE and started off with 2,750 entries and the winner of this prestigious competition was TOM SCHILLING from UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with their pigeon named LITTLE MISS NIKKI bred TOM SCHILLING that actually won 1st OPEN in THE FINAL RACE. The first UNITED KINGDOM pigeon was actually 2nd to the American pigeon and was clocked in 11th Open and belonged to MILLYS LOFT with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK and bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE. There were no Irish pigeon left in this competition. The original entry was 2,750 pigeons from 35 different countries and this figure included 236 from the United Kingdom and 37 from Ireland. There are 5 rounds including the FINAL RACE, so to win this competition takes a pigeon of some class. Only 69 entries were still left in this competition and only 24 were officially clocked. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WORTHY WINNER.

It was once again great to meet up and talk to such renowned fanciers as Stephen & Rhona Kearsey (Australia), Frank & Robin McLaughlin and two children (United States Of America), Willi van Beers, Alfons Klaas, Hardy Kruger, Paul-Hans Esser, Karl Heinz Wagner, Werner Waldow, Klaus Stieneker, Josef Bekker, Nadine Huenten and Hans Bruhl (Germany), Thomas Gyselbrecht (Pipa), Frank Daelemans, Michel Wouters, Philippe Brantegem, Norbert De Schrijver, Stan Van Beemen (Belgium), Henk Jurriens, Gerard Koopman, Kfelt Spithoven, Jan Hooymans and his son, Nicole De Weerd and Guy Van Der Auwera (Netherlands), Corrie Naude, Andre van Wyk, Martin Beneke, Alan Jordaan, Joe Gomes, Butch Einkamerer, Saville Penkin, Mark Kitchenbrand, Billy Kitchenbrand, Gaddin Brothers, Jurie & Daleen Erwee, Johann Grobbelaar, Roger Harris, Dave Gilbert, Herman van Rensberg, Gary Fang, Rob Conradie and Petra Stiglingh (South Africa), Jos Reilly, Gerry McCourt & Karl Donnelly (Ireland), Ali Barrak Al-Azemi and Bader Al-Jewesry from Kuwait, Mike & Debbie Ganus and Andy Skwiat and his mum Stephine from United States Of America, also a big group of Americans whose names I never got, Ian and Karen Brenner and their other friends from Australia, plus of course Lee Fribbins, Carly Huggins, John & Steve Best, John Crehan and family, Pieter Oberholster, Tadt Truszkowski from United Kingdom plus Paul Stokes all from the United Kingdom who has recently moved out to South Africa. Plus over the race weekend I also talked to many other top International and South African fanciers.

As the International Race Co-ordinator for the 21st year Paul Smith would like to personally thank all the Country Race Shippers/Co-ordinators, Frank Nebig from Animals To Fly, Martin Beneke the Auctioneer, All the Loft Lads, Keith McLintock & Btrett Lindsay from Big Brave Digital the Livestream Team, Peter Furstenberg from Shine Interactive, Ben (The Blog) Williams) and all the staff who work for the SAMDPR, all the backroom staff who we do not see and in fact anybody that has something to do for the SAMDPR a really BIG THANK YOU for all your help and assistance during the past year as without your help and support the race could not continue. I would also like to personally thank Sara Blackshaw (Director of Air Sport Internationale, The Presenters of this Race) for her continued great support and taking this great race forward into the future. CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYBODY YOU ALL DO A STERLING JOB.  

***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT*** I am sorry that I can’t add all the information about who bred all the pigeons or where they live but I can only publish details which I am in possession of. If there are no details besides your winning pigeon/s then please contact me on reglofts@aol.com with your details and I will include these in my later International Press Reports. I personally do like to give all the fanciers, entrants and breeders all the credit they and their pigeons deserve when they manage to get in the results so your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

***WHAT COULD BE WON DURING THIS 2016/17 RACE SERIES*** Prizes and awards now added up to a staggering US$2.2 Million American Dollars £1.83 Million Pounds) and these include 5 x Brand New Motor Cars with a US$16,000 (£13,334) value, there is 1 for each of the 5 x Car Races, 95 x US$1,100 Hot Spot Cash Prizes (it should be noted that the Motor Car Winner does not receive a US$1,100 Cash Prize), split into 19 x US$1,100 Cash Prizes for each of the 5 x Car Race Hot Spots, a US$5,000 Car Race Hot Spot Ace Pigeon Award for the best pigeon in these 5 races, International Country Challenge Cash Prizes on the Car Race Hot Spot 1 to 5, plus a Country Challenge Award for the first entered pigeon clocked in the Final Race. A Two Bird Average Competition and a US$2,000 Cash Prize in each of the 5 x Car Race Hot Spots and the Final Race. A Three Bird Average Competition and a US$3,000 Cash Prize in each of the 5 x Car Race Hot Spots and the Final Race. The South African Million Dollar Ace Pigeon Award carries US$17,500 in Prize Money, split into three cash prizes with 1st US$10,000, 2nd US$5,000 and 3rd US$2,500 Cash Prizes for the 3 pigeons with the best overall average in all the Official Training Races over 50km (31 miles) and the 5 x Car Race Hot Spots and the Final Race. There will also be a Knockout Winner Competition and US$25,000 Prize Money, which starts on the Car Race Hot Spot 2 and the winner is the first one to be clocked in the “FINAL RACE” (over the past few years there has been around 50 pigeons still left in this competition). Then in the “FINAL RACE” on the 8th February 2017 there was also 10 magnificent gold pendants to be won worth well over US$1,000 (£833) each and now over US$1 Million American Dollars (£833,000) in Prize Money and 300 top cash prizes being on offer.

THE ZANDY MEYER MEMORIAL MERCEDES CAR NOMINATION which has a US$1,000 (approx. £833) ENTRY FEE NOMINATION PER PIGEON also took place on the “FINAL RACE” and the winner of A BRAND NEW MERCEDES BENZ MOTOR CAR, worth a staggering US$85,000 (approx. £70,883). (ONLY “ACTIVATED” PIGEONS ARE ELIGIBLE TO COMPETE FOR ANY OF THESE SPECIAL CASH PRIZES OR AWARDS). This treasured award this year was won by TOM SCHILLING, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with pigeon named LITTLE MISS NIKKI bred by TOM SCHILLING that actually won 1st OPEN and he walked away with this coveted CASH PRIZE of US$86,000 (£71,667). This new competition is only in its fourth year and this year had 114 entries and there was also a second prize of US$11,900 (£9,917) which went to the pigeon that took 11th OPEN for MILLYS LOFT from UNITED KINGDOM with pigeon named DUNDEES BACK bred by MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE. WELL DONE TO BOTH THESE GREAT FANCIERS.

***SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS*** I feel it would be very remiss of me if I did not mention the outstanding performance in the Final Race of MILLYS LOFT, who is MICHAEL MELLOR from CREWE, UNITED KINGDOM. He had an fantastic Final Race with 4 pigeons in the top 117 pigeons in the OPEN result winning US$12,500 (£10,417) Prize Money, 1st OVERALL ACE PIGEON & US$10,000 (£8,334) the first UK pigeon ever to win this prestigious award. 2nd in THE ZANDY MEYER MEMORIAL MERCEDES CAR NOMINATION and US$11,900 (£9,917). GLOBAL NOMINATIONS which totalled US$16,303 (£13,586) UK REGIONAL NOMINATIONS which totalled US$3,102.50c (£2,585). UNITED KINGDOM COUNTRY CHALLENGE in the Final Race winning US$6,120 (£5,100). 1st UNITED KINGDOM, 1st OPEN 2-BIRD AVERAGE in the Final Race and US$2,000 (£1,667). Plus his 1st pigeon clocked was the Runner-Up in THE KNOCKOUT COMPETITION which carried a US$25,000 (£20,833) First Prize. HIS TOTAL WINNINGS ON THE FINAL RACE CAME TO A STAGGERING US$61,675 (£51,606). His 1st pigeon clocked then sold at auction for ZAR215,000 (£13,438). WHAT A MARVELLOUS RACE AND ONE OF THE BEST UNITED KINGDOM TEAM PERFORMANCES SINCE THE RACE STARTED 21 YEARS AGO. Well done mate you deserve all your success.

THE AUCTIONS of the top winning pigeons usually takes place the day after the race but this year because of the postponing of the race, it was decided to run the auction from Emerald Resort, Casino & Hotel and get Martin Beneke (Auctioneer) to do the auction and at the same time allow telephone bidding. The top 50 winning pigeons were placed on the SAMDPR Web Site Home Page and this gave fanciers from all over the world an opportunity to place bids on any of these pigeons. These bids that were placed online would then be the opening bid when Martin opened the actual auction. People in the room and phone bids would be accepted and the highest bidder would purchase the pigeon. Currently there will around 34 auctions in total at different venues all over South Africa and all can be seen by logging onto www.samdpr.com and looking for the Auction Section of the right hand side of the Home Page or hitting the Auction button at the bottom of the Home Page. So far there are 1,530 pigeons to be offered for sale. If you wish to place a “BID” you can do by filling in an “AUCTION REPORT FORM” which is on the SAMDPR Web Site for downloading. Depending if more pigeons arrive home later, then extra pigeons may be added to the auctions already listed, please keep your eyes open to see where your pigeon/s are being sold. As usual the place was filled with fanciers from all over South Africa with many open phone lines which encouraged fanciers from all over the world to place their bids. The pigeons would be auctioned from 1st to 50th positions. The first 25 pigeons auctioned are all listed above in the first 25 OPEN positions, so I will not mention the names again, just give you the selling prices.

***AUCTION SELLING PRICES*** Lot 1 ZAR350,100 approx. (US$25,800)(£21,881)(E25,007), Lot 2 ZAR150,000 approx. (US$11,054)(£9,375)(E10,714), Lot 3 ZAR280,000 approx. (US$20,634) (£17,500) (E20,000), Lot 4 ZAR225,100 approx. (US$16,588) (£14,069) (E16,079), Lot 5 ZAR40,100 approx. (US$2,955) (£2,506) (E2,864), Lot 6 ZAR55,200 approx. (US$4,068) (£3,450) (E3,943), Lot 7 ZAR40,100 approx. (US$2,955) (£2,506) (E2,864), Lot 8 ZAR55,100 approx. (US$4,060) (£3,444) (E3,936), Lot 9 ZAR62,500 approx. (US$4,606) (£3,906) (E4,464), Lot 10 ZAR40,100 approx. (US$2,955) (£2,506) (E2,864), Lot 11 ZAR215,000 approx. (US$15,844) (£13,438) (E15,357), Lot 12 ZAR45,000 approx. (US$3,316) (£2,813) (E3,214), Lot 13 ZAR21,600 approx. (US$1,592) (£1,350) (E1,543), Lot 14 ZAR170,000 approx. (US$12,528) (£10,625) (E12,143), Lot 15 ZAR14,100 approx. (US$1,039) (£881) (E1,007), Lot 16 ZAR48,600 approx. (US$3,581) (£3,038) (E3,471), Lot 17 ZAR32,000 approx. (US$2,358) (£2,000) (E2,286), Lot 18 ZAR11,000 approx. (US$811) (£688) (E786), Lot 19 ZAR30,000 approx. (US$2,211) (£1,875) (E2,143), Lot 20 ZAR28,600 approx. (US$2,108) (£1,788) (E2,043), Lot 21 ZAR192,100 approx. (US$14,156) (£12,006) (E13,721), Lot 22 ZAR47,000 approx. (US$3,463) (£2,938) (E3,357), Lot 23 ZAR18,000 approx. (US$1,326) (£1,125) (E1,286), Lot 24 ZAR21,000 approx. (US$1,548) (£1,313) (E1,500), Lot 25 ZAR18,000 approx. (US$1,326) (£1,125) (E1,286).

The next 25 lots all sold between ZAR10,200 and ZAR100,000 each. THIS REALLY WAS AN OUTSTANDING AUCTION TO SAY THE LEAST. The top 50 pigeons fetched a staggering ZAR2,902800, or approximately US$213,913 or £181,000 or E210,000. The average price per pigeon worked out at ZAR58,056 or approximately US$4,278 or £3,620 or E4,200 each. This once again just goes to show the great value that top fanciers from all over the world put on pigeons that compete in the SAMDPR. Of course a BIG THANK YOU goes to MARTIN BENEKE for his auctioneering skills and all the other SAMDPR staff that helped and assisted during the time it took to sell all these 50 top class pigeons.    

PRIZE MONEY THAT WAS ALLOCATED TO THE 21st SOUTH AFRICAN MILLION DOLLAR “FINAL RACE” IS AS FOLLOWS:- 1st US$200,000 (approx. £166,667), 2nd US$125,000 (approx. £104,167), 3rd US$75,000 (approx. £62,500), 4th US$50,000 (approx. £41,667), 5th US$35,000 (approx. £29,167), 6th US$20,000 (£16,667), 7th US$17,500 (£14,583), 8th US$15,000 (£12,500), 9th US$12,500 (£10,417), 10th US$10,000 (approx. £8,333), 11th/15th US$7,000 each (approx. £5,833), 16th/20th US$5,000 each (approx. £4,166), 21st/30th US$3,500 each (approx. £2,917), 31st/40th US$3,000 each (approx. £2,500), 41st/50th US$2,500 each (approx. £2,083), 51st/75th US$2,000 each (£1,667), 76th/100th US$1,750 each (£1,458), 101st/125th US$1,500 each (£1,250), 126th/150th US$1,250 each (£1,042), 151st/200th US$1,100 each (£917), 201st/250th US$1,000 (£833) and then 251st/300th US$500 each (approx. £417). (Subject to terms and conditions of entry). The actual cash prizes stated above represent exchange rates at the current time (approx. 1.20 to £) and may of course change at the time of each race depending what the currency exchange rate is on the actual race day.

I would also just like to notify fanciers that my weekly “INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE”, “NEWSLETTERS” and “UPDATES” can now also be seen on the following pigeon web sites:- www.regencylofts.com    www.iprr.co.uk    www.elimarpigeons.com   www.pigeonportal.com   www.pigeonglobe.co.uk   www.cyberpigeon.co.uk   www.pigeonbasics.com   www.star-pigeons.com    www.pigeonpixels.co.uk www.theloftreport.com    www.hitchcock-pigeons.com   www.pigeoncrazy.com www.oneloftracing.com plus of course they will also be published in the “”BRITISH HOMING WORLD” and “THE RACING PIGEON” weeklies and other world pigeon publications for all to see, read & enjoy.

The race date for THE 22nd SOUTH AFRICAN MILLION DOLLAR PIGEON RACE has already been agreed and confirmed and this will once again take place in Heron Banks Golf & River Estate, Vaal River and the Emerald Resort, Casino & Hotel, South Africa on Saturday 3rd February 2018.

If you are interested in participating or acting a Country Race Team Shipper, then please contact me as soon as possible on 01279-812005 or my mobile 07860-568216 or SMS or email on reglofts@aol.com and I will give you all the information you require. My two proposed shipping dates for THE 22nd SAMDPR will be MONDAY 8th MAY 2017 so your pigeons will need to be with me by 14.00 on MONDAY 8th MAY 2017 and then the second one will be BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY 29th MAY 2017, so your pigeons will need to be with me by 14.00 on MONDAY 29th MAY 2017. Please let me know ASAP how many pigeons you wish to enter into The 22nd SAMDPR and which shipment you would like them to go out on. Your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions about any aspect of THE SOUTH AFRICAN MILLION DOLLAR PIGEON RACE, then please contact me as soon as possible on 01279-812005 or my mobile 07860-568216 or by SMS or email at reglofts@aol.com and I will do my best to answer any of your questions or queries about this great race.

These “INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASES” do take a lot of my time to prepare and I do try to get as much information into them as possible as I know fanciers and entrants like to know what is happening in each race, unfortunately sometimes, some information will not be to hand when the print deadline is reached so can’t be included in that report. I can only apologise for this if I leave something out but I can assure everybody that I do my best to get as much current information as possible to put into each of these International Press Releases.

Once again the “HITS” on the SAMDPR Web Site have been remarkable to say the least and as soon as I get confirmed figures I will report them in a later International Press Release for all to see. In past years they have exceeded 80 million “HITS”. So this year I expect a figure in excess of 100 million “HITS” during the year.

If you wish to see photographs of things that happened during the 2016/17 race season, then please log onto www.samdpr.com and you can see a selection of photographs for all to see.

Many great statements over the years have been given by actual race winners but the one that stands out for me is what a past winner FILIP NORMAN from BELGIUM said “That winning the Million Dollar Pigeon Race was better than winning two Barcelona Nationals”. This just goes to show how important the SAMDPR is to the race winner. 

IF ANY PIGEON FANCIER IN THE UNITED KINGDOM OR IN FACT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE MY WEEKLY “INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASES”, “NEWSLETTERS” AND “UPDATES” BY EMAIL, THEN ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS EMAIL ME THEIR ACTUAL EMAIL ADDRESS AND I WILL PUT THEM ON MY EMAIL DATABASE AND I WILL THEN FORWARD THEM ALL THE INFORMATION BY EMAIL ON A REGULAR BASIS.

If you are interested in entering pigeons into the 22nd SOUTH AFRICAN MILLION DOLLAR PIGEON RACE and would like me to forward you information on how you can do it, then please contact me immediately on my home telephone number 01279-812005, mobile number 07860-568216, SMS message to mobile number or by email at reglofts@aol.com I will be only too pleased to forward you information about the race and how you can enter it.

It would be remiss of me not to personally thank the Gary Lance the owner of Heron Banks Golf & River Estate and the Emerald Resort, Casino & Hotel and all the staff for the use of this fantastic venue, everything was outstanding to say the least and I know that everybody that visited the race this year really enjoyed this great place where everybody made you feel so welcome.

One thing is still for sure The South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race is still the best and biggest one loft pigeon race in the world today and is the one that top fanciers all over the world want to do well in. It is run by a team of professionals and has paid out every dollar of its projected prize money every year for the past 21 years. One thing is for sure with this great race, that if you are lucky enough to get a top position in the Final Race, your pigeon or pigeons are really well rewarded. So why not enter some of your top class pigeons into the 22nd SAMDPR or try to form a syndicate with your Club, Federation, Combine or National top flyers. Many fanciers from all over the world have scored in this prestigious race and in the 22nd SAMDPR it could be your turn to hit the jackpot but first you have to enter some pigeons. Once again, I am already looking forward to The 22nd South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race.

***SPECIAL THANKS*** must go to my eleven year old grandson Harrison McGrath for assisting with the images in this International Press Release, he just loves getting on my computer and working things out.

Paul Smith, United Kingdom Race Team Co-ordinator/Shipper and International Race Co-ordinator for The 21st South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race, which is due to be held at Heron Banks Golf & River Estate and Emerald Resort, Casino & Hotel, South Africa, which was due to take place on Saturday 4th February 2017 but unfortunately was postponed because of bad weather to Wednesday 8th February 2017. Regency Lofts Limited, 2, Highmead, off Coltsfield, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. CM24 8LJ. England. Tel/Fax:- 01279-812005. (Int. Code:- +44-1279-812005), Mobile:- 07860-568216. Email Address:- reglofts@aol.com Regency Lofts Website:- www.regencylofts.com Skype Address:- talbot7944 Twitter Address:- PaulSmith@SmithReglofts The South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race Website:- www.samdpr.com  

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