Roy Clements Retains Top Title Once Again!
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R H Clements (Roy) is the NIPA Section B Fancier of the Year for the fourth time previously winning the prestigious title in 1998, 1999, 2004, and of course this year 2005. The long list of positions in this current year included top results in the two major NIPA Nat races. From OB Nat Portland in the East of England flown when birds were returned from France due to weather problems the loft finished 18th Open NIPA while in the Premier YB Nat Talbenny he scored 34th Open NIPA.
Having completed a few loft profiles in my time this is one that could easily fill pages and pages in any publication. My whole evening spent with Roy was an education to say the least. This man is turning seventy next month and has been winning with pigeons for nearly 50 years with his first Club Win recorded in 1956 flying with the Invermore HPS Club in Larne, Co.Antrim now named the Horseshoe.
Growing up in Larne and working for a time at the very busy Larne Harbor it wasn’t long until Roy settled down with his wife to be Ann, marrying in 1958 they moved to Ballymena in 1966 due to Roy being relocated with his work. Needless to say the pigeons came as well.
Settling down in Ballymena took its time with ever increasing pressures in the Textile industry where Roy was a Junior Manager in charge of purchasing for at that time the mighty Clingers, but as years have gone by even up to the present day the textile industry in this country is continually under severe pressure with job losses reported on a daily basis. Roy obviously seen it coming hence turning his back on the textile business and focusing his attentions to Accountancy where in 1980 he went full -time self employed and has never looked back..
Having two wonderful daughters and five grandchildren Roy claims he is slowing down with his pigeons the competition no doubt would beg to differ going by his impressive results this season alone in the Old Birds 4th, 5th Club 25th Section Mullingar (1), 1st, 3rd & 6th Club 4th Section Kilkenny (1), 1st Club 5th Section 25th Open Kilkenny (2) 1277 members sending 26,120, 2nd & 6th Club 10th Section 28th Open Tullamore 1256/23,672, 3rd Club 9th Section 65th Open Barley Cove 60th Anniversary Race 622/3293, 3rd Club 9th Section Pilmore Beach, 2nd, 7th, 8th & 9th Club 10th Section 55th Open Talbenny (1) 1165/14,973, 1st, 8th, 9th & 10th Club 2nd Section Talbenny (2), 1st, 2nd & 4th Club 1st Section Thurles, 1st, 6th, 8th & 9th Club 8th Section Rosscarbery, 10th Club Bude, 1st, 2nd, 7th & 8th Club 2nd Section 80th & 83rd Open Mallow 5 Bird, 1st & 4th Club 3rd Section 10th Open Sennen Cove, 1st Club 4th Section Portland O/B National. Young Birds - 5th & 6th Club 15th Section Thurles (1), 7th & 10th Club 32nd Section Thurles (2), 3rd & 5th Club 8th Section Pilmore Beach, 4th Club 12th Section Talbenny Y/B National, 1st, 2nd, 5th & 8th Club 16th Section Tullamore (2), 1st, 2nd & 3rd Club 1st Section 5th, 6th & 7th Open Rosscarbery Y/B National 679/6011, 3 & 8th Club 4th Section Thurles (3). Please note only one Section position in all races were listed due to only your first section position taken into consideration in your claim for Section Fancier of the Year hence many more well placed Section positions.
Roy races with the mighty Harryville HPS where this year he amassed 10 x 1st clubs, 6 x 2nd’s and 6 x 3rd’s plus many more positions. Harryville is one of the largest club’s racing within Section B with a membership of 45, it boasts an average weekly birdage of 500 - 800 at one time sending over 1,000 Y/Birds on a weekly basis. With the club rooms situated in the heart of Ballymena on the main Antrim Road a lot of the membership live within a short distance of the Club Rooms at one stage the nearest housing estate Ballee could have formed its own Club for the magnitude of Harryville fanciers living there. Roy races to the right hand side of the main Antrim Road with the lofts situated at the back of his spacious gardens. His main racing loft is constructed on top of a stone outhouse the view is absolutely fantastic when up there waiting on your arrivals.
Roy is very methodically
about his pigeons and their house as he calls it. Numerous hours are
spent thinking on how to make their conditions better than they already
are or as Roy puts it making the loft more interesting and curious for
his pigeons. You always have to be changing the conditions as birds
get bored very easy. A mainly hen racer he likes to have twice as many
hens than cocks racing is solely Natural and the racers can pick their
own mates and nest were ever they are most content if the nest is in
danger a board would be put around the area for protection. I can remember
being inside the lofts some years ago and was amazed with the amount
of sections and corridors within a section if you get my drift (the
last time I seen a loft of similar layout was the late Mid-Antrim Combine
Master Leslie Mairs of Kells). A very deep loft with something different
and unusual in the layout. It seems as if the birds have the full run
of the whole loft from Section to Section but are actually still in
one Section with many areas for privacy.
With the old birds (approx. 60) being raced on the Natural system a lot of time is spent preparing birds for specific races this is one reason why in Roy’s mind he has successfully retained this Section Fancier Award you must be able to compete from the first race up Ireland right through to the last race out of France much of this work must be achieved in O/Birds as the young bird racing is a more even playing field. This was evident in this years points total for Roy he won the Section Fancier of the Year Crown last year with 666 points this year he collated 740 points of which 506 of them where in the Old Birds, no doubt success being achieved with two fantastic results in the last 2 races in Young Bird program collecting 87 points respectively.
They are fed a mixture
of Versa Lega Widowhood and Natural Widowhood during racing up Ireland
where Roy would also use peanuts to get to know his hens. In the water
they get over the course of a week Garlic Plus, Iodine and Multi Vitamins
but all water is allowed to stand in containers for 24 hours before
it is used. With the drinkers being cleaned twice daily with boiling
water. A lot of the bacterial problems in pigeons now seems to stem
from water and the drinkers more so.
The amounts of feeding is very much dependant on what work the pigeon has to do ie miles, is the channel involved, wind etc so many things to consider in the feeding aspect. A pigeon will always require a certain amount of protein to build up the muscles and a good balance of carbohydrates. Roys policy for some years now is when the cross channel events take center stage he would on return from a build up race feed the pigeon fine seeds for a day then would move onto high protein for 3 days and it would get two days of long toothed maize as much as they care to eat before basketing for its primary engagement.
Pigeons that are selected for Channel events are mated no earlier than the second week in March, and allowed to rear the first nest . Before racing, they receive a couple of 50 mile tosses, then into the third or fourth race and then depending on their nesting condition, receive two inland races to 250 miles. Usually a good racer that is expected to do well in an important race is mated to a non racer and therefore is allowed to compete in their favorite nesting condition. For the last two weeks prior to a big race, they are rested with no forced flying around the loft, but with a couple of 30 mile tosses. Conditioning in itself is an art as previously stated and the fruits of this knowledge can most definitely be seen in cross channel events. Events that Roy seems to love and exile at. The lofts are mostly scraped once a week although the perches are always clean. During the closed season saw dust is put onto the floor which is riddled every fortnight and renewed monthly. Roy has great faith in Linseed which he claims is a must with its content of B12, other seeds sparingly used are Black Reap and Sunflower.
As mentioned previously in this article with Roy well equipped with knowledge regarding Cocci and Canker he is always on the watch for a change of droppings or a pigeon off colour treatment all the same would happen twice per year with Coxid or Intradine for Cocci and Emtryl for Canker.
Around 80 Y/Birds are reared each year of which half of those are put on a semi darkness regime. Feeding consists of Natural high protein with extra maple peas added at the start of their early life moving onto widowhood mixture during the racing season. Roy being Roy he is not a hard task master with the Young Birds tending to sway along the lines of a slow education but at the same time regimental. They start their careers in crates when weaned so they learn to drink and eat for themselves. Training starts approx. 4 weeks before the first race weather permitting starting at about 10 miles in each direction, then gradually up to 50 miles south in transporters. During racing and their education two 30 mile tosses per week is all that they get.
Very hard to explain to you the readers the amount of knowledge this man has with regards mating, eye sign and what he expects from his pigeons. Putting into all that his vast knowledge of diseases this man would surely grace any quiz panel without hesitation (he won’t thank me for saying that). A racing career spanning nearly 50 years that has seen him win numerous Sections, NIPA Opens and indeed INFC National’s racing against the whole of Ireland.
At stock he had 12 pair but points out that he very rarely mates from his racers or stock birds that are too old tending more to rear late breds off them solely for stock purposes I asked Roy how often he would move new stock in he quoted “ I think everybody should introduce new pigeons from time to time. The quantity and frequency should be determined on how well your present birds or family are performing. It may be that your family are becoming too inbred and needs a cross“.
80% of his current stock is Ronnie Williamson of Bondhill nobody will require any insight into this world class fancier. Roy in 1994 went to obtain stock from Ronnie’s and left with 6 pigeons (little was he to know that they were indeed the cream of racing folk law having seen the incredible results that Ronnie Williamson has amassed over the last number of years). Now comes the sting in the tale Roy mated the 3 pair of pigeons up slipping some of the eggs hoping to get the most out of these newly obtained stock. Nothing was achieved for over two years from every pigeon reared, until Roy changed the mating and bang success hasn’t ended even up to this day. As Roy pointed out don’t panic if success doesn’t come right away it may take time for things to fall in to place if the birds are sourced right and are good enough giving time they will prevail.
Over the last few years has been down to the Williamson lofts on a few occasions strengthens his own stock for future success. Roy explained that Ronnie’s family of pigeon ’s are very well suited to the racing we do in this country a good silky feather not to thick, a short keel and a very tight handler with slightly slack wings having good ventilation between the last four flights, with a slight step. Roy studies the eyes with vigor especially when it comes to the mating and has studied and learned a lot from past disappointments. As he concedes the winter is more important time to him than the racing season because it has to be right for the following season to be a success.
Also at stock he
still has some of his old Continental Queen Kenyon Bloodlines along
with his infamous Van Hee blood responsible for a vast amount of National
pigeons including for himself the best pigeon he ever owned “Dromer’s
Girl” a Blue Hen GB86B 50193 a pigeon when exercising clapped
more like a cock, she was in 1988 1st Section 3rd Open NIPA Sennen Cove
and was then sent to Rennes but returned late injured, given a years
rest in 1990 she was again sent to Penzance winning 6th Section 41st
Open she was then sent to Sartilly and finished 3rd Open behind her
sister who took 2nd Open the two birds arrived together . Then in 1991
she was sent solely to Sartilly and arrived home one month after the
event shot and her tale missing. Full praise to Roy he got her back
onto the road and she did him proud winning 1st Open from her favored
Sartilly National only 6 birds home in 3 days flying 469 miles the following
year. Sire was a grandson of Champion “Miss Domino” when
mated to a “Young Dromer” on the dams side she was Van Hee
and Stichelbaut breeding. Sorry to say this fantastic pigeon died last
month at the age of 19.
Roy concedes that the Ronnie Williamson birds have made a priceless improvement in his stock loft indeed he won the Penzance Y/B National in 1999 with a full bred Williamson Y/Bird of a brother of “Heartbreaker” when mated to a sister of his “56” Cock sire of RPRA winner “Yeboah”.
Asking Roy if he admired anybody in the sport he was swift to mention the Masterful Smyth Bros who he always looked up to as true legends in their own right.
Advice that Roy would give to Novices is as follow :- Do not start out with ’Highest Prize-winner’ or averages in mind. This way you will end up with to many pigeons. When introducing stock, buy pigeons which have been acclimatized to the same or similar environment, and preferably off winners or the parents of winners. I am a great believer in creating a family, as through time and mistakes you get to know what suits them. Relationship between pigeon and fancier is important. Health is also a very important part. If you cannot afford to have your pigeons tested, it is safer to give them preventative medicine before the season commences.
I would like to finish by wishing this true gentleman a very enjoyable 70th and wish him every success next season in his attempt to make it three in a row.
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