Expo in Philadelphia, where the I.F. had a booth this spring.
Of course Val had to
be in both the picture and on TV at
Carl Bingler, Suburban
Combine Pres. Val and Grace
Rich Underwood, GWC
Race Secretary presenting a pigeon to
the public, Val is in the background speaking with someone, and Rohan
is off to the right doing same. Tom Swam, GWC President, is far right
talking to the public as well.
Are these pigeons?
That was the question of the day at the Pet Expo in Philadelphia, where
the I.F. had a booth this spring. The display cages were filled with great
looking, and very colorful birds generously provided by Rohan Fyffe, who
is the Public Relations and Promotions Director for the Greater Western
Combine. Everyone who passed the booth was attracted to these shiny clean
and showy athletes and the crew manning the booth was happy to answer
questions and further amaze the general population with the homing and
stamina of homing pigeons.
Of course, untrained eyes were drawn in by the beautiful Indian Fantail
provided by Jim Dalessio. Every child wanted to touch the soft feathers
and look at him up close. How many of us started our interest in pigeons
being fascinated by fancy birds? That’s why we were there. To stimulate
interest and understanding of the sport. Pigeon fanciers are not as numerous
as they used to be and not as many kids are introduced to pigeon flying
as a sport. This is due in part to TV, video games and computer, which
are great, but tend to keep our youth inside, instead of playing outside
in their communities.
Kids used to be introduced to pigeons by relatives or neighbors who kept
them. It is much less frequent that kids lean on the fence watching the
birds free-loft now-a-days. They are inside glued to the tube or surfing
the web. So, we must find ways to reach this “new blood”.
The Pet Expo was a great place to make the initial contact with both the
kids and their parents.
Rohan did a great job of setting up the booth and laying out a plan of
action for the Expo. He arranged a bit of media coverage on the first
day and also set up a pigeon release, following a presentation at the
Expo each day. Children were invited to write messages to themselves or
others and these were put in the WWII message carriers attached to the
legs of the released birds Then these message were sent on the birds to
their home loft. Once received, the messages were then mailed to the addresses
provided by the children. This also served as a history lesson. The WWII
Signal Corps. Pigeon carrier was displayed as well as the I.F. video “Homeward
Bound, Pigeon Racing”.
The Expo was well supported by the members of the Greater Western Combine,
including Tom Swan, President of the GWC, Sam Pirrone, Mark Gargon, John
Glemser, Rich Underwood, Ed Kane, Doug Greer, Carl Bingler, and Rich German.
Mark Gargon is the I.F. Convention Chairman for the 2005 and filled us
all in on the on going preparations for this event. If you haven’t
made plans to attend or sent your birds to the race, now is the time to
do so! It promised to be a great time and a great race! Rich German has
to be singled out for his dedication during this event.
He was there every day talking to kids and adults and his enthusiasm was
contagious. Great job Rich! The I.F. leadership was well represented at
the Expo by our own Val Matteucci. Val led the presentations to the audiences
and was assisted by Grace Mehl and Rohan Fyffe. Jim Dalessio manned the
booth and had a great time talking to kids.
Every pigeon flyer there had an impact and we thank them all for their
efforts in reaching out to the public.