When I started in these birds as a boy I never could have imagined the impact they would have on my life. Aside from the endless hours of enjoyment and challenges the birds provide it is the friends I have made that have made the hobby the fantastic place it has become for me.
In recent years we have been honored with the company of fellow Jacobin breeders and friends from all parts of North America who have made the effort to come visit our loft. If you knew just how far away we live from the rest of the world you would realize that this is no small undertaking. When you finally arrive at our home you will find out that the closest hotel is 70 miles away. The nearest airport is 130 miles away. People two miles down the road are considered our neighbors. We drive ten miles once a week for the mail and to get fresh milk and bread. The closest restaurant to go out to eat at would be 70 miles. I will often go more than a month without leaving our property and there are no other homes or people visible from where we live. To ad to that cell phones do not work here. The up side is the air is clean, we do not lock the doors on our homes and never take the keys out of our vehicles and it is always peaceful and quiet. The sky is big and you can see the stars at night.
When I got an unexpected e-mail last August from one of the leading Jacobin breeders in Germany by the name of Bernd Wanke asking if he and a friend could come visit for the weekend I was more than a little surprised. Bernd's friend as it turns out was none other than Jurgen Waldenmaier who is one of the founding members of the German Jacobin Club and a breeder of Jacobins for more than 55 years. Needless to say I said I would be honored and when I asked when they wanted to come? Bernd said right away and so in only a few weeks here I was standing at the Airport terminal in Winnipeg trying to guess what two fellows coming off the plane were the ones I wanted because I had no idea what these fellows looked like. As it turned out all I had to do is pick out the two fellows with the biggest smiles. The hugs and handshakes that followed said it all. So began this wonderful weekend and the beginning of a special friendship between these two wonderful gentlemen and my family that I am will last a lifetime.
After a long drive to my home with non-stop Jacobin talk we finally arrived and it was already dark out. I had anticipated this and so I had left the loft lights on so my guests could not resist having a quick peak through the wire door into one of the young bird lofts. As luck would have it standing alone in the light striking a wonderful pose was what I felt was the best yellow I had bred in full baby bloom. I felt very proud as these two men just stood there and stared at that pigeon. I said we are all tired so lets go in the house, get settled in and get a good nights sleep and we will start fresh with the birds in the morning. At breakfast Jurgen told me he was not able to sleep all night thinking about that young Yellow. For the next three days and nights we studied Jacobins, talked Jacobins and did what us crazy pigeon Guys love to do best and got totally caught up in the birds. It was fantastic. At one point Bernd brought out his photo album and I saw pictures of his fantastic Blacks that were stunning and I am sure would be hard to beat anywhere. Jurgen then showed me pictures of his Whites and Yellows that displayed some of the most incredible feather wealth I have seen. These two breeders are an absolute wealth of knowledge and I cherished the opportunity to listen to them, ask questions and learn
On the last day, we left early for the drive back to Winnipeg and the airport so we could visit the lofts and look at the beautiful Jacobins of Guy Perreault and Bill Sacher. Afterwards we all went out for a last lunch together and shared more laughs.
These are the sorts of things that make our hobby so special and these are friendships and memories I will forever cherish. I urge all of my fellow breeders to enjoy the most important part of the hobby. The people. Birds will come and go but the friendships will last a lifetime.