Flying higher after 35 years
Friday, 26th August, 2011
By John Casey
After four decades of trying, racing pigeon trainer Ken Malloch has finally landed the prestigious Young Bird Derby and now has his sights set on claiming the $10,000 first prize on offer tomorrow in one of BH’s richest sporting events.
“I thought that after all the time and effort I have put in that a first place in the Derby was just around the corner,” Ken laughed.
“Now that I have broken the drought maybe my luck has changed and I’ll win the big one this weekend as well. I could do with the ten grand and go off on holiday,” the 64-year-old added.
The “big one” that Ken refers to is tomorrow’s 19th annual Silver City Classic, a feature on the Australian pigeon racing calendar which has attracted entries from all over the country.
“I’ve entered two birds in the Classic and hope I can improve on the minor placings I have had in the event in past years,” Ken said.
“Four years ago I picked up about $1200 in minor prizemoney, but I have never won the Classic.”
In tomorrow’s event a total of 150 pigeons will be released at Minlaton on the Yorke Peninsula with the birds expected to take between seven and eight hours to cover the 476-kilometre journey.
“It’s the race everyone aims to win - there is a lot of prestige involved as well as the money,” Ken said.
Pigeon racing is a hobby that Ken decided would provide good family enjoyment with his two children which is how his interest began in the 1970s.
“Our house was bordered by three lofts so I decided that if we were surrounded by pigeons we may as well join in,” Ken explained.
“It seemed something different for the kids and I to try, but in the first race my daughter Tracey entered her bird didn’t come home and that was the end of that.
“My son Christian didn’t really take to it either, but I’ve just stayed with it and 35 years down the track I’m still going,” Ken continued.
“Pigeon racing is a lot of fun and we need some young people to come and get involved and make sure this great Broken Hill tradition continues.”
Tomorrow’s Silver City Classic is being held for the 19th consecutive year but BH Historical Society records have “Fancy Pigeon Club” racing dating back to 1912.
Anyone interested in learning more is invited to attend the Barrier and BH Homing Club premises at 7 Patton Street (near Queen St) from 6.30 tonight and be part of the pre-race festivities for the SC Classic.
Birds entered in the $10,000 event will be auctioned, others will be raffled and the event will be fully catered. For further information contact Brian Drury by telephoning 0427-326-741.
The BDT will publish a special feature on the Silver City Classic tomorrow and also explore some of the history of the sport in BH.