By Bob Capitola
Having had the privilege of traveling around the country as an officer of the AU, I have often been asked about pigeon racing in the Twin Cities and in Minnesota. The subject always gets around to the long races and I always have to say that we have some of the best long distance flyers in the country in this area. Most areas I have visited seem to have one or two real strong competitors in the long races. Not this area. At any time one of a dozen or more individuals can top the day on races 400 - 600 miles. Paul Rudolph of the Viking Club in St Paul is one of those individuals.
As it is with most of us, Paul got his start in the pigeon hobby with two young scrubs that he got from the railroad yards. Paul flew his first young bird race in 1969 and has not missed a year of racing in 30 years. Probably the most important bird that Paul has flown and bred from is 71 AU SSS 420. 420 flew a 200 in 1972 winning 10th concourse against 65 lofts and 1028 birds. In 1973, 420 was 2nd concourse 500 miles against 402 birds and 57 lofts.
Paul tried many mates with 420 having only marginal success until he acquired AU 79 STP 275. The rest is history as both 420 and 275 have been the cornerstone of one of the very best long distance families of pigeons. Paul family is made up of Stassart, Sion and Fabry. Years of working with the birds, through trial and error, Paul has developed a family of birds that win long and short, fast and slow from 100 through 600 miles. Not only do the birds fly for Paul, a number of other fanciers have had success as well. 3 of the top 5 places in the 1998 600 mile combine race were out of his family. I know because my #60 blue check hen (1st club, 2nd combine 600 on the day) is a daughter of one of Paul's hens.
Paul has amassed quite the record since 1980 winning 6th average speed in the concourse in young birds. In Old and Young Combined average speed, Paul was 3rd in 1981, 4th in 1982, (83 & 84 moved) 4th in 1985. 3rd in 1986. 3rd in 1987, 2nd in 1988,4th in 1989, 1st in 1990,1st in 1991, 1st 1992, 1st in 1993, 2nd in 1994, no report 1995.6th in 1996 and 6th in 1997. In 1998 Paul had the unfortunate luck of his birds contacting something that took them out of race form. It didnít take him long to sort it out because he won, he came back to win 1st Long and OB combined average speed in 1999.
Paul has a new rising star on his team by the name of "Fast Eddie" This yearling cock had a phenomenal year placing 19th concourse 500 miles on June 12th with only 28 day birds. On June 26th. Fast Eddie was 1st combine 430 miles against 778 birds, 1st 400 mile section against 2284 birds and 177 lofts and 1st Midwest National Classic against fanciers from 15 slates 444 lofts and 5715 birds. You would think that would be enough for one year. No way! Six days later Paul entered Fast Eddie in the 600 and won 1st combine 600 miles against 593 birds! The only sad note to the story is that Paul's father (Edward) was diagnosed with terminal cancer 3 days after seeing Paul win the 600.
Not only is Paul an outstanding flyer he is a contributor as well. He has served as Combine Liberator for several years, as well as a member of the combine board of directors and several terms as a club president.
Paul has another claim to fame, he taught Bill Brown, former running back for the Minnesota Viking, how to cut his hair!
Rest assured, we will be hearing more from Paul in the future.