Minnesota Invitational Series ~ Inaugural Year 2006

Minnesota's Mecca of Long Distance Racing


13 Clubs...124 Lofts...5 Premier Long Distance Events...Totaling 2,400 miles...With 4,334 Entries


     When Minnesota advances to the "Frozen Tundra" syndrome every year you would think all the pigeon flyers go into hibernation.  However there could be nothing further from the truth.  Many caravan from all parts of the State to the various annual Shows and Auctions which Minnesota is famous for. It's a chance where everyone gets to brag about their great year of racing, and maybe about that new Grand Champion that's cleaning up at the shows!!  Either way it's an excellent opportunity to get out and about and have some fun with your fellow flyers. 

    This year in particular there was much talk and interest about long distance competition and the possibilities of forming a State Wide series of races.  For many years now the majority of the State has already participated in the renown Midwest Topeka Classic as well as the Minnesota State Race.  So why not broaden our horizons and open up the remaining long distance races; and that's exactly what we did.  Thus was born the Minnesota Invitational Series.  A special thanks goes out to Don Lowe and Paul Rudolph for their efforts and dedication to the grand success of this championship race series!


     Our 1st race started out with a 500 mile challenge which also was the annual Minnesota State Race.  Our Northern section winner was Ray Higdem flying a two year old grizzle hen banded 4427.  Ray has been flying for six years along with his 19 year old son.  They fly on the natural system.  Great job guys!  This will be a team to be reckoned with in the future M.I.S. competition.


     Winning the Southern section and the North/South combined which also propelled this flyer to victory as our  2006 Minnesota State Race winner, was Herb Wilson of the Crow River Club. What a great performance by Herb with His two year old blue check cock banded CRFĖ02-2534.  This cock was a late hatch pigeon given to Herb by his friend and mentor, Myron Wee. The bloodlines are a Roosen/Van Spitael cross.  Herb flies on the natural system and does much loft flying, with limited road training.  2534 was driving his hen at the time of the race.  Herbs wife Crystal is also into the pigeons and Herb says this makes the sport much more enjoyable.  This 500 mile competition had 998 birds with 107 lofts, 2534 was almost 19 minutes out front of the next bird!  Congratulations Herb and Crystal youíre our Minnesota State Champions of 2006!


     Our 2nd competition on the M.I.S. agenda was a tough 400 mile race.  Our Southern section winner was Myron Wee of the Crow River Flyers club. Myrons three year old dark check cock was over 10 minutes out front of the pack.  AU 03 ARPU 51941 was on the natural system and was driving his hen at the time of the race.  Myron a long time veteran of the sport had a great season and donít forget he was the breeder of the State Race Winner!


     Our Northern and overall North/South combined winner of this tough 400 mile competition was none other than our famous chef of the Northland Mr. Rick Cline.  (Rick is the master chef at the ďStar of the North ď one loft futurity and annual hog roast) I personally ate four sandwiches this year and snuck two out to my car for the ride home! Ricks two year old red hen 4208 had been scoring all season flying on the natural system.  This hen was on fourteen day old youngsters at race time and was very motivated to return quickly on this tough race. Her bloodlines are Silver Toye/Janssen/Buitta. Congratulations Rick and keep up the good work both on race day and hog roast day!


     Our 3rd competition and second 500 of the series proved to be the toughest race of the five.  The Northern section winner was our own Vic Hennig whose prowess in the long distance arena is certainly no secret.  Victor also would go on to win the 600 mile Northern section as well as the 600 North/South combined!! Iíve just really gotten to know Vic in the last few years and he is an exceptional sportsman as well as an exceptional flyer.  Vic was born in Germany and raced pigeons there as a youth.  Later he moved to the U.S. and began flying in the Minneapolis area in 1973.  Vic flies the natural system and has great success with the Coudu/Janssen bloodlines.  On the 500 Vic flew a 2year old dark checker cock  banded AU 04 MPC 748, and on the 600 he flew another 2year old cock 720 who was at the time flying to 12 day eggs.  Congratulations Victor that was super flying in the Minnesota Invitational series!


    Our Southern section winner as well as the North/South section combined winner on this extremely tough 500 was Jody Jandt of the of the Gopher State Racing Pigeon Club. Jody had a super year and it took nothing less than that to score big on this very challenging contest.  Jodyís YPM was 914.644 and his 3 year old blue checker hen banded 3120 was forty minutes out in front of the next racer!! Now thatís impressive! Jody flies on the natural system. He trains heavy before the season and once the races begin resorts to loft flying only. 3120 is an Aarden/Black Diamond cross. A force to be reckoned with for future M.I.S. races. (By the way, this was the only day bird in this grueling 500)


     In our 4th contest, on the agenda was none other than the prestigious 400 mile Topeka Classic.   Our Northern section winner was Paul Rudolph from the Viking Club.  You didnít expect this long distance extravaganza to continue without seeing Paulís name crop up on the list did you? Paulís M.I.S. was nothing short of sensational! His 3 year old cock banded 7782 was 21 minutes in front of the next pigeon in the North.  Mr. Rudolph would go on to win the Northern overall average speed award, as well as the North/South combined overall average speed for the entire Minnesota Invitational series.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (2 and Ĺ hours out front) North/South  500 13th place~North/South  400 4th place~North/South  500 3rd place~North/South 400 12th place~North/South 600 4th place. The five race series averaged 867 birds per race and 95 lofts per race.  Paul has been racing for 37 years.  Through this time He has developed a tight knit family of winners through a trial and error process allowing the basket to be the criteria for selection.  He flies the natural system and trains 3 to 4 days per week throughout the season.  Congratulations  Paul on your awesome debut in our 1st annual Minnesota Invitational series.


       Our final competitor up for top honors is the renown Dennis McNeilus from the Rochester Racing Pigeon Club.  Dennis flies on the widowhood system with incredible success.  Dennis hit four top honors including 1st place Topeka 400 South, 1st place Topeka 400 North/South combined,1st place 600 South, and 1st place South overall average speed !  Wow now thatís some kind of racing.  Dennisís 2 year old blue bar pied banded 9999 took the Minnesota section on the Topeka Classic out front by over 14 minutes.  His 5 year old blue checker banded 2048 took the South section 600.  Dennis works hard and trains hard and leaves no stone unturned when race day arrives.  A super year for our good friend in the South!!


     We had 124 participants in this years M.I.S.  Many more than the afore mentioned had great races in their own rite.  So congratulations to all of you who stepped to the challenge.  We look forward to flying together again in 2007.


Our Thank you, and appreciation to the  parties below; for a job well done!

Racing Pigeon Digest - Current Issue Vol, 15 Number,20   Feb 1, 2007


Article written by:

Yours in the Sport   Tom Fremont