2011 Minnesota Invitational Series


By: Whitney Sabrowsky, Mid Minnesota RPC

The Minnesota Invitational Series (MIS) began in 2006 as a venture by the Twin City Concourse Assn. Inc. to heighten the level of competitive pigeon racing in Minnesota.  83 lofts across the state from 12 racing clubs flew in the 2011 MIS.  The AU affiliated clubs are split into north and south sections.

The five races of the series are the ones that everyone prepares for every year.  All winter, MN fanciers dream about how they are going to breed the 500 mile winner.  Everyone wants to be able to say that they have a champion pigeon.  Competition is tough and only one flyer can win.


State Race- Ogallala, Nebraska

On May 28th, 550 pigeons contested their abilities in the first race of the MIS; the prestigious State Race from Ogallala, Nebraska.  Rochester RPC member, Tim Macken was out in his yard when he saw his two-year old red check hen hit the board and trap inside the loft.  He was astonished to see this bird perform as she had been an average flyer in the past.  Timís hen won the State Race by flying an incredible 517 miles at 1594ypm.  The bird clocked over 40 minutes ahead of the second place pigeon.  Flying the natural system has been working great for Tim Macken; his hen was certainly flying fast to see her mate!  Tim mentioned that he would like to give credit to his club mate, Neil Melquist, for breeding his winning hen as Tim had purchased her as a young auction bird.    

Larry Leach of L.L. Loft was the north section winner, racing 516 miles with a speed of 1463 ypm.              


Topeka, Kansas

The day of the second race looked promising for MIS competitors.  The June 4th weather conditions across the Midwest seemed to be excellent for flying; a moderately warm clear day with a gentle wind.  Many fanciers had high hopes of getting day birds home from Topeka, Kansas, a journey between 400-500 miles for most flyers.  But as evening approached, the majority was left wondering where their pigeons would spend the night. 

Many flyers were disappointed when darkness approached, but on this tough race there was one guy who could celebrate the return of his pigeon.  Paul Rudolph, a Viking Club member, flies in the north section and managed to get a day bird; 515 pigeons flew the race and only 9 made it on the day. Paulís blue bar hen flew 432 miles at an average of 1080 ypm. To emphasize how amazing Paulís pigeon was, his winner flew a hundred miles further and still clocked ahead of the first bird from the southern section. Rudolph mentioned that he was pleasantly surprised at the birdís performance.  The late hatch, yearling hen was a product of Paulís breeding loft; to get a bird from Topeka on such a hard day is evidence of his successful breeding program!

The south section winner was Tim Macken, flying a distance of 384 miles. His white hen clocked in at 945 ypm.


Salina, Kansas

                The MIS pigeons set off from Salina, Kansas on June 11th.  Out of the 385 racers, only 17 flew the distance on the day.  Damon Raze of Mystery Loft clinched the race with a three-year old hen.  Mystery Loft flies exactly 500 miles and the speed of the first place pigeon was 1050 ypm. Damon is a member of the Minneapolis RPC and is well known for his fantastic family of Meulemans of which he has bred many winners.  His Salina hen was flying to 10-12 day eggs.  Damon also clocked the second place bird which arrived nearly 11 minutes after the winner.  As a small child, Damon got his first pigeons.  43 years later he is clocking the first two birds on a 500 mile race- - proof of the quality pigeons being bred and raced at Mystery Loft.  

                Dale Schipp of Hungary Pt Loft won the south section with a blue check hen flying 474 miles at 1018 ypm.         


Midwest Classic from Topeka

The Midwest Classic was held June 25th. Minnesota fanciers entered 534 pigeons.  Bad weather conditions held the race off until 11:00 AM.  The pigeons did remarkably well considering the circumstances.  Guys in the south section clocked quite a few day pigeons.  Farther up north, birds started clocking in during the early hours of the morning.  The lucky winner of the MN Midwest Classic was Crow River Flyersí Mike Ludolph.  Flying 344 miles, Mikeís blue check cock made up for the late release time by flying 1340 ypm.  For the old bird season Mike flew dry widowhood.  His Topeka winner was bred off a Verkerk cock and the mother is a daughter of Continental Breeding Stationís Jef and the Pedigree Hen. Mikeís blue cock is often the first pigeon home to the loft.

                Dave Torkildson of the Red River Valley Racers placed 2nd overall and was the north section winner.  Being on the long end, his dark check cock clocked in at 6:10 am, flying 531 miles with an average speed of 1323 ypm.


Braman, Oklahoma

The finale race of the old bird season is the 600 mile race from Braman, Oklahoma held on July 1st.  458 pigeons were liberated in clear and sunny Braman; the weather at home in Minnesota was stormy.  Only five courageous pigeons made the trip on the day. Phil Nelsonís two year old blue hen had an impressive race- - finishing first with a speed of 1460 ypm and flying a distance of 606 miles.  The determined hen was returning to newly hatched youngsters. Phil has developed his own family of pigeons and uses 600 mile races as a test to see if the pigeons are worthy to be at his loft.  Tough weather races certainly reveal special pigeons.     

                Winning the south section was Dale Schipp of Hungary Pt loft with a speed of 1422 ypm and distance of 583 miles.

Average Speed Awards

83 lofts competed during the MIS season.  There were 24 rugged fanciers who stuck it out the whole season and flew every long distance race.  Walking away with the coveted title of average speed winner and winning speed of 1106 ypm and total distance of 2618 miles was Dean Shultz.  Second place was Tim Macken with a speed of 1098 ypm and total distance of 2289 miles.

Dean Shultz, a member of the Minneapolis Club, has been flying for 10 years.  He races on the natural system.  The pigeons are not of any particular family; Shultz breeds strictly upon racing performance.  Long distance races are Deanís passion.  Dean Shultz has learned to observe his pigeons and watches for key behavior leading up to the races.  He will never ship a pigeon that is not in perfect condition.  Dean feels that observation is the secret to being a great and successful fancier.  Cocks and hens are well rested and motivated for 10 day old eggs; this is Deanís favorite condition for racing. Being that Shultz is so in tune with his pigeons, he has been successful racing older pigeons-often flying birds up to age six.  He feels that three and four year olds are best because of their level of stamina and experience.

Dean is a top competitor.  Each year he has improved in the race standings.  In both 2009 and 2010, Dean placed 4th in average speed. An average speed win can only be obtained by consistent performances, a definite characteristic of Shultz Loft!


The guys that race every week are not just competitors; they are buddies.  Everyone enjoys the competitive racing, but when it comes down to it, it is all about having countless friends who share a love of racing homers.  It is something that we all can be grateful for.  Congratulations to all of the fine winners whose dedication paid off during the 2011 Minnesota Invitational Series.  To keep up to date with the MIS please visit www.twincityconcourse.us/MISHome.htm