2012 Minnesota Invitational Series
By: Whitney Sabrowsky


The Minnesota Invitational Series (MIS) was founded in 2006 by the Twin Cities Concourse.  A handful of fanciers had a vision of an increased level of competition in long distance racing. Prior to the organization of the MIS, the clubs in the Twin City Concourse flew five long distance races.  Clubs located outside of the Twin Cities area only flew the Midwest Classic and the MN State Race.  The MIS created an opportunity for more clubs to join in statewide long distance racing.

In 2012, eighty-six lofts from fourteen clubs tested their birds in the prestigious pursuit of champion long distance pigeons. This year, the five race series began on June 2nd and ended July 7th.  The AU affiliated clubs are split into north and south sections. 

New for this Season

The MIS welcomed the Lake City Racing Club from the Watertown, SD area.  The Lake City flyers had a great first season and cranked up the competition caliber.  Also for the first time in the history of the MIS, there were two lady flyers who earned their positions at the top of the race sheet. 

Ogallala, NE

Lady flyers are about as common as pigeons with three wings. However, Rita Wiese is one of those special lady fanciers, and she likes to show the guys up in the Lake City RPC. This year she truly showed up a lot of the guys, and was the first woman flyer to win a MIS race! For Rita, racing pigeons is a hobby that she inherited from her husband who passed away several years ago. Rather than part with his pigeons, she wanted to keep his passion alive by taking up his sport.  Today Rita flies a small team of 30-35 birds on the natural system.  Her husband loved long distance racing, and Rita was able to honor his memory by winning one of the biggest races of the MIS. Her winning four-year old cock flew 353 miles at 1419 ypm.  Rita notes that this cock was always in the mix, but was never spectacular.  She was surprised to see her pigeon at the top of the race sheet.

Paul Rudolph, Viking Club member and MIS race secretary, was the north section winner. He flies 511 miles from Ogallala.  His dark check hen flown on the natural system placed 7thoverall with a speed of 1340 ypm. 

Salina, KS

The Lake City club had a great inaugural season with the MIS.  Its members were at the top of the sheet every week.  Rich Anderson of Watertown, SD has been racing for over 30 years.  While Rich was relaxing in the backyard, he saw a pigeon coming in.  He was impressed when he discovered that it was a two-year old cock that had a slow start.  One of Rich’s buddies handled the bird one night at shipping and was amazed at the body structure. When his friend mentioned his admiration, Rich admitted that he almost culled the pigeon but decided to keep him. Rich was lucky that he did because the cock started to get his game on beginning with the 350 mile race.  His cock flew 419 miles at 1693 ypm for the big Salina win. The bird had a great season and went on to place 11th in the Midwest Classic race among other top finishes.  It is safe to say that Rich’s cock has earned his perch as a consistently good long distance pigeon.

Securing his second north section win was Paul Rudolph.  His three-year old hen flew 485 miles at 1443 ypm, finishing 12th overall.

Topeka, KS

OrlanGulker teased his club mates that he was shipping the winner to Topeka.  His bird already had a record from Topeka as the 300 mile section winner of the Midwest Classic in 2011. Orlan’s prediction proved accurate when his two-year old cock claimed the top position eleven minutes ahead of the next loft.  Pigeons have been a part of Gulker’s life off and on for the past 45 years.  He currently flies with the Great Plains Flyers.  A small, healthy team of 20 birds flown on a double widowhood system provided Orlan with one of his best seasons ever.  Gulker’s winner comes from Continental Breeding Station’s Black Diamond family.  The bird, flying 282 miles, clocked in at 1846 ypm.

Yours truly, a member of the Mid Minnesota RPC, was the north section winner. My cock placed 6th overall, flying 451 miles at 1744 ypm.

Midwest Classic Topeka, KS

The Midwest Classic is known as one of the best old bird races in the US.  Overall, there were 4354 birds entered by 354 lofts in the race.  The MIS flyers entered 683 birds. 

For George Bosma, pigeons were once only to be used for his successful dog training program.  When he saw that pigeons were more than just feathered dummies, George joined the Great Plains Flyers.  He started applying the same dedication to his newfound sport that he did, and still does, with his dog training.  It is this persistent devotion that has propelled George to winning the Classic race for the MIS after only having birds for five years.    

                His winning bird is a yearling cock bred from a combination of Continental Breeding Station pigeons: Kaizer, the Star Pair, Jef, and Blue Kaizer.  George flies naturally.  He takes the advice guys in the club give and is well-read on the major books on racing.  “It is all about quality birds, health, motivation, and conditioning.”  George flies 314 miles from Topeka.  In the final results, out of the 4354 birds entered overall, his cock was 12th place with a rate of 1345 ypm.

                Viking club member, Dale Golla was the north section winner at 434 miles.  His yearling cock was  5th overall in the MIS with a speed of 1174 ypm.

Brahman, OK

The Brahman race is the peak of long distance racing in Minnesota.  For most competitors, it is the 600 mile race.  The hot weather made for a difficult race without any day birds.  Many fanciers came up short on this final race; however, one flyer reached a goal that he had made back in 2006 when the MIS began: win the 600 mile race.  Dennis Imdieke of the Mid Minnesota racing club is a serious long distance flyer. Short races are merely training tosses for Dennis.  His adrenaline rush comes from the 500 and 600 mile races.

Dennis flies on the long end;  Brahman is 663 miles.  The two-year old hen clocked in at 10:51 am on the second day.  Her speed was 935ypm.  Dennis flies on the natural system and is hard to beat on race day.  He says that winning average speed is next on his bucket list. Dennis came very close to accomplishing that this year with his second place average speed finish. 

The south section winner was Dale Schipp of the River Valley Racers. His 2009 hen flew 751 ypm covering a distance of 583 miles and placing  6th overall. 


Average Speed

While it is extremely exciting to win a big race, average speed is truly the most prestigious award one can win as a pigeon racer. Many guys dream of having a consistent season so that they can be in contention for the award.  The flyer who wins average speed demonstrates that he worked hard all year: breeding quality stock, raising healthy babies, maintaining a sound loft, training, and the list goes on. Flashes of brilliance do not earn the title of average speed.  It is a matter of simply being at the top of the race sheet week after week, but that is easier said than done.

However, there is one flyer who has shown his incredible passion and skill as a racing man.  Six out of seven years he has been in the top four for average speed (on his “off” year, he placed 12th).He has now clinched the average speed win three times.  There is only one guy who can claim this phenomenal record: Paul Rudolph.

Paul is an exceptionally dedicated fancier. Over the years, Paul has bred an amazing family of pigeons.  Very rarely will he ever be seen buying birds to bring into his breeding program.  Other guys are constantly purchasing new birds, but Paul’s philosophy is, if it’s working, why change?  His pigeons are truly “Rudolph” pigeons.  They have a distinct look and excel in both long distance racing and also in the show pen. More than once, Paul has cleaned up at the yearly winter shows with his champion racing birds.   

Not only is Paul a great flyer, he is one of the most modest and kind guys around.  He gives so much to the sport and even takes time to mentor the rookies. Rudolph just shrugs when asked about why he has been so successful. “Everyone makes mistakes. You just have to make the fewest mistakes,” is what Paul told me.  “It is a lot of the little things,” he says. Training is something he takes very seriously and contributes a lot of his success to it. He mentions that his wife, Cleo, has always supported him and without her backing, he probably would not be in his current position. Whatever the answers are to his decades of success, Paul has proven to be one of the best: the Mr. Consistency of the MIS. 


There is no doubt that racing brings excitement every week.  It is fun to have competitors that are also some of your best friends.  Young or old, we all love what we do.  One week we can be floating on air from our big win.  The next race can bring us to our knees.  In this sport, we are always learning and striving to become better. There is always hope next season! Congratulations to all of the winners in 2012.  To keep up to speed with the MIS, please visit www.twincityconcourse.us/MISHome.htm