Friends & Legends

Friends & Legends

Walking with the Legends

Story from Racing Pigeon Digest Oct 1st 2005

When I first found out that the AU 2004 Convention race was  going to be in Florida in November I got excited.  We live in Michigan and it snows pretty heavy around that time of year, so we were looking forward to spending some time in a warmer climate.  When Judy and I got off the plane it was 80 degrees and warm.  When we went to the hotel we asked for a room with a view, and they gave us a great room overlooking the bay.

The convention is always a great time to greet old friends and make new ones and a chance to walk and talk with some of the legends of the sport, Art Hees, Sam Lembo, Gerry Eurlings, Tony Melucci, Randy Berky, Saki Bevarevic, Charley Barbiere, Horace Hackemer, Sal Lama, Dan VanLake, Bobby Soars, Freddie Riviera, Zig Vanderwall, and also Detroit’s aces Jerry Bellor and John Weeks.  If you are a legend in the sportand you don’t see your name here we’ll catch you with  Walking with the Legends, Part II.

After picking up the convention schedule I planned my days.

Loft visitation is always on the top of the list.  Some of the lofts we went to visit cost over $50,000.  It had everything you  could imagine in it.

The GHC club really knows how to party.  The food was excellent and the beer never ending. As usual the Detroit connection was some of the last people standing and some weren’t standing .

Behind every great legend in the sport there is a great woman  that is the wind beneath our wings that allows us to soar.

My wife Judy  enjoyed all the ladies activities.  The luncheon cruise on Tampa Bay was really great. Judy & I were originally from  NJ.  Would you believe that with 2 buses filled with ladies that  Judy would sit next to Marge Lama who lived in Lodi,  NJ and we lived in Garfield, NJ just one town over. Small world isn’t it.

Then came race day.  I watched the race at Dan VanLake’s loft.   He’s a very good handler.  Bob Byington from Michigan told me when Dan was in Indiana he used to beat Mike Ganus pretty regularly.  On race day Dan is a force to be reckoned with .

The convention race turned out to be a tough one.  1980 birds were shipped to the race from  102 lofts and only  720 birds were clocked in the day of the race.

We went to the club to get the race results.  Standing at the end of the line in front of me was an older gentleman.  I asked him how he did in the race and he said I think I won it.  I said I’m Rich Ross from Michigan.  He said my name is Sam Lembo.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here was one of the Legends I read about for years and finally have a chance to meet him. Wow!!  Sam Lembo is one of a kind, he’s the real deal.  We struck up a friendship right away and it felt like I knew him for years.  As fate would have it and we got the race results,  Sam did win the race with  BCPH AU-2004-SUPER-310, 102 lofts, 1980 birds, Gerry Eurlings handler. Sam wanted to make sure that his good friend Noel DeScheemaecker of Antwerp area in Belgium got the  credit because it was out of his bloodline.

When Judy and I were leaving to go back to Michigan,  I gave Sam a call and told him I was going to write an article in the Racing Pigeon Digest  about Walking with the Legends in the sport and asked him if I could take some pictures of Sam, Gerry and  the winning bird.  Sam and Gerry agreed.

When Judy and I got to Sam’s house, we felt like we knew Sam for years.  He made us feel very comfortable telling us his many stories about his trips to Belgium and how he could speak the language and make sure he got the best birds.

We took some pictures with Sam and Gerry Eurlings and of course the winning bird.  She is a real beauty.  As we were leaving Sam gave us a book that he had written.  As we were driving to the airport , Judy started reading the book and was overwhelmed with emotion by the love Sam had for his wife Anne.   She couldn’t stop crying or put the book down.

Sam is a real generous person and I thank God I made a new friend.  He is one of our great legends in the sport and he is the real deal.     The GHC club hosted one of the best AU conventions we have attended.  Congratulations to the men and women of the GHC club.    Have a winning season .

Rich Ross

R. Ross, G. Eurlins, S. LemboMarge Lama, Rich Ross, Sal LamaG&S Verkerk # 7 Rich RossThe Australian Connection, Ray Wilkie & Leslie Morgan at AUDetroit Aces at AU ConventionFirst Place AU-2004 Super 310 Blue Check Pied Hen