2008 AU Convention Race

2008 AU Convention Race “The Big Race” in Minnesota

The 2008  AU Convention Race was hosted by the Heartland Racing Pigeon Federation in October and held in St Paul, Minnesota. The Au Convention Race is one of the biggest races In the USA and is sometimes called the “Super Bowl” of racing in our sport.

A total of 1658 birds were shipped in for the convention race representing 358 breeders  from all parts of  the USA, Germany, and China.  These breeders sent in their champions with high hopes to win or place in  the money.

The handlers put their birds through the paces to get them in shape For the big race. On shipping night there is electricity in the air. All the breeders handling their champions to see how  they want to pool their birds.  A total of  788 birds were sent to the race.

This year’s  AU race was one of the toughest. Northwest head winds 5-10.  The wind was on their nose  from the start of the race. It was a good old-fashion pigeon race where the quality breeding would come out.  The birds were blown east to Wisconsin.  They came in all broken up 1 and 2 at a time.  Approximately 126 birds the 1st day. It took 2 days to clock off for all the prizes.

I was at Dick Althoff’s loft along with Jim Mitchell, Ron Hornstein, and Jim Braun waiting for the AU birds. When the birds are late like this you start to clock everything that flies. So far we clocked 3 crows, 2 sparrows, and a sea gull but no birds.  Ron and I went out to the street to see if we could get a better view of the birds coming in. When we walked back to the loft, Dick said he just clocked a bird.  It came in like a rocket,  didn’t even circle, and beat the dropper in.

After about 5 or 10 minutes Dick got a couple more birds and one of them was mine. ARPU 21252 a blue check pied. Dick’s 1st bird was Don Miner’s bird ESTE 048.  We started calling  around  to see if Dick had a good time and so far Dick was in the lead.  That’s was a very tense time.

Jim Mitchell was there and he’s very good at figuring out the time. I called Rocky Elton to find out if any birds had been clocked because he’s on the short end.  I got the idea when I was talking to Rocky on my cell phone.  After  he hung up I still had the phone to my ear and I started to make-up times to see if I could get Dick & Jim rattled. I said 2:30 and Jim did his figuring with one eye twitching and said “we got that guy beat” .  So I kept on lowering the times and Jim kept saying  we beat him. Finally I said 1:30 and their eyes big as saucers and Dick said “Who’s the guy that got the bird at 1:30”. Jim’s eye started twitching uncontrollably.   I closed my cell phone and said “ I’m only kidding” Well did you ever have a rhino charge you and want to kill you?  That was Dick Althoff.

Because of the northwest winds it took 2 days to clock off for all the prizes. Waiting to find out who won the race was nerve wracking.  Then we got the call the clock off  was at 1 PM.   As we waited everyone was trying to figure out who had the best time.  Finally the race results were posted.  Dick Althoff from Break-A-Way lofts had won the race  by 12 seconds.   If that bird didn’t beat the dropper in it would have been a whole different story.  Way to go Dick. Your hard work paid off.

Congratulations to all the winners.

  Handler Breeder Bird
1st Place D. Althoff D. Miner ESTE 0048
2nd Place T. Roach S. Kojiro HUI 1114
3rd Place Drenckhahn Bob Barnes SMCC 1755
4th Place C.Sandstrom McKenna& Layton SRI 0010
5th Place V. Xiong Pat Aston VLY 0619
6th Place S. Bennis J. Olszewski SFA 0030
7th Place S. Bennis R. Horton HRS 4048
8th Place N. Yang D. Thao WULG 8017
9th Place N. Yang V. Xiong APC 0322
10th Place B. Badzinski Z. Guzik FL 0348
11th Place D. Althoff W. Sessink SMCC 0124
12th Place C. Sandstrom Rich Ross ARPU 21330
13th Place P. Yang B. Reusch BISO 0446
14th Place C. Sandstrom B. Yu UPI 0134
15th Place B. Badzinski T. Laduke TWOT 9023
16th Place P. Yang A. Porter RRR 1533
17th Place B. Badzinski J. Shiroma KOMN 0006
18th Place C. Sandstrom L. Rueber HHH 0420
19th Place D. Althoff Rich Ross ARPU 21252
20th Place D. Althoff F. Robinson POLK 0227
21th Place J.Sawicki C. Ubbels FLAM 0955
22th Place D. Althoff B. Reusch BISO 0440
23th Place C. Hetland D. McNeilus RRP 9439
24th Place D. Brotzler Bourgoin STP 0035
25th Place D. Brotzler Rich Ross ARPU 21331
26th Place G. Hegner B. Gray VIK 0094
27th Place G. Hegner J. Gomes LOK 0607
28th Place G. Hegner B. Long CSH 0546
29th Place P. Yang B. Nelson NFL 0801
30th Place C. Hetland N. Lewellen NIC 8287

Dick is no stranger to the winner’s circle.  He’s also won the Midwest convention race.  He works very hard with the birds. If you are lucky enough to place birds in his loft and they don’t place or win, it’s not Dick. Special thanks to the Heartland Racing Pigeon Federation for a job well done,  Jerry Vernon for one of the best websites, The Asian Connection, and the guys that did an excellent job handling my birds in a very tough race, Dick Althoff, Chad Sandstrom, Dave Brotzler, Gary Hegner, and  Rocky Elton.  God Bless.

Yours in the Sport,

Rich Ross