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    The Dawn of a Golden Era - Gibb & Byrne Lofts

“ Champion Strauss” Needs no introduction winner of a host of 1st Prizes and Sections including 4 x RPRA Awards he is Sire, G.Sire and G.G.Sire to countless winners all over the U.K. The Gibb & Byrne Stud also own the parents of him as well.
(Gibb & Byrne Europa Classic) This was one of the results of the year for the partnership winning the Europa Classic holding the Cup is partner Henry Byrne flanked by Peter and Ian Gibb.
“Kevin” winner of the RPRA Y/B Performer of the Year 2007 (All U.K) also winner of the RPRA Irish Region 0 - 250 mileage Award (O/B’s and Y/B’s) and the RPRA Irish Region Y/B Performer of the Year 2007. Raced by Ian Gibb & Sons. (Results listed in article).
“Champion Dawn” What a Breeder - She has bred 5 x 1st Federation winners, also a 1st & 2nd Open EDC for John Patterson of Ballylesson in total she has bred 10 x 1st Prize Winners to four different cocks. Owned by Gibb & Byrne. Dam of “Dawn” is “The 47 Hen”
“The Champion 31 Cock” what a pigeon winner of 23rd Open Midlands National Tours 412 miles, 32nd Open Mid National Leferte Berriard 6,940 birds 350 miles; 37th Open Mid Nat Tours; 91st Open Mid National Picauville 12,921 birds; 1st Open MSR Classic Gold Medal Award; 1st Open MSR Classic Falaise 300 miles; 6th Open MSR Classic Le Mans; 7th Open MSR Classic Falaise; 7th Open MSR Classic Fourgess; 1st Open Notts/Derby Border Exeter 204 miles; 10th Open MSR Classic Fourgess; 15th Open MSR Classic Falaise; 10th Open MSR Classic Seaton 260 miles; 16th Open MSR Classic Nantes 411 miles also 2 x 1st Federation these are only main results in total he won £9,500 racing and is now owned by Gibb & Byrne..
“The 47 Hen” winner of 2nd Midlands National Le Ferte Bernard 7,000 pigeons flying 350 miles; 19th Open Midlands National Tours; 21st Open Midlands National Picauville 13,000 pigeons flying 264 miles; 105th Open Midland National Picauville, 37th Open Midlands National Guernsey; Twice 1st Federation winning a T.V and Video and £4,500 in two years of racing. Also dam of “Champion Dawn” both owned by Gibb & Byrne..
(Gold) “Golden Boy” (American Rung) Direct son of Mike Ganus’s Champion “Holywood” a prolific breeder at the Gibb & Byrne Stud.
“Rodgers Girl” Direct daughter of “Champion Rodger” winner of 1st National Barcelona and 2nd International Barcelona for Michel & Didier Desbuquois Belgium. (order books are nearly full for these super stars).
(Peter, Simon and Ian Gibb) Pictured this year with one of their Y/B Derriaghy Club Winners the partnership won them all in the Club. Peter, Simon (holding the pigeon) and father Ian.
(racing loft of I Gibb & sons) This is one of the main racing lofts for the racing partnership of Ian Gibb and Sons Peter, Simon and Andrew. .

The Dawn of a Golden Era!

With me the headline of any story can take some time to get right, I suppose if I were quicker I would be working for one of the National Newspapers. The last word of this headline ERA small, but a huge meaning (distinctive period of history, a period of time made distinctive by a significant development). As you continue to read I trust this best describes the Classic Stud Partnership of Ian Gibb, Lisburn, Northern Ireland & Henry Byrne, St Margrets, Dublin. (Gibb & Byrne)

Both men you would have to say are already very well known throughout Ireland and indeed mainland Britain, for between them they run two of the most successful pigeon feed business’s that would stand head and shoulders with any other around the world. When I venture down to Dublin I wouldn’t pass without calling at Henry Byrne’s store at Sandyhill and off all the times that I have been present the shelves are a sight to see, you would get the impression the products aren’t to be touched, displayed and spaced with precision. On the contrary try getting into the place on a Sunday that’s the car park I am talking about, its madness to say the least and a fine example of the professionalism and customer care that Sandyhill Feed Store offers. Of course this is very typical to the approach both gentlemen take in life, if you are going to do anything, do it right, I guess that’s why they have formed such a prolific friendship and more recently the formation of the Gibb & Byrne Pigeon Stud.

Both fanciers have had pigeons a life time, can they race as individuals, the answer impeccably. No fancier in the South of Ireland needs any reminding of what Henry is capable off with the Wicker basket. Of course if you do, call at the shop for the walls are covered in results. President of the Irish South Road Federation Henry dedicates a lot of his time to the pigeon fancy in Ireland as well as running the very successful Sandyhill Feeding Business and from time to time also carries out Auctioneering duties around the country.

The Gibb family, I say family because they are all involved one way or another they might not like it but Ian is not the type of man to take ’No’ as an answer. With Ian working long hours with Bombardier Aerospace Company at the locally sited Dunmurry Factory as a Supervisor, not much time is left to tend to the pigeons when he finally gets home from his working day. Son Peter is a pillar of strength as far as commitment goes around the lofts and indeed the Feed Store and has a fantastic memory of pigeons and products. When the pressure comes as it does at times Ian’s other two sons Simon and Andrew would muck in without hesitation. Leaving of course the lady of the house Joyce who also works full time to do much of the paper work, a better lady you couldn’t have at the helm a Full Time Bank Manager who oversees several branches around the country.

Pigeon racing has only really started for the Gibb’s, they moved to their present spacious bungalow some 9 years ago sited on the Old Park Road side of Lisburn City. When you see the electric wires that surround the skies above the lofts you wonder to yourself why move here ?? One of the plus’s must be the very, very close proximity of their local Clubrooms Derriaghy HPS no more than 15 meters from front door to front door.

Some months after moving to this new address, lofts had to be erected as well as finishing the interior of the house so racing took a back step for a year or two, with only a handful of races sent to. With new lofts up and the excitement of a new challenge Ian set about buying some new stock, this resulted in a trip to England with a planned visit to the mighty J S Lofts home to some of the best Sootjens ever reared and raced in Britain. Impressed to say the least Ian returned home with three hand picked pair for stock purposes, now this was around the time that J S Lofts were considering selling up, so on returning home and after consultation with his in-house bank manager a decision was taken to return to the J S Lofts and strike a deal to buy the complete team, 160 pigeons were brought back to Ireland and at that time Ian decided that along with the feeding business he would work towards forming a prize winning stud.

He hadn’t long to plan because up to this day, the orders books for the Sootjen pigeons are filled, year in year out with an absolute host of people winning with them and many repeat orders, I will stay away from naming fanciers because I have found with scribing you always leave somebody out, as Ian would say they have paid for themselves over and over, and that doesn’t happen unless they are doing the business.

Ian himself has been around pigeons some 35 years and has been in two very successful partnerships prior to going out on his own along with sons Peter, Simon and Andrew, he previously was in partnership with Vice Chairman of the NIPA Sammy Briggs, and prior to that with Sam Parkinson. Now ask any fancier around Northern Ireland about these two partnership lets say many NIPA Section D Diplomas and NIPA Open positions were gained by both partnerships, well before my time of actual scribing. Although through reading I do recall at least four Section D Diplomas in one season for Briggs & Gibb including winning two RPRA Meritorious Awards and I also recall when Ian was in partnership with Sam Parkinson they won the NIPA Section D back to back weeks from Talbenny also enjoying many delightful nights at the Club after the French events, results that gained them credible admiration around the country. So can Ian Gibb breed and race pigeons without doubt.

As previously mentioned son Peter works very hard and is now full time between the Feed Business and the Pigeon Lofts as well as holding the Treasurer’s Job for the Lagan Valley RPC still with all this assistance Ian can’t find the hours he had back in those successful partnerships to mirror his expertise into this present day operation. He openly admits it’s a balancing act, that he finds very hard to judge, working full - time, the feed business, the stud aspect and his own racing. It is something that annoys him greatly and when he has time and puts the effort in, it doesn’t take long to see the results, it’s like running the car in 2nd Gear and then hitting the Turbo Switch. Since I moved to the Lisburn area 4 years ago, I have even took stock of the partnership, you hear nothing only about who is winning with there birds, and then out of the Blue they produce the result, a couple of seasons ago the Talbenny Y/B Derby was as some times happens with this race from Wales a very difficult affair, with many fanciers not timing on the day including fanciers from Dublin whose pigeons were liberated at the same time, not for the Gibb partnership they produced the card of the day winning 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th Open what about that for racing. I must point out at this stage the Gibb Family are registered members in a couple of Clubs as aforementioned the next door neighbours Derriaghy HPS and also the Ulster Federation affiliated Lagan Valley RPC the last members to be excepted into this prestigious Club since and up un till this day from 2001. The Lagan Valley Club operates a 20 bird limit rule at all times. That year of joining in 2001 the Gibb partnership topped the mighty Lagan Valley RP Club 5 Times, trust me this club hosts the Crème of the de Crème as far as fanciers are concerned, so to start your first season with an impression like that is something else.

It was racing within the NIPA affiliated Derriaghy Club this year that produced yet another Champion for the Stud Lofts. “Kevin” The Irish Region RPRA winner of the 0 - 250 Mile Award, The Irish Region RPRA Best Single Y/B Performer 2007 and just within the last few days has been confirmed as the over all Best Y/B in the RPRA 2007 which will net the partnership the very highly sought after “Massarella Cup” The Blue Cheq Cock won the following positions Tullamore 1st Club, 2nd Section 11th Open 5,422 birds; Roscrea 1st Club, 1st Section 3rd Open 14,785 birds; Pilmore Beach 4th Club, 8th Section, 21st Open 16,880 birds; Tullamore 1st Club, 26th Section 119th Open 8,219 birds; Fermoy 1st Club, 29th Section, 118th Open 11,440 birds; Fermoy Five Bird 1st Club, 4th Section, 29th Open; Skibbereen North INFC 1st Club, 159th Open 4,011 birds. What an honour it must be to own such a star beating the best from all over the U.K. and beating the best O/Birds and Y/Birds in Ireland to win the 0 - 250 Mileage award. Just what could this partnership achieve if they had the time to race properly.

Gibb & Byrne have probably the best Stud I have ever visited in Ireland. They host the best and indeed champions from the following lofts, off course leading the field are the famous J S Lofts Soontjens they include or included “The Stateman“, “Miss Atom“, children from many of the top pigeons as well as owning many of them the likes off “De 916”, “The Schoular”, “The Stud”, “The Dandy Cock” the list is endless Ian did return home of course with 166 pigeons from the J S Lofts including all the directs from Jos Soontjens, they own Champion “Strauss” a winner of four RPRA Awards he is Sire, G.Sire and G.G.Sire of many winners the Gibb & Byrne partnership also bought the parents as well from Colin McBride of Harryville. Eric Limbourg The Belgium National Specialist winner of 7 times 1st National and 9 times 2nd National, not forgetting twice 1st National Zone. Mr Kevin Lawson, Mr Van Loon needs no introductions he is responsible for “Kevin“ mentioned above. Hugo Kipp Long Distance German Champion for 7 years, 5 of them in a row. Andres Drapa German Champion of the Middle Distance prolific flyer. Brian Bolton the best of the Van Loon’s (manager of the mighty Premier Stud). The excellent Keith Morgan Van De Wear (the silent winners in Northern Ireland these will be and are something else). Marika Vink (Holland) take it from me you will be reading about these all around the world. Kees Bosua what about this man for the up and coming star owner of the “Champion Figo” and “The Kannibal” just to name two. Michel & Didier Desbuquois of Belgium again the up and coming lethal family. Finally Ganus and Fox, left these guys to the end as I am sure all are familiar with the ultimate success that Gibb & Byrne achieved in 2007 namely winning the prestigious Europa Classic event and a cool £30,000 with a Blue cock bred from pigeons sourced from Ian and Henry’s good friend Peter Fox of Syndicate Lofts. It’s okay sourcing pigeons but you have to know what your after this is what makes the Gibb and Byrne partnership special they know exactly what they are after from around the world and own the best from the fanciers above. Many of the Strains and indeed the names mentioned will be new to many of the fanciers reading this loft report, but they have been sourced with vast sums of money and ask anybody on the International stage these boys have the absolute best that money can buy around the world, the partnership are also attending China next year as quests, you don’t get to that level over night. I have a feeling they are on the verge of creating something similar to the late and great Bertie Fletcher of Portadown, Bertie they always said was a few years ahead of the rest, when you see the pigeons at stock and the brains behind the operation the Gibb and Byrne partnership are destined for far bigger things.

The Europa success just proves the quality of stock housed at the Gibb & Byrne Stud. This year was especially good with the Europa Success and of course “Kevin” Champion Y/Bird Performer of the Year with the RPRA. Ian Gibb and Sons also topped the Derriaghy Club many times during the season, when they raced, finishing Top Prize Winners in 2007. They also finished 81st Open in the Europa Race and had no fear come the Auction bringing the winner home as Ian quoted “he will be coming home“, as did the 2nd Open, 13th Open (The Ace Pigeon and nest mate to the 2nd Open pigeon) 33rd and 81st Open now all housed at the growing Stud of Gibb & Byrne, these will start a small collection known as the One Loft Team accompanied by “Super Glue” winner of the 2005 Channel Challenge One Loft Race bought by Ian Gibb.

Of course when you own your own feed business, it’s a delicate issue to ask what they feed their pigeons on, but to be fair they were very fourth coming with the information, all the pigeons including the Y/Birds are fed on the same 40% Vanrobaey Breeding mixed with 30% Beyers Diet and 30% Beyers Wal Zootjen Mixtures. They use two different Pro-Biotics namely one from Star Labs in America and also one called Vita-Pro. Rohnfried and Belgica De Weerd products are also used occasionally. Training is intense to say the least, the Widowhood cocks which number around 24 are tossed three times a week some times twice per day, this is down primarily to the fact that with high winds they would rather toss as let them fly around the maze of wires that pollute the skies above the lofts, Peter tells me when they are in super form they zoom in particularly fast and the one’s at the back of the bunch have no chance escaping them. So he would rather drive up the road tossing them as he goes in batches of 3 or 4. Y/Birds number around the 100 mark they are placed on the Darkness system and are tossed twice per day nearly every day from when educated 35 miles. They are fed very well and worked very hard, they start off from 5 miles and the furthest they are trained is to the 35 mile mark. To be expected they lose quite a few around the lofts with the wires and are normally compete with around the 70 mark. It has been and honour and a privilege reporting about the Gibb and Byrne partnership and handling all the super pigeons which very rarely I say were absolutely faultless. I have a feeling my next report on them will carry the slogan (International Renowned Lofts of Gibb & Byrne). I will pen off by wishing them continued success and trust they continue to raise the bar of achievement.

Listed below are only some of the results I came across for the last couple of seasons excluding Club success.

2006 Old Birds NIPA – Tullamore 11th & 38th Sect D and 75th Open NIPA 22,575 birds competing, velocity 1608. Thurles (1) 14th, 21st & 26th Sect D 126/2,956, velocity 1976. Thurles (2) 40th Sect D 125/2,747, velocity 1685.

2006 Young Birds NIPA – Mullingar 23rd Sect D and 41st Open NIPA 216/5,135, velocity 1289. Thurles 9th & 23rd Sect D and 30th & 67th Open NIPA 25,456 birds competing, velocity 1600. Tullamore 19th Sect D and 87th Open NIPA 10,235 birds competing, velocity 1496. Fermoy 38th & 41st Sect D and 106th & 113th Open NIPA 10,713 birds competing, velocity 1492. Fermoy 5 Bird Championship 31st & 33rd Open NIPA 293/1,247, velocity 1492.
Irish National FC 2006 – Skibbereen North OB National (246 miles) 77th North Sect & 86th Open INFC 359/2,355. Sennen Cove Yearling National (309 miles) 50th North Sect & 54th Open INFC plus £245.

Ulster Federation with Lagan Valley RPC 2006 – Kildare (1) O/B 12th & 14th Open Ulster Fed 193/3,030, velocity 1636. Thurles (3) O/B 8th Open Ulster Fed 213/3,197, velocity 1314. Sennen Cove O/B 1st & 2nd Open Ulster Fed 161/1,552, velocity 1258. Kildare (1) Y/B 1st, 3rd & 7th Open Ulster Fed 198/4,489, velocity 1627. Fermoy 5 Bird Classic Y/B 20th, 27th & 28th Open Ulster Fed. Skibbereen Y/B Derby 37th Open Ulster Federation. Won Clarke Memorial Trophy 2B Average Sennen Cove and Kingswood HPS Cup for 1st Open Ulster Fed Sennen Cove.

2007 Old Birds NIPA – Roscrea 22nd Sect D 133/3,100, velocity 1318. Barley Cove Yearling Hen 5th Sect D and 90th Open NIPA 278/1,035, velocity 1067. Mallow 5 Bird Championship 2nd Sect D and 10th Open NIPA 534/2,272, velocity 1343 plus £330.

2007 Young Birds NIPA – Roscrea 1st Sect D and 3rd Open NIPA 547/14,785, velocity 1934. Clonmel 2nd & 13th Sect D and 37th & 103rd Open NIPA 23,014 birds competing, velocity 1260. Pilmore Beach 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 11th & 12th Sect D and 15th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 26th & 28th Open NIPA 846/16,880, velocity 1528. Tullamore 26th & 41st Sect D and 119th & 150th Open NIPA 421/8,219, velocity 1026. Fermoy 29th & 38th Sect D and 118th & 157th Open NIPA 715/11,440, velocity 1236. Fermoy 5 Bird Championship – 4th & 6th Sect D and 29th & 42nd Open NIPA 327/1,369 plus £280. Rosscarbery Nat 11th & 16th Sect D and 49th, 71st, 174th & 207th Open NIPA 536/4,143 plus £320.

Irish National FC 2007 – Skibbereen North YB Nat (246 miles) – 19th, 39th, 157th & 159th North Sect and 19th, 39th, 157th & 159th Open INFC 450/4,011 plus £250.

Ulster Federation with Lagan Valley RPC 2007 – Kildare (1) O/B 2nd & 6th Open Ulster Fed 201/3,183 velocity 1559. Fermoy 5 Bird Classic Y/B 13th & 19th Open Ulster Fed velocity 1552.
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Adie McCormick
Ireland’s Own Pigeon Auctions
www.pigeonnetwork.com
Tel. 028 92 604778.

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