Revised as of 7/24/09 – 19 pages
D R A F T C O P Y
INDIAN FANTAIL HISTORY
CHAPTER TWO –THE PIONEERS
By Dave Diehl & Harvey Addengast
Harvey Gatlin was our founder and along with Tony Broncato, a beginning was established. What then about the pioneers? Those very early breeders of Indian Fantails, in the 1960’s, even the 50’s? If the “blood history” of the Indian Fantail is a bit fuzzy, so may be our complete listing of just who they were; dedicated breeders in the early years that contributed to breed improvement and the firm establishment of Indian Fantails not only in California but also across the United States. Ted Golka was right in 2002 when he said, “if we don’t get our earlier history down on paper soon, it will be lost.” After the beginning, covered in chapter one, we have chosen to break the reporting of history into decades. Chapter two highlights what happened in the 1960’s from a people standpoint; autobiographies and biographies of our pioneers, those who became active breeders before 1970.
Note: I have biographies or partial biographies on a few. I need your help so as to include all those who should be listed, serious breeders of Indian Fantails who started before 1970. Some of these people are no longer with us. We are counting on you, as a reader, to provide information on them. It can be a few paragraphs or a few pages. What you provide can be combined with material from others to help present a more complete story. The list below is not meant to be complete or correct. They are suggestions, a beginning, to help our thinking and recall.
If you belong in this chapter we particularly need your autobiography now. In some cases we have picked up from breed literature and correspondence and listed the year a person first obtained Indian Fantails and even when they died. In most cases we are unsure.
NOTE; IF YOU OR ANY OF THE NAMES LISTED BELOW FIRST OWNED INDIANS AFTER 1970 WE STILL NEED AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. IT WILL GO INTO CHAPTER EIGHT, “WHO’S WHO IN INDIAN FANTAIL IN THE SEVENTIES.
Thank you to Rick, Dennis, Joe and Ron who responded to my first request several years ago. They may now want to update their autobiographies. Just as important, Harvey would like a photo to include with each story.
Rick Norgaard, Pochello, ID
I started with Indian Fantails in 1959
Story submitted in 2005
I got my first Indian Fantails during the summer of 1959; a blue bar cock and a powdered blue hen. By today’ (2005) standards they would be culls. I earned the birds by spending an entire Saturday scraping, cleaning and hauling pigeon droppings from the lofts and pens of Mr. Bill Knowles, Pocatello, ID.
Mr. Knowles was a retired police officer that lived near my school. Editor’s note – I have learned little more about Mr. Knowles; understand he was a breeder of many varieties of fancy pigeons. During lunch I would spend my time visiting with Bill and watching his beautiful pigeons. As time went on I would work odd jobs, collect pop bottles, just anything I could do to earn “pigeon money”. I even skipped lunches and saved the money for pigeons. In 1962, at the ripe old age of twelve, I got a job on a farm about eighty miles from home. My little brother agreed to feed the pigeons. I had a mix of about two dozen birds by then. Within a few weeks homesickness really started setting in and I got to go home for a weekend. When I went back to the farm I sneaked the pair of Indians with me. At first the boss wasn’t too agreeable but he finally let me convert a small A-frame hog house into a loft. What a grand summer it turned out to be! I raised four babies that year, my first real success as a breeder. As time went on the desire for pigeons waned, other things replaced them, hot-rods and girls.
I went into military service in 1969. I always had pigeons in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until 1984, when I was stationed near Bremerton, Washington, that I happened into a farm store and there was the most beautiful pair of Indian Fantails I had ever seen, I was mesmerized. I had never seen such magnificent tails. The cock was black and the hen was kite. I went home via the lumberyard and by the next noon I had a 6X6 foot loft built and was headed back to the farm store, fearful that the birds may have been sold. They were still there, along with a pair of black splash. I didn’t even ask the price, just handed over my credit card! Within three months I had another loft constructed and filled with about a hundred pigeons. The next few yeas I bounced from one breed to the next but always had the Indians.
I retired from the military in 1990 and went home to Idaho. During the first year home the pigeon bug was biting hard again. I constructed a loft and went pigeon hunting. Within a few days the name of Dennis Briggs was passed on to me. I called Dennis and made arrangements to meet him. He lives only about one and a half hours from me, very near Yellowstone National Park. What a treat I was in for; I had never seen a loft such as Dennis’. The entire upper floor of a huge, neat old style gambrel roofed barn was packed with more pigeons that I had ever seen in one place in my life. By the time negotiations had finished I left with 49 pigeons; everything from Rollers to Pouters, to Frillbacks and of course, the most beautiful Indians imaginable. I got almonds, kites, whites, saddles and selfs in colors I didn’t know existed.
I met Ernie Newsom a short time later. He introduced me to pigeon shows – what fun. He took me to the Salt Lake City Premier Show. Since then I have been to a lot of shows in the West, including the NPA Grand Nationals at Salt Lake City, San Bernardino and Tacoma. I helped set-up a 4-H pigeon club for a group of juniors that was quite active in pigeons for a few years. I sponsored a couple swap meet/pigeon shows at my home that were quite successful. There were fanciers from Idaho, Utah, Montana and Wyoming present. It is amazing how far a dedicated fancier will travel for a cheap hot dog and some pigeon talk! Dennis, Ernie and I all raise Indians and have been very active in our local fair. It has gone from a few pigeons in the dark corner of the poultry barn to about 20 exhibitors and over 200 birds of various breeds entered in 2004; with lights and new cages it made a very nice display. The last five years I have concentrated mostly on blue-based Indians, powdered blues. I have saddles in black, red, lavender and yellow along with a couple pairs of almond/kite selfs. Most of my stock comes from top breeders around the country, via Dennis. This year I bred from eleven pair and it looks like I will have about twenty keepers. I am going to increase the Indian Fantail numbers as I am reducing the number of or eliminating other breeds completely. Rick Norgaard
Dennis Briggs, Sugar, ID
First Indians in the early 1960s
Story submitted in 2003
Some of you will recall that during the period I was editor of the IFCA newsletter, 1981-87, I often carried a column called “Spotlight On Members”. In the fall 1985 issue of the newsletter Dennis was one of the members I spotlighted. Then in 2002, as I was beginning work on this history of Indian Fantails, Dennis was one (of the few) who responded to my request for profile information from our oldest members to the IFCA. The following profile on Dennis is a mix from these two sources plus his answer to my request for details on the trophy that he made and offered in the 1980s…he was too modest to include it in either of his earlier responses – Dave Diehl
I live in Sugar, ID (in 1985 it was Sugar City, guess it is not growing real fast). I have raised pigeons since I was seven years old. I got my first Indian Fantails from Leo Rosco, Pipestone, MN in the early 1960s. He had an “order through the catalog” business. The quality was pretty bad, in fact they could have been crossbreds but I still worked with them for a couple of years. Then I sent for some Indian Fantails from Strombergs, another catalog house, in Fort Dodge, IA. These were better quality, two pair of saddles, one black and one red. I worked with these birds along with several other breeds. I was out of pigeons for a period of three or four years, including the time I spent in Vietnam, 1968-69. After returning from military service I found that all of my birds had been destroyed. I didn’t immediately get back into pigeons – I was struggling with post war stress. I waited a couple years, went to school and then got married. Once we got a place I wanted to get back into pigeons. In addition to Indian Fantails I raised Rollers, English Trumpeters, Oriental Frills, Voorburg Shield Croppers, a few pairs of Frillbacks, West of Englands and Modenas. I just really like a lot of breeds of pigeons.
In the early 1970s my wife and young family took a trip to California, the family to visit Disneyland, myself to visit Harvey Gatlin! I had corresponded with him and was after the best birds I could get. His birds were great; beautiful ribbontails and red, black, blue and yellow tailmarks. There were also selfs in black, white, red and yellow. By the time I arrived Harvey had gotten rid of most of what he wanted to get rid of for that year. However, if you ever knew Harvey, you would know that he could always find something for you to take home. He was very generous that way. I got two pair, one mismarked ribbontail with pretty good color and a saddle and a blue tailmark. I was on cloud nine! I still have pictures of that visit to Harvey Gatlin’s.
My stock is mostly from California; in addition to Harvey, Stan and Monty Luden, Werner Schmidt and Tony Brancato. I have however also obtained birds from Joe Ceaser, Darrell Mueller, Garry Glissmeyer and Brent Schmutz, maybe a few others. I don’t consider myself to be much of a breeder, mostly an admirer of pigeons. The weather in this state is not very conducive to raising fancy pigeons. And, I get lost in so many varieties that I probably don’t do each much justice.
In the mid 1980s Dennis reported working on what he called a black spot tail, as in Oriental Frills. He began with a spot-tail Oriental Frill hen and a black self Indian Fantail cock from Stan Luden. Today in Indians he breeds almonds, andalusions, blacks, whites, browns, creams and reds. His stud carries indigo, powdered and opal modifiers along with ribbontails, saddles and tailmarks.
Okay Dennis, tell us about those traveling trophies that you made and presented in the 1980s, I asked. I would first note that back in those years many of us donated monies for specific trophies at our national shows. It was part of a campaign carried out by the IFCA. Dennis went a step further. He made four or five of them. They went to the winners of new colors being introduced into Indian Fantails, mostly at the Pageant of Pigeons. I saw one at a Grand National, beautiful. They were made from a two-inch thick wood burl in which he routed out an Indian Fantail silhouette in the middle and covered it all with a thick glossy liquid plastic. Finally he added a clock to the center. We understand that winners included Stan and Monty Luden and Joe Ceaser. He discontinued making them after changing jobs and no longer having access to the wood products. The IFCA is indebted to him for this special effort in promoting the breed.
Dennis has shown Indians at the Pageant of Pigeons: “Had best AOC in 1984”. He also shows at the Salt Lake City Premier Show. “We are right on the way to Yellowstone National Park he wrote, pigeon fanciers are always welcome.”
Note: Dennis’ reference to buying birds from a catalog house caught my attention. Growing up in Iowa, I am somewhat familiar with Strombergs. In 2006 I corresponded with Loyl Stromberg, one of the senior members of the family. The company now operates from Pine River, MN. I was hoping to learn whom in the early 1960’s the company might have obtained Indian Fantails from in order to fill requests. While I did learn that Strombergs followed that practice, never having actually bred Indian Fantails themselves, Mr. Stromberg, now in his 90’s, had no knowledge of who their suppliers may have been.
Darrel Henry, Sioux City, IA, Started in ??
(by Dave Diehl)
Part of the reason I pursued Stombergs for information, which ended in a dead end, was on a chance to learn more about our early breeders. Darrel Henry, Sioux City, IA in particular came to mind. Ron Ewing writes of him in his autobiography. I visited Darrel once, probably in the early 1980’s. He had a lot of Indian Fantails, most of them free flying. I particularly remember one big AOC cock. Tails were a bit scooped partly due to their being allowed to fly free outside. So far, I have not been able to discover additional information on Darrel. From correspondence with several pigeon fanciers in Iowa I leaned that he had passed away in 2003 or earlier. He was described as “a super guy” and “a horse trader”. I was told that if anyone wanted pigeons, not just Indian Fantails, that he would locate them for that person. I understand that he bought and sold a lot of pigeons. I still wonder if Darrel Henry sold Indian Fantails to Strombergs? The geography is right; Fort Dodge and Sioux City are not that far apart! Was Darrel one of our pioneers?
Bill Babb, Arleta, CA, Started in 1961
This taken from an article that Bill wrote for the June 1979 Pigeon Review magazine.
In 1961 I met Harvey Gatlin and bought some saddle marked Indian Fantails from him and started breeding and showing at local shows. At first it was only Harvey and I showing. We got some of the men in central and northern California showing such as Dave Helm and Gene Machado who were the top promoters in this area and still are. My first saddle Indian Fantails were very light on muffs and small in size. I would mate a pair and wait for the surprise which most always was not a saddle. After about eight years of breeding I though I had my saddles under control as far as pattern and muffs but in 1976 my stud started producing mismarks and throwbacks. I was ready to throw up my hands and give up but Stan and Monty Luden told me to keep on and so the last two years I am doing good again. This to tell you not to give up to soon. Brighter days will come gain.
Ron Ewing, Blue Springs, MO
First Indian Fantails in the early 1960s
Submitted in 2007
This recounting of Ron’s involvement with Indian Fantails is a result of Ron writing some of his history, writings and conversations with Garry Glissmeyer, and Dave Diehl, plus personal visits to Ron’s lofts in Kansas City, Kansas. It has not been updated since 2007.
Ron has been around show animals since his youth. His father bred and showed cattle and Ron was involved with that as a kid. Showmanship and winning were in his blood. At about age twelve Ron began raising pigeons, Homers and Kings. As with many of us in the hobby, he gave up pigeons for a period of time, joining the military (Marine Corps), then returning, getting a job, getting married and beginning life as an adult. But his love for pigeons was still there. He wanted to breed and raise them again.
This was in the early 1960s; he was living in Orange County, California. Not far from his home was a pet business called the Magnolia Bird Farm. During one visit Ron noticed some unusual pigeons on display. They had four recessive red splash Indian Fantails that were said to have come from Harvey Gatlin. Ron bought all four birds. He noted they were small, snaky-necked, and grouse-muffed. But he liked the over all look of the birds. Shortly after the purchase of these birds opportunity arose and he moved to Kansas City, bringing along his few Indians.
After settling in Kansas, he heard of an Indian breeder up in Sioux City, Iowa, named Darrel Henry. They made contact. Darrel said he’d sell Ron six birds for $300 dollars. This was in the early 1970s. Darrel not only sent six, but sixteen birds. Ron said he had never seen such clean markings, bars and checks. The birds were yet even smaller than what he had, which was a disappointment. After looking them over he only retained three to breed from and work into his stud. (It should be noted that at this time, Ron did not know of the IFCA, nor had he seen a Standard. He just liked the style of the Indian and its possibilities.) Henry’s birds also had no real muffs, as we think of them today, and some didn’t even throw crests consistently.
The showman in Ron, from his years showing with his dad, moved Ron to start building a better Indian. He wanted bigger muffs to help balance the bird’s proportions. He wanted a bigger body, better crests and a broader, fuller breast area. He knew he would have to outcross to get there. He bought a white Bokhara Trumpeter, and crossed his best few Indians into that Trump. Ron was now on his way to building a new bird.
Before this Trump outcross, Ron had already been working with what he had. As an example, during the late 1960s, he had developed some whites. He had noticed a few birds with a hint of color in a tail feather here, and one there. He bred those together to begin his tailmark line. The Bokhara was grizzle under the white, and it then contributed to the stork mark tailmarks that Ron became so well known for, and still is today.
During this same 1970s period, Ron also heard of and eventually met another Indian breeder in St. Louis, Irv Bayreau. Irv was using Indians to cross into Jacobins, Bokharas, Tumblers, and Saints trying to develop a new breed he was calling the St. Louis Arch Angel. Ron recounts he had never seen such vivid, intense colors. He purchased three birds from Irv, with good bodies, crests and muffs. One was a tortoise shell, another black, and an ash red. These three went into his bloodlines and from them he started developing ash reds, ribbontails, tortoise shells, blacks and almonds. Through other acquisitions and use of genetics, Ron had many other colors come and go in his loft, too numerous to mention.
This mixture of genetics, from Gatlin on forward, and through careful selection and line breeding, now produced an Indian that Ron found pleasing to the eye. (He still had no idea of an Indian Fantail Standard.) He started to show in local and regional All Breeds Shows. And he started winning Best of Show.
At this time he had also started breeding Hungarian House Pigeons, and was also winning with them. He had powerful white Hungarians. (The thought never occurred to him to mix the Hungarian into the Indian until the 1990’s and that would be to develop both a larger body, and a more impressive tail.)
Along with his pigeons, Ron had also been breeding and showing Chow dogs. And not surprisingly, winning with them as well. After several Best of Show wins with his Chows, Ron moved full tilt into breeding and showing his dogs. He decided to really commit to his dog showing, and parceled out most of his Indians to two local-area breeders he had met at local shows: Clarence Bacon, in Olathe, KS. And Bill Stimek, a policeman from Kansas City, KS.
His focus on his Chows immediately paid off, with one dog in particular emerging as one of the all-time best Chows ever, even today (2006). Named Ro Don’s Mr. Chips, this outstanding dog was one of the top winning dogs in the nation for three years in a row, of all breeds! In 1979 Ron was voted and named National Breeder of the Year. Even at age ten, Mr. Chips went back into the show ring and won Best of Show, unheard of in dog circles at that time.
Garry Glissmeyer and Ron met around this time. Garry wrote, “You didn’t have to be a dog breeder to see that Mr. Chips was a champion. He just looked quality, from his size, his legs, how he stood on his feet, how he moved and carried himself.” Dave Diehl also had a chance to see the then-retired Mr. Chips, on his first visit to Ron’s loft. Ron’s Chows produced over 100 Champions! Ron was born with a breeder’s and showman’s eye. For dogs…and birds. He quickly recognizes style and balance in animals.
Shortly before his 1979 Breeder of the Year honors, Ron set about reclaiming some of his Indians from Clarence and Bill, including some of the babies they had raised. He went back to work on his birds. He had decided to end his dog showing and wanted to kick back and relax, and work with his Indians. But his own self-imposed standards of perfection caused him to end up working as hard with his birds as he had with his dogs.
In the late 70’s, while at an All Breeds pigeon show, he heard of Mary Parrott. She lived in Fenton, MO and was at the time president of the IFCA. He drove to St. Louis to meet her. She then introduced him to Bill Titter, O’Fallon, IL. Bill and Ron developed a long and close friendship, with Ron saying that Bill became one of his favorite people to be around and he recognized in Bill that “…he was one of the best pigeon breeders I had ever met.” Bill had some of the best recessive red and yellow Indians Ron had ever seen. They exchanged birds for many years. Bill was also a mentor of Rich Sheedy. Bill passed away several years ago.
It was at this time Ron first saw a written Standard and a Drawing of the Indian Fantail. Mary Parrott showed them to him. He was surprised how close his birds were to this Standard, but there were some differences. Ron returned home and culled those birds that looked least like the IFCA Standard. However, he felt his birds with the longer muffs (longer than two inches, which the Standard called for), looked better balanced, so he retained them and continued breeding for nicely sized muffed birds.
In 1979, another bird friend of Ron’s, Ralph Cole (now deceased), told Ron about a man in Cincinnati who had some nice Indians. That man was Frank German. Ron contacted Frank and they met the next year in Louisville at the National Young Bird Show, 1980. An instant friendship developed.
Frank had some larger birds and they were the style Ron wanted to mix into his own line. Characteristic of Frank, he parted with a few of his best birds, and these birds really clicked with Ron’s. For years thereafter, Frank would visit Ron in Kansas City, usually in August. Frank brought along young Ricky Leimann. Ron said he always looked forward to the visits, and some of his most enjoyable times were those visits, spending hours and hours looking over birds in his backyard, and basement, culling down and talking birds. Ron always sent them off loaded up with whites, tailmarks and whatever else he was raising at the time.
Another friendship that developed through Indian Fantails was with Garry. Thru a mutual friend, a fellow pigeon breeder, Don Livengood (Muffed Tumblers), Garry heard of Ron. Garry contacted Ron in late 1978. Garry had just started breeding Indian Fantails a year or so earlier. Garry said at that time he had not yet seen an Indian Standard but loved the look of the bird. When he finally visited Ron and saw his birds, it wasn’t but a few minutes and Garry said to Ron, “One of us is breeding the wrong style Indian, and I don’t think it is you.” Living only thirty minutes apart, they became close friends and traveled together to shows all through the 1980s, until Garry moved to Colorado. Ron said it was the luckiest couple of years of his life, “to meet two of his best friends, Frank and Garry.”
Ron tells of a trip he made to California in 1980. He visited a number of well known California Indian breeders. He brought back four birds: a white from Gene Machado, which he used in his existing stud of whites; a saddle from Bill Babb for my line; and two birds from Stan Luden. One of them he used a time or two to bring a new gene into his tailmark line.
Garry further writes: “About this same time, Ron showed up at my place to look at my birds. Just before Ron left he told me he had a bird he had raised just for me. My love was saddles, and I had a good stud started, but still didn’t have that “one” bird to build on. Ron came back from his car with a box. I opened it and there was a slightly undermarked, but powerful ash red saddle hen. It was out of Ron’s winning stud of whites. Ron had inspected every white in his loft, looking at each bird’s wings, under the wings… for any spec of color on a feather. He found a cock and a hen that each had the tiniest specs of color under the wing. He mated them together. And one of the babies was this saddle hen. I put that hen on every cock in my loft for three years, and then mated those half-brothers and sisters to each other. I was never beaten in saddles up until a bear wiped me out in the early 1990s, in Colorado. My winning was due mainly to that one pivotal hen from Ewing; her genes were everywhere in my loft.
Ron loves the National Young Bird Show. There was good competition there, lots of birds (some shows over 200), and a lot of breeders to meet and mingle with. In 1982 Ron won Louisville’s NYBS with a white. That began a long run of show champions, not only at the NYBS, but anywhere Ron showed. There were only two times Ron didn’t win champion where he showed between 1982 and 1986. In 1983 one of Garry’s saddles was champion at the 1983 Lincoln Grand National. In 1985 Ron did not show, but judged the NYBS and awarded the Champion to a white Indian bred by Butch Woods, a bird that was bred out of a pair of whites Ron had sold Butch the previous year! Again, at the NPA Grand National in Houston, January 1986, a young man of 15, Jim Abbott from Woods Cross, Utah, won champion at that show with a white OC … as he stood trembling, almost near tears with joy, accepting the trophy, he said to everyone there, “I have to give credit for this trophy to Ron Ewing (Ron was not there), he gave me this bird.” Darrold Mueller was standing in the crowd, and said out loud, and with admiration, “Goll darn it, Ewing isn’t even here and he still beats us!” Later that same year Ron again won the NYBS with a magnificent tailmark cock. That was the last time he showed his Indians as of 2006. Ron won those myriad shows with whites, tailmarks, and blacks. By this time in his life, Ewing had been showing either cattle, horses, dogs or birds for most of 37 years. He was 50 himself. Some exhibitors started grumbling a bit about Ron always winning, “what’s the use of going,” etc? In 1986 a few even asked Ron if he would quit showing for a while so someone else could win. Not so much for that reason, but it was just time…he did quit showing. But not breeding.
His show ring accomplishments during this period, gave him two Hall of Fame birds and Breeder of the Year in 1982 and 1983. His culminating award was when the IFCA recognized him as its first National-level Master Breeder. This was in 1987 just after Honorary Awards had been given the previous year to Harvey Gatlin and Dave Helm.
Ron says his fondest memories have not been winning shows but hearing from people over the years, new breeders he helped, who appreciated the top quality birds he helped them with. In the end, he noted, “the show memories mean very little, it is the friends, like Garry, Frank, Mary, Bill, Ricky, Rich, James, Darrel, Bill, Steve, Jim, Spud, Ron, Ed, Dave Helm, Dave Diehl, Stan, Gene, Joe, Harvey, Keith, Ken, Lonny, Bob, Jerry, Ted, Tim and many many others – that’s what it’s all about.”
Over the many years of actively breeding and showing, Ron sold and gave away literally hundreds of top-level birds. In many, many colors and marks. He took pride in the quality he passed around, saying his reputation was too valuable to give anything out other than what he would work with himself. Dozens and dozens of breeders improved their lofts with Ewing genetics. Dave Diehl told us that in November 1988 he brought home from a visit to Ron’s, two white self nestmates. They were still in the nest in August of that year when Rick Leimann purchased nearly all of Ron’s birds. They were spared. These two whites were to go to Walt Studte in Delaware. Walt asked him to keep them for a while, as he was trying to clear up a sickness in his loft. Dave crossed one into his saddles and used a near-white hen in his breeding program. He related that, “he even showed her as she had only one colored feather under her right wing.” So, he continued, “my saddles had a taste of Ron’s whites in them!”
Currently, 2006, Ron is breeding out of only three pair of whites, and three pair of tailmarks. He continues to breed his Indians as if to win another championship and shares this love of his birds with the love of his life, Peggy.
Bill Titter, O’Fallon, IL
Started with Indians in 1964 (died in 200_)
As Ron Ewing noted in his story, he met Bill in the late 70’s when he drove to St. Louis to meet Mary Parrott and also got to meet Bill. They developed a long and close friendship, with Ron saying of Bill “…he was one of the best pigeon breeders I ever met. Bill had some of the best recessive red and yellow Indians I had ever seen.” They exchanged birds for many years. Bill was also a mentor of Rich Sheedy.
Edward Bischel, Fresno, CA
Started with Indians in the late 60’s (?) Died in 200l(?)
Stan Luden told me in 2003 that Ed had pigeons until the day he died. He bred Archangels and Russian Tumblers as well as red self Indian Fantail. By Dave Diehl
Monty Luden, Norwalk, CA
Ralph Sisson, Panorama City, CA
Terry and Nickie Loft, Diamond Bar, CA
Eric Zwolsky, Cleveland, OH
Art W. Kehl, WI
Mike & Patty Treanor, Broken Arrow, OK & Irving, TX
Mike Cobb, TX, 1964
Sandi Augsburger, Dillon, MT
Brownie Zabela, Bell Gardens, CA
- A. “Eric” Ericson, Tujunga, CA
John Dougherty, Sylmar,CA
Bernard Tennyson, Petaluma, CA
Kathy Howard, ______________,CO
Bill Rice, Sepulveda, CA
Jerome Morkin, San Lorenzo, CA
Clarence Bacon, Olathe, KS
Joseph C. Pellettieri, Oakland, CA
First Indians in 1965
Joe is one of my long time acquaintances within the fancy but one with whom I have had little contact with in recent years. He is one of “those few” early breeders who responded to my request for information in 2002. Here is most of his interesting letter, he writes –
Checking my records, I first banded Indians the breeding season of 1966…and lastly banded them the year of 1974, a period of nine years. When Levi’s book, Encyclopedia of Pigeon Breeds, came out (1965), Diane Machado got a copy for Gene as a Christmas present. When Gene saw the ribbontails he went “bananas”. I was going to the Los Angles Pageant that November and he made me promise to get a hold of Harvey Gatlin and try to get him a pair. I collared Harvey and spoke to him about getting some birds. If you knew Harvey, with his enthusiasm to spread Indian Fantails around, he was happy to get us some birds. The outcome was he sent me three pairs and an extra hen. One pair went to Gene Machado and one pair went to Walter Faria, a Roller breeder and close friend to Gene and I. I kept the third pair and the following year we switch the hens. From then on we were on our own. After a while Walter gave up on his Indians as he had a small yard and kept about 150 Rollers.
After a year or so we learned of a fancier who was a top Jacobin breeder who also had Indians. It was 1968 and his name was Jerome Morkin. He lived in San Lorenzo, CA, only about ten minutes from my house. Walt, Gene and I visited him to see his Indian Fantails. He had some of the most beautiful colors that we had ever seen. I’m not sure of all the modifying factors his birds carried. He had the Ice pigeon factor, fade, pale and more. We all went “bonkers”, we had to get some of his birds…and we did. I believe Morkin’s original stock came from Harvey Gatlin and perhaps some others, I just don’t remember. These birds were way ahead of their time, good quality. In those days the Indians were scoop tailed with shaking necks and odd eyes. They had thin necks and many had shell crests or no crest at all. Also in those days, many Indians would bring their tail over the top of their head. Sometimes their head would poke up through their tail!
Those first Indians that we got, from Harvey Gatlin, were ash red checks, blue checks, ribbontails, shield marks, grizzle and pied. They carried recessive red and what I called a wine color, a blue bird but with something else modifying it. I raised a few with a gold or yellow fleck in their feathers, they were beautiful. I don’t see any like that anymore.
I also believe it was Jerome Morkin, perhaps someone else, who caught a scooped tailed blue bar pigeon in a warehouse. There were no blue bar Indians and by crossing it into the Indians in a few years there were blue bar Indians.
For a few years we had quite a number of people breeding Indians in this area, but as sometimes happens and with the finish of the Oakland Pigeon Club, it all ended. I hope this information will be helpful to the history of Indian Fantails. You might also contact Bob Nolan, as a boy he was at Harvey’s all the time and I’m sure he could be of help.
That was good advice! In the 2004 NPA directory Joe is listed as breeding Birmingham Rollers, American Show Racers and Tipplers.
Gene Machado, Oakland, Fresno and Merced, CA (died in 1985)
Got his first Indians in 1965 – Notes assembled by Dave Diehl
As detailed in Joe Pellettieri’s biography, Gene got his first Indian Fantails late in 1965, at the time of the Pageant of Pigeons. They came from Harvey Gatlin.
Connie Meis, CA, responded to my 2002 request with the following information about Gene. “I first met Gene in about 1953-54. He had just given up his baseball career and moved his wife and baby, Skip, back to Oakland. At that time he was breeding Rollers and was great friends with Walt Faria, the West coast Roller great. Before long, Gene had spread the Indians around to several local fanciers and had a small interest going. Gene was always a good breeder and willing to spread good birds around to new people. He and Dave Helm were the backbone of the Indian Fantail fancy in the Bay Area in the 1960s and 70s.
In some correspondence with Dave Helm in 1994, Dave confirmed what Joe Pellettieri reports in his biography. Dave tells that Gene was breeding Modenas when he first heard of him, blue gazzis. And, that he also had Rollers – this in the late 50’s or very early 60s. Gene told Dave that he also had some Ice Pigeons and that could be where the powdered/milky factor came in. Dave went on to tell that Gene’s break-through came when he got a hen of Harvey’s from Carol Hamman, Oakland, CA. It had come from a loft of Harvey’s that “no body got birds from”. Dave wrote that he had seen that special loft, “mostly white, AOC birds and most were big with power to burn”. He indicated to some other Indian Fantail breeders that he would have traded all his birds for the ones in that special loft of Harvey’s, even up! I know that by then Dave was already winning with his own birds. The story goes that this hen, mostly white, went from Harvey to Carol and then to John Perry. Finally, from John to Gene and Gene “knew what to do with it”. Dave said Gene had a powdered blue cock that he called “Big Eagle”; the bird would parade back and forth on the landing board with his wings held high. Gene had some beautiful tail marks, Helm noted. He was unsure of where that original mark came from, Harvey Gatlin or the Luden. “I always thought that the Ludens developed the showable tailmarks but Harvey had them as well,” wrote Dave Helm.
Ken Swars wrote in the spring 1992 IFCA newsletter that by 1969 Gene was a strong force to be reckoned with. He said that while Gene was best known for whites, powdered blues and tailmarks, he had many other colors and projects. He noted that his uncanny ability to pair just the right birds and his generosity to fellow breeders was legendary. Almost all of Northern California owed their success in the breed to Gene and that he received his Master Breeder Award in 1985…his death in that same year left a void impossible to fill.
Upon Gene’s death, many of his birds were stolen. Diane, Gene’s wife, was going to give the pigeons away. Ken Swars, then CA, suggested that a group of the breeders in northern California each take some birds and contribute to a fund for Diane. That was done; the group included Ken, Bruce and Carl Rodegerdts, Jim Looper, Curt Medders and Dave Helm. Each took two or more pairs. Some of Gene’s Indians also went to a friend of his who policed the canal that ran behind the Machado home.
(Following is a reprint of the biography prepared by Dave Helm for the July/August 2008 Purebred Pigeon magazine)
Remembering Gene Machado
By Dave Helm
It seems fitting at this time when the Indian Fantail is being featured, to take a moment to reflect on one of the important figures in the history of the Indian Fantail.
When I met Gene in the 1960’s he was still living in Hayward, California and was the past president of the Oakland Pigeon Club. When he moved to Fresno he became an active member of the Fresno Pigeon Club. Gene was an important force in getting the NPA to hold the Grand National in Fresno in 1976 and was superintendent of that show. And yes, he won champion at that show with a very outstanding young white cock.
Gene was very active in the all-breed clubs and was a strong supporter of the California Indian Fantail Club. For many years he was an officer in the CIFC.
Although Gene Machado was not one of the original breeders of Indians, he developed a strain of whites and powder blues that were very successful in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Later he added tailmarks, blacks and almonds to his stud. Early Indians had tended to vary in size and type, but Gene was able to establish a more uniform line of birds that were greatly admired.
Gene’s show record is well established. In this story I would like to comment on some of his personal attributes as a breeder and exhibitor. Personable, friendly, with a wonderful sense of humor – these were hallmarks of Gene’s personality. At the same time, he was the most intensely competitive person that I have ever known. Once the birds were brought up for judging, all the chitchat stopped. I had wondered about this characteristic until I learned that Gene had been a professional baseball player. He was a shortstop and for a time played with one of the Major League teams (I believe it was the Saint Louis Cardinals) and later played with a Minor League team in Arizona for a number of years. I think his intense competitiveness was cultivated during his years as a baseball player. When judging was completed and the winning birds were announced, Gene was always gracious whether he won or lost. I never heard him criticize the judging. This trait may also have come from his days in professional baseball.
Gene was such a dominant force within the Indian Fantail breed in California that it is difficult to convey the sense of loss that his sudden death brought to all. The brief information contained in an obituary notice does not tell adequately the influence that he had on the Indian Fantail and on the pigeon fancy that he loved and supported. The formal notice stated that Eugene Machado, a native of San Leandro, passed away in Merced, California on May 11, 1985, following a brief illness. He is survived by his wife Diane, son Eugene Machado Jr., and three grandchildren. He was 55 years of age. His death leaves a void among his many friends in the pigeon fraternity that will be impossible to fill.
Gene had a life-long love for and interest in pigeons, and over the years he raised many different breeds successfully, but for the last twenty years or so he had concentrated his efforts on improving and promoting the Indian Fantail. He was a tower of strength in this breed and did more single handedly to promote the Indians in Northern California than any other person. For many years Gene would give a beginning fancier a good pair of Indians free, on the condition that the person join the Indian Fantail Club. His goal was to move the Indian into the mainstream of the pigeon fancy, and he was successful in this. Gene worked very hard to put the Indian forward and he was always ready with advice or some helpful suggestion to those who asked. He was extremely generous with his birds and shared his best willingly.
Gene was a breeder and showman with an unsurpassed record with his Indians in the state. Over his show career he had won more “Champion Indian” than anybody else all up and down California. He achieved his California Indian Fantail Club Master Breeder Award accumulating the necessary one thousand points against all comers. He won Breeder of the Year and High Point Bird honors more often than anyone during his years of exhibiting.
Gene’s interest in Indians was aroused when Levi’s “Encyclopedia of Pigeon Breeds” was first published. He fell in love with the colored plates of Harvey Gatlin’s Indians and was determined to secure some of those birds. This was in 1965, and it so happened that Gene’s good friend Joe Pellettieri of Oakland was going down to the Pageant that year. Joe contacted Harvey and arrangements were made to get some birds up to the Bay Area. Harvey sent seven birds and as nearly as is known, those were the first Indian Fantails in Northern California. Joe relates that the birds were divided with one pair gong to Gene, one pair to Walt Faria, and Joe keeping one pair. The idea was for each of them to breed a couple of rounds and then to switch cock birds and breed a few more rounds. Joe cannot remember what colors all were, but he recalls from his records that four of these birds were a red check, yellow check, red check shield mark and a red check with bar in tail. Also one was wine red with a black bar. All were grouse-legged and some were crestless while others had shell or needle crests. In 1967 they were breeding ribbontails, yellow checks, red and yellow mottles and whites. This was how Gene began in Indians and how his stud was started according to Joe Pellettieri’s records. We thank Joe for the use of this photo of Gene taken back in 1973.
By 1969 Gene had branched out and was breeding lavenders, silver bars, and he even had blue bar saddles. Gene got some of these then rare colors from Jerome Morkin and especially significant was the introduction of the power blue (milky factor), which became a standout color in Gene’s loft. The red and yellow birds as well as the saddles were apparently phased out in the early 70’s and Gene concentrated mostly on whites, blues and powder blues. There were two significant additions to Gene’s loft sometime during this period. Hans and Carol Hamman had visited Harvey Gatlin and brought back at least one bird or possibly a pair. Gene acquired this stock or offspring of these birds either from the Hammans or from a third party. The addition of this new blood put more size and power into Gene’s line. In fact, he called one particularly large cock “Big Eagle” and carefully fostered the size and power that he got from him. The second important acquisition for Gene was a bird that he got from Harvey Gatlin on one of Gene’s visits to Harvey. It was a small very young tailmark hen that Harvey gave to Gene, and Gene’s whole line of tailmarks was based on this bird crossed into other stock.
Gene was best known for his whites, powder blues, and tailmarks, but he worked with other colors also. He developed a line of dilute powder blues (silver) that were very beautiful, showing a lot of gold on the breast and neck, somewhat similar to the color seen on a Goldkrogen. When Conrad Meis developed the first Almond Indians in Northern California using Almond Chinese Owls as a base, Gene became interested and took up this color. Within three years he had improved the type and increased the size of these birds to the point where he won Reserve Indian at the San Jose Grand National with an Almond cock. Even Gene was surprised that the Almonds were among the largest birds in his loft. Another color that Gene worked with was Black. Werner Schmidt, Navato, imported the first black Indians from Hong Kong. Then Ron Bordi of San Leandro crossed Oriental Frills to Indians and threw some jet-black youngsters. Gene took one of these birds and put it to a black from Werner. Working back and forth Gene developed some very fine blacks that had good large muffs, a characteristic that the original birds had lacked. Gene’s last project was to develop recessive red and yellow Indians. His untimely death ended this project, but had he lived, Gene would have had these colors before too long.
This account does not show adequately the truly wide-ranging scope of Gene’s work with Indian Fantail. He had great skill as a breeder and an almost uncanny ability of knowing just how to pair the birds together to get the best results.
The Indian Fantail lofts in Northern California are almost without exception built from a foundation of Machado birds. We owe whatever success we have had to the breeding skill developed by Gene, and to the fact that he shared his birds with fellow fanciers.
It may not be quite as well known that his birds have went farther a field than Northern California. The white cock that won the Ohio Grand National in 1977was bred by Gene and sold to Bill Rice, who disposed of it at the show. When Eric Zwolsky came out to judge the Fresno National in 1976 he took Machado birds back to Ohio with him. Texas, too, got a fair number of Gene’s stock. However, the numbers involved here were not great. A larger number of birds were dispersed in the early 70’s when Gene and a few others that were breeding mostly Machado stock disposed of their surplus birds to someone and these were subsequently shipped all over the country. The total number of birds involved was somewhere between 400 to 500, so a number of people all over the country received Machado birds, even if they were not aware of it. The impact that Gene had on the Indian Fantail breed therefore goes far beyond the local level of Northern California.
Gene was a skilled breeder, a good loft manager and a keen competitor. Last but not least, he was enthusiastic and always fun to be with. The Indian fancy lost a great friend with his passing in 1985.
Stan Luden, Hemet, CA
I have been breeding Indian Fantails since 1966
Attention Stan -These are just some notes I’ve picked up here and there and I’ve reproduced copy from your web site along with your note of 5/4/07. Please review, correct and expand this incomplete biography and provide Harvey Addengast with copy, as you would like it to read for our history.
I have been bestowed the Master Breeder award by the California Indian Fantail Club and am a Certified Judge of the Indian Fantail Club of America. I began showing my Indians in 1968 and have participated in every Pageant of Pigeons since then. I have been instrumental in the introduction of the Andalusian and many other colors and marks in the Indians. In 1982 I began work on the barless blue and in 1993 I started on the barless and barred brown. My browns have been shown at the Pageant of Pigeons and at the Grand National held in Milwaukee, WI in January 2000.
In my desire to improve the color and mark in the Indian Fantail I have given away many more birds than I have ever sold. This year alone I have given over 50 birds to other fanciers to help them improve on their color projects. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my hobby but I am neither looking for platitudes or gratitude. My desire is to continue adding new colors and marks into the beautiful pigeon we know as the Indian Fantail.
Colors that I am now breeding include black, tailmarks in blue and black, blue bar, blue barless and blue check. Also, brown bar and brown barless, bodymark in black and indigo, reduced in blue bar along with blue saddles and brown saddles (project). I also working to improve harder feather and wider feather width on whites.
Best regards to all my pigeon friends and those friends still to be made!
Ken Swars, then of Hayward, CA, in the Spring 1992 IFCA newsletter, wrote that Stan was the first ever to obtain 1000 points enabling him to receive the Master Breeder award from the IFCA in 1981, when the awards program was just getting underway.
Dave Helm has indicated that he believed that Stan developed whiteside, almond and recessive red – not listed above. Apparently Conrad Meis and Stan Luden worked on almonds at about the same time, independently. Conrad and Stan are from the same home town, __________________________.
Stan first sold birds to Mike and Patty Treanor of Texas in 1972. They were all tailmarks. He sold them birds off and on until the late 1980s and gave Mike the first indigo back in 1976.
I first heard from Eric Zwolsky, OH, in 1973 after he bought the champion at the NYBS in Louisville. I had sent a young cock and hen to the show to help Mary Parrott, MO, in her effort to get more good Indians into the Midwest and East. I believe it was in 1974 that Eric showed up on my doorstep. He wanted to buy all of my blue checks and black selfs. I said “no”. He went to Gene Machado’s and tried to buy all of Gene’s white selfs. It was at that time that Gene got Eric to come back to California in January of 1976 and judge the Indians at the Fresno Grand National. Bill Rice, CA, later won back East with birds that Gene sold Bill at that Fresno show. Eric then got birds from Bill and they all ended up with Frank German and Rick Leimann in Ohio when Eric got out of Indian Fantails.
I’ve shipped birds to Australia two different times, four times to England (Mal Watts), two times to the Netherlands where I won champion and reserve at their national show. I also shipped to France, Spain Portugal, South Africa, Hawaii, Guam and Japan.
Conrad Meis, ____________, CA
First Indians in ______
I reminded Connie that his name appeared on the IFCA membership lists from 1976 almost continually through 1985. I visited his loft once in the 70s when he lived in the Bay Area. At that time he did have Indians in his loft along with some other breeds. Connie responded as follows:
My personal involvement in Indians was minimal. I think that my name on the membership lists must have come from some kind of honorary membership or something. I was doing a lot of juding of Indians at about that time and someone paid my dues. I was on the approved Indian Fantail judges list and then they made the requirement that the judges must be a club member. Please feel free to use any part of the little history of my almonds that was in the Almond issue of the Pigeon Debut ( NEEDS TO BE ADDED HERE)
Darrold Mueller, Bessie, OK
Indian Fantail Recollections and Reflections
By Dave Helm, Sierra Madre, CA
Submitted July 2009 – First Indians in 1967
As the title suggests, this is a narrative of the time I spent breeding the Indian Fantail. My first Indian Fantails were actually a gift from Gene Machado to my two young daughters. This pair consisted of an ash red T-pattern cock and a blue T-pattern hen. As happens sometimes, my young daughters lost interest in the Indians and I took them over.
At this time in 1967 our family was living in Walnut Creek, California and the birds were housed in six-by-eight wood-floored shed-roofed portable lofts in our back yard. Later, when we moved to St. Helena, California, I was able to build a larger permanent loft, but I took the portable lofts with me as well.
The pair from Gene bred well and produced some nice young, but I had always liked the saddle mark and wanted to breed saddle Indians. I purchased three saddles, a pair and an extra hen. These were very clearly marked but were small and too high in front. What I wanted were saddles that looked more like the large powerful whites that Gene was breeding. To do this I knew I needed to make an outcross and so bought a very large strong almost white A.O.C. cock from Gene and paired him to my best saddle hen. This pair produced a lot of mismarks, a few nice whites and one well marked saddle cock that was as large and powerful as his father. This bird was champion at three shows until it dawned on me that he was much more valuable to me in the breeding pen. So I brought him home and he became the foundation of my saddles. The whites from this cross bred true and that established this color in my loft. A black tail marked hen bought from Gene crossed to one of my large A.O.C. cocks gave me tail marks in blues and blacks.
I mention the above because the Indian was gaining popularity in the early 1970’s and more were being shown. But there was still quite a variation in size and type. Therefore, I felt that if I wanted a certain “look” in all my Indians I would have to work on it myself. The aim was type and size first, then color and mark. I had learned that if not watched for, the Indian had a tendency to get smaller. So size was the priority along with type.
The following is another example of how I added new colors and marks to my stud. One year I noticed a young red saddle hen that had a shoeing feather, the last outer tail feather that was a rich red with a white band in it. She was a nice bird, so I set her aside. That fall at the Fresno show, Gene had an almost solid red cock bird that had only a few white feathers around his head and muffs, and he had a solid rich red tail. Gene told me the bird was Gatlin bred and that Harvey said it carried the red form of Lebanon bronze, recessive red, and was split for dilute. I bought this bird for ten dollars and took it home and paired it to the red saddle with the one red tail feather. They produced a lot of mismarks, but with selection I was able eventually to breed ribbon tails in both red and yellow. The bonus was that the yellow mismarks bred back into my saddles gave me some nice recessive yellow saddles.
For anyone starting in a breed of pigeons it is recommended that you buy the best birds you can afford from an experienced breeder. This is still solid advice, but I had wanted to see what I could do with birds that were not champion quality and ones that the owners had for sale at the shows. So I took this approach which involved a lot of time, a lot of patience and an incredible amount of luck and some skill, but eventually I was able to breed some fairly descent Indians.
During the time I was breeding Indians, the larger pigeon shows in California were the Pageant of Pigeons in southern California, the Fresno Pigeon Club Show, the Santa Clara Valley Pigeon Show in San Jose, and the Sacramento Pigeon Club Show. I exhibited at all these shows and was fortunate to win champion at the Pageant on a white young cock. Over the years I won champion at the other shows also. It was always gratifying to win with a saddle. But I never won champion with a ribbontail. Mine were just not good enough and Werner Schmidt had such beautiful red ribbontails that he was almost impossible to beat.
Prior to my having Indians I was a member of the Santa Clara Valley Pigeon Club for many years and served on the Board of Directors. Shortly after I joined the club, Conrad Meis also joined. This was a real bonus for me because Connie and I were, I believe the only two members who bred both fancy pigeons and exhibition chickens. Connie was not an Indian Fantail breeder, but he did create the almond Indian. The odd coincidence was that at the same time, Stan Luden was working on the same project. I am not certain, but I believe that Stan used almond long faced English Tumblers for his cross while Connie used almond Chinese Owls. Which of them exhibited the first almond Indian Fantail I do not know, but the almonds were a nice addition to the Indian.
By 1984 I had accumulated the necessary 1000 points and was awarded my California Master Breeders Certificate. By coincidence Stan Luden had done the same, and so we both became Master Breeders that year. This was a gratifying accomplishment after years of working with the breed.
When I began to breed Indians I joined both the Indian Fantail Club of America and the California Indian Fantail Club. I served as District One Director of the I.F.C.A. from 1979 through 1982 when we had only three directors. During that period and later I wrote many articles for the bulletin. I did much the same thing for the C.I.F.C. and was editor of that club’s newsletter from July of 1978 through December of 1981. Much of that time was with assistance from Malcolm Fife. For clubs such as the I.F.C.A. where the membership is spread across the whole country, the bulletin becomes sort of the glue that holds things together and keeps the membership in touch. That is why the bulletin is important. In my experience I found that most of the membership enjoyed receiving the bulletin but few actually contributed articles. My guess is that this would be the lament of all bulletin editors everywhere.
I remember during this time appreciating articles that Tony Brancato wrote for the (former) American Pigeon Journal. I think he titled his column “Indian Fantails, News & Views” and it was the first thing I read when the magazine arrived each month. I am sure that I am not the only one who enjoyed Tony’s articles. It is this kind of effort that is so helpful to a club.
As most breeders know if you show your birds you will get calls from people who want to see them. I will relate two such events. After the Alameda show I received a call from a Dr. Pham who asked if he could visit my lofts. When he arrived he was delighted and told me that he had not seen birds like that since he was a young boy growing up in Thailand. He picked out a pair of whites and took them home with him.
On another day around the same time, I got a call from a man who asked if he could bring his sons to see the birds. When they arrived they too liked the Indians and each of the boys bought some birds. But it turned out that the father was the one who became really interested and on a subsequent visit, he bought a pair of saddles. This is how I met Dave Diehl and we have been friends now for over 30 years – a friendship that would not have taken place were it not for the Indians.
In 1978 Mary Parrott was the president of the I.F.C.A. and Richard Hunderfund was president of the C.I.F.C. or California Indian Fantail Club. They decided that the Indian standard needed a revision and that it would be good to have it done jointly by the two clubs. Therefore they wanted the committee to be made up of people who were members of both clubs. They appointed Bill Babb, Tony Brancato and myself to the committee and asked me to chair it.
The committee worked well together and we solicited input from as many people from both clubs as we could. One member who was particularly helpful was Dave Diehl. He had worked for the National Holstein Association and was familiar with standards. His familiarity and past experience developing concise descriptions for a breed were very useful to the committee as we worked on the Indian Fantail revision.
As we neared the final draft the committee ran into a concern. Bill Babb wanted a much smaller bird, 10 to 12 ounces, whereas many members followed Harvey Gatlin’s view of “the larger the better”. The committee finally settled on a medium size bird, with Bill dissenting. Tony and I prepared the final draft of the revision and it was presented to the membership for their vote. The members voted to approve the revision, and the I.F.C.A and the C.I.F. C. had a uniform standard for both clubs.
One morning in the late summer of 1987 I was doing my usual morning feeding and eventually got back to the last two pens in the yard. There I noticed that birds were missing from both pens. I finished feeding and got my loft register and sure enough there were a total of 18 birds missing. However, since it was late summer I had separated the birds and those pens held only cock birds, mostly saddles. So in an ironic sort of way the joke was on the person who stole them. Little did I realize how much nerve the individual had because two nights later 20 hens were stolen from the hen pens.
Our home was located on a small acreage in a semi-rural area and was somewhat isolated. I did not travel much but was away overnight at times and my wife did not like the idea of being alone when someone might be creeping around out there in the dark. Since the Indians were the attractions (none of my other pigeons or chickens having been stolen) I disposed of all the Indians and that ended my time breeding Indian Fantails.
Looking back after 30 years to the time I spent breeding Indians, I find that it was a positive and enriching experience. I met some very nice people who were dedicated and knowledgeable about the breed, and I am grateful for the friendships that continue to this day. Showing the birds and winning was satisfying, but I have come to the conclusion that in the end it was not the most important thing. Being a member of the pigeon fraternity and participating in the various activities related to our hobby was the most significant thing.
One activity in particular that I found very satisfying and enjoyable was working with others on the revision of the standard. My involvement in this was time well spent and I believe those of us on the committee made an important contribution to the Indian breed. Many years have passed since then, and I am very aware that the Indian has improved and moved beyond the existing standard, thus a revision is necessary. But I also feel that the standard having been in place for so long has allowed the breed to progress to its present state.
In closing I would say that the time devoted to breeding and showing the Indian Fantail made for a tremendously rewarding and worthwhile experience. I appreciated the many hours spent with other breeders of Indians and to this day am grateful for the friendships cultivated over the years.
Tim Kvidera, Minnesota
Started in Indian Fantails 1968
Submitted March 2009
As a ten year old, my introduction to pigeon keeping occurred while visiting a cousin on a family trip. Mike had some pigeons that he had captured from various area barns and had them kept in a portion of my uncle’s garage. He even had them trained to fly and return to the garage. When I expressed an interest in them a different uncle came buy one day with a couple 3 – 4 week old squabs that he pulled from a barn and gave the two gaily splashed birds to Mike and me. Mike agreed to keep my bird until our next trip out to South Dakota and I had a chance to build accommodations for the bird. After getting parental approval, about a month or so later I had an apple crate based cage ready at the back of our house in St. Paul, MN and we were on our next trip to Big Stone City. Alas, upon arriving at Mike’s place I was told that he had lost both of the young birds. BUT, he would gladly give me a bishoped blue check (all terms I would come to learn later which neither of us knew then) to take home if I still was interested in pigeons. I was a bit disappointed in the more bland looking bird than the brightly splashed original, but took him up on the offer, the summer of 1958, and have had pigeons ever since.
I fed and watered the bird daily and discovered a few other kids in the neighborhood also had pigeons. After demonstrating that I could dependably care for the single bird, one night at supper my dad asked if I was seriously interested in raising pigeons. When I said yes, he mentioned that there was a guy in his office who raised pigeons and that Bob would be willing to give me, and my down the block friend Rayme, a couple pairs of Rollers. Bob Clark was a big time Roller flyer who had just received a foundation shipment of Pensom Rollers and was getting rid of all the other Birmingham Rollers that he had been breeding for years. What a treat it was to be able to walk into Bob’s loft and have our choice of four birds each. Rayme had a few racing Homers, but these were my first banded, purebred pigeons.
Bob also filled us in on the local pigeon club, the Minnesota State Pigeon Association, which held its monthly meetings only a couple miles from our house. And then there was the pigeon show at the Minnesota State Fair, a mile and a half walk to see 1,200 birds in dozens of different varieties. We would go each of the four days and volunteer to feed, water and steward birds for the judges and even showed. Won champion young Flying Roller in 1959, but did not get the trophy as I had not joined the club yet. Have been a member ever since though.
Caught my first Flying Tippler on a rooftop of a neighborhood house one night in 1959, a banded 1958 bird that I had until a cat got in the loft and killed him while he was protecting his babies in 1974. Been active in competitively endurance flying Tipplers ever since, earning many diplomas and occasionally holding some FTA records. Over three decades of holding offices in the Flying Tippler Association ended a couple years ago with the dissolution of the FTA. I now compete with the CNTU.
During my pre-teen and early teen years I tried many different breeds, but by 1963 I decided that I wanted to get into a fancy breed with stiff competition and good people. That is when I got rid of everything but my Flying Tipplers and Pheasant Pigeons and started in Fantails. I have tended to concentrate mostly on non-traditional colors in Fantails with many decades in reds, yellows and almonds to which brown has been added 15 years ago. I actively compete in many club annual Fantail meets and have been on and/or chaired many committees for the Central Fantail Club – Awards, Constitution, Show Standard, Walking Surface, etc.
As we were courting I would often bring Lynn along to various pigeon shows. She decided that she wanted something to show while I was busy with my Fantails and she chose Indian Fantails in 1968. There were a few Indian Fantails around the Midwest then, not a lot to choose from and I only had room for a couple pair in the small 8 x 10 loft in my parent’s backyard. We found an unbanded red check in the sales area of one of the shows and later obtained a young white “cock” from Dennis Bickel of Waseca, Minnesota. Contrary to Dennis’s feeling on the gender, my thoughts were confirmed when the white laid eggs and Lynn became an Indian Fantail breeder.
Uncle Sam “invited” me to play soldier in 1970. After completing basic training and being assigned to Fort Campbell, KY Lynn and I rented half a duplex in Hopkinsville and lived off post. We attended some of the local pigeon shows when we could to satisfy my pigeon fix while we tried to continue breeding the Fans, Indians and Tipplers from 750 miles away, after hiring a younger brother to care for the birds in our absence. We met Floyd Ashby at one of those shows and would occasionally drive to Sacramento, Kentucky to visit him and look at his birds. Think we may have even brought one of the Minnesota Indian Fantails down to him on one of our trips.
After discharge from the army in 1972 I took a position using my chemistry degree in the personal care industry – shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, etc. – and Lynn and I found an acre in Ham Lake, mailing address Anoka, to make our home. The loft was trailered from my parent’s place and the Indians were shifted to a portion of the garage to allow them to expand some. Lynn joined the IFCA shortly thereafter, not sure when I officially became a member, but not much after that.
After a few years of keeping the birds in the small loft and garage the dreams and sketches I had made while in Kentucky started to take shape in the form of what we named Tip – In – Tail Loft which provided the birds much more room and the fancier more creature comforts. The loft is 16’ x 24’ and two stories high with a 10’ x 12’ walk out deck on the second floor. Nine different community loft sections and 24+ individual breeding cages for the scientific work. In 2001, upon taking a job with a different firm, house movers brought the loft 50 miles south to Prior Lake. Was quite a trip through the night with 400 birds inside the loft being pulled right down main street, over the rivers, up and down hills, etc.
Eventually Lynn decided to turn her energies more toward raising our family than the birds and withdrew from active participation in the Indian Fantails in the early 1980’s. Since we had created our blues and almonds from scratch I decided to keep those and parted with the various other colors that Lynn had in her flock in order to concentrate on them. A yellow was crossed in to make silvers out of the blues and I have been working with barless also for many years. A silver hen stock bird from James Anderson crossed onto my silver line resulted in a huge tailed silver cock dubbed “Norm” by Harvey Addengast. Norm was champion Indian Fantail at the 1999 Milwaukee NPA Grand National.
In the 1970’s through late 1990’s I did quite a bit of business travel. When possible I would try to spend nights visiting pigeon fanciers in the area rather than watch TV in the motel room. I was fortunate enough to use these trips, and judging assignments from coast to coast and in-between, to see many Indian Fantail breeders like Addengast, Anderson, Barnhart, Champion, Clayton, Ewing, German, Glissmeyer (while in KC), Larson, the Liemanns, the Ludens, Lynch, McCoy, Mueller, Schmidt, Skiles, Swars, the Wamhoffs. For years the Central Fantail Club annual meet was held in Omaha and I used that opportunity to utilize Janice’s Bed & Breakfast on the way to the Fantail meet and spent many enjoyable hours looking at Indian Fantails and solving the world’s problems with Ted Golka, while consistently bringing winter weather to their area.
My organizational activities with the IFCA have included three stints as vice president; 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 1992 and 1997 – 2008. The latter being while teamed up with president Ted Golka. I was included in the inaugural class of certified judges when the program was launched and had the honor of being the first IFCA Master Judge, am recognized by the National Pigeon Association as a Certified Judge of Indian Fantails as well as Archangels and have judged many regional and national Fantail meets. Participating on many IFCA working committees has always been a pleasure. It was a bit disappointing though when the efforts put in with Dave Diehl and Bill Larson on the Show Standard Committee, using the input from the membership, did not result in ratification. Apparently a relative definition of the parts defining overall balance was too progressive.
In addition to the above I have had a very strong interest in pigeon genetics ever since high school when I worked in a reference library and had access to all the published information on pigeon genetics from the early 1900’s on – when the professionals were using pigeons, before they went to mice, then fruit flies, and now bacteria and recombinant DNA analysis. This interest has me working numerous different projects in the loft, using any breed as part of my palette needed to get what I am after. Many of the birds in the loft would qualify to be, as W. F. Hollander would have termed them – “hybrid American Genetic Stock.” There is also a large colony of rare colored Racing Homers in the loft with a few pair of gold blackwing Archangels, copper Show Tipplers and Pheasant Pigeons.
Beyond my interests in pigeons I enjoy our family activities. Being the oldest of nine, with all but one living in the area, it is easy to have a huge crowd for any family activity on the Kvidera side. Lynn comes from five, all of which are in the area and plenty of extended family around too. We do an annual Fourth of July picnic at our place that brings in over 50 of the in-laws. Son Aaron has blessed us with 4 fantastic grandkids. Daughter Sara is most of the way to her PhD in psychology (think she is devoting her life to trying to figure out her dad) and is getting married the summer of 2009.
Lynn and I both like gardening and yard work. She is the “green thumb” and does the flowers; I am the strong back/weak mind type who does the veggies. Having an organic fertilizer factory helps the plantings do well everywhere. Lynn trains and competes with her Shelties in agility trials.
I also enjoy fishing, but now that we live nearer some great lakes rarely get out as often as I would like. I play competitive volleyball year ‘round a couple nights a week to keep from atrophying into “old age.” As long as I can keep up with most those half my age I guess I am doing ok.