/ by /   Travel / 1 comments





By Dave Diehl

Last update, August 29, 2009

5 pages


The founders of a national organization to sponsor the Indian Fantail are Harvey Gatlin and Tony Brancato. Tony saw his first Indian Fantail like pigeons at a dealer’s in the mid-fifties while living in Connecticut. That was his beginning. He moved to California in 1962 bringing his birds with him. He was already well acquainted with Harvey Gatlin through correspondence. Harvey had obtained his first Indians from a breeder in Oklahoma. Soon after getting settled in California, Tony and Harvey discussed forming a “paper club” to sponsor the breed. Harvey suggested calling it “American Indian Fantail Club”. Tony recommended “Indian Fantail Club of America”, not wanting the breed to be considered a Native American breed.


Stan Luden says he was told that at a meeting of early breeders present at the Pageant of Pigeons the idea of a club was also discussed. The Indian Fantail Club of America was formed by late 1963.  Harvey Gatlin was president, Tony Branato, vice president and Bill Babb, secretary-treasurer. All these men lived in southern California. Harvey and Bill have passed on. Stan currently lives in Hemet and Tony in Cherry Valley.


Bob Nolan, CA, in the Purebred Pigeon English Trumpeter breed feature, in his article, The 50 Year History of the Western American Trumpeter Club, wrote, “By 1957 Harvey Gatlin was organizing a group of juniors into an English Trumpeter Club.”  He continued, “ by 1960 those young men were in their early twenties and capable of running a club by themselves following the guidelines Gatlin had set down.  It was a crucial period for by the time Gatlin left the breed they were ready.” These dates fit with Harvey Gatlin being instrumental in organizing the Indian Fantail Club of America by1963.


These original club officers served through the 1960’s and up until early 1974.  In the February 28, 1974 IFCA Bulletin it was reported that Terry Loft, Diamond Bar, CA, was the “newly elected” club president.  In that same bulletin he thanked the “outgoing IFCA officers and appointees for their service and aid.”  The names noted were Harvey Gatlin, Tony Brancato, Terry’s wife, Nickie and Brownie Zabella.  Officers included on the masthead of that bulletin were John Dougherty, Sylmar, CA, vice president and Nickie Loft, Diamond Bar, CA, secretary-treasurer. I have been unable to contact the Lofts or Mr. Zabella for further, more detailed information. This same bulletin did however, included winners of the November 1973 Pageant of Pigeons and notes on a meeting held at that time.  It was reported: “A special award of recognition was presented to the out-going president, Harvey Gatlin, presented by members of the Southern California Indian Fantail Club.” It went on to note that, “Tony Brancato showed pictures of Indian Fantails taken in India which we all enjoyed seeing.  Tony told us that his monthly column in the American Pigeon Journal would begin in December.”


It appears Harvey and Tony have been our longest running president and vice president (or secretary-treasurer), 1963 to 1974. That held true until Ted Golka and Tim Kvidera first accepted those positions in 1997 and held them through 2008. My hat is off to them for their willingness to serve and for the exemplary jobs they did. It is appropriate here to also call attention to Mary Parrott, Fenton, Missouri. Mary began by serving as the IFCA vice-president in 1977-78 and went on to service two terms as president, 1979-82. She was the first club president to come from outside California and her outstanding leadership led to many improvements for the club. I refer you to chapter four on the Evolution of the Standard for more information on Mary’s role within the IFCA.


Membership dues in the IFCA went from $2.00 per year, established when the club first organized, to $3.00 after June 1, 1974.  The membership report for the year 1973 totaled 119.  There had been 54 new members during the year; of the total, 53 lived within CA and the other 66 were spread throughout 24 other states. From a national club standpoint, continually since it’s beginning, there has been only one organization, the Indian Fantail Club of America.


A California Indian Fantail Club and a Southern California Indian Fantail Club both were formed within the 1960’s. Both of these clubs are active today. In an email note from Stan Luden in 2003, he indicated that the SCIFC was changed to the CIFC in 1969. It is possible that Stan really meant that to be the other way around.  Which came first I have been unable to verify. I understand that Harvey Gatlin’s affiliation was with the CIFC that supported breeding a larger Indian Fantail.


The California Indian Fantail Club appears to have been organized by1966.  A copy of the constitution printed in the June 1976 CIFC Newsletter, by editor Dan Hammond, used as an example for membership, “from January 1, 1966…” That would seem to indicate the club was organized by at least that year.  In 1974 the officers were Gene Machado , president, Dave Helm, northern director, Tony Brancato, central director and Bill Babb, southern director.  At that time the club already had in place programs for a Hall of Fame Bird, Master Breeder, Breeder of the Year and Member of the Year. This last recognition to be nominated from the club and voted upon by club members. I joined the IFCA and the CIFC in 1974. Records in my files do not extend earlier. Another area in which the CIFC and the IFCA were and are a like is the Standard. In fact, as you will learn in chapter four on the IFCA Standard, revisions made in the early 1980’s were done by the two clubs working in tandem.


The Southern California Indian Fantail Club was apparently organized sometime in the 60’s. As noted earlier, it was the SCIFC that in 1974 presented Harvey Gatlin with that special recognition as outgoing IFCA president according to the IFCA newsletter. It should be noted here but will be expanded upon in chapter four regarding the Standard for the IFCA, that historically the SCIFC has maintained its own Standard and drawing.


From the May 1982 Pigeon Review magazine we have this story submitted by Bill Larson –


The Rebirth Of An Old Club


Indian Fantail fanciers of the Southern California area have started up an old club. The club is the Southern California Indian Fantail Club.

Leading the list of fanciers is Stan Luden, the only Master Breeder of Indian Fantails in the United States, having attained over 1000 points needed for the award. The club will still use the Master Breeder program. Other fanciers involved in starting the club is Monty Luden, Stan’s brother, Ralph Sisson, Norm Benson, Bill Babb, Bob Farley, John Lindley, Bob and Shirley Miller, Bayani Banaag and Bill Larson. These are the Charter Members.

Our first meeting was held March 21, 1982 at Stan Luden’s house. Elections were held. Stan Luden was elected president, Bill Babb, vice president, Bill Larson, secretary/treasurer. Board of Directors was: Ralph Sisson, Monty Luden, Norm Benson and Bayani Banaag.

We will have young birds shows with the Los Angles Pigeon Club and the Southwest Pigeon Club. Our big show of the year will be at the Pageant of Pigeons.

The Southern California Indian Fantail club is on the scene! Dues: $3.00, Juniors: $1.50


It is my understanding that some southern Californian Indian Fantail breeders were unhappy with parts of the revised Standard as adopted by the IFCA in June 1980 and that this may have been the reason for a “rebirth of an old club.” The club has maintained a separate Standard and drawing. There is additional information carried in chapter four of the history, The Evolution of the Standard.


Through the years there have been other Indian Fantail clubs come and go. In the 1980’s there was an active regional organization named Mid States Indian Fantail Club. A March 1988 newsletter published by this club lists Rick Leimann of Ohio as president and Pat German of Ohio as secretary-treasurer. Other officers came from Texas and Missouri. Newsletter editor, Frank German, indicated there was a total of 71 members at that time, representing Colorado, Illinois, California and Canada. “Mid States” had apparently grown beyond its organizer’s dreams. Just when the club was first formed, how long it lasted and who the founders were are all things I wish I could report.


This comes from the December 1980 IFCA Newsletter, an open letter from Bob Davis, Saginaw, TX. He had talked to Mike Treanor, also from north Texas, and Mike had asked him to pass on information about a new club, the North Texas Indian Fantail Club. It was an offshoot of the Metroplex Fancy Pigeon Club, which had disbanded in September 1980. The new club was planning its first show to be held in conjunction with the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show (held each February in Fort Worth). Doc Lynch, DVM and well know Fantail breeder in the area, had agreed to judge. The club already had 28 members. In the Spring 1981 IFCA Bulletin, as editor, I reported attending that show and entering four birds. There were 77 Indians entered. With that trip I had the opportunity to meet Bob Davis and Mike and Patsy Treanor. I believe this club continued with a big number of Indian Fantail breeders but that it became a part of the Texas State Pigeon Association which has always been centered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It is an all variety club.


The summer 1982 issue of the IFCA Bulletin carried a report by Teresa Harris, Georgia, about the Tri-State Indian Fantail Club. It was to host a show in Greenville, North Carolina. This club was developed for Indian Fantail fanciers in Georgia and North and South Carolina. Teresa and her husband Spike were prominent leaders. I’m sorry that my records do not reveal more details about “Tri-State”. Such organizations filled special needs at the time and usually added to the growth of the IFCA as well.


Back to the Indian Fantail Club of America, the Constitution and By-Laws have been revised to create more district directors as a means for broader representation.  First there were two directors, one in the west and one in the east.  Then there were three and in 1982 the club adopted the present six districts.  The appointed position of publicity director had already been established along with an editor.  More recently an historian and web (site) master have been included.  The breakout of states making up our six districts is as follows:







Elections are held every two years in the IFCA, taking office at the beginning of each uneven numbered year.

As a side note and in looking back it seems apparent that a one, two year term is to short a time to serve as president. I was one of those and by the time you get committees and goals in place the two years in the life of a hobby club does not allow much time for accomplishments. Perhaps a more productive, stabilizing plan would be for a president and the vice president to be elected for four year terms while the other officers and directors elected for two and the directors staggered so as never to have a completely new set in any given year.


Membership in the IFCA through the years runs about 150-175.  Gone is the original predominance of California members. The 2007 published membership count was 138 with the following district representation: District One – 5, District Two – 25, District Three – 40, District Four – 24, District Five – 25, District Six – 14.  Included were 4 members representing England, Canada and The Netherlands.


Earlier I mentioned that the California Indian Fantail breeders established programs for recognizing both birds and people.  This laid the groundwork for the recognition programs enjoyed by members of the IFCA today. With committee chairman Garry Glissmeyer, CO directing the work, programs were refined. Beginning in the early 1980’s, the computer has been employed to keep detailed records on the winners at our certified shows. It has enabled us to recognize the birds that are winning as judged by our stable of 21 IFCA certified judges located throughout the country, as well as the people breeding them. Ted Golka and his wife Janice have been maintaining those computer records for some years.


While this is a history of things in the United States, it seems appropriate to include what little we know regarding Indian Fantail clubs outside the United States. According to Dan Wilson, Ontario, Canada, in 1986 Indian Fantails could not be found in Canada “except for the kind snakes were eating.” His wife did raise some young from that type and entered them in a fall fair.  She had champion pigeon of the show! He reports that their phone rang off the line with people wanting to buy some Indians.  He jotted down phone numbers, as there was an explosion of real interest. Dan came across a guy by the name of Dourne Wilson (no relation). He reportedly had a trailer and drove all over the U.S.A. buying birds from all the top breeders. NoteI refer once again to that Mid States Indian Fantail Club newsletter of March 1988. Listed in it as one of the new members was Dorne Jonathan Wilson, Downsview, Ontario, Canada. When Dan met him he had over 300 quality Indians in every colour. Dan purchased over 100 birds from him and started phoning all the people that had wanted to buy Indians. He wrote that he sold them very cheap and gave some away on the condition that they join a new club. Dan, his wife and a guy named Ron formed the Canadian Indian Fantail Club on March 16, 1987. He and his wife served as president, secretary, bulletin editor, treasurer, show chairman and even judges, until they got recruits many years later. He concludes that it was a lot of work but a lot of fun and “we made many new friends, it was all worthwhile.” Today, we understand that Indians are found all across Canada.



In Great Britain Ainsley Gittins tells it this way. It all began on October 22, 1988; “Mal Watts and I were talking on the phone and agreed that it would be good to have our own breed club.” At the same time Mal noted that back in 1977 when he decided to have a go at perfecting British Indian Fantails the response was negative. He wrote that it was due to his American friends and their enthusiasm to readily share their knowledge that he was able to get going. Anyway, Ainsley and Mal decided that they should ask a few other fanciers what they though about a club.  After getting agreement from June and Lincoln Gee, Vic Sylvester, Colin Bassham, Larry Taylor and Ken and Gill Shaw it became apparent that there was support.  The next step was to seek permission from the Variety Pigeon Club. It had “catered the breed” until then. Approval was granted to proceed toward organizing a club. A meeting was arranged to be held at the Doncaster (national) Show on December 5, 1988. There was a blow to plans when Mal Watts became ill and could not attend that meeting. He did continue however, to give his support in other ways. The British Indian Fantail Club was formed. The first president was Joe Roper. He did a lot in getting the BIFC started by working with the NPA in Great Britain. We are uncertain as to just how long Joe served. The next president was Mal Watts. Mal reported in late 1989, during the first year, secretary Ainsley Gittins “worked his buff off” in behalf of the club. Secretary Ainsley proudly reported 94 members. They included the founders listed earlier and many others, one of whom was Simon Shaw, known to some of our U.S. breeders, along with members in America, Holland and the Channel Isle. The report went on to note that they would shortly have members in France and Germany. The BIFC was on its way! Mal Watts pioneered the breed and the club in Great Britain. He has served as president continually since the early years of the club’s founding.


Jan Marcelis of The Netherlands is one of the active breeders in that country. No doubt there are other clubs in other countries that I do not have information about. I understand there is a club in France that publishes a very informative newsletter. While the breed from an organizational standpoint is much younger than many, its popularity on a world basis has expanded greatly in recent years. Could it be time for an International Indian Fantail Club?



One Response

  1. Cassius
    February 4, 2015

    I didn’t fall. The floor just needed a hug.

Leave a Reply