By Ski Grabanski

I received a call early last week from a fellow club member, Anthony Williams. He was a little down because he has not been able to break the ice and get his first win. He explained to me how competitive he has been all his life. How he wants to win as much as the next guy and if not win, he wants his competors to know if they have a hic-up, he will be there to take advantage of it.  But this pigeon flying is a hard nut to crack. Last week he placed in the top 10% in one race and was six positions out of the top 10% in the second race. I tried to explain to Anthony that the first win is usually the hardest to get and for him to hang in there and it will happen. He said “Ski I’ve been doing this for five years now and don’t know if it will”. We talked some more about pigeon flying and also discussed using droppers. I have talked to Anthony the last couple of weeks about the use of droppers and how to train them to do what you want on race day. I also told him a few good droppers can sometimes make the difference between winning and losing a race.

Saturday we were at our 170 mile race station. After the birds arrived home, knock-off was called for five that evening. As the clocks were being figured, Anthony was telling the guys how he spent some time working with his dropper and how his wife Winnie was giving him a bad time, saying that thing will never work. He told the guys I did it just like Ski said I should and when his first bird arrived how he held the dropper in his hands and just let it go gently. Anthony said it worked perfectly and the race bird didn’t even make a half circle and it was down and in right behind the dropper. Winnie was at knock-off and said she couldn’t believe it. Well when the winners were announced, guess what??? Anthony had his first win!!!! In all the years I have been flying, I can’t ever remember anyone being as excited and happy as Anthony was. He just couldn’t believe he had won. You could see the excitement in his face and hear it in his voice.  The whole club was excited and happy for him. Everyone shook his hand and congratulated him, and they really meant it. It wasn’t just a gesture. It was great to see when the race sectary, Paul Thomas shook Anthony’s hand and gave him a big hug. Now you have to image this. Anthony is a big man, I would say he is every bit of 6’6 and weighs 300+ lbs. and Paul is almost just as big. It was really something watching those to big bears hugging each other. For those of you, who say the sportsmanship has gone out of our sport, you should have been at the Greater Seattle Club house Saturday night and you would know that it is alive and well. Anthony’s first win was against 282 club birds and he also won the South Combine race competing against 457 birds. Oh, by the way, I took second place and was 24 seconds out of first. So the dropper earned its perch on this day. That was my best second place ever, seeing the excitement on Anthony’s and Winnies face, I believe everyone in the club went home feeling like they had won on this day. Congratulations Anthony for a job well done and a very deserving win.