By Ski Grabanski
Two Up & Coming Cluub Members
I would like to introduce you to a couple of members in the club I fly with (The Greater Seattle Club).
First, meet George Dobre (Blue Danube Loft), George was born in Romania in a small town just out of Bucharest. George shared a couple of interesting facts about Romania. It is about the same size as Oregon State with 21 million people and has 14,000 flying members. George's first pigeons were given to him by a classmate when he was nine years old. George never flew competitively until he came to the US. The only birds he has ever had are the racing pigeons. George has a degree in Forestry & Forestry Management and worked in Forest Genetics in Romania the seven years before he moved to Seattle in 1995. He met his wife Nelly also from Romania in the United States in 2001.
George did not know that this sport was organized in the US until he met Marian Maricutu of the Sno King Club in 2007. Marian got him back into the sport by giving him a few pair of breeders.
George joined the Greater Seattle Club in 2007 and has flown competitively ever since, old & young birds. A first place win had eluded George until this year 2011 in YB'S. We've often told George the first win, it seems, is always the most difficult to achieve and they become a little easier after that. I believe George took this to heart. His first win came in the first week of the YB season at 120 miles. Not only did he win the club race, but he also took top honors in the Evergreen Concourse. Then in week two, he came right back with a 1st & 2nd club at the 150 mile station, 6th & 7th concourse. Than in week five at 120 miles George was back with a 1st & 2nd club and 7th & 8th concourse. When we told George the first win is always the hardest and the second one would be easier, this is not what we expected. J
In the club, George finished 3rd in Average Speed, 4th Champion Loft, 6th Master Loft and had the 8th Champion Bird.
George flew the Bieche YB System with a few modifications with his first round of youngsters and the second round were flown natural. Two of the three races George won were on the Bieche YB System, including the concourse winner. George's main family of birds are Serge Van Elsacker birds that he obtained from Bruce Gordon of the Top Gun Club, Jan Aarden, Janssen (Janssen Brothers), Topo. George says that early breeding does not work that well for him because of his job and heavy losses to predators. George works in the construction industry.
I have little story to tell you about George. Last spring at a club meeting, we were talking about some way to raise extra funds for the club. George suggested a garage sale. The garage sale was held at George’s and Nelly’s. It was a great success. I believe George missed his calling and should be in sales. This was a planned two day event and George did such a great job, everything was sold the first day. My wife (Eileen) and I were there helping and George had me digging into my own pockets. Heck, I think that I bought some of the things back that Eileen and I donated. I’m still trying to figure out how he did that. I would also like to thank Nelly, Florin Potra, Ric Arrisola and Jack Ibuki for helping the day of the sale.
George, congratulations on a great season!!!
Now meet Florin Potra, also from Romania. Florin came to the US in 2000 He met his wife Lilly, in Romania where they both worked. They have been happily married for 15 years. Florin and Lilly have two little daughters ages 7 and the youngest 10 months old.
As a young boy, Florin was always interested in all kinds of birds. When he was 10 he would catch Canaries, European & Asian Finch. He said he didn't know if it was legal, but at 10 years old he didn't care. But his big love for the birds were pigeons. He had several different types, Kings, Rollers, Tipplers and of course Racers. Florin never flew birds competitively in Romania.
Florin joined our club in 2009. At the time he joined, he did not have any birds or a loft. Florin visited several members in the club to see the different assortment of lofts. Once he decided on a loft design, he had a very nice loft built. Florin contacted Dorel Borlovan owner of International Breeding Station in Ca. to inquire about some breeders. Florin said that as soon as they started talking a very nice friendship was started. All of Florins breeders are from birds that Dorel hand picked for him. Florin said his main families are Janssen and Aarden. The family of birds were imported by Dorel from Europe. The are birds are “Pollin's”, “Groenen's” and the “Aarden's” from Piet Lazeroms.
Florin’s first year of flying was the 2010 YB series. Florin won the last race of the season. I'm proud to say, the bird that won the race was a yb that I gave him. During young birds in 2010, Florin told me he was addicted to racing pigeons. He said he was even dreaming about them and his thoughts always turned to the birds during the day.
Then came the 2011 OB & YB series. From the very start Florin was a force to be reckoned with every week. Here are Florin’s results from this past 2011 race series. Now remember, this is his second YB series and first OB series that he has ever flown. Week 1, 105 miles A Race: 11th, 12th & 14th B Race: 7th, 9th & 10th. Week 2, 150 miles, A Race: 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10, & 11th, B Race: 1st, 4th, 9th, 10th & 15th, (6th & 11th concourse). Week 3, 170 mile, A Race: 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th & 12th, B Race: 5th. Week 4, 230 miles, A Race: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th & 14th, (1st, 4th, 5th 9th, 11th & 14 concourse), B Race: 4th, 7th, 8th & 12th. Week 5, 230 miles, A Race: 8th, 9th & 12th, B Race: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th & 11th. Week 6, 150 miles, A Race: 13th & 14th, B Race: 1st, 9th & 12th, (1st concourse). Week 7, 250 miles, A Race: 3rd, 11th & 12th, B Race: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th. Week 8, 200 miles A Race: 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th & 13th, B Race: 1st & 9th, (1st concourse). Week 9, 375 miles single release 1st, 2nd, 6th, 10th & 11th, (2nd & 3rd concourse). Florin was 1st Champion Loft, 1st Average Speed, 2nd Master Loft, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 7th Champion Bird. What an Old Bird season for a first time flier or any flier!!!! Now I’ll take you into Florin’s YB series. Week 1, 105 miles, A Race: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th & 7th, B Race: 3rd. Week 2, 150 miles, A Race: 3rd & 7th, B Race: 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 9th. Week 3, 170 miles, A Race: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th, B Race: 7th, 11th & 12th. Week 4, 125 miles, A Race: 1st, 3rd, 7th & 8th, (8th & 10th concourse) B Race: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th. Week 6, 250 miles, A Race 1st & 2nd, (2nd concourse). Florin was 1st Champion Loft, 2nd Master Loft and had the 2nd, 5th, 6th & 7th Champion Bird. Under anyone’s standards this was one great season. Florin congratulations and best of luck in 2012.
When I asked Florin what system he flies (old and young) he said he flew the light system in young birds and his answer for old birds was “Widowhood, sort of, I think”. Florin said he thinks keeping the birds healthy, feeding them correctly, good quality birds are very important. He likes to spend a lot of time observing the birds from a distance. He likes to see how they act when no one is around. He thinks you can learn a lot by doing this. He feels you can see if the birds are happy or not which he believes makes a big difference in loft performance.
He said he would like to thank Dorel, Tim Wogoman (a member of our club) and myself for all the help and advice we have given him and a BIG THANK YOU again to Dorel for the fantastic breeders.
Any club would be proud to have these two individuals on their club roster. They are both very hard workers and strong supporters of the club, They are always amongst the first to raise their hands when we ask for volunteers. They are great guys and fun to compete against.