A Tribute Ron McCarthy of Rhymney.
I was greatly saddened today to receive a phone call to inform me that the ‘master’ of the Show Racer world, Ron McCarthy, had passed way at the age of 86. Ron had a fall and broke his hip and after a short stay in hospital passed away on the evening of Monday 9th December. Ron and his late wife, June, were two really nice people and away a pleasure to meet up with every winter at the Society and National shows. I remember received the phone call, several years ago from my good friend, Colin Carter, to inform me that Ron McCarthy, had packed up his pigeons the week previous because of one or two health problems. Ron, then 81 years old, was going to retire from the Show Racer scene a year or so previous, but was persuaded by the lads to carry on, but then decided to call it a day! His 30 bird strong Show Racer team went up to the north east of England to the lofts of Wheatley family of Middlesbrough. This really was bad news as Ron was the ‘master’ of the show pen and his wonderful record in Society and National shows must rate him as one the greatest showmen of all time in the UK!
Ron and June McCarthy of Rhymney won Best in Show at the 2009 BHW Blackpool Show for then the record fifth time with a wonderful young dark chequer Show Racer cock, now named ‘Colin’s Cracker’ and he was bred by Colin Carter of Churchdown. He was bred from a cock loaned from Ron McCarthy which is also the sire of Ron’s Champion ‘Blue Boy’ winner of BIS at the BHW Blackpool Show in 2006 and the dam of ‘Colin’s Cracker’ was Colin’s good dark hen, winner of many firsts including ‘Champion Hen’ at the Edinburgh Show, plus is dam of many winners. Ron McCarthy’s good wife, June, passed away in March of 2008 and she was greatly missed at that year’s Blackpool event, as she had never missed a show and always enjoyed Ron’s success. Ron McCarthy had one of his best Blackpool Shows ever, also winning BOS, four fists and lifting ten BHW Trophies.
On one of my ‘Many Miles with Mott’ video tours of South Wales in the late 1990’s, I visited the premier Show Racer fanciers, Ron and June McCarthy. In Ron’s 60 plus years in the sport, he has won many top positions, including B.I.S. Cardiff Charity Show, B.I.S. Show of the West, B.I.S. Birmingham Mail Show, B.I.S. Midlands Show several times, B.I.S. R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show several times, B.I.S. B.H.W. Blackpool Show (a record five times), Supreme Champion at Blackpool and Supreme Champion Young Bird Southern Classic Show. A fantastic loft performance in classic shows! Ron told me, although it was many years ago, he rates his wonderful blue chequer cock, ‘Sparky’, as his best champion pigeon. He won thirty six firsts and many times Best in Show at Classic and National events, including BIS at the ‘Peoples Show’ and BIS at the ‘Show of the West’ held at Swindon. This wonderful cock was winning in the ‘golden’ era of showing in the late 1960’s, when Harry King and other Show Racer ‘superstars’ were at their best.
Ron kept about 16 pairs of Show Racers which were paired up on February 14th and bred about 40 youngsters each season. His loft was over 60 years old, starting out as a chicken shed, and was 22ft x 8ft with a flight on the front to bath the birds and keep the loft dry. Ron told me a good loft should be comfortable for the fancier and the pigeons. He had been with pigeons all his life as his father was a fancier, and his first few pairs of birds were housed in the coal house. Ron’s best bird in recent years was his White Mealy cock winner of two firsts at the British Homing World Blackpool Show, including Best in Show and Best Opposite Sex; at the R.P.R.A. Southern Region Show, Best in Show; at the Royal Welsh, Best in Show and first at the Monmouth Open Show, plus many other good wins for the Rhymney loft. A once in a life time pigeon! The birds were fed on farm beans and peas, mixed with maize and a pinch of Linseed each day. Ron didn’t feed anything special for the moult, as the birds got the same corn all the year round. He liked to pair grandparents to their grandchildren to produce good Show Racers. He liked a bigger pigeon for stock, with strong head and good body. Ron tried deep litter for about six months, but his wife, June, hated it and Ron wasn’t too pleased either, he always had to clean his glasses after coming out of the loft, with the dust. He told me, he enjoyed scraping the loft out every day and most of his birds were tame. Ron McCarthy was one of the very best showmen in the sport today. A brilliant fancier and smashing man! Ron McCarthy RIP.
Keith Mott (December 2019).
Thank you for that article Keith, it’s always very sad to lose friends, I personally would like to express my own thoughts, to the many that knew of Ron or shall we say 'MR BLACKPOOL' , I started to exhibit show racers in 2002 and Ron McCarthy was on the open circuit at that time, he was a quiet modest man who let his pigeons do the talking for him, He was an exceptional showman who always put his birds down in excellent order, The first time i judged at Blackpool i was given the task of judging the young cocks, there was around 100 pigeons in the class, and back then you could only put two in the class, I’m pretty sure he had his two in the top 10 of my result, i gave a young dark chq cock 1st prize.. It was in a different league to the other pigeons that i had looked at, on the Saturday morning i was eager to see how my class winner had done, i was chuffed to see that it had gone all the way as a young bird to win best show racer and Best In Show... from over 2000+ entries, that cock turned out to be later called 'Colin's Cracker' and Ron is pictured holding it above, it was bred by Colin Carter's Champion hen 'Jeanie' paired onto the sire of Ron's Champion 'Blue Boy' that had also won BIS Blackpool, Ron achieved great success with his family of show racers with wins of the highest standard, including a record 5 times BIS Blackpool, and i'm pretty sure the one year he won 6 classes at Blackpool,
May you rest in peace Ron, we will always remember and admire you for being a true gentleman within the sport, God bless you!
A youtube video presented by Keith Mott can be viewed here of Ron in his showing yearshttps://youtu.be/GEegT0e933g