BHW ‘Show of the Year’ Blackpool 2020. 

There is one thing guaranteed when fancier travel to Blackpool for the British Homing World ‘Show of the Year’ and that is they will have a great time! With the show being staged in the North West of England in January, some years the weather is a bit cold and wet, but this year’s show weekend was treated to blue skies and wall to wall sunshine, which made this year’s event even more special. Thousands of fanciers made the drive up to Blackpool in mid-January for the main event of the Show Racer calendar, the 43rd British Homing World ‘Show of the Year’. Everyone anticipates and looks forward to this wonderful weekend in Blackpool, not only for their annual fill of ‘pigeon fun’, but mostly to meet up with good pigeon friends. This year’s event attacked a show entry of 2,000 birds and ‘Supreme Champion’ was judged by Mr. I. Bardos, the president of FCI, who was assisted on the night by David Bridges and Les Blacklock. ‘Supreme Champion’ and ‘Best in Show’ over all at the Blackpool show was won by a handsome racing pigeon blue chequer cock named ‘Pole Dark’, which also won ‘Best Racer in Show’ and was owned by Eric and Nick Yule of Aberdeen in Scotland. Eric and Nick continue the Scottish dominance of the ‘Supreme Champion’ trophy at Blackpool, with McCord & Turpie winning it in 2019, and John & Alice Bell winning it in previous years.


Eric Yule has been racing and showing pigeons many years and his son, Nicky, has always taken an interest in his dad’s hobby and joined the present day partnership when he was 13 years old. Eric races 40 pairs on the roundabout system and keeps 20 pairs of stock birds. Nicky is the show man and picks out pigeons to exhibit and conditions then at his loft. Nick’s show loft is separate from the racers and it has four sections, all with deep litter on the floors. He told me that in his opinion, the loft design has no consequent as long as it is clean and dry, and there is no big secrets in winning, dedication brings you success with pigeons. The more you put in the more you get out! His first pigeons were Kirkpatrick crossed with the Ko Nipus pigeons, and in the early days the young Nicky was very influenced by the late Bob McDonald’s wonderful racing and showing performances. Nick is a tile fixer by trade and says his biggest thrill in his 31 years in the sport was winning ‘Supreme Champion’ and ‘Best in Show’ at the BHW Blackpool Show in 2020.


The Eric and Nick Yule partnership has an excellent racing and showing record over many years, with the highlights being: 1st North Section SNFC Rennes (643 miles), three times 1st North Section SNFC Sartilly (587 miles), 1st North Section SNFC Frome (415 miles), 1st North Section SNFC Littlehampton (451 miles), ‘Best in Show’ at the NEHU Show, ‘Best in Show’ at the RP Old Comrades Show, three times ‘Best Racing Pigeon’ at the BHW Blackpool Show, three times ‘Best Racing Pigeon’ at the RP Old Comrades Show and the most recent, ‘Supreme Champion’ and ‘Best in Show’ at the BHW Blackpool Show. A wonderful all round loft performance!


The base family of pigeons at the Aberdeen loft are Bob McDonald and Dickie Greame, with new stock being added every year. Nick told me when selecting a new pigeon to bring in, it has to look good and handle well. He has brought in ten to fifteen birds from Leir Market in Belgium for the last seven years and had winners every season. The racing team have not been paired for the last three years, with the cocks racing to nest boxes and the hen to the perch. They race from the first race through to the last and are fed on a good widowhood mixture, with a pot of Barley in front of them all the time. The birds are parted in early August, to ensure they have a good moult and then get them ready for the shows. During the moulting period they are fed on a ‘moult’ mixture and are given vitamins in the drinking water. Nicky says, he has no really thoughts on inbreeding, as almost all his birds are crossed. He breeds 20 late breds every year and these are trained in the winter mouths of that year.


I have had the great pleasure of  judging several times at the NEHU Show at both Peterlee and South Shields over the years, including ‘Best in Show’ a couple of times. On one occasion that I judged BIS in 2011, Eric and Nicky Yule won ‘Best Opposite Sex’ with their wonderful blue chequer cock ‘Andy Carroll’. This champion cock won many shows and was ‘Best in Show’ at the NEHU Show the year previous, in 2010. I could write all day long about the Yule’s wins at Open and National show, but two other outstand pigeons were: ‘Murphy’ winner of many firsts, including ‘Best in Show’ at the RP Old Comrades Show and ‘The Blackpool Cock’, also the winner of many firsts, including winning first two years on the trot at the BHW Blackpool Show.


I visited Eric’s Aberdeen home in 1997 and was greatly impressed by the man and his wonderful team of multi-purpose pigeons, which have excelled at racing and showing. Over the years Eric has recorded many major positions in national long-distance races, with 1996 being his best season, winning 3rd North Section Sartilly (1) SNFC (587 miles); 1st North Sect Rennes SNFC (631 miles); 1st North Sect Sartilly (2) SNFC. At that time the loft had won Best Racer in Show at the BHW Blackpool Show twice and also twice at the RP Old Comrades Show. Eric had had outstanding success with his good Kirkpatrick red chequer cock which won ‘Best Racer in Show’ at both the major shows in one season. A fantastic performance! ‘The Red Cock’ had also been a good racer, winning many cards in races up to 300 miles. At that time Eric’s, smart 20ft loft had four sections and the birds were trapped through drop holes. The main loft had a closed-in front to keep the inmates warm and dry and the nest boxes were also very secluded, with hardboard fronts. Eric began in the sport in 1963 with a pair in a rabbit hutch and was only really interested in long-distance racing. His 40 pairs of natural racers were paired up in early February and, after rearing a pair of squeakers, were parted again. They were trained and race the first four races apart, and then were re-paired for the rest of the season, it with the long-distance nationals in mind. The old birds got three 25-mile training tosses every week through the season. The birds were hopper fed a good mixture, with extra maize being added as the distance increased. The star bird on my visit to the Aberdeen loft was a blue chequer cock and he was a blend of several top long-distance families which run through the loft. This cock had won several cards racing, including 1st North Section, 85th open Rennes (SNFC) 631 miles, being sent feeding two big youngsters. A good type as well as good performance was preferred when selecting stock birds. Stock birds were paired up the same time as the racers so their first round of eggs could be floated in the racing loft. Since my visit to their loft in 1997, Eric and Nicky have won it all, including ‘Supreme Champion’ and ‘Best in Show’ at the BHW Blackpool Show in 2020. Congratulation to them both!


Class winners at the 2020 BHW Blackpool ‘Show of the Year’ were: 1 (105 birds) John & Alice Bell: 2 (101 birds) Coutts Brothers : 3 (84 birds) Mr. & Mrs. R. Hughes: 4 (84 birds) P. Yates: 5 Mr. & Mrs. Brian Seward (71 birds): 6 (68 birds) John & Alice Bell: 7 (68 birds) Mr. & Mrs. R. Hughes: 8 (81 birds) John & Alice Bell: 9 (47 birds) R. & J. Thresher: 10 (44 birds) A. Tankard: 11 (45 birds) Iain Peterson: 12 (44 birds) John Barnes: 13 (38 birds) Coutts Brothers: 14 (40 birds) Mike Horner: 15 (45 birds) Edson & Wheatcroft: 16 (44 birds) M. Anslow: 17 (51 birds) A. Wallace: 18 (75 birds) Coutts Brothers: 19 (50 birds) A. Mclafferty & son: 20 (63 birds) John & Alice Bell: 21 (65 birds) P. Nelson: 22 (56 birds) W. & W. Gilbert: 23 (56 birds) C. Gilliver: 24 (21 birds) Eric & Nick Yule: 25 (21 birds) David Fussey: 26 (17 birds) McCord & Turpie: 27 (19 birds) McCord & Turpie: 28 (43 birds) T. & K. Mawhinney: 29 (37 birds) McCord & Turpie: 30 (43 birds) T. & K. Mawhinney: 31 (39 birds) W. & W. Gilbert: 32 (25 birds) D. Murphy: 33 (30 birds) E. Balmer: 34 (69 birds) Miss Taylor Law: 35 (72 birds) Master Aidan Winter: 36 (55 birds) Master Cameron J. Hannah: 37 (50 birds) Master George Tytler.


John and Alice Bell of Scotland won Reserve ‘Best in Show’, ‘Best Show Racer’ and Best Young Bird’ at the 2020 BHW Blackpool Show with their beautiful dark chequer hen, Cheeky Girl’. John and Alice have a brilliant record at the Blackpool Show, previously winning ‘Supreme Champion’ a record six times. Talking to John after the Blackpool Show, he told me he and Alice had had a wonderful 2020 show season. The first event they competed in was the NEHU South Shields Show in November and they won Best in Show (400 birds), with their five year old blue chequer cock, ‘Young Supreme’. This was the second time this champion cock had qualified for the ‘Supreme Champion’ class at the BHW Blackpool Show, previously winning ‘Supreme Champion’ at Blackpool and ‘Best in Show’ RPRA Southern Region Show in 2016. The following weekend the Bell partners exhibited at the Hurlford North Road Open Show (400 birds) and there were eight classes of racing pigeons and eight classes of Show Racer on the day. John and Alice won all eight Show Racer classes and ‘Best in Show’ with a young red hen, which also qualified for the ‘Supreme Champion’ class at Blackpool. The next show was the Clydesdale Open Show (500 birds) and they won three classes and ‘Best in Show’ with a two year old blue chequer cock, which again also qualified for the Blackpool ‘Supreme Champion’ class. The day after the Clydesdale show John and Alice travelled 225 miles each way to Snainton near Scarborough to win ‘Best in Show’ and Reserve ‘Best in Show’ at the BSRF Open Show. Two weeks later they showed at the Kingdom of Fife Open Show (450 birds), winning seven of the eight Show Racer classes and ‘Best in Show’ with their champion dark chequer hen, ‘Dottie’. This great hen had previously won ‘Best Opposite Sex’ as a young bird at the BHW Blackpool Show and ‘Best in Show’ as a yearling at the RPRA South Region Show. The following day they travelled 300 miles to Dordin for the Black Country Open Show (500 birds) and won five classes. John and Alice’s last show before Blackpool was the SHU Open Show at Symington and there was nearly 800 birds competing. They won three classes and ‘Best in Show’ with the pigeon that won ‘BIS’ previously at Snainton. John and Alice had five birds that qualified for the ‘Supreme Champion’ class at the 2020 BHW Blackpool Show. They had a brilliant Blackpool Show, winning four classes, Reserve ‘Best in Show’, ‘Best Show Racer’, ‘Best Young Bird’ and lifted eleven trophies.


Well that’s my annual report for the 2020 BHW Blackpool Show! Congratulations to Eric & Nicky Yule on their great Blackpool success! I can be contacted on telephone number: 01372 463480 and email: keithmott1@virginmedia.com


TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT (www.keithmott.com)