Two Hall of Fame diplomas for Gary Benson

Gary Benson of Lisburn, Co Antrim is a small team pigeon fancier with a big reputation. Gary with his father Kenny have been at the top of long distance racing for many years.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 29th November 2019, 8:43 am

Gary races in Lisburn and District HPS. Gary for years was interested in competing at all levels of the sport and was quite capable of doing so. With his current job, working in the construction industry, time was a major factor and his main aim over the past few seasons was to compete in all the major distance classic events and I must say it is here that he has really excelled winning a number of major awards inc. INFC Hall of Fames and NIPA Bronze and Silver Awards. Gary’s set up is nothing fancy, something I did remark to Gary and Gary’s reply ‘Dry Loft, Healthy Birds.’

The loft is approximately 18 feet long with three sections. The cleanliness of the lofts were immaculate and immediately Gary was on hand to point out and stress that the help he has from father Kenny who is a major factor in the loft’s top successes. Due to Gary’s work, Kenny is the loft manager and his input and knowledge to Gary is invaluable. Gary starts the season with approximately 40 racers and at present in the race team there are approx 12 individual birds that have flown France, most in the prize money. Around 30 youngsters are reared each season for the race team, with all youngsters flying at least two to three races.

Feeding is very basic when racing. The birds are fed a good quality barley in the mornings with a good quality channel mix in the evenings consisting of Beans, Peas and Tares. When breeding the birds are fed the good quality Irish Mix of Beans, Peas and Tares at all times. Gary’s motto is “Well reared youngsters is a great start to your ultimate dream”. The usual medication for worms, cocci, canker etc is given at the start of the breeding and racing seasons although Gary was adamant to stress that the canker treatment is never the same as he would change and use treatments from different manufacturers. No birds, stock included – only seven pair – are paired before St Patricks Day (or there abouts), 17th March, each season. All racing is done on the natural system with the birds having the open trap as much as possible, with the traps closed most nights at dark and open as early as possible each day. This is one of the factors that Gary believes contributes to his birds flying so long on the day in some of the major French races. Indeed in the NIPA St Malo National, Gary has timed three birds on the day with the last two timed at 22.50 and 22.55. A lot of the major p/winners I will cover later but let us start at the beginning of the “Distance Dynasty”. Gary’s family of birds are based on the following fanciers: L O Barr; Gary could not speak highly enough about the Barr Family. Through his friendship with the late L O and wife Charlotte, Gary was presented with a pair of Kenyon youngsters. One of these youngsters went on to be one of Gary’s top breeders and was known by Gary and dad Kenny as “Golden Eye”.

Gary states: “This cock was a fantastic breeder for us and was responsible for at least 14 – 15 INFC prizewinners”.

Jimmy Anderson: Another family that have made their mark. Blended with the Barr Bloodlines the ultimate distance racing machine has been produced in the form of the famous “Champion Jeans Girl” and take a look at her record and judge for yourself: 5th Section D NIPA Lamballe 2003 (as a yearling) 51st Open NIFC Messac Kings Cup 2004, 44th Open NIFC Messac Kings Cup and 6th Single Bird Challenge 2005, 12th Open INFC Vannes Kings Cup and Single Bird Challenge 2006, 2207 – No Race -, 2008 – No Race -, 2009 – Timed on the second day just missing the Gold Medal.

Jackie Waring; Being a personal friend of Jackie’s, many top bloodlines have arrived at Gary’s bred from the absolute cream of Jackie’s old McCartney bloodlines.

Norman Thompson: Again through personal friendship the absolute cream of Norman’s old Walkinshaw bloodlines were obtained, also the very best of Norman’s “Rose Bowl Pair” bloodlines, all obtained prior to Norman’s record breaking clearance sale.

These bloodlines are a major factor in today’s French winning lines.

There is also a sprinkling of the late Ken Rosbotham’s bloodlines, one of the Ulster Federations finest distance fanciers, still to be found in the present day family. New to the stock loft in recent times is a direct son of Burns Bros – Dunedin – famous “Champion Dolly” (INFC Gold Medal Winner) when paired to her own son, who himself was a winner of 11th Open INFC Kings Cup. These two birds between them won the coveted “Harkness Rose Bowl” – so here we have in the stock loft a direct son of the “The Rose Bowl Pair” of Burns Brothers. Miline Mairs Lisburn has also provided Gary with some outstanding distance bloodlines.

Gary has due to a very busy work schedule decided to part with around 28 choice late breeds which will be sold by Wesley Sawyers in Banbridge on Saturday afternoon 30th November. Without doubt Gary has one of Ireland top distance lofts that due to the quality of the stock continually turns out champion racing pigeons.

Wesley Sawyers, telephone 07831560399.