If the sun is shining through tomorrow the birds will have their first single release from 56 miles, same spot as yesterday. If they struggle we will release again from this spot on their next toss. If they excell we will start training on the Oregon side of the Columbia River for their next toss, our biggest obstacle on this course.
We truly appreciate those of you who have already started sending in your payments, we have you marked as paid next to your bird's number.
For those of you who have not paid yet via PayPal or through the mail, please pay attention to the following.
If you are in a partnership or syndicate, please have just ONE person send us the payment. If you plan on paying via check then send your half or portion of the check to your partner and have them send the checks together in the same envelope, this really cuts down on the confusion on this end. Same with PayPal, PayPal your partner and have them send one payment and make sure that your Loft Name is included in the transaction.
When sending a check put your Loft Name on the check in the left hand bottom corner where is says Memo or For, make sure that the Loft Name you put is the one you are entered under in the Apple Cup, not other races. We do not need band numbers or anything else there in the bottom left hand corner, just your loft name.
Training has been going great thus far with still very few losses overall. We believe this is partially due to them having some though tosses due to very hard head and cross winds early on in their training and the "dummies" being gone from the flock. We are also doing some things differently this year, mainly training around the mountains instead of trying to force them over as we did in the past on the line of flight. Lets pray this continues for all of our sake!
Rick & Olga
First toss from 56 miles today right up next to the Columbia River on the WA side. Thought process is to get them used to seeing the river from this side so when we release on the OR side they will not balk as they approach which racing pigeons will sometimes do if they have never had to cross a body of water. In other words, we do not want them to be released on the OR side and as they approach the river they freak out and refuse to cross which we believe has happened in the past.
Game plan moving forward is to repeat from this same spot at least one time, possibly a single release but depends upon the wind and cloud cover the day we set the birds up for their next toss. After one more toss from this same location they will be jumped to 80 miles on the other side of the Columbia River, most likely released in 4 groups as we have done on every single training toss thus far, possibly a single release just depends upon our gut feeling that day when standing out on the hilltop Olga and I picked out for a good 75-80 mile toss on the line of flight with our previous stations and the spot picked out for the Activation Race.
The birds were released in 4 groups today, 0850, 0900, 0910, 0920, as always video was taken and posted to Facebook after the first group was released.
After 24 tosses, many short ones around our loft and up and down our valley before going over the ridgeline that is 5 miles to the south of our loft, then several short tosses on the other side of the ridgeline forcing them to go over the ridgeline, we still have about 94% of the birds we started training with. Our goal is to get at least 90% of the 2541 birds we started training with over a month ago through activation. That was a pretty lofty goal we set for ourselves this year considering our course, however the way the birds are responding to training we now feel this is totally within our grasp.
Entry fees are not due until after the Activation Race, however we do appreciate those of you who have already sent your fees in or have same in the mail. If you plan on mailing after the Activation Race please use Express Mail. We would really like to have the first race as close to 7 days after the Activation Race as possible, we do not want to be tracking breeders down for weeks like in the past which is very frustrating and not fair to everyone because we can not post prize monies until everyone's payments are in and checks have cleared.
Lets hope this good luck we have had thus far keeps up!
Thanks for everyone's kind words on how training has went so far this year, we really appreciate it and are having a lot of fun!
Rick & Olga
The birds had their first toss today from 51 minutes, they were released in four groups starting at 0850 5-7 minutes apart depending upon how fast they cleared out of the area. Most of the birds made it in great time, this tells us they are ready to go to the next station.
The birds were released about 6 air miles north of the Columbia River today. The next station will be 56 miles and will be just a few hundred yards from the Columbia River on the WA side. So far they have been released in four different groups, the next toss will most likely be the same however once we cross the river on the OR side of the river we will do at least one single release before the Activation Race which will of course be a single release. Knock on wood, no birds have come home with broken legs or busted chests this year, but a few have returned showing evidence of being hit by birds of prey. By releasing in smaller groups it greatly reduces the chances of birds hitting wires and us having a smash toss.
Once the birds show they are ready to cross the river we will jump them to 82 miles. We have a spot picked out way out in the middle of know where and the birds will be released at least once from this location, twice if needed. The Activation Race will be 103 miles and as stated will be a single release, we will only have this race when we feel the birds are ready.
We deeply appreciate those of you who have already sent in your Activation Fees. The Activation Race should be within the next 7 days so if you know you are notoriously late then go ahead and start sending your fees in now, any birds that do not make it through the Activation Race will get a full refund. As we advertised, if your bird does not make it through the Activation Race we make zero!
If you are going to wait to send a check or some form of paper payment after the Activation Race send it Express Mail through the US Postal Service, not regular mail as regular mail has been slow for several years now. We will not accept last minute pictures through text and email of sent checks, if the check is not here then your birds will be offered for sale 7 days after the Activation Race. If you wait until the last minute then send your payment through PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account then create one or have a family member or friend who has a PayPal account to make the payment for you and you can pay them later. Make sure that your LOFT NAME is on the PayPal transaction or check if sending same, makes it very confusing if your signifigant other makes the payment for you and their name is no where to be found in Wincompanion.
The ONLY electronic payment we are accepting is through PayPal, and yes you can use a credit card through PayPal. As stated before, there are fees involved so if you want to preclude the added fees send a check, just send the check Express Mail not regular mail.
Weather is supposed to be great next week, if the birds keep excelling then the Activation Race will be right around the corner!
Everyone have a great Sunday!
The conditions at release were very good with about a 10 mph NW head wind and scattered clouds with sun. As the birds got closer to the loft there was a strong NE wind which is very unusual for us here, and no it was not in the forecast. Watching the birds come in they were arriving from the SW which means they stayed down in the lower Yakima Valley and had to figure out how to get over the ridgeline that runs 5 miles south of the loft.
At the time of posting this we are still out about 100 birds. We will let them recouperate tomorrow and try it again the following day.
Very hard and sustained winds out of the W to NW this morning that started last night, we will try to train tomorrow from 42 miles.
The PayPal link is set up now for $250 per bird. If using PayPal we much prefer that you wait until AFTER the activation race to make your payment within a few days of the Activation Race and not before, just reduces the number of refunds from trainers. If sending a check go ahead and start sending them in as some already have, this way we are not trying to track anyone down on the 7th day after the Activation Race which is the cut off date for payment, no exceptions. Some have said that they will wait until we get closer to the Activation Race, that is probably the best course of action.
If anyone is wondering on why we are talking about entry fees before the Activation Race it is quite simple. These Wincompanion updates are our primary means of communication, if we start talking about entry fees now then we hopefully will reach a wider audience than if we wait until after the Activation Race because some of you do not look at Wincompanion every day. In other words, we are planting the seed in the back of your minds to either pay before the Activation Race, or pay IMMEDIATELY afterwards. If sending a check after the Activation Race it may be a very good idea to send it express mail and not regular mail. We will not accept a bunch of emailed and texted pictures of payments "On the way", been burned too many times and we hope you understand.
Good thing about these strong sustained winds is the haze on the ridgelines is completely gone, hopefully no new smoke blows in from our NW fires.
Have a great day everyone!
Today was supposed to be their first toss at 42 miles to the SE of the loft and 6 miles SE of where they have already been released three times with good results. There was heavy fog up on top of the ridgeline and below in the valley, we decided to go back to Pumphouse Rd where they had already been two times previously and to where it was clear. We released the first group at 1000 and the next three groups 5 minutes apart thereafter.
Tomorrow if it is clear they will be released at 42 miles.
Frustrating, but that is pigeon racing folks!
We did not plan to toss today because it was supposed to be 85% overcast with no sun. Before going to bed it was clear sky with stars showing, this morning a few clouds but good visibility and you could tell the sun was going to shine through. If anyone knows me, if we get a good day we are going to go down the road!
We let the first group out at 0845, the next three groups 10 minutes apart. At the time of posting this we have most of the birds in the loft. There were some issues with my cell phone this moring so I did not get a video of the release as we have done on every release this year, sorry about that Facebook friends.
Tomorrow is supposed to be overcast with the possibility of rain, if the weather man is correct then we will just loft fly tomorrow, if he is wrong and it is clear we will proceed to the next spot we have picked out listed Vineard on Wincompanion under our stations. Go to our site and click on results, next stations, click on the little map icon to the right and you can see on Google Earth exactly where we are releasing and what it looks like around these locations. This is the same for every race that is listed under Wincompanion for those of you who do not already know about this feature.
As I talked about in yesterday's update, do not be late in sending your fees in. We need to start the race series as soon as possible so we are not racing in to December like we were last year. Please do not make us track you guys and gals down individually as we simply just do not have time moreso than ever before since we have over 500 of ya'll in the race this year. If you are usually late and you know that you are usually late in sending fees in, or if you want to preclude paying PayPal fees per bird, go ahead and send your $250 per bird in well before the Activation Race. If your bird(s) do not make it to the first race at 165 miles from Redmond, OR you will get a full refund. We have a optional 400 miler planned but the only way we are going to be able to pull that off is to get it in before winter hits us, another reason we need all of you paid within 7 days of the Activation race so we can have the first race and get the party started! If you know of individuals, usually elderly fanciers who do not have internet access that are in this race, please reach out to them and let them know to get their fees in. We already have individuals sending their fees in for this very reason.
Happy Saturday to everyone, enjoy life, your family, and your pigeon friends!
We released due south at 20 miles today because it was clear of smoke at the release point off of Pumphouse Road, looking back directly N it was clear in the direction of the loft but not to the SE which is in the direction of our 34 mile station they have already been to twice and the 27 mile station they have been to twice. It is supposed to be heavy overcast tomorrow and overcast and raining Sunday. For now unless the weather conditions change, we will resume training on Monday where it is supposed to be sunny all of next week and calls for a wind direction change which should clear this light hazy smoke out. If we do not train tomorrow or Sunday we will still leave the clock on so if we do have a straggler come in we will be able to see it and so will you.
Here is the gameplan for training moving forward.
Return to our 34 mile station off of Township Road at least twice, if they struggle a bit then we will repeat. This station is crucial as it is on top of the ridgeline we need to get above before moving SE on Alderdale Road toward the Columbia River and we need the birds to come over this location on the way home. After they are coming good again from Township Road at 34 miles we will proceed to the following.
Vineard 42 miles
Sonova Place Rd 51 miles
Whitcomb Island Rd 56, this is right along the Columbia River on the WA side.
Devils Butte Rd 82 miles, this is out in the middle of nowhere on the OR side of the Columbia River, this will give the birds a 29 mile head start on crossing the Columbia River.
Mayville, OR 103 miles, again out in the middle of nowhere on the line of flight with Whitcomb Island Rd, and Devils Butte Rd, this will be the Activation Race.
We typically release from a new location twice before moving forward, if they excell we will move on after the first toss, if necessary we will toss three times from the same location based upon returns.
If they come broken up on a toss, expect them to be loft flown the next day and if the weather cooperates then we will toss the following day.
There are four levels to the trailer, they are released in 4 separate groups 10-15 minutes apart in training to help reduce the chance of a smash toss and to minimize injuries when they fly through hanging wires. For all races to include the activation race, they are released all at once.
We are really enjoying the functionality of our new self loading trailer, easy and quick loading of the birds and less stress on the birds, took 29 minutes this morning to load nearly 2500 birds! We have posted videos on Facebook of all of our training tosses and when not tossing the birds videos of the inside of the loft and birds and loft flying as well. We feel it is best to let ya'll know what is going on so you can feel good about sending birds here to the Apple Cup and not left wondering what is going on. If you are not already a friend of ours on Facebook send me a friend request to Rick Mee, Yakima, WA. I am the ugly guy with the beautiful Ukranian woman!
I have Olga working on getting the PayPal working on our site under the PAYMENTS tab, should be ready in a few days. It is $250 per bird, $100 goes to us and $150 toward prizes. If you decide to use PayPal there is a processing fee per bird, when you have a lot of transactions through PayPal then they expect their cut. Therefore, DO NOT send your payment via Friends and Family, it will be returned. DO NOT use Olga's personal PayPal email address to send us a payment under Friends and Family, it will be returned. ONLY pay through PayPal via our Payments tab.
If you want to preclude the fees, send us a check and do so immediately after the activation race and send it Priority Mail. If you are usually late or forgettful in sending your entry fees in, then send them now. If your bird(s) do not make it to the first race you will get a full refund per bird.
When sending via PayPal make sure your LOFT NAME is included. Many of you have friends or family make these payments for you, we are absolutely lost as to where to assign credit for payment if you do not put your LOFT NAME on the transaction. If paying via check, put your LOFT NAME on the check.
We ONLY accept PayPal payments and checks, cashiers checks, money orders.
PLEASE, do not send us pictures of your payments sent. More than once someone has sent a picture of their payment supposedly being sent, usually late, and we never got it. We will give 7 days after the Activation Race to get your fees in, any birds not paid for will be offered to those wanting to activate these pigeons. Payments meaning either paid via PayPal or a check in hand, again no texted or emailed pictures of checks. Just gets way too confusing and creates difficulty in trying to figure out who is who.
We are about 10-14 days away from the activation race, no it is not time to pay now, just please do not be late is what we are trying to get at.
Everyone have a great weekend!
Rick & Olga
If you have followed our race you know that we race out of the south from OR and CA to our loft located to the north in the middle of WA State. We have ridgelines that run east and west to the south of our loft, also one to the north of the loft. We are located pretty much in the middle of these two ridgelines, the one to the south is about 5 miles away, the one to the north about 7 miles away. The smoke has started to clear the last two days, however the ridgeline to the south that the birds have to fly over looks fine from the loft but from our 20 mile station it can not even be made out. Taking this in to consideration, we will only be training from the east between our two ridgelines until the smoke clears and we can hop back on the south side of Rattlesnake Ridge to the south of us to make some REAL progress down the road.
Taking the aforementioned in to consideration, we decided to train to the east today between the two ridgelines. This forces the birds to go either east which is in the opposite direction of the loft, or west toward the loft. At the time of posting this we have most home, they were released in 4 groups 10 minutes apart.
Please be patient, we are at the mercy of mother nature at this point.
Smokey skies continue to linger all around the Northwest, as soon as we get a good strong wind to come through and blow it out we will resume training. In the meantime they are loft flown daily and offered baths as well.