News and Updates

If you won more than $600 (after return shipping) and we don't have your W9 already on file, we need a completed W-9 before prize checks are mailed out.  Return shipping will be deducted from your winnings and is USPS based on weight and how far away your zip code is.  So far I only had one box (3 birds) actually cost $70, the singles and doubles have been a little less.


We mailed 8 boxes of birds (all prize winners) to out of state breeders today Monday 11/28.  Tuesday 6 more boxes will go out to both out of state and in state breeders that were prize winners.  We will also ship out some Northern California birds on Wednesday that are within driving range for USPS.  Some more will be shipped next week including APC Loft whose best pigeon came home on the final injured with talon wounds and needs some time to heal up some before being shipped.  


We will start issuing prize checks late this week or early next week (again we need your W-9 to issue a your check).


If you did not win any money but still want your birds back, email Matt to get a USPS quote and you can pay by Zelle, Venmo, or send a check.  Birds not claimed within two weeks (or pre-arranged) will either be given to local flyers and/or I will race them in Old Birds.


A Full-Final race recap will still be posted in a day or two I just have not had time to write it yet.  Returns ended up being great on the final race with 91% returns.


- Matt


Congratulations to all of the winner's today on the final race of the Gold Country Challenge.  Special congratulations to Kelly Griffin (Griffin Loft) whose 22200-RMR was on the first drop yet again and dominated the Average Speed & High Point Bird standings (winning 1st in both).  One of the Top-5 pigeons ever raced in the Gold Country Challenge over the past decade........ but there were several other pigeons today that also had outstanding records finishing on the first drop in 4 or 3 races and closing strong including pigeons for BirdHigh Ranch and Silicon Valley Syndicate.


A Full Race Recap will be posted in two or three days.  


Here is the 2022 Prize Distribution Chart for the entire series:


Breeder Name Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Avg Speed High Point Total Won
Aimhigh Loft   100~10to1       100
A P C Loft 133.33   1242.81     2126.14
250~10to1 500~10to1
Bieche Lofts     1242.81     1242.81
Big Game Loft     2485.62 250 1250 3985.62
BirdHigh Ranch 133.33 876.36 1242.81 1475 2250 5977.50
Blue Sierra     180     180
Cain & Page 250~10to1         250
Christopher Loft     221.25     721.25
Dan & Greg Coury     165 500 370 1035
Denis Eastwood     1242.81     1242.81
Genesis Syndicate 133.33   1242.81     1376.14
Golden Knights   438.18       438.18
Goshentown Lofts       320   320
Griffin Loft   438.18 1242.81 5800 4250 11,730.99
House of Paine       2600 550 3150
Jacks Loft   876.36 1242.81     2119.17
John & Omelio     1242.81     1242.81
Kereru Ware       410   410
Kern Flyers 133.33         133.33
Marengo Creek       1465 220 1685
Portland Loft   500~10to1 1432.81     2432.81
Racing Pigeon Mall 400~10to1 100       1000
Refried Dreams 133.33   221.25   290 644.58
Ruybal Family     185     185
Ryan Austin   438.18 320     758.18
Scm Lofts     175   450 625
Sierraminis     1242.81     1242.81
Sierra Ranch   438.18 2485.62     2923.80
Silicon Valley Synd. 133.33 438.18 2485.62   850 3907.13
Skychargers   115       115
Sparks Trio Synd.   553.18 221.25     774.68
Sugaronni Loft     221.25     221.25
Tim Brandon   438.18       938.18
Totals: 800 5150 21985 12820 10480 51235
900 10to1 1600 10to1 1500 10to1 4000 10to1





Race 5 was released under mostly clear very cold skies (8 degrees)


More and release video to follow.  Expect a 1300s type race due to headwinds the last 100+ miles.


The final race from Deeth, NV (334 Miles) will be held this Friday 11/25.  Lunch will be served around 12:45.  Please let us know if you plan to attend.  As of now weather for Friday looks like partly cloudy to mostly sunny with light headwinds early near release, calm to variable winds in the middle and then about a 10-12 MPH headwind once the birds reach the west slope of the sierras to home.  I expect a 1325 to 1400 YPM type of race which would be ideal for a final.  Temperatures will again be very cold at release but hopefully 4-5 degrees warmer than last race.  Temperatures at the loft should be very nice in the low to mid 60's around lunch and bird arrival.
Race 4 Recap Below: (Flown 11/17)

The way the birds were coming the first 15 minutes of Race 4, I thought it was going to be the best race of the four so far.  It turned out to be the most difficult race of the series with returns strung out after the first 15 minutes.  I'm not sure why other than perhaps it was just too damn cold at release.  This was the coldest temperature we have ever released in which is saying something considering the numerous races we've released over the years in well below freezing temperatures.

Jon released the birds from 268 Miles (Exit 331 on I-80 Crescent Valley) in mostly clear and very cold freezing skies.  It was 9 degrees at release and only 6 or 7 degrees when he pulled up an hour in advance.  The lowest temperature release we've ever had prior was 13 degrees and some in the 15-20 degree range.  I'm not sure if this 9 degrees was too cold for some of the birds or not but it sure makes you wonder at what point it gets just too cold for it not to have a negative effect on the birds.  The air is thinner with less oxygen in the high desert at elevation as it is.  
Skies were forecast to be mostly cloudy to partly sunny along much of the course but reality ended up just thin wispy clouds that the sun shone thru.  Winds were mixed early with some light tailwinds in spots in Nevada but there was a noticeable headwind on the west slope of the sierras and back at the loft.  It kicked up to around 10 MPH around the time birds were arriving.  I figure the birds probably made 1500's speeds on the Nevada side and then slowed to low 1300's on the California side......... ending up with a final speed in the middle.
Back at the loft conditions were very nice with a temperature reaching a mild 60 and mostly sunny skies and light headwinds.  The first drop arrived from the north just in time at 12:39 as I was just starting to think anything past 12:40 was getting a bit slow.  The 11 bird drop made one loop, I threw the dropper and they all landed and trapped very well.  This was the first race where the first drop acted normal (not skittish) upon arrival.  This was a welcome sight not just for trapping but knowing at least this particular drop didn't see any falcons (that would continue through the first four drops).  First in the clock at 1407 YPM was 22035-SVS from Silicon Valley Syndicate.  This pigeon was also Equal 1st (2nd in Clock) last week from Race 3.  Congratulations to Silicon Valley Syndicate who have done very well here over the years.  
2nd in the clock went to 8852-JEDD of Birdhigh Ranch who had two birds on this first drop.  8852 was last week's Race #3 1st Place Winner and has now been on the first drop in 3 of 4 Races.  A Super pigeon that is currently 2nd in Points and 6th Average Speed.  Only a poor Race 2 showing cost it 50 minutes in average speed that it has been chipping away at in the last two races.  22000-RMR the current 1st Overall Average Speed leader and 1st Point Bird leader was also on this first drop for Griffin Loft.  Another tremendous pigeon that now has 3 First Drops and one third drop in the four races.  Jack's Loft also had two pigeons on the first drop.  Congratulations to all the breeders with pigeons on the first drop.
Second drop of two birds arrived a few minutes later also from the north.  Then 12 minutes after the first drop, a big drop of 32 pigeons arrived from the north.  This drop contained several more of the Average Speed and Point Bird contenders.  It took about 90 seconds to get them all in just because there were so many of them but I was happy that they weren't at all skittish and were acting normal with a couple cocks even cooing.  A couple minutes later another two bird drop and everything was looking really good.
The entire tone of the race changed with the arrival of the 5th drop.  6 birds arrived real high out of the NNW with a male peregrine falcon trailing them from even higher.  This is the second or third time this season I've seen this where birds arrive from a toss/race with a peregrine following them in.  The peregrine made a dive and chased one of them over the hill here to where I lost sight of them.  I don't know if he got the bird or not but I did clock a single bird about five minutes later that was scared shitless so hopefully that was the bird he went after. The other 5 birds on the drop were very scared and dived down to the loft and ran in.
After that falcon incident with the 5th drop, returns really slowed almost to a halt and there was a slow trickle of birds the rest of the day.  Many of the late ones were skittish on arrival unlike the early birds.  What started as a good race quickly turned into a not so good race.  I also noticed some of the later birds had that 'weathered' look to them like they do when they fly through bad weather.  Only thing I can guess is that the very cold temps really bothered some of them early and/or maybe some got into some stronger headwinds.
We ended up with 98 birds on the day (60%) which isn't great but birds were coming right up until dark.  Second day returns were fairly good with 32 birds arriving the next day.  In total 130 of 158 Birds (82%) made it home from Race 4 by the end of Day 2.  The overall return percentage ended up being decent but it sure would have been nice to hit 90%.  Between all the falcons right now and so much snow the 2022 series is proving to be a little more difficult and strung out than it usually is on the east course.  The mountain terrain is hard enough for the birds to navigate as it is, so when we start stacking all of these additional hazards against them we are probably fortunate to even be getting 80-90+% returns in all these races.
A couple people have asked about training before the final race.  There will be no training tosses before the final race for a few reasons......
1.)  Some of the training locations are basically snowed in with icy roads or you have to take the extreme long route to get to them (such as Loon Lake).
2.)  The training course, especially the west side of the sierras is infested with peregrine falcons right now.  The fire already pushed some of them down further this way but now the heavy snow has pushed even more of them down this way. Guaranteed the GCC birds are getting hit by a falcon if we take them on a toss right now up into the mountains.  It's one thing for the birds to get chased around the loft but if they get chased up in the mountains on a toss we're going to lose birds and potentially multiple birds.  I'm not losing some of the contenders going into the final race just to get more miles on the birds when they fly just fine around here.
3.) The birds loft fly well and are in great shape.  I never train my own birds between races and have not for 15+ years after testing both methods and seeing absolutely zero benefit to training between races (I actually had better results when I stopped).  Over the years of hosting the GCC, we actually had slightly better return percentages when we don't train.  The key to preparing birds for races is a great feeding system and health.  If you don't know how to feed and your birds aren't healthy it doesn't matter how hard you train, you are not addressing the bigger issue.
For those reasons there will be no training tosses before this final race.  If a few of you have a problem with that and want to use it as an excuse for why your birds don't do well on the final, go right ahead.  My concern is getting the birds ready for the final race and not having any disruption that screws them up for the final.  Just as with my own birds, once the races start my focus is on the next race not pounding the birds up the road.  If road training was the be-all-end-all of conditioning pigeons, then those that trained the most would have the best results and best returns.  Yet we see all the time that isn't always the case. Some recent results from OLR's where the birds had a ton of road miles on them and performed very poorly on nice days (maybe burnout from being overworked).
This morning (Tuesday) the pigeons loft flew free and easy with no falcons or hawks.  Yesterday a larger peregrine dove on them about  20 minutes after we let them out.  Jon saw her fly over real high going west and then loop back around to come after the birds.  Several birds dove down into the trees across the street and were coming out of the trees 10-15 minutes later.  Fortunately the falcon missed and all the birds look ok.  A few hid in the trees for a while before coming out.  One more loft flight to go tomorrow and let's hope no falcons or hawks as we don't want that to be the last thing on the bird's minds before basketing.  I've never seen anything like this peregrine falcon situation the last few months.  Normally at the loft we may see one 3-4 times a year and now we're getting that many a week.
Realistically there are about 10-11 birds that still have a shot at 1st Overall Average Speed if it's a normal final race.  For High Point bird there are about 16 I think that still have a viable shot at winning 1st.  For positions 2nd thru 9th (where they both payout to) it is much more wide open and some of those positions likely won't be decided until late in the afternoon on Friday.
Good luck on the upcoming final race.  - Matt

Race 4 (268 Miles) from Crescent Valley Exit 261 was released this morning at 7:05 under clear, calm, and very cold skies.  It was only 9 degrees at release and it was about 7 degrees when Jon arrived to the release spot just after 6 AM.  This may have been the coldest release we've ever had.  Jon reported the birds took off well crossing over the freeway heading SW.  Surprisingly a handful of birds actually drank.


Skies are mostly clear along the course right now but it's expected to become partly sunny as the morning goes on. Some spots may become 'mostly cloudy' but its a higher thinner cloud cover that shouldn't have much on the birds.  Winds are variable but looks like the birds may get some very light headwinds in portions of NV and then some very light headwinds in the Sierras.  A few spots are showing light tailwinds right but overall it's calm along much of the course.  I expect an upper 1300's to mid 1400's YPM type of race which would be ideal. 


We could have raced tomorrow in big tailwinds and 100% sunny skies which would have been a full 7 days between races.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 15 MPH tailwinds most of the course and it likely would have been a 1700 YPM blowhome.  I don't like blowhomes especially not when prize money is on the line for the last two races.   I chose to race today and have hopefully a normal race.  Sometimes if that's the only window you have you gotta take it but when you have a choice.........I believe an OLR should always choose to have a normal 1200-1500's type of race and not stick to a date only to fly a blowhome or smash.


I  had to leave one bird home (7021-NFL) that was a late return from Race 3 with a minor wing injury.  We also have 1 more bird entered in the series now (30430-JEDD) that was lost a few days before Race 1 and then came back days after Race 1.  We were able to send it last week to Race 3 as a trainer.  It's paid and in the activated in the series.  One extra prize has been added to today's race as well as the final race to account for the extra entry fee. (See Dates & Prizes Link)


There are capitol prizes for today's race.  Also the optional '10 to 1' category pays 4 spots today (500/500/500/100) for those birds that were nominated in it by clocking order.  Right now we are aiming for the final race sometime between Friday and Sunday (11/25 to 11/27) late next week but that's going to be weather dependent.  I will have a better idea by Sunday of this weekend.  One of the weather models is actually encouraging for late next week.  The other shows questionable weather.  


Good luck in today's race.  This is an important race for the Overall Average Speed & High Point birds to start moving into position to be in contention for the final race.


- Matt



Race 3 went fairly well with good weather conditions and good returns.  The only negative was external nonsense (beyond our control) once again making the early birds skittish on arrival.  This time a neighbor across the canyon turned his yard into a shooting range just before and as the first two drops were arriving.  It's always something these past couple months.

I released the birds at 212 Miles from HWY 305 halfway between Battle Mountain, NV and Austin at 7:20 under mostly sunny, calm, and very cold skies.  It was 15 degrees at release but it had been 11 degrees when I pulled up an hour before release.  When I was filling up the waters on the tailgate the spilled water was freezing quickly and my glove fingers were sticking to metal objects.  Needless to say not many birds drank.  
The drive going up was good once I got to the Nevada side but a 15-20 mile stretch from Kingvale thru Donner Summit and Truckee was kind of slick and slow going as a result of snow melt runoff from the snow banks freezing after dark. I decided to take HWY 305 south going home over to HWY 50 (I came in from the north).  Thank god I did come in from the north side during the early morning as HWY 305 south was pretty scary for about 5 miles once I got a few miles south of the release point.  The elevation climbs a little and for whatever reason there was a stretch of road that was fairly icy.  I kept thinking I was going to have to turn around but there wasn't anywhere to do it, so I just had to carefully drive through there at 20-30 MPH.  Nerve wracking driving in icy conditions when you are pulling a trailer.
The forecast from and the local news stations was mostly cloudy on the morning and day of race.  4 of the 5 weather models on Windy also forecast mostly cloudy to overcast.  Only one of the five models (NAM) had a forecast that ended up being close to accurate. I've become pretty good at reading satellite imagery and figured they were over exaggerating the cloud cover as it was leading edge high clouds at the beginning of a front.  It turned out to be an even nicer day than I figured.  Mostly sunny to partly cloudy (thin clouds) the entire course and not dimming the skies until very late in the day.  Winds were mostly calm along the course and even a light headwind on the west slope of the sierras but I did notice a pretty good 10-12 MPH NE Breeze in a couple spots on the middle of the course especially in Fernley.  The birds likely picked up some extra speed in this 50 mile stretch.  I figured going in an upper 1400's type of race and they were just bit faster.
Jon was waiting for birds back at the loft and called me a few minutes before birds arrived and said "can you hear what's going on in the background?"  I could hear it very easily........non-stop gunfire from semi-automatic pistols and rifles from a neighbor about 1/2 Mile east of us across the canyon.  I guess he originally started with a shotgun and then five minutes later switched to pistols and rifles.  Unfortunately for us the neighbor decided to turn 11:20 to 11:35 on a Friday into target practice time.  He's done this before but in this case the timing couldn't be any worse with birds due to arrive.  I know they could hear from miles away.  This started about five minutes before the birds arrived and lasted until about 10+ minutes after the first drop.  Jon estimated hundreds of rounds were fired off during this time.  This group of birds just can't catch a break between the falcons and now gunshots just around the loft.
Sure enough when I was on the phone with him birds arrived with two diving down low through the trees. Turns out there was more above these two that were just diving down out of the drop.  Jon threw a couple droppers and even they were scared and went to the roof.  The birds sat frozen on the roof for a minute and were very jittery but he eventually got them in.  There were six birds on the first drop. 1st Place in the Clock at a speed of 1525 YPM went to 8852-JEDDS of BIRDHIGH Ranch (Fred & Barbara Daskoski).  Congratulations to Fred & Barbara who also had birds on the second drop.  They won 2nd Overall Average Speed last year and were on the first drop of the final race.  The second drop trapped in 4 minutes later also skittish during all the gunshots.
After the first two drops the gun shots across the canyon eventually stopped but the birds just weren't coming at all.  Beautiful weather but empty skies.  15 minutes went by and still nothing.  At that point I thought it was going to be a bad race and we were going to lose a bunch of birds.  A couple more came but it still wasn't looking good. Finally 25 minutes after the first drop, a big drop of 33 birds arrived out of the north. This was a relief and this drop contained several of the birds that had been leading Average Speed and Points going into Race 3.  They were also skittish and looking back out towards the skies but this was long after the gunfire had stopped so I think they likely saw the usual falcon along the way and just went too far around the north end of Lake Tahoe.  The amount of snow the Sierras has received so far is incredible too and I have to imagine all of this heavy snow covering the mountains and trees makes the birds nervous flying over it.
In the minutes after the big 4th drop, a few more 8-12 bird drops arrived in a short time and quickly remedied the return issue.  We were up to over 50% returns in under an hour.  Returns continued steady throughout the day with 80% of the birds home on the day.  Not bad for a race where the returns were very spreadout in the beginning.  Day 2 unfortunately started off with low overcast, drizzle, and eventually some light rain for a few hours.  Eventually it turned back to overcast but several birds arrived on Day 2 in the rain which was pretty impressive.  They could have just hunkered down and waited for it to lift in the afternoon but they came through it.  Two more birds arrived on Day 3 and in total we ended up with 93% Returns from Race 3.
This makes two races in a row where we've had overcast and some rain on Day 2 which I'm sure cost us some more return.  Thankfully that won't be an issue in the next race as we are in a dry pattern at least through this weekend.  We do have one bird that I think has a minor wing injury that probably can't go to this next race.
As of right now Tuesday night, 90% chance we fly Race 4 this Thursday 11/17.   I will make a decision tomorrow.  Thursday looks like partly to mostly cloudy with very light winds (headwinds to variable).  I'm just making sure it's not going to be too cloudy but it does look like there will be good sun at release and no low clouds. Friday looks sunny but 10-15 MPH tailwinds most of the course which would likely mean a 1600 to 1700 YPM Race.  I'd rather fly a normal race (1350-1450) on Thursday then a fast one on Friday.  I like 1200-1500 YPM races but I don't like 1700+ YPM races and I think that's the same for most breeders.  Sometimes with weather windows you have no choice but to fly the fast one if that's the only way to get a race off.  When you do have a choice I think the right thing to do is fly a normal race and avoid a blowhome.
There are some modest prizes on this upcoming Race 4 from 268 Miles.  Of course most of the prizes and all the bigger prizes are reserved for the final race and the average speed and high point birds.  I still have no idea which day the final will be but I will start looking at it soon after we start clocking birds on this next race. They do show an active weather pattern again starting up next week, so finding a window for the final may be a challenge.
Good luck on the next Race - Matt

Race 3 (214 Miles) from HWY 305 between Austin & Battle Mountain will be released at 7:20 AM.


Mostly clear with thin Clouds and some very light haze at release.  Very cold (15 degrees) at release and it was down to 9 degrees overnight.  Forecast was for mostly cloudy most of the way but in think it will be mostly sunny to partly cloudy for at least the first hour and then clouding up as day goes on.  They are not thick or low clouds though,so shouldn't effect the birds much.


Winds are forecasted to be light E and SE for the first 125 miles or so and then light variable winds or headwinds last 100 miles.


2 birds came up missing after falcon attack two days ago which really sucks.  One had been doing really well in the first two races too.  I don't know if the falcon actually hit both or maybe one ran into something in the chaos.  We will hope for minimal falcon activity on the course today.  Perhaps a station that takes the flight path slightly south towards the middle of Lake Tahoe will help.


Good Luck in today's Race.  I will post a release video here at some point after it's uploaded to YouTube.









Winter has set in early this year with multiple cold wet storms lined up over the past week and for the next couple of days.  Getting Race 2 off this past Friday was a challenge with a narrow window to get a decent race.

In the few days prior to Race 2 we had a strong cold front move through with a lot of rain but especially snow in the mountains all the way down to 4000'.  All of our training locations received significant snow and the ski resorts around Lake Tahoe received 16" to 18" of snow.  This is rare for November 1st and the type of storm you usually see in December or January.  For Race 2, the forecasted Friday morning weather was overcast to mostly cloudy depending on which weather model you went by with mostly cloudy to partly cloudy forecasted for the sierras/the loft.
I left the loft at 3:45 AM.  Driving up I-80 through the sierras, the skies were not looking encouraging as you could not see any stars.  Freeway road conditions were not too bad (not much ice) just had to slow down going through Donner Summit.  As I entered the high desert in Nevada the skies still weren't very good (90% clouds) with a lot of low cloud cover.  I arrived in Lovelock just after 7 AM.  While the skies looked ominous, I was now seeing some breaks in the cloud cover especially towards the west.  At the release point itself the low cloud cover was thick as it stacks up behind the mountains at Coal Canyon.  The skies were considerably better about 6 miles west of the release point and as the next hour went on I could see that things were going to be just good enough to release.  
Waited another half hour for things to get a little better along the path the birds would be flying.  I released the birds at 8:35 AM under cold mostly cloudy (80% clouds) skies with very light winds.  The sun was breaking through just a little bit out to the SW and shining upon the mountains out to the west.  We've been doing this long enough that I know as long as there is a sliver of sun at release and some breaks in the cloud cover that the birds tend to navigate fine (whereas with 100% clouds and zero sun they struggle).  The pigeons took off ok and within a few minutes they crossed out over the freeway towards the mountains to the west the same way the GCC and combine birds usually do.
Driving back conditions were mostly cloudy with little observable wind although winds were forecasted to be light headwinds for the first 75-90 miles.  There were 10 mile stretches of no sun a few times but for the most part the pigeons had peeks of sun much of the way. Closer to home the skies were much brighter.  The one noticeable thing coming back was just how much snow the sierras received from the storm.  Not only were the mountains covered but most of the pine trees were still covered as well.  I'm not sure what the pigeons make of this when seeing it for the first time but it has to be confusing for them.  Normally the first time they see snow it's a dusting and the trees aren't covered but this amount of snow completely changed the landscape of what they have been flying over.
Back at the loft Jon and Jerry Gatto (from my club) were waiting for birds.  A good sized drop of 28 flew over just before 12:10.  Jon and Jerry both reported that the birds appeared to have come from behind the loft (to the west) and that they were skittish.  First in the clock was 4196-PNW @ 1352 YPM for Portland Loft (Michael Schiele). Michael also had another bird on the first drop and is no stranger to recent success in our race.  In 2020 he bred the 1st Overall Ace Pigeon that was also one of the greatest OLR performers ever being on the first drop in every single race and long training toss.  Congratulations to Michael.  Of note Dan & Greg Coury had both of their same birds from last week on the first drop again.  8 of the 14 that were on the first drop in Race 1 repeated again.  Thus far these 8 have made it clear they are the lead birds.
The second drop was a single bird and then another big drop of 32 came a few minutes after the first drop.  The 4th drop was also good sized at 18 birds.  All of the drops were nervous upon landing again but not quite as bad as last week.  90+ birds had arrived in less than 15 minutes and even though the speeds were mid 1300's it appeared we were going to be in for a great race in terms of returns and the birds all bunched up.  Unfortunately that didn't last as returns really fell off a cliff after the first 15 minutes.  For the rest of the day it was mostly singles and doubles coming in from all directions (NW and SE being most common) and like last week a lot of terrified birds.  Likely some of the drops were chased by falcons again.  Only thing that we can hope going forward is that as the birds reach the sierras later in the morning (as the races get longer), the falcons will have already eaten.  I'd imagine all of the snow cover also contributed to the birds being skittish.  74% of the birds arrived home on the day.
The next morning started off low overcast and it wasn't looking good for second day returns as only a few came in the first couple hours.  Several came in between 10 AM and 1 PM in overcast (no sun) conditions and a couple even came mid afternoon after it started raining.  It appeared the birds arriving on Day 2 were coming in from very far away.  Sunday morning was low overcast and drizzle and a couple more came midday after it lifted and we were able to loft fly the birds.  In total 86% of the birds arrived home from Race 2.  Not the usual 92-95+% we strive for on a good race but certainly not bad considering all the birds went through.  Had we actually had some sun and not low overcast along the course on Day 2, I believe we would have reached 90% returns.
Monday started off unsettled with showers but we were able to loft fly the birds.  A strong winter storm arrived Monday night and it has been pouring rain all morning/day Tuesday (as I write this) with heavy snow in the sierras.  Big Hill Lookout (our 25 Mile training) toss already has over a foot of snow and the ski resorts in Tahoe are expected to receive 2-4' feet of snow from this storm.  This is not normal for early November.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) is supposed to be unsettled with on/off again showers throughout the day but we should be able to loft fly the birds at some point.
Race 3 might possibly be flown on Thursday but more likely Friday or even this weekend.  Right now Friday looks like the best day with 2 of the 3 weather models showing good conditions (partly sunny with light winds).  Thursday may be out mostly because of road conditions during the overnight hours.  Long term the weather pattern looks quieter next week which would be a welcome relief after these past two weeks.
The 2022 Prize Payout was completed and posted to the website Sunday night.  

Click here for the 2022 Prize Payout


Please Refresh your browser in the link above does not show the actual payout based on 206 Paid Entries.  There are some small prizes for Race 3 and the optional 10-1 Category pays 4 spots for those that were nominated in it.
Good luck on the upcoming Race 3 - Matt

Race 2 was released at 8:35


Skies were pretty ugly driving up and when I got here at 7:15 but they are starting to look a little better.  It's mostly Cloudy at release with sun peeking through just a bit at times and the skies are better to the west 5-10 miles down the road.  Sun is hitting the mountsibs to the NW just before release. Cold and 34 degrees at release but it was supposed to be low 20s so I'll take it.  All the cloud cover overnight kept temperatures better.


Winds are light headwinds for the first 75-90 miles then very light variable winds after that.  Likely the birds will have to fly through mostly cloudy skies for much of the course including the sierras.   Hopefully the Sierra's are not too socked in.


Won't be an easy race today but I think they'll do ok.  Starting Saturday afternoon we have more rain and snow coming in for several days in a row including a large winter storm on Monday and Tuesday.


We had a large winter-type storm come in Tuesday and today delivering a fair amount of rain but especially snow in the mountains.  Some of the ski lodges have received a foot of snow.  There was snow all the way down to 4000'.  As I write this all of our training locations such as Loon Lake, Big Hill, and Mt. Rose are covered in snow.  Road conditions are a mess on I-80 going through the sierras right now with chain controls.  We were originally going to try to fly Race 2 tomorrow on Thursday but the weather models now all show the eastern Sierras being socked in with low cloud cover and snow flurries most of the morning.  The roads are going to be treacherous again overnight in the sierras, so it's just as well because even getting over the sierras would have been slow going and dangerous.


Friday looks questionable still but the latest forecasts are more encouraging.  A couple of the weather models show the release point being socked in with 100% cloud cover Friday morning for the first 3-4 hours after sunrise.  The other two weather models are now showing partly to mostly cloudy.  Hopefully we see an improved forecast tomorrow and it doesn't get worse.  All the weather models show the sierras being partly cloudy so that's good.  Saturday is no good for a race with a storm coming in late and Sunday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday all look bad with rain (multiple storms lined up).


We were able to loft fly the birds this morning in mostly cloudy conditions and the birds were rained on for a few minutes a couple of times.  They flew great for 90 minutes as they were amped up from yesterday's feed and also enjoying the cold weather. 


As I mentioned the other day I'm not thinking ahead to other races as the weather is already creating a big challenge in just getting this second race off.  Looks like we are going to have a very active weather pattern to start November so finding acceptable days to race is going to be tough.  Ideally at some point we'll get a stretch of high pressure to where we can get two races off in 5 or 6 days but as of now I'm not even seeing two good days let alone several.  Payout will be posted in 2-3 days.


- Matt 

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