News and Updates
Sep-08-2018
9-8-18 UPDATE
Yesterday we released from Satus Pass which is a little over 40 miles for the birds.  They exited the trailer perfect and headed toward home and we followed as long as we could.  When we headed in to the mountains it was clear as a bell, after releasing and turning back around toward home we noticed a ever slight film of smoke that had blown in to the valley below which is only about 20 miles from the loft.  At the loft 90% of the birds came together, results show otherwise but this was because a pesky hawk got them all screwed up.  The other 10% came in after and must of tried to fly around the smoke as they were coming out of the east and north, they never come out of the north as this means they overflew the loft and we just do not have that problem here, think they tried to fly around that light layer of smoke that had dissipated late morning.  The clock was shut off last night and immediately after 2 birds showed up, too dark to check band numbers, one a griz the other a blue check.  This morning 6 more were outside the loft before we let them out to loft fly, which they still are at this time.  We are sure most will return today.  So the birds are getting a day off today, we will resume training in the morning and are still shooting for the activation race being the 17th of this month.  We want to get a couple of 60 and 70 milers in before we set them up for the activation. 

If you are going to be out of town during the activation, or if you procrastinate like many do, send your entry fees in right now.  If you have a bird(s) that does not return, we will return that portion of your entry fees. 

Rick & Olga
Sep-07-2018
TODAY'S TOSS
Today it was absolutely perfect when we left the loft headed down the road to the release point.  Release went well, but when we came out of the hills about half way home there was a haze that had settled down in the valley.  As all of you know, we have been battling forest fires all summer in the Pacific NW and CA.  When we left it was clear, when we got turned around a slight breeze blew some smoke in, not a lot but just enough to get about 10% of the birds out of wack mentally.  It cleared up this afternoon and as writing this it is totally clear and most of the birds have returned. 
 
We will make a decision tomorrow morning whether or not we will head down the road or not depending upon the amount of smoke in the air and visibility, please be patient. 
 
As we said in the last update, you are more than welcome to start sending your entry fees in so that you do not have to wait until the last minute to do so.  Tentatively, the activation race will be held on the 17th of September, so not this coming Monday but the next.  The post office does not operate on Sundays so the latest you can send your entry fees in would be to get them to us by the 15th which is the Saturday before the activation race. 
 
Thanks everyone for your encouragement and support thus far. 
 
Rick & Olga
Sep-05-2018
BIRDS LOOKING GREAT!
The birds are coming along very nicely on their training flights.  This week we will train daily weather permitting and if all works out right, we will have the activation race Monday the 17th of September.  Once we have the activation race we will race 7 days later.  If you are one of those people who procrastinate trying to send your entry fees at the last minute, please save yourself the stress and send them now.  Since all of our races are held on Mondays, we will need your entry fees no later than Saturday the 15th of September since the 16th is a Sunday.  Send your entry fees now and if you have a bird(s) who gets lost before or on the activation race then we will just send you a refund. 
 
Make checks, money orders, cashiers checks to:
 
Apple Cup
PO Box 313
Moxee, WA 98936
 
We are not sent up for PayPal or credit card transactions at this time, sorry for the inconvenience.
 
Each breeder is responsible for activating their entire teams, no picking and choosing.  Failure to activate the entire team will forfet your entry in to the Apple Cup and your birds will be sold to the first interested person.  We will post a list of all birds available before the first race, first come first serve.  If you are interested in activating available birds, please send us a email ASAP and we will contact you if any birds become available the day before the first race.  
 
Rick & Olga
Aug-31-2018
8-31-2018 UPDATE
The birds are coming along nicely, we have had them to roughly 20 miles twice now.  Next week we will start working them up in to the hills and should be at 40 miles by the end of the week.  We will not train Saturday and Sunday as opening dove season starts tomorrow.  With lots of hunters off for the Labor Day weekend we just do not want to take the chance, Monday is questionable as well, we will pick up next Tuesday for sure. 

Rick & Olga
Aug-27-2018
THIRD TOSS
Today we conducted the third toss from the north side of Konowock Pass.  If you have followed our race in the past you will know that Konowock Pass is one of the major hurdles we must cross in the early stages of training.  From our loft we can see Konowock Pass due south, it is a slight cut out in Rattlesnake Ridge.  We train on our side of the pass which is just 5 miles from the loft so the birds get used to seeing the valley below on our side.  We have found, and others who fly in this area have found, that if you do not train on this side of Konowock Pass a few times before jumping to the other side of the ridge which is the south side, then the young birds will get on the wrong side of the pass and fly back and forth because they ordinarily refuse to fly over a ridge and will instead try to fly along the bottom of it until they find a low spot which for us is about 15-20 miles to the east.  We released the birds about a half mile on the north side of Konowock Pass and all looked great, they started to head in the right direction and then a large Red Tail hawk got below them and got them all screwed up.  Most of the birds are in the loft as of right now and we are confident that most will return throughout the rest of the day.  This is actually one of, if not the best educational tosses the birds will get this year.  They are learning the area and they are flying for a very long time which tells us they are healthy and ready for longer tosses.  We will train from Konowock Pass again tomorrow and we are sure they will straighten themselves out, if they do well then we will start working the birds out on the south side to the ridge and hopefully be at the second ridge line which is Toppenish Ridge by the end of the week.  We will not train on Labor Day because this is the first day of opening dove season.  
 
Just to be clear, Rattlesnake Ridge and Toppenish Ridge run east and west, the first being 5 miles from the loft and the second about 20 miles.  We race out of the south so the birds must learn to cross these ridgelines if they are going to race here. 
 
Rick & Olga
Aug-26-2018
8-26-2018 TOSS
It always is a bit of a struggle getting the birds to load the first day, yesterday was no exception taking nearly 3 hours.  We had our helpers here at 9 AM yesterday and today and since it took so long to load yesterday the birds did not get released until early afternoon, then of course ate afterwards.  Today's toss went real well and the birds are starting to trap, but VERY SLOWLY since they are not hungry at all.  It is also very cool out with overcast, looks like most are home, they are just taking their sweet time trapping since not being hungry and not thirsty since it is so nice out. 

Tomorrow our helpers will be here at 6 AM and if we can keep loading under a hour then we will have a early AM release.  Today we will cut the feed back a little so tomorrow they will not play around outside once they return. 

While writing this about half of the birds are on the roof and landing board, the rest are flying high.  We did get home early enough to see some of the birds land and none were panting hard which tells us that respiratory is good. 

Hopefully the smoke stays out of here so we can continue training with no interruptions. 

Rick & Olga
Aug-25-2018
FIRST TOSS COMPLETE!
Well folks, it is in the books, first toss for the Apple Cup 2018 finally was done today!  After waiting out the molt, then the smoke, it was nice to finally get the birds in the trailer and down the road.  As of writing this we are down 12 birds, hopefully they come in later on today. 

When the birds were released they circled high, then surprisingly headed right for the loft.  The spot we released from is roughly 4 miles from the loft, they can see the loft once they are up in the air a couple hundred feet so is no problem for them. 

We will train again tomorrow about the same time and from the same spot.  Next week we will train in the afternoon until the birds become more proficient at loading.  Once the birds have the loading process down pat we will switch to morning training so my helpers can help load early AM before heading to their full time Mon-Fri jobs. 

Rick & Olga
Aug-22-2018
TRAINING HOPEFULLY STARTING SOON.
If you follow the news you know all full well the smokey conditions we continue to have up here in the NW part of the US.  There are fires all around us but most of what we are getting is smoke being blown down from Canada.  It is supposed to start to clear up a little bit better toward the end of the week, if it looks good enough this weekend we may have our first training toss on Saturday.
 
The birds have their 9th flight nearly all the way in and the feathers behind the 9th are coming along nicely.  This means that your birds will have a full wing by time we get to the longer races, most before we even hit the 100 mile activation race. 
 
The birds are currently on a respiratory treatment just to make sure that if they do have something respiratory related that we can not see with the naked eye, it will be cleared up before we hit the road.
 
We will run a inventory today.  The birds are out exercising as I type this and I will let them in here shortly, they have been out for the last 2 1/2 hours which is about their normal "play time" each and every day.  The birds have been flagged the last week to make sure that they all can fly for at least 1/2 hour, many are flying much longer and have been routing for the last few months, especially on cool mornings. 
 
Remember, if you have a bird missing before the first training toss and you were not able to send a replacement then you will get a free perch the very next year.  
 
Hope everyone is having a great summer!
 
Rick & Olga
Aug-01-2018
8/1/18 UPDATE

Hi everyone, sorry for not updating since we did the chip check and 9th flight pull. 

All is well at the loft, just giving the birds some rest after having pulled the 9th flight.  We have caught a few and their 9th flights are about a inch in, we will start letting them out again real soon.  In the meantime, they are being run on a few different meds just to make sure they don't have anyting before we start road training.  The last treatment they will receive will be for respiratory, just to make sure they are cleared of any respiratory issues that we can't see with the naked eye before we hit the road with them.  They are also being offered baths daily since it is so hot here.   

Probably a good thing we are holding off on training due to the grass fires in the Pacific NW.  If the air is smokey it can be hard on the bird's lungs if they are forced to fly home, so better to just wait a little later for the smoke to totally clear out before any real road training starts. 

Good luck to those of you who are in other races besides ours who are starting to train and will be racing soon.  We ourselves have several birds sent out and as yourself, we are excited to see if our new matings pay off. 

Patience everyone, the fun will start soon enough!

 

Rick & Olga

 

 

Jul-21-2018
CHIP CHECK COMPLETE
If you have ever tried to catch 900+ birds and check their chips, then pull their 9th flights, you know how I feel this morning after working on this for two days.  Relieved is not a strong enough word!

The birds looked excellent with good weight and clear throats, yes we looked down the throats of each and every bird we handled.  The 10th flight was pulled about a month ago and over these last two days we pulled the 9th.  The birds will get some rest time in the loft before we start loft flying again.  This will give them a little time to relax after being manhandled and for the 9th to start to come back in.  Any bird who had a broken flight or tail feather had that feather removed so it will not put the bird at a disadvantage once the races start.   

Road raining was scheduled to start around the first week in August, we had some things happen on the home front which delayed the chip check/9th flight being pulled so we will delay road training until the birds are ready.  We are in no hurry and we don't want to rush things just for the sake of staying on a schedule.  Our schedule is flexible and always puts the health and welfare of the birds first, when they show us they are ready then we will be ready.  Delaying training just means that the longer races will be held later in October which means cooler weather.  Good for everyone!

We clocked in 891 birds.  Alan Porter RRR 464 was first to clock but since it was clocked the day prior, just to check the clock the night prior to make sure everything was in order, it is not showing up on the race report on Wincompanion but is in our report on Taurus.  Therefore, should of been 892 birds clocked, not 891. 

The following birds did not clock for the following reasons, add these to the 892 and that takes our total inventory up to 903. 

SONDER 8962 BAD CHIP
MEFFERD CLAN LOFTS 525 NOT ASSIGNED
MEFFERD CLAN LOFTS 3611 NOT ASSIGNED
BILLY& DOG 18 BAD CHIP
SPARKS TRIO SYND 19060 NOT ASSIGNED
SPRING BREAK 22421 NOT ASSIGNED
SPARKS TRIO SYND 19032 NOT ASSIGNED
MEDINA LOFT 1837 MISSING CHIP
GLORIOSOS LOFT 2120 MISSING CHIP.  Reassigned after wing injury healed. 
ALAN PORTER 464 BAD CHIP
AMERICAN CHINESE PIGOEN CLUB 2104 BAD CHIP

Thanks everyone for your support!

Rick & Olga
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