News and Updates

The birds had a good toss with the overwhelming majority trapping in good time yesterday from 90 miles, a few returned today.  This was their first trip across the Columbia River and as we have mentioned several times before, this is probably our biggest hurdle.  Tomorrow we will release them from the same 90 mile spot in Grass Valley, OR.  If the birds have a good toss with the majority coming together then weather permitting, we will have the Activation Race Tuesday. 

PLEASE, start sending your activation fees in.  If you wait until the day of the activation race to send us a check in the mail then please do so the day of the activation race or at least the very next day.  We much prefer to race every 7 days starting from the activation race, if we do not have your activation fees by the day prior to the first official race then it really screws things up.  

If you do not plan on activating your birds then let us know now so we can find someone who can. 

If you are interested in adding more birds to your team that are not activated, or if you are not in the race this year and want to be a part, then send us a email to include phone number and we will contact you the day prior to the first race to make payment arrangements. 

Make sure that somewhere on the check/envelope you put the loft name that the birds are listed under for our Apple Cup race.  Many of you enter several races under different names, sometimes a partnership, so make sure that when you mail your entry fees it is the name that is listed on our site no someone else's.  If you are partners with someone then ONE OF YOU is responsible for sending a check or paying via PayPal, not multiple persons and especially persons who are not listed under our breeder list.  Sometimes breeders have their wives send checks, a family member, and if the loft name is not included and there is no phone number on the check........come on everyone you get the idea.  If you pay by PayPal there is a part where you include your loft name, again make sure it is the loft name listed on our Apple Cup site not a loft name listed in a different race. 

As of right now we will not be holding a final race get together.  Our county just moved in to stage 2, if big gatherings are noticed the county comes to investigate.  If things change you will be the first to know. 


Rick & Olga


If you have been reading our updates, you will know that getting the birds to cross the Columbia River is our biggest worry and concern as it is every year.  The weather was about perfect at release and along the entire course, maybe a little west wind half way through but more of a breeze than anything.  As expected, a few of the birds had a tough time crossing the river but most made it in good time.  We have a trap open and a section blocked off from the birds who have already arrived, fresh water and plenty of feed and grit for late arrivals.  The release was a single release and was posted on our personal Facebook page.  If you are not already a friend of ours on Facebook and wish to view videos of releases, interior and exterior views of the loft and birds and generally just how we do business, then send a friend request.  Search for Rick Mee, Yakima, WA. 

We will look at the upcomming weather forecast, the condition of the birds, and make a decision on whether we feel we need to repeat from the same location today or to have the activation race next.

Thanks to all of you who have sent your activation fees in already.  If you have a bird(s) come up missing on the activation race and already paid for that bird(s) then we will refund you per bird.  


Rick & Olga   


Pulled in to Grass Valley 1 hr before release, waited for heavy clouds out of the west moving eastward to hopefully break up but it just was not going to happen.  Turned around and started heading north toward the Columbia River on the Oregon side hoping to get around the black clouds to see some sunshine so we could release on the other side of the river but the clouds and sun just were not cooperating.  Once we got on the other side of the river to the WA side it was clear and sunny, GO FIGURE!  Released them from Goldendale where they have been five times now and there was plenty of sun.  The birds beat us home and are not ready to come in since they were fed up for a 90 mile toss and a bit later in the morning yesterday, it was also cool last night and about 40 F at release so they are not very thirsty either.  From the looks of it they all made it basically together and continue to trap slowly. 

Worth mentioning, it did start to drizzle a bit as soon as we left Grass Valley so it was a good decision pulling back.   The sun also did not even peek out from Grass Valley to the south side of the river, once on the other side of the river it was sunny.  The Columbia River runs the entire length of southern WA and northern OR, it is what separates the two states and the birds must cross it to make it home.  Experience has taught us not to release too close to the river because it does not give the birds a good enough running start on the river to cross it.   Grass Valley is 25 miles from Goldendale, Goldendale is about 5 miles on our side of the river.  So from Grass Valley they will have aproximately a 20 mile running start to cross the river and 5 miles on the other side is Goldendale which they are very comfortable with by now this being their 5th release from there today. 

So the game plan has changed, yet again!  We will attempt Grass Valley on Friday, again Sunday, and have the activation race next Tuesday.  We want them to have at least two tosses across the river before taking them out to Shaniko, OR for the much anticipated activation race so they will have the confidence to cross the river. 

Thanks to all of you who have already send checks, we have not even begun to look at PayPal yet but from the sounds of it a lot of you are utilizing that option. 

UPDATE:  Most of the birds trapped in to water but well over 100 just continued to fly.  Like I said earlier, they were fed up for 90 miles and were not hungry or thirsty today.  A breeder came by to drop off a check and when he left I drove the birds back out of the loft that had trapped, put their feed out and called them in.  So when you see a bunch of birds trapping together today at the end of the report do not assume they were late, they just wanted to play in the wind.  Days before races which is shipping day the birds are not let out of the loft and are fed early in the AM, this makes for much better trapping.  My goal at this point is giving them all the feed they can eat so their bodies will be built up for the races ahead, quick trapping on trainers is not of much concern.  Distance and early AM feeding the day prior to races takes care of trapping. 


Rick & Olga






We planned on taking the birds across the Columbia River tomorrow on a 85 mile toss however there is rain and clouds forecasted in Goldendale for tomorrow and windy on Monday.  We will hold off on training tomorrow and will look at the weather closely for a possible Monday toss. 

Today it was cool and overcast with gusting wind.  The birds were loft flown and while they were out the loft was cleaned, disenfected, waterers disenfected and filled and feed and grit placed out.  I have never saw birds fly like they did today.  The last group of about 300 flew for over two and a half hours, never saw this before unless they are chased by a falcon.  They obviously are feeling very good, we could not be prouder!  The birds will be loft flown tomorrow. 

Thank you to those of you who have already started sending in your entry fees.


Rick & Olga



Today the birds had their third toss at 65 miles from Goldendale.  Most trapped quickly, a Band Tailed Pigeon showed up and a Red Tailed hawk which kept the last birds from trapping.  We drove all of the birds back out of the loft and cleaned the loft as usual to include spraying all perches and floors with Virkon S.  The birds are about to be allowed to reenter the loft to their feed, they came home to fresh water.  This is our ritual on training tosses, let them trap to water, drive them back out and while they are out having fun we get to sanitize the loft and place their feed out.  With loading the birds late evening, then leaving before the sun comes up for training tosses, this is the only way we would have a opportunity to clean the loft.  So if you notice a clump of birds trapping a hour or so after the initial group has already clocked, these are birds that either would not trap because they were spooked like today, or they came in and joined the group outside while we were cleaning.  Once all of the birds have trapped for a second time we leave one trap open to one section where feed and water is available.  If the late arrivals look worn out or injured, they are not sent on the next trainer. 

PLEASE, start sending your entry fees in.  Due to the number of breeders we do not have time to place individual phone calls and send out individual emails. 

Tomorrow they will rest.  Sunday they will be taken to Grass Valley which is 85 miles, this is the first trip across the river and it always scares the hell out of us doing so the first time!  Monday will be a rest day, Tuesday back to Grass Valley, Wednesday rest, Thursday ACTIVATION RACE. 

Again, we only accept PayPal and checks, money orders, etc.  Please do not call wanting to make a last minute payment and do not send pictures of checks, we just do not have enough time to give everyone individual attention.  If you pay ahead of the activation race and you end up a short a bird(s) we will refund you $300 per bird.  

Rick & Olga


Much better toss today from Goldendale than on Monday, we actually picked up several birds along the way. 

Birds will be loft flown tomorrow and we will go back to Goldendale Friday.  If they do well Friday we will take them to Grass Valley on Sunday which is 85 miles and their first trip across the mighty Columbia River.  If they do well from Grass Valley on Sunday we will repeat from Grass Valley on Tuesday and if they do well Tuesday we will have the Activation Race Thursday. 

PLEASE, do not wait until the last minute to send in your activation fees.  You will have 7 days counting the day of the Activation Race as day one to get your entry fees to us.  All birds must be activated per team, no picking and choosing.  If you send ahead of the Activation Race and one of your bird(s) come up missing you will get a refund per bird missing. 

Pay by PayPal or send it in the mail.  The PayPal is under the PAYMENTS tab.  (I need to check to see if Olga added it yet) 


Rick & Olga


Today the birds got their first toss from Goldendale which is 60 miles.  The birds were released in two equal groups both with the release side facing east.  Released first group, turned trailer around and waited 15 minutes and released the second group.  Both groups shot straight to the north as they are supposed to.  From the release point they have a 10 mile runing start at Satus Ridge, this is 15 miles farther south than the north side of Satus Pass which is where they were released the three 45 mile tosses prior to today.  Satus Ridgeline runs east and west and is roughly 47 miles from the loft, then we have Toppenish Ridge which is 20 miles from the loft and Rattlesnake Ridge 5 miles south of the loft.  In other words, the birds crossed three ridgelines today that run east and west and are racing south to north, one at 47 miles, one at 20 miles, then 5 miles from the loft.  Like I have said previously folks, I flew in TX and hardly ever lost any young birds, moved back here to WA and found out that mountain racing is nothing like flatland racing!

The majority of the birds did great today, a minority must of got discombulated in the mountains and we are still missing roughly 100 birds at the time of writing this.  The birds will get a day off and we will start up again Wednesday, of course depending upon what the weather looks like.  

By all means, start sending in your entry fees.  $300 per bird, and if you pay ahead of the Activation Race and a bird comes up missing we will send you that bird(s) entry fees back to you after the Activation Race.  

We accept ONLY PayPal which is on our site under PAYMENTS, and paper forms of payment through the mail such as personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders, etc.  Do not ask if we use Zell or can take a credit card over the phone, we have already addressed this in previous updates.

If you are one of my Facebook friends you have been able to see the videos we have been posting.  Every time we go to a new release point, especially the farther we go, we post a video.  This shows all of you the type of terrain your birds are flying over and also shows that we are training like we say we are.  Yours truly narrates the videos stating direction, prominent landmarks, and other things that will be of interest to most of you.  If not already a friend of mine on Facebook, send me a friend request and as long as I know who you are I will add you on.  Please share the videos as far and as wide as you wish, we do not mind.    


Rick & Olga 


Today the birds had their first toss from Satus Pass and most did great.  Our release point is on the north side of the pass, there are ridgelines to the east and west.  When the birds are released they really have no option but to head north toward home.  Once we get the birds trained past Satus Pass and start actual races we will be using Satus Pass as our regular tune up training spot between races. 

Plan is the following. 

Satus Pass 2 more times minimum, this is 45 miles. 

Goldendale a minimum of 3 times, this is 60 miles. 

Across the Columbia River, the main obstacle, a minimum of 2-3 times.  We most likely will be using the cemetery at Grass Valley, this is 85 miles.  Once we feel comfortable with the birds crossing the river, we will have the activation race. 

Be ahead of the game and go ahead and start sending in activation fees.  We do not accept Zell, credit card payments over the phone, just too busy for any of that.  We do have a PayPal option under our PAYMENTS tab, if you do not want to send a check, money order, or cashier's check use the PayPal option and this is our ONLY online form of payment.  If mailing in a payment do not send us pictures via text or email of your check, again we just do not have time to give special attention to individual breeders as we have over 300 breeders this year.  Do not send your checks late expecting us to accept them if postmarked before the first race, they must be in our hand the day before the activation race.  The only way to insure that we get them in a timely fashion is to send them before the activation race, or the day of the activation race if mailing and not using our PayPal option, or priority mail which of course incurs added fees. 

If you do not plan on activating your birds let us know NOW.  We will compile a list of those who will not be activating their birds and offering them to the first individuals who contact us stating they want to activate unwanted birds.  If you want to activate unwanted birds email us NOW, we will make a list and when birds become available we will start at the top of the list and work our way down until we run out of birds. 

We have eliminated breeders in the past who were late in sending in their fees.  Again, we need your entry fees IN HAND before the first race, not postmarked before the first race. 

Entry fees are $300 per bird, you must activate all birds on your team no picking and choosing. 

If you mail in a check make sure you put your LOFT NAME on the check or somewhere on the paper form of payment.  Often times we get breeders having their signifigant others, family members, or friends sending in payments for them especially if their English is not so good.  If you do not put your loft name somewhere on the check, and especially if there is no phone number, well you get the idea. 

Again, do not be late in sending in your Activation Fees, be PROACTIVE please! 

Lets hope the weather stays good so we can keep training and get to racing!


Rick & Olga





Today was the first toss from the top of Toppenish Ridge off of Oak Springs Road.  This is only 5 miles farther than yesterday and the day before but is important in teaching the birds what it looks like coming over the top of Toppenish Ridge.  From Toppenish Ridge to Rattlesnake Ridge is 15 miles and it is a flat agricultural area. 

Yesterday we came up short close to 40 birds.  Late morning after most had trapped a group messing around outside were spooked by a Red Tail, we expected them to trap late evening but this just did not happen.  Today we obviously picked up most of those and are up above 1,400 birds again, in fact 1,407 at the time of typing this. 

Tomorrow we will toss from Oak Springs Rd again which is 25 miles, if they do great then Fri, Sat, and Sun they will be taken to Satus Pass which is 45 miles.  There are really no good places to release between our 25 mile and 45 mile stations, just hills on both sides of the road and we do not want to release the birds down in a valley.  From Satus Pass they are looking down hill and with their eyesight should be able to see Toppenish Ridge and the city below.   The spot we release from is on side of Satus Pass, basically on the north side of a mountain, they really can only head north as they have the mountain behind them and hills to the east and west.

Keep reading your updates, once we start training we nearly always post a update which can answer any questions you may have.  


Rick & Olga 


Today the birds had their second toss from Pumphouse Rd.  When we arrived home they had started trapping, a Cooper came by then a Red Tail which caused those who had not trapped yet to fly for a few more hours.  There was one group of 35-40 who just wanted to route today, they would fly way off to the west, circle around then take off again.  I often wonder if these are the better birds in the end? 

Tomorrow the birds will be brought to the top of Toppenish Ridge.  It is only about 5 more miles but is a important spot to train from so the birds learn to come over the ridge and over the city of Toppenish which is a few miles north of where we released today and the birds have to fly over. 

Birds look healthy, they are responding to training, weather is supposed to stay the same this week with increasing temps toward the weekend. 

UPDATE:  Looks like the group I mentioned earlier that just wanted to route most likely got spooked by a bird of prey.  There are 38 birds missing, hopefully they come in before nightfall and trap in. 


Rick & Olga

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