News and Updates
Sep-13-2022
SMOKE HAS TRAINING ON HOLD FOR NOW.

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. 

Rick & Olga

 

Sep-10-2022
LIGHT SMOKE HAS MOVED IN.

We had quite a few birds come in today from the toss yesterday where they got hit by a falcon at release.  Winds shifted to out of the E and NE yesterday which we hardly ever get, with it came smoke in to our area and high winds.  We loft flew this morning and will continue to do so until the skies are clear. 

We have a empty section for any birds that come in from yesterday's toss with plenty of feed, water and grit.  We will look them over this evening and remove any injured ones before we start road training again. 

We are missing 27 birds at the time of posting this update from yesterday's toss at 34 miles.  We started with 2541 and after 16 tosses, two at 20, two at 27, and two at 34, we still have 2455 birds which is 97%.  Lets hope this continues through the activation race and heading in to the actual races.  

We will keep ya'll posted on the smoke situation, we hope we get some favorable winds to blow this crap out!

 

Rick & Olga 

Sep-09-2022
FALCON ATTACK AT RELEASE THEN GOT WINDY!

Even though we are not happy that the birds got split up a bit today and we are still waiting on the last few to return, this will prove to be one of the best educational tosses these birds will get in training leading up to the activation race. 

The first birds were released at 0830, second at 0840 and shortly after a falcon dive bombed this group.  After about a minute the falcon singled a bird out and dove down on it over the ridge that the birds were released from, the falcon never came back up so we can only assume that the falcon was successful.  The third group went out at 0850 and the last at 0900.  At release it was sunny, clear, and about a 10 mph NW wind which would be directly on their noses since they were released SE of the loft and have to fly NW to get home.  Once off the ridge it looked pretty calm, once we got over Rattlesnake Ridge which is the ridgeline that runs east and west 5 miles south of the loft, it got extremely windy with gusts up to 25-30 mph.  It is migration time, we can only assume that since these last 200 birds came in broken up and in singles that something chased them on their way home and the crazy wind that is here now is forcing those last birds to really fight to come home.  

The remaining birds still out at the time of posting this update will be able to trap in to a empty section where they will have food, water, and fresh grit awaiting.  We will look these birds over this evening and make a decision on whether or not to train tomorrow. 

One thing is for certain, you will not get cheated in training at the Apple Cup and any birds that you have left at the end of the series you should be proud of considering our course. 

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-08-2022
TODAY'S TOSS

Good morning Apple Cup breeders, what a great day to fly pigeons!

The birds were released today in 4 groups about 10 minutes apart in to a 10 MPH NW head wind for the first time from Township Road which is up on top of the ridge south of Mabton, WA overlooking the town below and the side of the corn field the birds were tossed from the two training tosses prior to today.  At the time of posting this most of the birds are already in, we will toss again from this same location tomorrow and providing all goes well two days in a row we will move them further up the hill driving SE on Alderdale Road toward the Columbia River. 

There were 5 pigeons that trapped in today before the posted release time of the first group that had stayed out over night, since they trapped in before 0900 they do not show up at the top of the race results they show up at the very end.  If you are missing a bird from today's toss please go to the end of the results, you can view these pigeons there. 

Time to give them their second feeding.  As always late arrivals will be able to trap in to a empty section where they will have access to water, feed, and fresh grit.  At the end of the day we evaluate these pigeons, if they look perfect they go the next day, if they are injured or just plum wore out they will stay in for a day. 

Everyone have a great day!

 

Rick & Olga

 

 

Sep-06-2022
APPLE CUP 400

Good morning everyone!

This is our first year offering a optional 400, so bear with us as we try to work out the details. 

This past winter when we made changes to our site we never mentioned how we were going to conduct the 400 mile optional race in our rules, we actually never really put any real thought in to it until recently.  As mentioned yesterday, our biggest fear is trying to have a 400 late in the year with our unpredictable weather here in central WA and especially in southern OR where the birds will have to fly across, even more so in northern CA near Mount Shasta where they will have to be released to get 400 miles in.  In 2018 our final race was held Nov 8, 2019 Oct 30th, 2020 Nov 9th, and last year 2021 Nov 22nd.  Our main concern is that by adding on a few more weeks collecting fees, sorting, retraining, we very well could end up in to December and remember these birds will be racing out of northern CA in the mountains where the weather can be ten times worse than here in Yakima, WA. 

Having said the aforementioned, we didn't start training last year until September 12th, by September 12th this year we should already be out to 40 miles or so as we are out to 27 as of yesterday.  Since we are well ahead of where we were last year we should be able to get the 400 in before it snows and if we do not then we can always make a decision with breeder input on whether or not to hold the 400 and if we must cancel it then we will refund everyone's fees.

Here are the main changes from what we posted yesterday. 

Pay for your 400 mile birds anytime after the activation race and up to the 7th day after the 350, deadline time is midnight on the 7th day with no exceptions.  We will not accept any texted or emailed pictures of "checks on the way" so if you are going to send a check then mail it out the day after the 350 at the very latest or even before.  If you pay well ahead of time and one of your birds gets lost befre the 400 you will get a full refund.  

We will have a downloadable form that needs to be mailed to us indicating which birds you want to activate for the 400, put this in the envelope with your check.  If paying via PayPal you can identify your birds in the NOTES portion when you make your transaction, if you can not figure out how to do this then send the downloadable form the day after the final race just like we are asking those of you to do who are sending checks. 

There will be a PayPal option to pay entry fees after the activation race, also for the 400. 

Sorry for any confusion everyone!

Most of the birds are back from yesterday's toss, we will loft fly this morning and start training again tomorrow. 

Everyone have a great day!

 

Rick & Olga 

   

Sep-05-2022
TODAY'S TOSS AND PLANS FOR THE 400 MILE RACE

The birds were tossed at 20 miles for the first time yesterday.  The first of four groups released about 15 minutes apart circled very little before heading directly toward the loft, the next three groups headed out like they had been there many times before and we got all birds back in good time with the exception of just a handful.  Today was just like yesterday, blue sky with no clouds and dead calm so they were taken to 27 miles.  As we do with all training tosses, they were released in four groups 10-15 minutes apart.  The last 200 pigeons came a little later which tells us that one of the groups got sidetracked, probably by a bird of prey, it is fall and the birds of prey are starting to migrate.  As of typing this up we have about 98% of the birds returned, those who are coming in singles now are trapping in to a empty section with plenty of food, water, and grit.  We will check these birds out throughout the day and make a determination on whether to train tomorrow, or give them a day off and just loft fly.  It is only going to reach 80F today so not too hot, however about noon we did start to get a bit of a slight wind out of the west which would of been directly on their noses, it don't take much of a change to throw young birds off.  

At the rate we are progressing, we should have the activation race in a few weeks.  It all comes down to what kind of read we get on the birds and if the weather cooperates enough for us to train or not. 

Olga and I have been discussing the optional 400 mile race the last few days, yes we will have one but we have a few concerns we want to share with you so you will understand our decisions moving forward. 

This morning we went through all of the races that had a optional 400 mile race last year and took notes on how many days there were between the final race in the series, then their 400 mile optional races.  All of the races we found were primarily in TX, one in OK, and one in IN, 14-30 days was the time between the final and the 400 mile optional race. 

If you have studied our race course you will know that it is quite a bit different than the aforementioned states and the One Loft Races held within those states.  As fall weather approaches, and especially if we get pushed back due to unforseen circumstances such as smoke and are racing in December like last year, flying here in central Washington can get a little hairy to say the least.  We have several ridgelines, valleys, a mountain, and the mighty Columbia River to cross on this course which late fall all hold percipitation which means rain showers and fog, sometimes snow.  With the number of birds we have this year and the number of breeders, we do not want to put ourselves in a situation where we are having a 400 mile race most likely 21 days after the final which is what we figure it will take us to collect fees for the 400, sort the birds for a few days, retrain the birds going to the 400 miler, then have the race.  We advertised having a optional 400 this year and we are all for it, but if we are going to have a 400 we are going too have to do things a little diffrerently than most.  We are already the first not to collect fees up front, so might as well be the first try something different in regard to optional races after a series is complete for those of you who want another race to see how your birds do at a greater distance. 

Our plan is to collect fees ($200) for the 400 at the same time we collect fees for the race series ($250) after the activation race.  In doing this it insures we can have the 400 mile race 7-8 days after the final race, it just streamlines everything.  

Now before we start getting phone calls, emails, and countless text messages, please read the next sentence.  

For every pigeon that you activate for the 400, if it is lost for any reason prior to the 400 you will get a full refund of $200 per pigeon!

Refunds will be sent out after the 400 when we start sending checks out to the winners. 

In summary, what we are trying to achieve here is you the breeder only having to send us money once and us being able to get the 400 mile race in before late fall and early winter weather arrives. 

We will have a downloadable entry form on the site in a few days where you will be able to list your birds and indicate which ones are going to be entered in to the 400 and which ones are not.  Please send this form with your payment. 

We are only accepting paper payments for fees this year as this will make it much easier for us to do our accounting having the form and check, money order, or cashiers check all in one envelope.    

For return shipping we will have our PayPal option, again not for entry fees. 

All we are asking is that you identify your 400 mile birds up front and pay for them early, you will get a refund if your bird does not go to the 400 mile race. 

If you have a question the best way to reach myself is via text, 254-247-9504. 

 

Rick & Olga           

Sep-03-2022
BIRDS BROUGHT BACK TO FIRE STATION DUE TO HEAVY OVERCAST

If there is one thing we have learned over the last 7 years of hosting the Apple Cup is this, never release young birds at a new location on a overcast day with no sun shining through.  Well today was just one of those days, overcast and hardly any sun shining through at all.  For those of you who are friends of ours on Facebook you will see the video confirming this.  

Tomorrow it is supposed to be sunny from sun up to sun down, we will move them out to 20 miles off of Pumphouse Road which is right by the Toppenish Wildlife Refuge parking lot.  I talked to Robert who runs the Toppenish Wildlife Refuge before opening dove season to ask him if he felt it was safe for me to train the first few days of dove season and also consulted with my club president and secretary who have each been flying in this area for 50 years.  Robert pointed out that there is no dove hunting allowed on the refuge only waterfowl, this means no hunters anywhere near the point of release and the refuge convers the first few miles on the line of flight.  From there heading north on the line of flight there are green corn fields yet to be harvested all the way up to the edge of Toppenish, no dove hunting there as well.  Then flying over the city and between there and our loft, just hops and apple orchards, again no places for dove hunters to hunt.  In summary, the flight path the birds have been taking is no where near any hunting if anyone is wondering.  Also worth mentioning is we are still near 100% of the birds we started training with 11 days ago, yesterday we had 2522 in the clock and started with 2541.  No they have not really covered any real distance, however we are still very proud and excited with where we are at in training. 

The birds are released in 4 groups anywhere from 10-20 minutes apart depending upon when they clear the area.  Do not get caught up about trapping at this stage of the game, the birds are really "feeling it" and most come home from these short tosses and just keep on flying for awhile, some for a long time. 

At the time of typing this up we have nearly 2200 in the clock and looks like the rest are still outside with most still flying in a huge flock, beautiful site!

Everyone have a great Labor Day Weekend!

 

Rick & Olga

Sep-02-2022
TODAY'S TOSS AND MOVING FORWARD

Today was the 2nd toss from the fire station 9 miles south of us, from the birds already in the clock and those still outside playing around we have more birds today than we shipped this morning.  Before I took off to toss the birds there were 10 sitting on the roof from yesterday, we were down 25 birds yesterday evening and many of those came in this morning and I am sure some were picked up by their loftmates on their trek home. 

The birds are super healthy this year, better than the 6 years prior combined!  When they come home from these extremely short tosses most just continue to fly and since they are not burning off many calories or energy trapping is not going to be instantaneous.  The birds are not racing at this point, they are merely getting familiar with the area close to home so when the real training starts we do not have a bunch that get lost.  When we get out to say 40-60 miles we will make sure that the release time on Wincompanion is the same time they were actually released, right now it does not match up because we do not know exactly what time they will be released but we have to put something in the system when we set up the trainer for it to work. 

For those who follow us on Facebook sorry I did not post a video today which I usually do every day, was trying to coordinate our next feed delivery while the birds sat for 20 minutes before release and totally forgot about it.  We try to post a video at least once per new training location so ya'll can see where we are, what we are doing, and so you can see that we are releasing the number of birds that we say we are. 

If you are not already a friend of ours on FB and want to view our videos inside and outside the loft, training tosses, and definitely every race, send a request to myself Rick Mee in Yakima, WA.  Please send a IM so I know who you are so I do not have to ask who you are before approving.  Just send a message saying this is for example Joe Smith, I am in your race please add me.  

There is a slight haze in the air, if it gets worse we will not train tomorrow, if it is clear in the morning we are jumping these champs to 20 miles for the next few days. 

Have a great day and a great Labor Day Weekend everyone!

 

Rick & Olga

 

UPDATE:  As right now we have 2515 in the clock, we started with 2541 and this is their 9th toss with the last two over a 1,500 foot ridgeline.  This means we have 98.9% of the pigeons we started with 9 days ago folks!  Now of course we know they have not really went any real distance as of yet, but we are still extremely proud of the way things are unfolding and we hope that those of you who are in our race are as pleased with the way things are going as we are! 

Also of note is the way we clock in late arrivals.  Once all of the birds are in the loft we clear out one section that has a trap in front of it, late arrivals are allowed to enter that section with feed and water in it and throughout the day we make our way in to this section to examine the late arrivals.  If they look totally fine they go in to the general population, if they have injuries or just plain do not look good then they get separated from the flock.  We have done this the last 7 years, just something to share with those of you who want to know how we do things here at the Apple Cup. 

 

Aug-31-2022
TIME TO GO OVER THE RIDGE!

The birds had their second toss today from the north side of the ridge which is 5 miles from our house running east and west, all groups released 5-10 minutes apart cleared the area fairly quickly.  From the height the birds reached they have to see the other side of the ridge and Konowack Pass, therefore it is time to trudge forward.  

Tomorrow we will release the birds from the volunteer fire station off of Old HWY 97, this will be 8 miles and on line with the loft and we always have good returns from this location.  Even so, wish us luck as this is one of the times we bite our nails the hardest trying to get them to go over the ridge for the first time and hopefully through Konowack Pass which is the low spot on this ridge. 

As stated many times before, we release out of the south and the birds race north.  There are many obstacles on this course but our biggest obstacles are the ridgeline 5 miles south of us, another at 20 miles, a third 45 miles south of us, then the mighty Columbia River which is about 65 miles south of us.  This year we are trying to go around the highest point on that ridgeline which is 45 miles south of us by training about 20 miles to the east, we have a very good feeling that we should have better returns with this game plan.

Everyone have a great day and a happy Labor Day Weekend!

 

Rick & Olga 

 

Aug-30-2022
TODAY'S TOSS

The birds were released in small groups today from the north side of the ridge that is 5 miles south of our loft, tomorrow we will repeat and if all goes well we will move to the south side of the ridge and progress when they are ready. 

Sorry for the delay in live posting today, when I got home from the toss I rectified the problem and the birds uploaded and results shown. 

Rick & Olga

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