By Tom Smith, Spring Hill, Florida

 Eventually he disposed of all the Delbars, crosses, and splashes, founding his colony on the six original Gurnays he had bought. Thru his research, Alan believes they are descended from the English Gurnays imported into America during the fifties and sixties. He kept them as a “pure family.” Alan has never seen nor handled such outstanding racing pigeons. Pigeons with great body; silky feather; supple, bulging muscle; magnificent eyes; strong backs and bone structure; and wonderful conformation…as Alan himself says, “This began my “love affair” with the Gurnays.” Alan also fell in love with his pretty wife Carol about that time, and they are still happily married today, 39 years later! [Editor’s note…this article is decades old…and Alan and Carol are still going strong!] They raised five children along the way, four girls and a boy and have many grandchildren. And all of them love to visit grandpa to see “the birdies.” Alan began showing his Gurnays in 1973. They began winning from their first show and are still winning today. That same year he bred the foundation hen of his “show Gurnays,” a magnificent dark checker Gurnay hen banded 73VIS1454. Alan says “She is the grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother of almost all of my show winners. What a prepotent breeder she was; a rare pigeon that was able to pass down her outstanding characteristics generation after generation. Her offspring all look like “peas in a pod.” Alan began judging later in the 1970’s. Today he is both a certified California State Judge and an American Racing Pigeon Union judge. Alan did not race the show Gurnays because his mentor told him if he wanted success he had to specialize, either race them or show them. His reasoning was that you can lose too many good show birds when you race them. So, Alan only showed his Gurnays, with great success. “There are no racing pigeons more beautiful than the Gurnays.” Alan did give a friend some of his Gurnays to race. They were flown all the way to 500 miles but they “didn’t set the world on fire,” but it proved they hadn’t lost their homing instinct. One of these, shown in the “flown class,” was a Show Champion several times. Alan read Watmough’s book on breeding techniques, “Practical Inbreeding,” and followed his techniques, developing a show family of Gurnays modeled after Renier Gurnay’s foundation hen “Vielle Bleue,” and Fed Shaw’s (GB) wonderful “Champion Apollo” and “Champion Picture,” all pictured in Shaw’s classic book “Racing To Win.” The Dyar show Gurnays are today beautiful pigeons with round heads, soft feathers, strong wings, supple muscle, with medium sized bodies that are “out of this world.” They have won at many, many shows over three decades. A few years ago, while Alan was reminiscing about “old times” with a well-known Orange County, California flier, Dr. Mel Carpenter, he mentioned having had great success flying the “Snytzler Splashes” when he was young, but that he never knew their origin. To his amazement, Mel said he “cleaned Al Snytzler’s loft when he was a youngster!” Mel went on to say that the Snytzler birds were basically Gurnays with a cross of Havenith and “Abdul!” Alan says he was shocked, Gurnays?! No wonder they were such handsome birds. He was very pleased to finally find out the origin of his “Splashes” after all those years. Alan says “no wonder I have had such an affinity for the Gurnays for so long.” In 2002 while judging a show in Medford, Oregon with Gary Braden, Alsan showed Gary some of his Gurnays. Gary asked him if he know Dr. John Kazmierczak of Trenton, New Jersey, owner of COPPER BEACH LOFT, who had a wonderful family of racing Gurnays. A few months later, Alaon contacted John, and they had an insightful conversation over the phone. John being the unofficial “patron” of Gurnays in America, offered to send Alan some “real true to type racing Gurnays.” A short time later a basket full of John’s “Copper Beach” Gurnays arrived at Alan’s loft; “some wonderful looking and handling Gurnays!”