The Sion racing pigeon strain story

M. Paul Sion: A champion racer and an outstanding breeder

Paul Sion was the creator of this great family and John Garzoli was the keeper of it. John Garzoli started with the Sions in 1948 when he was 16 years old. One of his first birds was the "Falconess" hen.....which was a Mahaffey Sion. John has kept this family intact ever since and they are still winning races to this very day. John Garzoli, passed away on wed, August 3rd 2005

Paul Sion has won more prizes in one season than many fanciers win in a lifetime. Paul Sion who was later to be assisted by his son, Robert, truly exceeded his expectations when after becoming a fancier he adopted Luis Salembier as his teacher, the latter being one of the great French distance pigeoneers for over 50 years at that time. Sion admitted in 1935 that he belonged to the Luis Salembier school.

Upon following the advice of his mentor, Sion obtained the best of distance bloodlines including representatives of the old Verviers strain and for decades cultivated what he referred to as his old Gris (grey) strain, so called because of its origins from a son of a famous French distance racer named Gris Dugniol. Sion had purchased a champion mealy cock from M. Gris Dugniol. On the dam side his family went back to the Vekemans Red of the Wegge strain. The latter pigeon being one of the greatest in the history of the sport in Europe. The Mealy cock was bred with a mealy hen and produced a blue hen with black eyes. This hen proved to be a champion in all of her races. She was later mated to a cock of Pynen /Delathouwer bloodlines. It was from this mating that Rouge Sion, one of Sion's pivotal pigeons, was produced. The Rouge Sion went on to be a great racer and also bred many winners.

When once asked what were the requirements for success in long distance and marathon racing, Paul Sion replied- strain and constitution. A reply which was in the form of an article in which the author took, as an example, there were horses good in soft and other horses good in hard conditions, opining that there were pigeons or strains good in clear, weather conditions and others good in tough cloudy conditions. The latter strains being the best for the ultra distances.

Thus according to Sion only those birds whose forebears distinguished themselves in difficult races were in turn capable of doing the same. Sion was not an advocate of inbreeding. Like his master Salembier, Sion participated in out crossing, which was based upon much thought and research into the pedigree and the background of the potential cross, the fruit of which was a strain that was almost identical in appearance. Apparently this great pigeoneer had perfected his out crossing approach to the level of a science and the Sion Family was born.