(Continued) By Tom Smith, Spring Hill, Florida One of Alan’s Red Gurnay hens, 04GURNAY150, has won two races as a young bird, 188 miles and 225 miles. To win, she had to break and fly on her own. One of her sons won a 2 nd place diploma the next year. Alan’s Red Gurnays are some of his best fliers. Another Red Gurnay hen, banded 04Gurnay1, a Gurnay USA Club band, sister of #150, was entered in the 2004 GURNAY FUTURITY 200 mile one-loft race at Mike Anderson’s in Georgia and won 1st Overall Futurity. The red “Coach Dorer” line, as Alan calls it, are descended from the late George Dorer’s “Peach Tree Loft” Gurnays, many of which were imported from Great Britain. George Dorer was one of America’s foremost Gurnay Specialists. They have produced a number of diploma winners in recent years, but most of Alan’s racers are blues. His Gurnay breeders are reds, dark checkers, a few splashes, bronzes, and blues. No matter what their color is, they are all uniform in type. Alan retired, after 32 years of being a teacher, a principal, and a superintendent, then last year decided to return to his profession. He says he’s “having the time of his life,” but it seems there are not enough hours in the day. Alan only has a half dozen select widowhood cocks on his team that he is racing at a distance. And they are performing well. Today Alan has about 300 Gurnays! What a beautiful sight. About 100 of them are the show type and the rest are the racing type. He has added some nice specimens from Gurnay Club members Mike Anderson and Hal Conn with success. His foundation racing Gurnays are two birds, one from Dr. K’s “Copper Beech Loft,” 03GCM3816 SilverSplH, line of a Scottish National winning Gurnay, and 01OGA1613 RedC, line of the late “Coach” George Dorer’s “Peach Tree Loft.” Both have been retired off Alan’s race team, as have all the other reds and red splashes. He is now concentrating on ten pairs or red racing Gurnay in a separate breeding loft. Being a former teacher, Alan always tries to give the sport good publicity by taking birds to “4H Club” agricultural meetings and shows, and talking to anyone interested in pigeons, especially children. He has one really tame Gurnay hen that is the image of Gurnay’s “Vielle Bleue.” He takes her regularly to the 4H Club, and the kids love her. They touch, poke, prod, push, pull her, but she is so intelligent and calm that she stands with dignity and just looks at them! She is also one of Alan’s top breeding hens. He mated her to one of John K’s racing Gurnays and has bred several top racers and show birds, so the “cross” is really working. Breeding is the foundation of all successful lofts, so I asked Alan about his breeding methods: “I mate the best flying cocks to the best flying hens, and so on. Then I subdivide them into families using subtle differences such as color, body style, etc. Then I use those birds as an “out-cross” within the family.” Thus, he doesn’t need to bring in any new birds. Of course, the introduction of the Copper Beech Gurnays has produced the same vigor as a real out-cross would have, but it has kept the family “pure.” Alan continues: “I still follow that basic breeding philosophy. With the number of birds I now have, I can take longer before I need to closely mate and breed the family as tight as I did with the original Gurnays of my family. I keep the vigor by using these methods along with very careful selection. My main problem is that when I get a really outstanding bird, I have to put it in the stock loft for fear a hawk will kill it. You know they always seem to get those birds that you have at the top of your list…” Alan has seven lofts of various sizes, but he plans on building one beautiful racing/breeding loft, 12’ x 24.’ It will have 4’ x 8’ sections for ease of control of the birds. He also has 15 individual mating pens for special pairs that he wants to be 100% sure of parentage. [To Be Continued.]