America’s Greatest Race....and the Quiet Champion
Since it’s inception in 1947, the Midwest
Classic race flown from Topeka Kansas, still remains America’s Greatest Race.
There has been as many as 7,500 pigeons released, coupled with 500 lofts in keen
competition ! There is no greater prestige in the United States Pigeon Racing
annals than to channel this victory.
In this modern day of pigeon racing
diversity, we see the rapid influx of the “One Loft Races” There can be much
financial reward for some, and short lived bragging rights for the owners of the
pigeons entered. But let’s face it, the owners have little to do with outcome of
the race...they are mere spectators and onlookers from near and afar.
The beautiful essence of pigeon racing has
and always will be watching your pigeon come home to your loft after breaking
away from the pack, taking and maintaining the lead, and spurring onto victory
with fierce competitors at every turn. The satisfaction of breeding, and
training your pigeons, bringing them into health and condition far supercedes
the accolades of any “one loft” extravaganza ! Where the pigeon has to think
very little, and breaking from the flock becomes a thing of the past. (Yes there
are faster ones and slower ones...but the destiny is a well traveled training
course, with little to no variation from training tosses to race day .
Perhaps some of you may find my words a bit
harsh, however I say these things as a purest for the sport, and will never fall
into the mediocrity of believing that the “one loft” races are the future of our
sport. Because if they are, then our sport will truly fade, and racing pigeons
will never be the same again !
It is with these words that I honor and set
apart the real pigeon men, who are the true masters, and mentors that fly their
pigeons with a passion and zeal unmatched by most. The great competitors that
build and admonish their beloved teams into true champions. Yes real pigeon
men who possess a deep rooted vein of wealth and knowledge. Who after you have
had the privilege to speak with them, you walk away knowing you have just spoken
to a true master, and your mind is set a blaze with new ideas and thoughts on
how you too can become like he or she is !
I now turn my thoughts and admiration
towards such and individual. He is a man whose passion and drive equal his
incredible results. He is unassuming (as most of the great ones are), he is
meticulous and relentless in his pursuit towards his goals and objectives. He
gives advice freely, he helps out beginners, and supports his club, and even his
competition on the regional level with donations of his excellent pigeons, with
virtually no profit to himself. He is a quiet leader, and does not seek out
praise, however is well deserving of it. On a beautiful Saturday morning in October I
drove 210 miles to the historic and beautiful little town of Pipestone
Minnesota. Nestled in the South Western corner of the State adjacent to the Iowa
and South Dakota borders just miles away to the south and West. It was there we
would eventually drive into the beautiful property and distinguished home of
Mike Ludolph and family.
The lofts were impeccable, and built with
one design and purpose...to win races ! Those in the know, are quite used to seeing
Mikes name on or near the top of the result page on race day. His pigeons stood
on their perches boldly, and showed much fire and spirit, as we walked through
the sections. Mainly blues and checkers..with a bit of splash and a touch of red
here and there. Mike has a family based on the Janssen strain, that
predominantly emanate from his good friend Rick Mardis of The Continental
Breeding Station of America. I handled several of Mikes pigeons, and was
astounded at the resounding consistency and balance they possessed. All had
super feather, large thick wing butts, and a radiant health about them.
The above pigeons are responsible for : (it
would take pages to list everything) but check these accolades out !
Digest Awards - 2008 1st Sprint Ace Division
2008 5th Sprint
Middle Distance Ace
ARPU - 2009 2nd Champion Loft Old
Birds - All Distance
2009 7th Champion
Loft Old Birds - Long Distance
2010 11th Champion
Loft Middle Distance
2010 16th AU
2010 15th AU Hall
Registered AU Champions = 10 (ten)
THE MIDWEST CLASSIC FLOWN FROM TOPEKA KANSAS
(America’s greatest Race) with as many as 7,500 pigeons released, sometimes
5,000, sometime 6,000, but always an amount that no other race in the history of
American Pigeon Racing, can even come close to. These pigeons are not flying to
one loft or one specific area...they are flying to several different states,
going in many different directions. There has been as many as 480 lofts in
recent competition. Gentlemen in my opinion it takes an incredible pigeon to win
this race. There is no greater test for our pigeons than the incredible Midwest
Classic ! If there is an honor, or prestige higher than winning this race, I’d
like to know. Having said that, I would like to let a certain cat out of a
certain bag..please check out the unbelievable results of Mike Ludolph in this
competition over the past 25 years ! Mike flies 344 miles from thje Topeka
release point, and is considered in the 300 mile section.
Minnesota 300 mile section - 6x1st - 7x2nd -
3x 3rd - 30 times top ten pigeons.
Overall 300 mile Class - 3x1st - 3x2nd -
3x3rd - 27 tomes top 15 pigeons.
Overall 100 through 600 mile Class - 1st
vs 5,094 pigeons - Runner-up “Outstanding bird vs 7,405 pigeons - 1st
and 3rd vs 5,332 pigeons IN 2010 ! ! !
Perhaps now you are you are getting a
glimpse of why I referenced Mike as the “Quiet Champion” There are a handful of
true great American Champions..and certainly Mike Ludolph belongs in that
Mike is a 30 year pigeon racing veteran. His
Grandfather is from Holland, and flew pigeons there. Presently Mike’s cousins
Anton and Rene Notenboom fly in South Holland. He has been to Europe to visit
the championd a dozen times, including Germany, Holland, England, and Belgium.
He’s been to Blackpool, and the Olympiads, and Hooter Netherlands. He has
learned from and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Serge Van Elsacker, Andre
Roodhoff, Derk Van Dyke Koopman,Rick Cools, and yes the Janssen Brothers from
Mike flies the Widowhood System utilizing 28
cocks, and also flies about 14 yearlings solo. His basic Strains of pigeons
include Janssens,Marcilas, Boors. And Van Elsackers.
It was an honor to visit and write these
notes on behalf of America’s greatest race. And the Quiet Champion...Mike