Introducing Kastle Black

GB14-C30000-Kastle-Black


New to Kastle Loft for 2015 is Kastle Black, a direct daughter, and perhaps the only direct child in the U.S., of Black National.

This super racer for Les Morris and now owned by Mark and Dick Evans, contains the best Vandenabeele bloodlines of M & D. Evans at Myrtle Lofts crossed with Vandenabeele bloodlines from Rik Cools of Belgium. In the pedigree of Black National you can see many outstanding top performance racers and breeders including the super De Blauwe Gaby 103 from Koen Minderhoud, who is in the pedigree three times. Also you’ll find the world-famous De Wittenbuik B.88.3206112 five times, and De Bijter B.80.3250688 five times, so it is not surprising that Black National is an outstanding performer and already a proven breeder. The dam of Kastle Black is a daughter of another outstanding performance and breeding pigeon, Golden Gaby.

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Les Morris with Black National

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2014 Young Bird wrap-up

pigeons_flyingCountless hours over many months along with a great set of birds gave us an enjoyable young bird season this fall. Our club raced 7 races, of which we won 4 of them. Kastle Loft had a great showing in the IHC club with our birds being flown by Don Campbell. And in North Carolina, Jim Combs found success with some of our new Gaby’s in the Tar Heel Race Club Auction race (3rd place with Kastle 1466) and in one of his combine races (4th and 7th place vs. 261 birds with siblings Kastle 1486 and 1487).

In club races, we finished with 4 Firsts, 4 Seconds, 4 Thirds and 4 Fourths as we enjoyed large drops when our birds came in. We also earned Champion Loft and had the top 6 Champion Birds and 9 of the top 10. With Don Campbell racing our birds, we had multiple diplomas, multiple equal firsts. But the most impressive stat came with the OCR race. We sent Don 4 birds in April. All four birds raced in regular club races earning diplomas and equal firsts. All four birds clocked in the OCR race. We finished 2nd (eq. 1), 4th, and 14th out of 537b and 47 lofts at 340 miles. We had two birds qualify for AU ACE status.

We have removed the under-performing breeder birds from out team and have replaced them with a spectacular set of imports from Mark Evans and one Registered AU Champion flown by John Marles out of his Magic Pair and line bred to the Perfect Pair. We are bringing in a direct child of the World-class Golden Gaby when mated to Davina. This is one of THE last birds to ever be sold out of Golden Gaby, according to Mark Evans. We have also acquired a direct daughter of Black National, a very accomplished racer for Les Morris and in head wind racing. Another import, a grand daughter of Shadow x Top Investment and Eisenhower, will also be joining our stable of fantastic hens.

In Shadow’s shadow

In April, 2014, we collected a group of dark check squeakers in Don’s loft and shot a quick group photo of them. Little did we know what kind of results they would collect during their young bird season! They are 4th and 5th generation down from Shadow.

 

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Makin’ It has made it to Kastle Loft

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A perfect compliment to our breeding loft is this handsome, accomplished cock line bred to the Perfect Pair. He is a registered AU Champion flown by John Marles in the Gulfcoast Homing Club and is a son of his best pair – The Magic Pair.

 

A Tale of Two Hens and Two Wins

Mark Evans holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Brooksville, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013.

12 GHC 13003 BC hen, from John Marles

12 GHC 13003 BC hen, now at the loft of Don Campbell, bred and flown by John Marles.

By David Stephenson
Kastle Loft

Nearly a year had passed when a prophetic promise made in Florida in 2013 came true. As I stitch together the pieces of this story, it is only two days after the Ohio Classic Race (OCR), one of the biggest futurity races in Northern Ohio.

The story begins, however, 11 months prior and nearly 700 miles further south in Brooksville Florida. It was at the 2014 AU Convention held in conjunction with the Gulfcoast Homing Club that I had the good fortune of spending the day at the partner lofts of John Marles and Mark Evans.

Over the last couple of years, I have slowly been transitioning my loft to the Gaby Vandenabeele birds of M&D Evans of the UK. My goal at the AU convention was simply to meet John Marles and listen to a panel discussion that included Mark Evans. There was also to be an auction of birds that included the best of what Myrtle Lofts had to offer. It was all too much to resist.

For a little more than a year, I had also been getting to know Don Campbell, of Cleveland, who was handling birds for me in his races with the Independent Homing Club and their featured race, the Ohio Classic Race (OCR). We fly with the same family of birds and have shared great conversations over the phone but had never met until our trip to Florida.

On the Friday of the convention, I was invited to tag along with Don to visit John Marles’ loft in Brooksville. Not only did I get to meet Don and John and listen to Mark speak, now I was spending the day with them and other fine flyers. We toured the beautiful lofts, we talked birds, held some beautiful specimens, and had the pleasure to preview the auction birds – under lock and key – that were to be sold the next day. For weeks I had been researching the list and setting my limits and now I had a chance to look at them in person prior to the auction.

I came with the intention of buying one of Mark Evans’ birds at the auction, which was also being broadcast via iPigeon. The pre-bidding on iPigeon and the hype at the convention made it clear to me that this set of birds would quickly extend beyond my financial reach. Standing there among some of the most beautiful and experienced racing pigeons I had ever personally seen, I quickly changed my plan and asked John and Mark if they would pick out a hen for me to purchase that day.

Anyone would be more than happy to have any bird on that property. But I quietly told myself I wasn’t going to take the first bird they picked out. Instead, I picked the second.

John brought to me a blue bar hen, AU 13 GHC 6067. She was a medium sized bird with the softest of feathers and would look at you through incredibly piercing eyes. She had spirit. What was equally perfect was her breeding. Her four grand parents are world-class flyers and breeders who have made an impact for many lofts over many countries for many generations. On the top side, 6067’s grandparents are Pre-Olympic and Lady of the Rings. On the dam’s side, her grand parents are Lord of the Rings and Davina. With that combination, we have some of the most exceptional racing and breeding that Europe has seen in recent years, coupled with line breeding to some of the blood I already carry in my loft (Shadow).

John Marles holds GHC 6067 at his loft with Joe Ferreira in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

John Marles holds GHC 6067 at his loft with Joe Ferreira in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

On this day, too, Don Campbell was on the hunt for a hen to add to his loft. When he saw what John Marles was holding and showing me, he asked who this hen was. When I glanced at him I thought for a moment I saw him salivating. I jokingly told him the hen was “need to know” information and that this hen was coming home with me. (She has since been referred to as the “Need to Know Hen”). We took some photos of her, passed her around, and struck the deal.

Don and John quickly settled on another hen that Don could add to his stock loft. Also carrying the Shadow blood, Don’s hen is AU 12 GHC 13003. She is a product of two of John’s best sets of birds known as the Emerald Pair and the Pyramid Pair. Her ancestors include the greats such as Westkapelle, Eisenhower, Joint Venture, and more. Both pairs are responsible for win after win for John Marles in the competitive Gulfcoast Homing Club.

At the end of the day, as we sat around a table snacking and grilling John and Mark about their birds and methods, I remember leaning over to Don and telling him that he needed to win us the OCR race to help pay for these birds we just bought. I was joking, of course. But Don’s response was quite serious. “Don’t you worry,” he said, reflecting both confidence and a personal challenge. “Consider it done.” This, coming from a 4-time winner in the past 6 OCR’s he has flown.

Kastle 1424 as a weanling just before heading north to Cleveland where he would race for Don Campbell.

Kastle 1424 as a weanling just before heading north to Cleveland where he would race for Don Campbell.

Fast-forward to the spring when the breeding season is well underway. Decisions have to be made about which birds will be sent out. Of the four birds that I wanted to send Don to race for me, I sent a set of nest mates, Kastle 1423 and Kastle 1424. They were both dark checks, and as it turns out, both cocks. They were children of GHC 6067 – now known as Sylvan Danica Need to Know. Her mate is Wicked Strong who is, well, wicked strong. This dark check cock, 12 IHC 5776 gets his color from his grandfather, Shadow, who appears in his pedigree two other times as well. This cock was bred by John Froelich of Cleveland and from a full brother to the well-known Perfect Cock. It was the first year breeding for both of these birds.

Almost exactly 7 months from the day they were hatched, these nest mates were sent 337 miles to the south west of Cleveland along with 537 other birds for the 31st Ohio Classic Race. Don had them prepared. They had already seen the race basket a number of times and had finished well. In fact, Kastle 1423 outright won a 1st place in a club 200 miles race a few weeks earlier. The nest mates earned equal firsts in another races, too.

Hen 13003 perches on the shoulder of John Marles as he looks over the hens in the stock loft with Mark Evans.

Hen 13003 perches on the shoulder of John Marles as he looks over the hens in the stock loft with Mark Evans. The hen would soon be shipped to her new home in Cleveland at the loft of Don Campbell.

The babies from Don’s hen, who was mated to a grandson of Rolls Royce, were also showing their promise. He described these young birds as strong, intelligent and very alert. Don was racing three babies from this pair. Prior to the OCR race, they had already racked up 2 or 3 equal firsts EACH. They only got better as the distances increased.

Hopes were high, and the east wind was on the birds’ noses for the lofts in Cleveland. While some flyers groaned at the headwind conditions, Don could only smile, knowing that these Gaby’s would shine. Late on Thursday afternoon of the race, Don called and left a message saying “you need to call me”.

Under a crystal blue sky at 4:40 p.m. and after more than 7 and a half hours on the wing, two birds folded their wings and dropped from the sky to land on their loft. The first bird to trap was AU 14 OCR 11, a blue check cock. Three seconds later, a dark check cock AU 14 Kastle 1424 entered the loft. And at that moment, Don’s prophetic promise from nearly a year prior had come true. The two hens purchased that sunny Florida day in November had bred themselves the first two winners of the Ohio Classic Race.

GHC 6067, aka Sylvan Danica Need to Know, keeps a close eye on me from her nest.

GHC 6067, aka Sylvan Danica Need to Know, keeps a close eye on me from her nest.

Results:

In 2014, her first year breeding, Don’s GHC 13003 hen’s babies earned the following:

• AU 14 OCR 11 BCC:
1st place Ohio Classic Race (OCR), 338 miles, 537b.
Eq. 1st, 100 miles
Eq. 1st, 100 miles

• AU 14 OCR 19 BCH:
Eq. 1st, 100 miles
Eq. 1st, 100 miles
Eq. 1st, 200 miles

• AU 14 OCR 25 BBC:
Eq. 1st, 173 miles
Eq. 1st, 200 miles

In 2014, her first year breeding, my GHC 6067 hen’s babies earned the following:

• AU 14 Kastle 1421 DCH:
Eq. 1st at 200 miles
9th at 150 miles

• AU 14 Kastle 1423 DCC (flown by Don Campbell):
1st place at 200 miles
14th place Ohio Classic Race (OCR)
AU Ace Pigeon 9th Ohio
Eq. 1st at 100 miles
Eq. 1st at 100 miles

• AU 14 Kastle 1424 DCC (flown by Don Campbell):
2nd place (Eq. 1st) Ohio Classic Race (OCR) 338 miles, 537b.
Eq. 1st at 100 miles
Eq. 1st at 100 miles

• AU 14 Kastle 1425 BBH:
8th at 150 miles
Eq. 1 at 200 miles
9th at 100 miles

• AU 14 Kastle 1426 BBH:
7th at 150 miles
Eq. 1st at 200 miles

• AU 14 Kastle 1427 DCH:
Eq. 1st at 200 miles
7th at 100 miles

• AU 14 Kastle 1428 BBC:
1st at 85 miles
Eq. 1st at 200 miles
4th at 100 miles
11th at 150 miles

2014 OCR Kastle

The 2014 Ohio Classic Race Results top 14 positions.

John Marles, Don Campbell, Mark Evans, Joe Ferreira and David Stephenson in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013.

John Marles, Don Campbell, Mark Evans, Joe Ferreira and David Stephenson in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013.

2014 Old Bird Season wrap-up

Another old bird season has passed and we had another enjoyable season flying with our friends. We had some very good races and most everyone had good returns all season long.

Not only did we land the #1 Champion Bird position, but also the 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10th positions as well. Most of our birds flew and clocked in most of the races, but our Champion Bird, “Cinco” (12 AU Kastle 05), flew and clocked in every race including the 400 and 500.  “Cinco” is bred from a pair of birds gifted to me from a great northern flyer Ron Woloszyn.

Kastle Loft also earned two 1st place diplomas, two 2nd place diplomas, and three 3rd place diplomas. Complete results can be seen here.

“Mr. Kastle” scores for Don Campbell

AU 13 Kastle 1396, who I bred and sent to Don Campbell to fly for me in the 2013 OCR, has finished up a superb season as an old bird for Don. I want to express my gratitude to Don for being such a wonderful handler.

Mr. Kastle, as Don calls him, ended up 4th ACE bird in the ABC Combine AND the Ohio-Penn Federation in addition to being the 6th AU ACE bird of Ohio in the Middle Distance category. He did this while flying in only 4 races. Mr. Kastle is a son of Eisenhower and Lucy in the Sky.

Kastle M&D Evans Racing Pigeon

AU 13 Kastle 1396, aka Mr. Kastle, held by his human, Don Campbell of Cleveland.

Hens

Meet some of the homing pigeons in Kastle Loft that are the basis for our breeding and race team. Click on a photo to see a pedigree if one is available for viewing. 2013 brought a seismic shift in our breeding program that had an immediate impact and will continue to impact us for years to come. We have introduced ten new birds from the M & D Evans Vandenabeeles.  Among them is one of the last direct sons of the world-famous Eisenhower, the #1 breeder for Myrtle Lofts of England. In 2014, we added three more imports including direct children from Golden Gaby, Davina, Young Legend and Black National. Also added was a registered AU Champion flown by John Marles and a son of his Magic Pair (line bred to the Perfect Cock). We will be breeding from multiple line bred grandchildren of Shadow and all of our birds will be influenced by the great Wittenbuik. Other greats in our birds will be Golden Gaby, Davina, Black National, Rolls Royce, Jester & Carrie, Benetton, Saffron, Devon, Nationaal Fideel & Belle, and The Perfect Pair.


M & D Evans Vandenabeele Hens

GB14-C30000-Kastle-Black

New to Kastle Loft for 2015 is Kastle Black, a direct daughter, and perhaps the only direct child in the U.S., of Black National. This super racer for Les Morris and now owned by Mark and Dick Evans, contains the best Vandenabeele bloodlines of M & D. Evans at Myrtle Lofts crossed with Vandenabeele bloodlines from Rik Cools of Belgium. In the pedigree of Black National you can see many outstanding top performance racers and breeders including the super De Blauwe Gaby 103 from Koen Minderhoud, who is in the pedigree three times. Also you’ll find the world-famous De Wittenbuik B.88.3206112 five times, and De Bijter B.80.3250688 five times, so it is not surprising that Black National is an outstanding performer and already a proven breeder. The dam of Kastle Black is a daughter of another outstanding performance and breeding pigeon, Golden Gaby.

2012-GHC-1947_012A_1200

Lucy in the Sky – AU 2012 GHC 1947 – Destined to be a foundation hen for Kastle Loft, this is a hen bred and flown by John Weeks of the Gulf Coast Homing Club. In her first year breeding for us, she had an Ace bird and multiple equal firsts against as many as 500 birds. Lucy finished 6th FSI band race vs. 432 birds and 119th vs. 2051 birds GHC Classic. Four 2012 siblings scored and lasted the season for Weeks, and a sister, #2, was 14th Champion YB GHC club and 9th in the FSI band race. Pure performance and down from Golden Gaby, Queen of Diamonds, Carrie, Wittenbuik, Limoges and Shadow (via The Perfect Pair).

2013 GHC 6067 and Mark Evans

Silvan Danica Need to Know – Mark Evans holds 2013 GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Florida where he and John Marles selected this beautiful hen for Kastle Loft. She is a grand daughter of Pre-Olympic x Lady of the Rings and Lord of the Rings x Davina, four elite champions of breeders of champions.

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Lovely Rita – 2012 AU IHC 5734 – 100% M & D Evans. Grand daughter of Benetton, Lady Eisen, Rolls Royce and Super Girl 310. Great grand daughter of Champion Shadow and Wittenbuik. She raised 7 babies with two cocks in her first year and every one has shown tough grit to get home when others have not. She is destined to be a foundation hen for Kastle Loft.

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Michelle My Belle – 2012 IHC 5772 – Inbred to the famous super-couple Nationaal Fideel and Belle. This darling little hen is a granddaughter of the world-famous Rolls Royce, and her sire is a full brother to Rolls Royce. Her first babies will race for us in 2014.

2013-DBLJ-17_034_1200

Dear Prudence – 2013 Dblj 17 – This is a beautiful recessive opal hen who is down from the greats: Eisenhower, Shadow and Jester and Carrie on both sides. Her sire is a multiple diploma and money winner in the Up North Combine flying for the Valente & Marles lofts. Her dam is a grand daughter of the famous Jester and Carrie. Dear Prudence will have babies racing for Kastle Loft in 2014 and we hope her beautiful color will show again in some of her babies.

 

Cocks

Meet some of the homing pigeons in Kastle Loft that are the basis for our breeding and race team. Click on a photo to see a pedigree if one is available for viewing. 2013 brought a seismic shift in our breeding program that had an immediate impact and will continue to impact us for years to come. We have introduced ten new birds from the M & D Evans Vandenabeeles.  Among them is one of the last direct sons of the world-famous Eisenhower, the #1 breeder for Myrtle Lofts of England. In 2014, we added three more imports including direct children from Golden Gaby, Davina, Young Legend and Black National. Also added was a registered AU Champion flown by John Marles and a son of his Magic Pair (line bred to the Perfect Cock). We will be breeding from multiple line bred grandchildren of Shadow and all of our birds will be influenced by the great Wittenbuik. Other greats in our birds will be Golden Gaby, Davina, Black National, Rolls Royce, Jester & Carrie, Benetton, Saffron, Devon, Nationaal Fideel & Belle, and The Perfect Pair.


Blue Check Racing Pigeon

Einstein 2012 GB C 39756: Direct from world-famous #1 breeder Eisenhower and Joint Venture of M&D Evans’s Myrtle Lofts. He is a full brother to 3rd place 2011 SCMDPR for Myrtle Lofts. Grandchild of Champion Shadow. 2012 was the last year that Myrtle Lofts sold any children off Eisenhower to the public. In Einstein’s first year breeding he bred an AU Ace Bird, race winners, diplomas, eq. 1sts with two different lofts and as many as 500 birds. In 2014, his children began breeding winners, too, including 2nd Ohio ACE young bird, (29th National ACE), proving again that the Evans blood is potent.

PigeonBox

In his first year, Wicked Strong bred the 2nd place (Eq. 1st) OCR winner along with the nest mate who was 14th place. His babies also earned multiple 1sts, Eq. 1sts, and were consistently on the first drops. A grandson of Shadow and very inbred to him, who shows in this pedigree three times. This guy is an ox. Super strong in the hand. Medium sized bird and likes to fight on the floor with other cocks.

A brand-new addition to Kastle Loft for 2015 is Makin It, a registered AU Champion bred and flown by John Marles. This cock is not only an accomplished racer in some of the toughest competition around, but he is also line bred to the Perfect Pair (Shadow), which fits perfectly in my breeding program.

A brand-new addition to Kastle Loft for 2015 is Makin It, a registered AU Champion bred and flown by John Marles. This cock is not only an accomplished racer in some of the toughest competition around, but he is also line bred to the Perfect Pair (Shadow), which fits perfectly in my breeding program.

Grandson of the Perfect Cock

This cock was bred by the exception Cleveland flyer Don Campbell and was donated as the prize for the 2012 Pigeon Talk Classic race. I didn’t win the race, but I did manage to come out a winner after acquiring this fellow. In his first year of breeding, I sent one of his babies to the Pigeon Talk Classic – a real “survivor” series – and his daughter finished 3rd. He is a grandson of the famous Perfect Cock (Shadow) and he is a son of Don’s exceptional 11-flight hen, also down from the M & D Evans blood.

Sylvan Danica Need to Know: New M & D Evans addition to Kastle Loft

During my trip to Florida for the AU convention and GHC Auction, I spent a day at the partner loft of John Marles and Mark Evans of Myrtle Lofts. I asked them to help me pick out a hen to add to my breeding loft. Any and every hen on that property would have been an excellent addition. I asked to look at birds with Shadow in their blood in order to further compliment what I already have in my loft.

After looking at and handling a couple of beautiful hens, John took a moment to retrieve a hen from a different loft. He handed me a medium sized blue bar who was so strong I struggled with her for a few moments. She is a beautiful bird who I trust will make equally beautiful (and fast!) birds. When Don Campbell looked over and saw her and anxiously asked who she is out of, I laughingly told him that information was “need to know”. That’s also what I plan to tell my wife when she asks me what I paid for her.

I have plans to mate her with a cock who is a triple grandson of Shadow and also my Eisenhower cock (also a grandson to Shadow). The Lord and Lady of the Rings are nest mates who were fabulous racers and breeders and are down from Shadow via Solitaire. Pre-Olympic is a top performance pigeon and quickly turning into a world-class breeder for Mark Evans and his children commanded a steep price at the GHC auction, the top one pricing out at $9,100. A double-grand child of Pre-Olympic sold for $8,000 (Pre-Olympic x Davina / Pre-Olympic x Lady of the Rings). As you can see, I feel very fortunate to have a very similarly bred pigeon in “Need to Know”.

See the photos below of “Sylvan Danica Need to Know” 13 GHC 6067, a grand daughter of (Pre-Olympic x Lady of the Rings) / (Lord of the Rings x Davina)

John Marles holds GHC 6067 at his loft with Joe Ferreira in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

John Marles holds GHC 6067 at his loft with Joe Ferreira in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

John Marles holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

John Marles holds GHC 6067 at the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans, John Marles and Joe Ferreira with David Stephenson, right, look at a selection of their racing pigeons in the loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson

Mark Evans, John Marles and Joe Ferreira with David Stephenson, right, at the Marles and Evans loft in Spring Hill, Fl., on Friday, November 22, 2013. Photo by David Stephenson