By Western Cape Racing Pigeon Confederation

If horse racing is known as the sport of kings, then surely the sport of pigeon racing must be known as the sport of the paupers and the poor.

For it was amongst these, your ordinary nine to five blue collar worker, and in particular the mostly disadvantaged communities that, more than a hundred years ago already, pigeon racing became a welcome, almost disengaging pastime away from the arduous daily chores and social evils of their time.

Even way before properly organized competitions were run, fanciers became engaged in the art of homing pigeons and testing their instincts in finding their way home from various distances. Thus this hobby (as it was known then) became a fully fledged rivalry amongst their peers from around their surrounding areas.

Out of this was born a will to formulate this hobby into an organized sporting code that would harness the efforts of both man and bird into an exciting and competitive competition. Pigeons would be put into baskets on a train on either a Friday or Thursday night and taken to a specific liberation point previously agreed upon. Come Saturday morning they would be released to fly home to their specific destinations that would bring countless hours of breeding, feeding and man management to fruition as the birds drop down form the sky from a couple of hundred kilometres away onto their home, or loft as it came to be known in later years.

Many fanciers, ordinary human beings, made huge sacrifices to get the sport of pigeon racing off the ground, some even mortgaging their homes to fund the purchasing of a truck to transport their birds. From these humble beginnings, many more would in later years spend countless years in organizing, administering and developing the sport in their various federations within their regions. As it turned out, they discovered that this was one sport that allowed you to participate across any age, creed, colour or gender. Even today, we have fanciers in their eighties still competing tirelessly against the younger generation.

Sadly, because of the previous laws of our country, fanciers from different backgrounds were not allowed to compete against each other, although over the last few years fanciers have taken it upon themselves to join the federation of their choice. However, with the advent of our country’s true democracy now in full swing, the Western Cape Racing Pigeon Confederation has seized the opportunity to unite all pigeon racing federations in the Western Cape under one umbrella body that would shrug off the past failed history of the sport and move together to lay the foundation for our future generations.

It is with the endeavour and desire to preserve this legacy of those who have gone before us that the Western Cape Racing Pigeon Confederation had embarked upon organizing the inaugural Hanover Combine Classic Race on the 12th of September 2015 in order to celebrate the unification of our sport in the Western Cape and promote the social interaction between fanciers across the Province.

The establishment of the Western Cape Classic as the most important Combine in our Province follows discussions and consultation between the WCRPC and the three largest transport associations (the Western Cape Pigeon Transport Association, the Federated Board of Homing Unions and the North Boland Truck Association and a few smaller associated Unions and Federations in the Province. It is expected that approximately 1000 pigeon racers and some 20,000 pigeons will be entered in the competition, making it the single biggest pigeon race in South Africa. The vision of this event is to become the blueprint for national pigeon racing events in the future.

The WCRPC has been in existence for more than 12 months and has joined the Western Cape Sports Council as a sports federation. Sponsorship for this event will help the development of the sport with a core focus on the development of the youth and the disadvantaged through social economic interventions. The WCRPC have appointed a Western Cape Classic Race Organising Committee (ROC), as well as the Western Cape Racing Pigeon Expo Organising Committee (EOP) to manage the respective events. The EOP have appointed a professional event organiser and a team of volunteers to assist with the coordination of the event. The event organiser has facilitated numerous sporting events at national level and provincial level. The catering team we have appointed have facilitated events for Premiers, National government as well as the Cricket World Cup. The EOP have specifically deployed a professional approach suited to encourage corporates big businesses and small businesses alike, as well as communities, to invest in this event and ultimately the sustainability of the pigeon racing sport.

The event will run as follows:
· Thursday, 10 September 2015 – Basketing of pigeons at various venues
· Saturday, 12 September 2015 – The liberation of all pigeons from Hanover, Northern Cape
· Sunday 13 September 2015 – The day of the Western Cape Racing Pigeon Expo and synchronisation of the pigeon clocks of competitors to determine the winners of the single biggest race of its kind in South Africa.

The Western Cape Classic Race promises not to be an ordinary event. We would encourage any company from within our direct communities, to consider the opportunity to be part of this exclusive market segment and what it will deliver and promote, and to commit their support. We expect more than 1000 racing pigeon families will be attending the event and many more from the general public. The event will be televised on a national platform and we will also be making content available on electronic media platforms such as YouTube, as well as other social media platforms.

Elements of the day that will be targeted:
· A display of pigeon-related products and equipment
· Food and soft drinks market
· Alcoholic beverage area
· Kids’ entertainment area
· Fancy pigeon display
· Video displays of the liberation
· The race result

Venue funding: The chosen venue is Boland Park Cricket Stadium, Paarl. The total running cost of the day is R200, 000, which will include the venue hire cost, set-up fee, sound and electronic equipment hire, security and clean up, prize money, printing and stationery and the kids’ entertainment.

Stands for expo: We will require exhibitors who wish to display and sell their pigeon-related products and equipment. The fee is R1500 per stand. All information regarding the stand hire is attached in the application form.

Kids’ entertainment area: The kids’ entertainment area will consist of a jumping castle, puzzles, arts and craft, face painting, etc. To have the exclusive rights to this area and in this way, promote your business to all the parents present, the fee will be R1500.

Alcoholic beverage garden: Should the sponsor bring in their own bar fridges, stock, tables and chairs, we are open to discussing the possibility of a fee waiver. Should the sponsor require furniture from the organisers, a fee shall be discussed.

Non-alcoholic beverage garden: Should the sponsor bring in their own cold drink fridges, stock, tables and chairs, we are open to discussing the possibility of a fee waiver. Should the sponsor require furniture from the organisers, a fee shall be discussed.

Monetary donation: This will cover the bottom line as well as add to the cash prize award at the end of the race.

· Social media partnerships with influencers
· YouTube clips, Twitter mentions and Facebook feeds
· Logo display on pigeon-related websites, including SANPO and Western Cape Pigeon Racing
· Print: Mention of the brand in the SA Pigeon News magazine
· PR: Press releases to community newspapers
· Radio: radio interviews and diary listings across all stations in the Western Cape
· TV coverage: Cape Town TV will broadcast on the day.

Download application forms