Pigeon racing for a good cause

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
Steve Norman’s loft, pictured here, is one of three places the pigeons will land as they return to Mount Airy. - Submitted photos
This photo shows birds being transported to Charlotte Motor Speedway to be released in a previous year’s race. - Submitted photos

Surry Sunrise Rotary’s Third-Annual Pigeon Race will once again see 200 pigeons winging their way from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Mount Airy on Saturday, Sept. 15. Depending on which pigeon travels the fastest, ticket holders could win as much as $2,000, and county and city school backpack programs will benefit many thousands more.

The fundraising goal of the Flight for Kids event is $25,000, according to event chair, Lesa Hensley. Those funds will be divided between the backpack programs of Surry County and Mount Airy City schools.

“We raised $7,000 the first year,” said Hensley. “Then last year, we increased the number of tickets we sold and raised $17,000. This year, we’re stepping it up through corporate sponsors to reach our goal of $25,000.”

“A $100 donation will allow you to have a pigeon in the race and attend a family breakfast where we will announce the race winners,” said Hensley. “Pigeons will race to Mount Airy and arrive at one of three separate lofts participating. You will be able to go to any of the lofts to watch the birds arrive home.”

“The fastest five birds will bring their ticket holders cash prizes,” said Hensley. “Prizes are $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place, $500 for third place, $250 for fourth place, and fifth place will get you your ticket price back, $100.”

On Friday, Sept. 14, the results of a random drawing of ticket holders will be revealed at 6 p.m. at Old North State Winery to determine bird assignment, according to Hensley.

On Saturday morning, the 200 birds will be driven to Charlotte Motor Speedway where they will be released at 6:30 a.m.

“It will take them about an hour and a half to travel from Charlotte,” said Hensley. “They’ll return to three lofts here in Mount Airy. The Mount Airy Pigeon Race Club trains them and gets them ready. They do all the work.”

According to Hensley, each bird has an electronic chip that corresponds to a ticket number.

“They work the same way as the number tags runners wear in races. We’ll have breakfast. Ticket holders and their families can come and tour the lofts, and then we’ll wait for the birds to come it.

Sponsors for the race include: Food Lion, Traffic Control Safety Service, Coram Construction Co., Old North State Winery, Mount Airy Racing Pigeon Club (Steve Norman, Larry Marshall, Bill Williams and Doyle Mosley), Hodges Realty, Brannock’s Service Center, Creative Designs and Flowers, Ralph Brannock and Johnson’s Xtreme Softwash.

The Pigeon Race Fundraiser and Breakfast will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 16, or the next clear day, at the parking lot at 351 Riverside Drive, across from Riverside Park. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to enjoy the festivities.

Tickets may be purchased from any Surry Sunrise Rotary member. Make checks payable to Surry Sunrise Rotary. All proceeds from the race will go to benefit the food backpack programs of Mount Airy City Schools and Surry County Schools. Folks do not have to be present for the bird drawing or race to win.

For more information about Surry Sunrise Rotary, go to http://surrysunriserotary.org or www.facebook.com/Surrysunrise.

Steve Norman’s loft, pictured here, is one of three places the pigeons will land as they return to Mount Airy.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Pigeon-loft-this-1.jpgSteve Norman’s loft, pictured here, is one of three places the pigeons will land as they return to Mount Airy. Submitted photos

This photo shows birds being transported to Charlotte Motor Speedway to be released in a previous year’s race.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_Pigeon-Release-this-1.jpgThis photo shows birds being transported to Charlotte Motor Speedway to be released in a previous year’s race. Submitted photos

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.