DREAM COME TRUE: Vernon teacher to travel the world as a pigeon judge | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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DREAM COME TRUE: Vernon teacher to travel the world as a pigeon judge

Brian Krog, a retired teacher from Lumby, is achieving his life dream of judging the World Cup Roller Fly pigeon competition.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Brian Krog

A life-long pigeon-enthusiast and retired teacher from Lumby is about to travel the world as an esteemed judge in a global pigeon competition.

Brian Krog will get to travel, all expenses paid, across the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Australia judging the best birds those regions have to offer.

“For me, as a kid that started when I was 12 years old, I'm 68 next month — it was literally a dream come true to be selected to do this,” Krog said. “So, I jumped at the chance.”

Pigeon flying is a surprisingly popular hobby in British Columbia and across the world.

This year, the World Cup Roller Fly judges will travel to 45 regions across four continents to find the best Birmingham Roller pigeons in the world.

The pigeons are judged in flocks. Between 15 and 20 birds are released at the same time to fly overhead of the judges to perform aerial acrobatics.

“They spin literally about up to 10 times per second so they look like yo-yos falling out of the sky towards the earth,” Krog told iNFOnews.ca. "They put on these aerial performances for a half hour or so."

Krog was introduced to pigeon flying as a young boy living in Richmond when he was visiting a friend who owned multiple birds. 

“We looked at the birds and he held out his hands and they landed on him and I thought this was a very cool animal," Krog said. "Then he said, ‘well, here's the greatest thing about pigeons’. And he took a couple of them, picked them up, took them outside of the building, and threw them up in the air. I said, 'you can you can let them go?' He said… ‘yeah, just like flying a kite and they'll stay overhead and you can watch them and enjoy them'. And then he brought out a special pigeon. It looked a little different. It was brightly coloured, not the grey that most of the street pigeons are, and he tossed it up in the air and as it was flying it started doing somersaults in midair and I thought that's the coolest thing I've ever seen.”

Krog has been heavily associated with the sport ever since and has watched competitions grow from international championships between Canada and the United States to a now global platform.

Being a judge for the World Cup Roller Fly manifested in an unexpected way.

“My best friend on earth from when I was a child was a fellow that helped me get involved in the hobby. He ended up winning the world cup three times, which was unheard of. No one had won it more than once.”

Krog’s friend received his third win from a judge from the Netherlands.

“He won and almost, like a novel… he was driving the Dutch judge back to the ferry to... go back to Europe and a drunk driver crossed the centre line and hit the car and killed my best buddy."

Competition organizers from all over North America started reaching out to Krog after his friend’s death, asking him to judge competitions and share his best friend's wisdom.

“I said 'well, nobody has seen his birds more than I have... because we were best friends.' I said 'I think I pretty much know everything that he knows.' So that's how I started to get selected after his death in the year 2000.”

Usually, the previous winner of the World Cup competition is selected as the new round-the-world judge. But this time, a twist of fate worked in Krog's favour. 

“This year the guy who won the opportunity to do it was unable,” Krog said. “This World Cup organization was asking if anybody might be interested and I put my name in. Because I've been in it for 55 years or whatever and well known in the hobby, they picked my name and said you're the one who’s overwhelmingly won the choice to judge this thing this year.”

The World Cup Roller Fly is expanding every year. This year will include 3 to 4 months of travel and judging close to 800 different flocks.

The sport is also changing perspectives of these commonly neglected street birds. 

“People would see these multicoloured birds... all colours of the rainbow, that would just land on my hand when I went in and they'd greet me. They had no idea that they were these intelligent, loving birds. They mate for life generally, and they both sit on the eggs, share the time. They both raise the young ones,” Krog said. “They're a great animal to raise.”

More information about the World Cup Roller Fly can be found here.

More Information about Brian Krog can be found on his Facebook page here.

Brian Krog has been an enthusiast for Birmingham Roller pigeons since he was 12-years-old.
Brian Krog has been an enthusiast for Birmingham Roller pigeons since he was 12-years-old.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Brian Krog

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