Devon girl, 9, hailed as future superstar – pigeon racing
Meet the pigeon fancier who started a true cooperative and who is being hailed as his future star – aged NINE.
The talented Elizabeth Cook challenged her young age to reach the top of her club.
The third-generation pigeon fancier has already beaten several former national champions five times her age in her first year of competition.
Elizabeth, who is one of Britain’s youngest competitive pigeon fanciers, beat all the newcomers at Bude Pigeon Racing club to finish first in the overall standings.
She also won four of the six races against members aged up to 83.
Her accomplishments have seen her recognized as the best junior in her region of 500 members.
The bird enthusiast is now aiming for future national titles once the sport resumes after the lockdown.
Her family, she has all the skills to reach the top.
And she develops such a reputation among her fellow amateurs that she was even stopped in the street by a fan while on vacation in Portugal.
Elizabeth followed in the footsteps of her father James, 41, and her grandfather Derek, 83.
She said that being surrounded by pigeons since birth has helped her develop her talent.
She added: âSeeing my dad run inspired me to start pigeon racing and I love racing against all my friends.
“I have learned to take care of my pigeons independently, I can tell which pigeon it is without looking at their ring and I know what color the pigeons are.
âI won four of the six youngster races it was a challenge but I did it with the help of my family and their encouraging words to keep going.
âI want to compete nationally soon and it will be fun racing against other pigeon fanciers across the country – and maybe even the Queen.
“I want to become a better pigeon fancier with the ambition to win the national one day.”
Elizabeth says the reaction to her success has been overwhelming.
She added: âThe reaction I get from my school friends is astonishment, I took some pigeons to school for them to see and it was published in a local newspaper.
âThe reaction I get from my fellow hobbyists is that they congratulate me in different ways.
“While I was in Portugal on vacation for my birthday and a pigeon race, I saw an English pigeon fancier in the street and they said they saw me in the newspaper, they congratulated me on my results and shook my hand. ”
Papa James, who runs a pigeon breeding business from their home in Beworthy, Devon, said that despite her early exposure to the sport Elizabeth was not forced into it – and developed her own love for them. pigeons.
But he said they were very proud of his early accomplishments.
He said: âThe pigeon racing world is full of older men in the sport and is still very traditional in many ways.
It’s nice to celebrate a young talent that is making its way into the sport, especially when it’s your own daughter.
“So maybe she’s a future superstar.
âShe is definitely a rising star in the sport and is already an outfielder and a potential future national champion.
His accomplishments are as good as any in his age group across the country.
That’s especially when you consider who she beat. These are people who won a lot of national races and she beat them regularly.
“This season has been affected by the coronavirus, but it definitely has what it takes to compete nationally and will look to do so in the 2021 season.”
She took part in six races in total and won four of six. She finished up to 29th out of over 500 pigeon fanciers across Devon, beating many fanciers with more years of experience than her age.
Elizabeth was recently crowned best junior for the Devon and Cornwall region by the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) which saw her automatically nominated for a national award.
James said: âShe’s had instant exposure to the sport, but it’s still difficult because you don’t want to force your kids into anything.
âDespite our history, we wanted to introduce her to other sports and she is one of those kids who can devote herself to whatever she wants. But we didn’t want to force her into pigeon sport just because I the fact.
âBut his grandfather lives two doors down, so we are three generations competing against each other.
“She asked last year to try it, so we did.
âShe has a very natural instinct for knowing how to behave around them. At one point we wondered if she would be interested in it, but having the daily exposure and knowledge that spanned three generations has certainly helped.
âPeople spend a fortune to get the right pigeon and you need the right tools for the job – but you have to know how to use them. It’s probably a 50/50 split between the two.
âThey may be the best pigeon in the world, but if they are not trained the right way, with the right education and feeding program, they wonât win anything.
âElizabeth is certainly now the youngest competing locally and has to be one of the youngest in the country.
âFor her, being in the top 50 of the federation is a fantastic achievement anyway.
âAt the club, she came out on top of the season and beat Roy Mears who won major national awards.
âThe club have another national winner in his 50s and she beat him too.
It’s not just a question of age, but a question of ability. But we have some very skilled amateurs at the club and to beat them she has to be pretty good. “