Pigeon races are “more important” than you think

Riding the bird is a large sum of money for a sport that is becoming a rage among some Bengalurians

The domestic pigeon that we find nesting on our balconies is not quite what it seems. Its flight wingspan and acrobatic skills are so amazing that getting on the bird is a big cash prize for a sport that is becoming a rage among a section of Bengalurians.

While big bets are taking place with tumbling and tippling pigeons in various pockets of Bengaluru, homing pigeon races by organized clubs are not far behind.

Y. Suresh, president of the state’s oldest pigeon club, the Karnataka Racing Pigeon Club (KRPC), says pigeon racing is a hobby. A niche group has been genuinely involved in the sport for decades. “There are nearly 600 birds competing each year in the home races which take place from December to March,” says the veteran who has competed for 14 years now.

The races usually take place during the winter due to the welfare of the birds.

The KRPC has completed their long distance races for 2014-15 and are expected to hand out prizes to the winners in October before the start of the new pigeon season.

However, there is a notorious side to pigeon racing in Bengaluru. Betting is known to be rampant for tumbler and tippler pigeon competitions. According to those involved, it is a sport where you can make money quickly.

“Cup pigeon races are a hit with punters, because people bet big. They watch closely as the pigeon leaps through the air and the bird that lands last is declared the winner. The race is done from terraces, and it sometimes ends with fights between the players, ”said a young man from Malleswaram, who refused to reveal his identity.

Carrier pigeons call this time of year the preparation period, when the birds are breeding for the next season which is to begin in December. This is the gestation period for some sports enthusiasts, but for others it is the long wait for the jackpot.


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