2003 World Cup Champion

Dennis Burke

 I first became interested in pigeons like most who have them today, I was exposed as a youngster. My first contact with them came when I noticed a flock of different colored pigeons flying around a house on the next street over from ours. As a kid I was curious and went over to investigate it further. There were different breeds in an assortment of colors like nothing I had ever seen before. Some had feathers on their feet and some had tail feathers that stood straight up. I didn’t care what breed they were, I just thought they were beautiful. My next goal was to acquire some for myself. I talked to some of the other kids in the neighborhood and they wanted some as well so we set out to have a neighborhood loft and anyone who helped to build it could keep some birds in it. After awhile we had it finished and we started to accumulate a number of different breeds to keep in it. My brother any myself had a few rollers, they were our favorites as they could do “tricks” in the air as we called it back then. After about a year we had to move and that was the end of the pigeons as we couldn’t keep them where we moved.
It wasn’t until after I was married that I got some pigeons again. These were racing homers and I belonged to a racing homer club for a few years and after I was laid off in 1980 I got out of racers. I stilled missed the rollers and set out to get some more. I got the Roller Special from the American Pigeon Journal and found Rudy Gendrikovs and went over to his place to meet him and see his rollers. Rudy has a unique loft in that it is a two story loft and you can access the roof through a hatch in the roof. We sat on the roof in lawn chairs and watched the kits fly and then they would land around us. I enjoyed that immensely. I got a few pair of rollers from Rudy that I picked from the sky. I had those for a few years and then we moved again and I couldn’t keep the rollers so I got rid of them, this was 1986.
In 1991 I got the rollers bug again and wanted to get them again. I didn’t know anyone in the area who had them so I contacted the American Pigeon Journal again to send me their latest copy of the roller special. I found someone again who was only a few hours away and contacted him, went over and met him and seen his rollers fly. I went over there a month or so later and ended up getting a few pair of rollers from him. I took them home and bred them for a couple of years and flew the youngsters out. In the American Pigeon Journal I found ad for the International Roller Association and joined it. As they advertised they were a club “Dedicated to the Cultivation and Promotion of the Roller Pigeon as a Performing Bird” and this is what I was interested in. As there wasn’t anyone in my area that I knew who had rollers the IRA is where I got all my information on how to breed, train, and fly kits of rollers. I waited anxiously every 2 months for my next issue to arrive and devoured as much information as possible. I also learned that there also was another club called the “National Birmingham Roller Club” and also joined that fine organization as well. After reading the articles about rollers I found that I had a ways to go with the family I was working with, I really didn’t like the results I was getting with them. So I contacted another person and got some of that persons rollers and flew them for a few more years. About this time I started reading more about flying competitions and the World Cup and since I enjoyed athletics as a kid I thought that maybe this is something that I could do with the rollers besides enjoying them in my back yard.
In the fall of 1997 Keith Hughey contacted me and told me about a roller club that was just started up in the area called the Mid-Michigan Roller Club and asked if I was interested in joining, of course I said yes. In the fall of 1998 I wasn’t satisfied with the way that my rollers were performing and decided it was time for another change in families. In reading the NBRC I noticed a guys name who kept popping up in the top ten in the World Cup standings and that was Rick Mee, so I contacted him about getting some rollers from him. After about 2 hours on the phone with Rick he decided to let me have 3 pairs of his birds. It so happened that most of these had flown in his World Cup kit that year. This is the family of rollers that I am presently working with and am very happy with them. I was very fortunate in that in those 3 pairs of rollers there was one pair in particular that clicked and bred me some very good rollers. There also was one other cock that worked well with this one particular hen as well and bred some nice rollers too. In December of 2001 Rick called me one day and told me that he was moving and had some very nice rollers that he didn’t want to take a chance on settling at his new place and losing them, and wanted to know if I was interested in some of them. Of course I said yes, and he sent me 7 more rollers that were a year or two old. This is the basis of where my breeding program comes from.
I started flying in the big competitions in the fall of 1998 by entering the NBRC Fall Fly. I scored a total of 24.96 points. I was thrilled to have someone from outside my area to come to my house and judge my rollers and to give me an idea on how my rollers stacked up with others in the region. In the year 2000 I flew in my first World Cup fly and I scored 76.44 points. Eldon Cheney judged our region and gave me some very encouraging comments. I flew again in the NBRC Fall Fly in the year 2000 and finished second in the 11 bird fly and qualified for the finals. Roy Edmonds judged the finals and I finished tied for 7th in the 11 bird fly with a score of 55 points. In 2001 I again flew in the World Cup regionals and I finished 2nd and qualified for the finals again. Tim Decker judged the finals and I finished 9th overall with a score of 353.92 points. In 2002 I flew in the JPMF and finished 1st in my region and qualified for the finals. Eldon Cheney judged the finals and I finished 5th overall with a score of 660.48 points. In 2003 I flew in the World Cup regionals and finished 1st and qualified for the finals. John Wiens judged the finals and I finished 1st overall with a score of 622.8 points I had 1.7Q and 1.6D.Winning the World Cup will most certainly be the highlight of my roller flying. I never set out to win the World Cup I just wanted to fly my kit to the best of its ability and see where they would rank with the rest of the kits in the world.
First and foremost I fly rollers for myself in my own backyard for my own enjoyment, that is the reason I have them in the first place. Secondly I fly them in competition to see how they stack up with rollers around the world, and to satisfy my need to compete. Whatever it is that you enjoy about rollers, just keep doing it.


World Cup Trophy in front of my Loft Close up of plaque on World Cup Trophy My Lofts, Breeding Compartments upstairs, kit boxes on side of barn
Close up of World Cup Trophy Me in front of kit boxes with World Cup Trophy Dennis Burke
Mealy Hen MMRC-209-01 one of the fastest birds in the kit. Daughter of #733 and Grandaughter of 1919 &1909 Black Mottle Hen MMRC -209-02 Excellent style and depth Mealy Cock MMRC--733-99 Son of 1919 and 1909 Flown in many competitions.Excellent kit bird and has bred some very good rollers
Ash Red Spread Cock. Son of 513 and 1909 excellent kit bird flown in many competitions Mealy Cock 1919-97 good breeder especially when paired to 1909. Bred by Rick Mee Lavender Cock 513-94 when paired with 1909 has raised some excellent rollers. Bred by Rick Mee
  Black mottle Hen 1909 97 has bred some of my best rollers especially when paired to 513 and 1919. Bred by Rick Mee