In what is being touted as a "super event" for pigeon racers, more than 600 homing pigeons will race about 200 miles from Alabama -- battling the summer heat and Gulf Coast winds -- back to their lofts in New Orleans.
At 200 miles, the Fly The Big Easy competition is a mid-length course in this old and noble sport. But for Louisiana's 300 pigeon fanciers, Waldo Slie, the race coordinator, says this event is the first of its kind. The birds were released Friday morning from Conecuh County.
Friday's race was the highlight of the four-day convention by the Texas Center Convention, a pigeon racing group. They are meeting in New Orleans for the first time.
This pigeon race really began about four months ago when pigeon breeders sent newly born birds to seven big cages, called lofts, in backyards in the New Orleans area.
The field of birds were shipped in from across Louisiana and the South and further away -- from Colorado, Massachusetts and even Canada and Puerto Rico.
Loft managers trained the birds to find their way back to the lofts.
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