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Bill Pensom wrote many, many years ago, I think it was in the Twenties, that kit competition was undoing the Birmingham Roller. The rules are such, that the superior roller is penalized because it is not an ideal kit bird. Everyone knows that the deep rolling pigeon simply does not fit into kit competition. However, most roller breeders would agree that the most memorable birds they have seen are those which rolled deep, when the quality and speed of roll was also part of the package. In fact, if one thinks about it, birds in kit competition are rewarded mainly for rolling in unison rather than for quality of roll. It cannot even be said that they are judged for quantity rather than quality, because they aren't really being equitably judged for the number of birds actually rolling.
Beginning on page 119 of Pensoms book he stated: "The more turns a kit of tumblers will do, the less valuable they are as individual performers. The better the turn, the better the individual birds.
"Incidentally, the deep roller is at a greater disadvantage in a flying competition than the short worker or tumbler, and for this reason the best breeders of rolling pigeons lost all interest in flying competitions....."
"It is to be regretted that flying competitions under these rules tend to destroy the better quality performing tumbler. I believe that pigeons should be given prizes for individual merit."
Kit competition as it exists gives its maximum reward to the kit which performs a full turn, as if this was the do all and end all of the Birmingham Roller. If this is to be the goal of the roller breeder, then a different kind of bird must be produced which will fare well in these contests. I believe that the emphasis has been placed on producing this kind of roller in too many lofts for far too long, and that the bird which is referred to as the "champion" is far more scarce than in the old days when that term originated.
For this reason I personally have no interest in kit competition as it is now structured, and would like to see it revised.
I would like to see a system, which accurately rewarded the amount, as well as the quality of roll in a contest. Let me explain....
If a kit is scored twenty points for a full turn, then each bird is receiving a full point for its roll, regardless of depth, speed or style. On the other hand, if a kit is scored only a single point for a quarter turn, then each bird is receiving only from 1/5th to 1/9th of a point for it's roll, again regardless of quality! So under this system the birds will receive from five to nine times the score for a roll although it may very well be of inferior quality. Therefore the way to correct this injustice would have to be, in my opinion, to reward each bird that performs to a certain standard the same point value regardless of how many happen to be rolling. This way if nine birds were to roll at the same time they would be scored nine points rather than only one.
Furthermore, the birds which most closely approach the ideal should be scored higher for the superiority of their performance. The same criteria should be used to evaluate the kit as a whole as would be used to evaluate a single bird in individual competition.
I know that there are many other roller breeders out there who believe as I do, that if a system of judging rewards inferior qualities and penalizes superior qualities, that system of judging is inferior and must be changed to improve the hobby.
Questioning the status quo may not be a popular thing to do, since many rollermen and women are satisfied with things the way they are, but I am willing to stick my neck out if it will serve to benefit the hobby. This change should have been made many years ago when Bill Pensom was still around and could have seen it. I for one humbly consider myself to be one of his many "disciples", and I wish to honor his memory by following his advice in this matter.
---Paul M. Gomez---
----April 1995---

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