My Start in the Hobby

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					       My Start in the Hobby                      Bronze-tri Gazzi, and it was bred and shown
               by Jerry Klevan                    by Jerry Burgr.

Hi, my name is Jerry Klevan. I come from a        I was so busy with work and the holidays
small town called Spring Valley, which is         that I didn't call Jerry until sometime in late
located in the southeastern corner of the         January. He told me that he had just paired
state of Minnesota. I've been raising and         his birds up, and that he might not have
showing Modenas for about three years. I'm        anything for sale at the time. He asked me a
far from being an expert. This article won't      few questions. By my answers he found out
be filled with advice. There is little I can      quickly that I knew absolutely nothing about
share with those "old timers" out there.          the birds. He invited me over to his loft,
What I can tell you is how I got started in the   pulled out one of his already matched pairs,
pigeon hobby.                                     and sold them to me for next to nothing. I
                                                  was absolutely thrilled!
I raised fancy chickens as a boy on the
farm. My family gathered around the box of        The next weekend he call and asked how
chicks when they arrived from the hatchery        the birds were doing, and that if I wanted
in the spring. I was interested in seeing the     some other colored birds, they were mine
colors and varieties develop as the birds         for the taking. I drove the 15 miles in record
matured. One day, my father brought home          time. He sent me home with six more birds.
two pairs of Saddle Fantail pigeons that          I learned the basics with that group of
kept me occupied all summer. I didn't have        pigeons. I've got to say a big thanks to Jerry
a good place to keep them. They didn't get        for putting up with rookie phone calls. His
off the ground too quick, and soon fell prey      enthusiasm is contagious.
to our cats. These birds planted the seed for
my future in the pigeon hobby.                    This year I plan to put together eighteen pair
                                                  of patterned Modenas for this breeding
In 1997, a man named Glen West                    season. It's taken me three years to put
introduced me to his racing pigeons. In fact,     together this flock; and I'm really pleased
he sent me home with ten squeakers. The           with them. I doubt that I could buy another
pigeon bug bit me pretty hard. I told him of      pair of birds from Jerry for the price I paid
my experience with the fantails, as a kid,        for that initial pair. He visits my loft now and
and he advised me to go to a big all-breed        then, and I always hear the phrase, "I sold
show in Des Moines. In fact, he said if I         that bird way too cheap", followed by
couldn't find the birds I wanted at that show,    laughter and a pat on the back.
they probably couldn't be found.
                                                  My advice to someone new to the hobby is
So, my wife and I set off for Des Moines to       to find a mentor. If you are as lucky as I
do a little shopping and to look for some         was, you'll run into someone who'll be
Saddle Fantails. We were stunned when we          happy to show you "the greatest show-bird
walked into Veteran's Memorial Auditorium         around".
and saw 5,000 birds of all shapes and
sizes… 90% of which I had never seen in           Jerry Klevan
my life! Well, to make a long story short, we     Spring Valley, Minnesota
didn't find any Fantails. We kept returning to
this one section of the show that had, what
we felt, were the most beautifully colored
birds we'd ever seen. We had found
Modenas! I fell in love with one in particular
that was owned by a fellow from a town only
15 miles from my home. The bird was a