SUNDAY, September 9 will be a day long remembered in the Gibb household in Lisburn as Ian Gibb and family along with racing partner Henry Byrne were stunned when they discovered they had won one of the richest Pigeon Races ever staged in the United Kingdom and a prize of £30,000.
Wiith over 5,000 birds initially entered into the One Loft event in Wales and a final race point of 300 miles set from Edinburgh the birds were liberated on Sunday morning, the Gibb family did not expect to get a call confirming one of the birds they had entered to compete against some of the best fanciers in the world had arrived at the finishing line ahead of everybody else and in fact they had won the Europa Classic One Loft Race of 2007 scooping the top prize.
More money in fact could be on the way as the winning birds are to be auctioned off with the Breeder receiving half of what ever the Champion makes when the auction is completed. Ian and Henry Byrne will go down in local pigeon circles as the biggest monetary winners ever in the sport of pigeon racing.
Ian, who is assisted greatly by son Peter, is now working around the Feed Business and Stud on a full-time basis. Ian works full-time at Shorts Aerospace in Dunmurry, so with this in mind much of the work around the lofts and training of the birds is carried out by Peter. Only in the last couple of years have Ian Gibb and Sons started to concentrate on racing a successful team of pigeons.
They are one of the top lofts around the country this year, racing with the Derriaghy HPS they swept the board in the Y/B Campaign lifting the Red Card in every race, the first time in the Clubs History and in the process recorded many high Section and Open positions against birdage nearing the 30,000 mark. In total this year 15 x 1st Clubs.
The Gibb family have been a household name around Northern Ireland for a few years now, Ian having raced previously in a couple of very successful partnerships, although the Gibb name came to prominence in the latter part of 2000 when news got out they had bought the complete Award Winning Family of Sootjens owned by J S Lofts.
It was at this time the decision was made to set up a Stud under the name of Gibb Lofts. These Sootjens more than paid their way over the years with many repeat orders from many satisfied customers as far away as California in the United States, still to this day they own the best available in the United Kingdom.
As the years progressed and more lofts were built many more families have been added to the Gibb Stud which now houses around 100 pair, these include Hofkens, A & W Drapa, Bastins, Desbuqvois, Kevin Lawson, Keith Morgan and of course with reference to the Europa Success Syndicate Lofts/Mike Ganus.