It was in 1820 that the first news came
flying in of a pigeon competition. It involved a new kind
of pigeon, the "Belgian" or "Gante" pigeon,
the actual racing pigeon, created about five years before
by Belgian fanciers and breeders (most probably in Antwerp).
It was the first time that the competition
or races were done just for sport, like an art or science
to find out how to train and prepare the best birds to help
them to increase their orientation capacity and flying resistance.
Racing pigeons became popular very quickly,
especially in Belgium where it is still considered a national
sport, with more then 150,000 fanciers and breeders' licences.
Though there are less then 10,000 in Spain, a good number
of them are in the Balearic Islands.
From there, this new kind of racing pigeon
was introduced to Spain, France, England and Portugal, etc.,
as well as the art and the feeling for the competition.
Soon, and initially with the help of the
national armies (all racing pigeons are under the army's control;
In case of war or a big national crisis, they can be confiscated
and taken under the army's command) new races and competitions
were organised in these countries. At first the competition
was among different clubs or societies that then competed
for the province or county, the winners then competing for
national and international titles.
There are different kinds of races and several
competitions or championships, differing rules that have been
changing with the times, different distances and tests of
speed or resistance. There can be one winner of a particular
race or the accumulation of points by different birds or in
different races. Judging is also according to the age of the
pigeons, whether the race is over land or if the birds have
to cross the sea, the importance of the race, local, provincial,
national or international.
The most difficult race for the pigeons
is over long distances over the open sea, when it is as deep
or deeper then 2,000 metres, especially together with strong
winds. Then the pigeons seem to lose a good deal of their
orientation. This happened in a maritime race organised by
the Balearic Federation in July 1957, when a boat took 602
racing pigeons to be released 109 miles out in the open sea,
Northeast, towards Nice in France. None of the pigeons came
back and this race was cancelled for the future.
Since 1985 the Spanish National Championship
has consisted of seven races. Two "speed" races
(Velocidad) of more then 200 Kilometres, two "middle
distance" (Medio Fondo) races of more then 350 Kilometres,
two "long distance" (Fondo) races of more then 500
Kilometres, and one race, "Grote Fond" or "greater
distance" (Gran Fondo).
Longer distances, (super-greater distance)
of 1,000 kilometres, or more, can be adapted to special races
and international events, such as the one in 1996, one of
the longer races organised, so far, by the Balearic Federation,
from Lisbon (Portugal) of more then 1,000 kilometres.
Since 1997, there are in Spain, races on
the mainland and races from the islands, which can be a little
bit shorter, about fifty Kilometres less, because of the sea
difficulty. Also, in the Balearic competition, the pigeons
can fly from anywhere in the Continent, most from Mainland
Spain, as long as the official distances are respected. But
it was not until 1955, that the Balearic pigeons could fly
back from a distance of 400 Kilometres, (middle distance)
from Lorca (Murcia), so, here we can see how much and how
fast the progression has been in those years.
Normally, one-year-old birds start with
the speed, in short or middle distances races. The best ones
keep competing when they are two years in the long distance
and three years for the best ones in greater distance races.
Sometimes pigeons are very good at a certain distance, but
they don't progress to longer distances.
Next year's World Championship of racing
pigeons will be celebrated in Eivissa, with the name of "Eivissa
Grand Prix." It is being organised by the local pigeon
fanciers and breeders of the three Clubs or Societies on the
The first one to be founded was the "Sociedad
Colombofica Ibicenca" in 1927, by a group of friends,
old "Colombofilos" (racing pigeon fanciers and breeders)
in the City of Eivissa. It was officially registered on the
23rd May 1928, but it was not until the 7th July 1943, after
the Spanish Civil War, that it was integrated into the "Federación
Colombofica Balear" (Balearic racing pigeons' federation).
Some of the documents of its foundation
were lost in those years, but we know most of the names of
the pigeon fanciers, Juan Planells Tur, "En Basetas"
Juan Planells Cardona, "En Rey" José Prieto
Planells, "En Prieto" and Joaquin Rigal Perello.
The first president was the local priest Mariano Escandell
Since then the following presidents were
1930, Joaquin Rigal Perello; 1943, Juan Planells Cardona;
1947, Arturo Gómez Vázquez; 1951, Antonio Torres
Marí; 1966, Antonio Roig Miguel and Pedro Planells
Ribas; 1977, Antonio Roig Domínguez; 1979, Mariano
Torres Torres; 1982, Salvador Roig Planells; 1987, Vicente
In the beginning, this group of friend use
to meet and do the office work in different bars, "C'as
Begaix", "Bar Roig", "Bar Alhambra"
and "Bar Pereira" by Eivissa's main square "Vara
de Rey" until the society bought their own place, the
social club, in Eivissa Town. In 1988, the society changed
its name to "Club Colombofilo Eivissa".
Historically this club has been highly
successful in provincial, national and international competitions
In the provincial competitions, the "Club
Colombofilo Eivissa" have been the Balearic champions
in the following years:
1957: Concurso Regional Velocidad
Maritime. From Elx, (Alacant) (middle distance, maritime speed)
Winner. Pedro Planells Ribas.
1958: Concurso Regional Velocidad. From Elx, (Alacant) (speed, middle distance) W. José
1962: Concurso Regional Velocidad
Maritime. From Elx, (Alacant) W. Miguel Tejada.
1963: Concurso Regional Fondo Terrestre.
From Cabeza de Buey, (Badajoz) (long distance) W. Jesús
1964: Concurso Regional Fondo Terrestre. From Cabeza de Buey, (Badajoz) (long distance) W. Antonio
1973: Concurso Regional Velocidad. From Purchena (Almeria) (speed, middle distance) W. Pedro
1981: Concurso Regional Medio Fondo
Terrestre. From Murcia, (middle distance) W. Antonio Ribas
1983: Concurso Regional Gran Fondo. From Badajoz (greater distance) W. Antonio Ribas Juan.
1985: Concurso Regional Gran Fondo. From Badajoz (greater distance) W. Juan Roig Torres.
1986: Concurso Regional Velocidad. From Lorca (Murcia) (middle distance) W. J. Vilas -V. Escandell.
1986: Concurso Regional Gran Fondo. From Badajoz
(greater distance) W. Jorge Fernandez Riera.
1987: Concurso Regional Fondo. From
Lorca (Murcia) (middle distance) W. A. and J. Roig Dominguez.
1990: Concurso Regional Fondo. From
Almendralejo (Badajoz) (long distance) W. Torres Gotarredona.
1991: Concurso Regional Gran Fondo. From Badajoz (greater distance) W. Pedro Planells Ribas.
1992: Concurso Regional Velocidad. From Lorca (Murcia) (middle distance) W. Juan Tur Ribas.
1992: Concurso Regional Velocidad. From Lorca
(Murcia) (middle distance) W. Vilás- Escandell.
1992: Concurso Regional Gran Fondo. From Badajoz
(greater distance) W. Pedro Planells Ribas.
1998: Concurso Regional Fondo. Juan
Torres Costa was the winner by regular points.
"As Balear de Velocidad" (Balearic
champion, speed title and award) to the bird 175.142-96, of
the breeder Antonio Costa Escandell.
"Prestigio de Velocidad (champion speed
award, middle distance) to the bird 175.207-96, of A. and
J. Roig Dominguez.
In the National Competition, there are also
several important results, as Spanish Champions in 1960- Concurso
Nacional Fondo Maritimo. (Long-maritime distance) W. Manuel
Garcia Tur. Bird- 60.653-58
1970: Concurso Nacional Fondo. "Copa
S. E. El jefe del Estado". From Salobreña () (long
distance) W. Costa-Vilás. Bird- 67.790-68
1973: Concurso Nacional Fondo. "Copa
S. E. El jefe del Estado". From Montoro (Córdoba)
(long distance) W. Juan Torres Costa. Bird- 65.941-69.
1983: Concurso Nacional Gran Fondo. "Copa S. M. El Rey". From Badajoz (greater distance)
W. Antonio Ribas Juan. Bird- 168.429-82.
In special tournaments, such as "Derby
Nacional de Fondo" in 1988, (long distance national derby),
A. and M. Torres were the champions.
"Concurso Especial de Ayamonte"
(Huelva) (over 800 kilometres.) W. Jesús Ferrer.
"Concurso Especial de Sines" (Francia)
(over 900 kilometres) W. Antonio Torres.
1996: Concurso Especial "Larga
Distancia", organised by the Balearic Federation, over
a 1000 Kilometres, from Lisbon (Portugal) (greater distance)
with 130 pigeons, 87 of them from Mallorca, 43 from Eivissa,
Angela Costa Ferrer, was second.
The "Club Colombófilo Eivissa"
have also participated and organised important and popular
events, such as the "VIII Exposición regional"
(the exhibition of the winner-birds and the awards ceremony)
in 1972, again in 1977, the "XIII Exposición regional"
and the "XII Expocisión Nacional" and again,
together with the other two clubs of the Island, the "XXIV
Exposición Nacional" in the Hotel Abrat, in Sant
Antoni. In 1998, the "XXXIII Exposición regional".
The Spanish racing pigeons' federation, "Real Federación Colombófla Española"
have honoured the "Club Colombófilo Eivissa"
with the silver and the gold medal for consistency. (The Information
about the "Club Colombófil Eivissa" is from
the book "Un siglo de Colombofilia en las Baleares"
by Sebastian Mas Veny. Palma de Mallorca. 2000).
All Pictures © Gary
Hardy (1988 to 1990)
José P Ribas