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"Dedicated to the preservation of the Oriental Roller as a Flying - Performing Pigeon."

 Show Standard and the Flying Oriental Roller

by Andy Estrada

 “The German (or European) fanciers have been working with the breed longer so they are the authorities on the breed and their standards are correct. The Oriental Roller fanciers in this country should recognize this and adopt the German (or European) standard or the breed will be ruined by the show interests.”  How many of you have heard something like this? I have and though this was not originally my idea I actively promoted it and campaigned hard to get NPA recognition of a standard for the Flying Type Oriental Roller. The campaign was successful and now there is a thinly disguised German standard recognized by the NPA under the auspices of the Flying Oriental Roller Society.

Why revisit a subject long since settled? Because the entire premise for the idea of having a standard for the Flying Oriental Roller is flawed and useless to any fancier who is interested in air performance in his/her Oriental Rollers.

Ideas similar to or ideas that support the basic theme found in quotes at the beginning of this commentary do not align with the purpose of preserving the Oriental Roller as an air-performing breed. Statements along these lines are concerned with the appearance of the flying type Oriental Roller on the ground, more specifically in a show cage.  Any show standard concerns how a pigeon looks and has nothing to do with how the pigeon performs in the air.

If the Oriental Rollers in Europe can out perform ours in the air then by all means strive for that standard of performance.

“The show standard is used only as a guideline for how the flying type Oriental Roller should look” The fancier whose interest is in flying and performance will come across this rationalization as a justification for the show standard. On the face of it this seems sensible to the flying fancier as the only practical use for a standard is to identify the characteristics that distinguish the flying type Oriental Roller as a specific breed. From that point, selection based on air performance will dictate the final form of the pigeon itself.             

The show standard has been in effect going into its second season. During this period, do you suppose pigeons were shown that have never been flown? Do you think it likely more and more grounded pigeons will be entered as Flying Oriental Rollers as time goes on? Is anyone aware of any policy that would detect and prevent the Flying Oriental Roller from becoming another show class? Has a second show class of Oriental Roller already been created? These are the hard questions we fanciers who are dedicated to preserving the Oriental Roller as a flying breed should ask ourselves.

I do not write this from an ivory tower. In the past two show seasons I have put more than my share of effort into showing my Oriental Rollers under the FORS standard as well as under the UORA standard for Flying Type Oriental Rollers. There is not a thing wrong with showing pigeons and I found the experience interesting and enjoyable. I may continue to show if doing so will get more fanciers flying our breed. However, I am obligated to look at how showing and a show standard has either helped or harmed the Oriental Roller.

Flying the Oriental Roller was nearly a lost art in this country just two show seasons ago. Today there is an increased interest in the flying type Oriental Roller with more fanciers keeping them. But the art of flying the Oriental Roller is still practiced by only a few. 

There is only one way to get quality performance out of any flying breed and that is to select for performance in the air. The Oriental Roller must be flown if its heritage is to be preserved. If as much effort went into promoting flying the breed as went into making a show standard for it and showing it would there be more Oriental Rollers in the air today? What are our priorities?

I’ve looked at the situation and I’m still looking. How about you?