Thursday, February 7, 2013
Find out more about Ron Bauer and his life-long passion for pigeon racing.
Pigeon racing was a life-long passion for Ron - the man behind Honiton’s legendary pigeon Ron’s Dream, soon to be immortalised by J D Wetherspoon.
The Midweek Herald met with Ron Bauer’s widow, Queenie, and his stepson, David Sanders, to find out more about the former Dewhurst butcher and dedicated pigeon racer.
Ron’s love of pigeons was sparked at an early age after he was given two birds when he was 14.
“He did live all his life for his pigeons,” says Mrs Bauer. “He loved his home, he loved his pigeons and he loved me.”
Mr Bauer was the secretary of the Honiton Racing Pigeon Club and the chairman of the Devon Federation of Pigeon Clubs.
He was also instrumental in starting up the North Road Route and would never fly east to west.
His top bird, Ron’s Dream, also known as number 89, according to the last digits on her ring, grabbed the headlines.
The hen missed out on securing a top prize when Mr Bauer died the day before a race on September 7, 1991. He suffered a heart attack, which meant he could not time the bird home.
His stepson David, 61, recalls the day of the race when the pigeon arrived home.
He said: “I was sat on the doorstep and said to mother “there’s a bird here”.”
After coaxing the bird down, he desperately tried to figure out how to clock in the hen, but says: “I didn’t have a clue.
“I lost 10 or 15 minutes and it is seconds that count.”
He added: “It would have been his life’s ambition to have won it.”
The pigeon came third in the National Flying Club Young Bird Race but many have said Ron’s Dream won the race hands down.
Following Ron’s death, the hen was auctioned off for £450 and sold to the winner of the race to be bred with his bird.
Mrs Bauer, 84, who was treasurer of the Honiton Pigeon Racing Club, says Ron would always have to make sure he wore his chequered slippers and work clothes when going into the pigeon loft to avoid upsetting the birds.
She said: “They knew if he didn’t go in the loft in his work clothes and you could hear them cooing and Ron saying ‘It’s only me’.”
“He would spend hours in the loft, just looking at the pigeons,” adds Mrs Bauer.
The Wetherspoon pub is due to open later this year.