Whilst it’s hardly an Olympic sport, pigeon racing is surprisingly still quite popular in many places around the world; especially in Asia. While it can be traced back almost two thousand years, it has been given a new lease of life with the concept of ‘one loft racing’. This is where a group of the birds are trained and raced together, from the same location. Their homing abilities are tested by increasing the distances involved in competitions.
Today, the influence of China has led to a resurgence in interest, which has resulted in some eye-watering prices being paid for birds. These are often in the hundreds of thousands and the most expensive (New Kim) went for £1.9 million. This cost reflects the money there is to be made from winning competitions and breeding. The Million Dollar Pigeon Race has been taking place in South Africa for 24 years. At £1,000 entry, it attracts entrants from around the world. Million Dollar Pigeons tells the story.
Million Dollar Pigeons is an eye-opening insight into a world you probably didn’t even know existed. Along the way we’re introduced to a number of amateurs and professionals, most of whom are characters in one way or another. This is what makes Gavin Fitzgerald’s documentary such good entertainment. While the competition and background are fascinating, it’s these men and (occasionally) women who provide the beating heart to Million Dollar Pigeons.
Million Dollar Pigeons is available on demand in the UK on 26 November.