This is the first time I entered birds in Fast Eddies Late Hatch Classic race and a California OLR in general. I had a couple late hatches in 2015, so I said “why not.” I sent two nest mates from one of my best pairs, Pachinko and Sweet Revenge. For those of you who have been following our story, Pachinko is one of my foundation cocks and Sweet Revenge is a bird that was stolen from my loft and returned with her band cut off over 1.5 years after she was stolen. Both of these birds were nest mates to one of this years winning birds VIK 1244 a 3rd(=1st) place bird that took home $1350 on a tough 350 mile Flying Aces One Loft race with only 39 day birds. Anyway, I had heard that Eddie was a good handler but the training tosses and races proved the latter hypothesis correct. I was very excited going into the 300 mile race, but because of the great condition Eddie had the birds in combined with the tailwind, the 300 was far to easy for the birds. The birds arrived in a huge first drop (39 birds) at a blazing speed of 1877 YPM (thats 300 miles at 64mph for the non-pigeon racers reading this). It was quite evident, that these birds made a direct path home while the other birds overflew. Knowing my birds, I was not surprised that mine were not in the 1st drop at those speeds. But, it is my opinion that a handler should never be frowned upon for having the birds in good condition, after all, the winds WILL be different next year, they always are. So I chalked it up as a loss, had a cocktail and thought about what I could send next year that could perform in those conditions. The following Saturday my brother Phil, friend Chad Sandstrom and I were betting on horses and talking pigeons like we often do. We started talking pigeons and had a conversation about the previous weekends race, and how fast it was. Mid-conversation my celly rang, and what do you know, it was Eddie himself. Eddie asked me if I was interested in entering the bird in an optional 400 mile race. Not knowing this option existed, I was pleasantly surprised, as a 400 mile race is much tougher than a 300, so I delightfully accepted. I entered one bird in the 400, ARPU 7560, who thus far was a mid pack pigeon. Knowing that this pigeon does not excel in fast tailwind races, I was hoping that the 400 mile race would make them work a little harder. I woke up Sunday morning, checked Fast Eddies website, and sure enough there was a 5-10mph headwind the whole way home. This 400 mile race with the headwind proved to be a VERY tough race. 213 birds were liberated, with only 24 birds arriving on the day. PNA Loft and Desert Rose Loft had two excellent and tough birds that put a 15+ minute lead on the next bird and won $8000 and $5250 respectively, not bad for an optional race! My bird was 45 minutes behind theirs, but didn’t give up. 7560 came in 45 minutes later at 1167 ypm which was good enough for 21st place and a $1000 prize. Being 45 minutes behind and still making the prize money truly shows how tough of a race this was. Hats off to the 24 day birds and their breeders!