Pete White

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I was bitten by the roller bug early in life–the fourth grade to be exact. In those days I lived on what was considered the Eastside of South Los Angeles.  It was a mere stones throw from the elegant Central Avenue jazz scene which also had an unimaginable impact on my life.  I recall, as if it were yesterday, walking down the alley just off Santa Barbara and Central Ave.  Standing in a yard just off the alley was a man engulfed in pigeons as they hurried to get in their cage.  He stood there patiently waiting for one particular pigeon to get with the program and at least look toward the coop.  That gentleman was Elwood Daniels.

I stood there in amazement as Elwood calmly whistled and shook the feed can in an attempt to trap the bird.  He glanced in my direction, gave me a little gesture as to say keep still, and finally trapped the wayward pigeon.  Once the pigeon trapped my questions began to fly; where do you get them; how do you train them; why do they come home after they finish flying and so on and so on.  Instead of answering my barrage of questions Elwood released another kit and told me to watch.  The first time I saw a bird flip I was blown away; however, when they all flipped together it was a wrap and I was hooked.

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I went home immediately and started building my coop as they were called back then.  Within days I had a wobbly structure that was well suited for my needs. Next step, birds.  I returned to the alley where I had witnessed the euphoric display of flipping and feathers and there stood Elwood looking up into the sky.  We sat and watched the young kit of birds together until they landed on the roof.  Once in the cage I popped the question; could I please have some birds?

Without a second thought Elwood went into his loft and returned with a young Black & White Grizzle, the bird that had given him problems on my first visit. Happily I took the bird and headed home with my new possession.

 

 peeweebirds20080092We had a number of pet shops in Los Angeles that stocked fairly decent rollers; however, my two favorites were Red Wing Hatchery and Brooklyn Pet Shop.  Each weekend I found myself on a bus, bike or begging a ride to get the pet shop.  I marveled at the feather foots, bald heads and of course spangles.  When I ran out of money of course I went the old trapping route–scouring our local parks for color pigeons.  At that time most kits that I saw were comprised of twelve birds so that was my magic number.

When I reached twelve birds i began to train and subsequently fly them.  With the patience of Job Elwood would come by, watch my rag-tag crew, and give me pointers.  This lasted for a year or so and then one day Elwood bestowed upon me the greatest gift imaginable, a kit of young rollers from Eddie Scott.  As a kid, trust me, I was in hog heaven.  Upon his advice I immediately discarded my rag-tag crew and thus began my journey as an official roller man.

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As the years passed I collected many rollers from a variety of breeders.   I flew the Lehmyer Blacks which hands down were some of the hottest pigeons around.  I also acquired some of the Full House family  from a guy named Glenn that lived behind Safeway Supermarket and was a friend of Elwood.  Those birds later led me to  Arnold Jackson and his family of rollers.  I was so young at this time Elwood was my point of contact for all of the breeders.  He never had a problem taking me to see his friends in this exclusive roller world.

When I moved from the Eastside to the Westside I ran smack into Hilly.  Our relationship spanned across many interests but needless to say he was my brethren from the start.  Hilly had birds from everywhere and always loved heat and color rollers.  It was Hilly that piqued my interest in Westside fanciers and an abundance of folk further away.  One such person was famed Oriental Roller breeder Teddy Hull and after our first introduction a few Orientals found their way to my loft.

peeweebirds2008022To some Los Angeles is a huge city but for those of us that live here it is very small town like.  One of my neighbors, named Chumpy, also had rollers that he kept in a loft that was suspended at least 15 feet off the ground.  Chumpy also had birds in the house because he had a real problem keeping stock around, people usually stole them.  Chumpy had beautiful birds and you could tell that they were high quality and one day he agreed to take me to the breeder, Paul Gomez.

Paul was skittish at first because, like Chumpy, his birds were in high demand in the pigeon thief community.  I purchased a bird from him but it would not be until years later that our friendship would blossom.  What I did not know at the time was that Paul, Elwood and Chumpy all belonged to the Black Country Roller Club [BCRC]–remember, Los Angeles is not that big.

 A number of years passed, its the mid-eighties now, before I met Cornell Norwood but when I did the experience peeweebirds20080493catapulted my desire to create a family exponentially. His family of birds and knowledge was astounding and the respect he commanded from all roller-men left you awestruck.  He was hands down a repository of information on just about any topic, not just rollers.  If he liked you and thought that you were serious about rollers he would unselfishly share his insights and and honest critique.

Cornell was an Alpha male in every way and many were intimidated by his brash and direct nature.  Youngsters, however, loved him because he showed us how to be unabashedly direct provided you had enough information.  Hours upon hours were spent with Cornell talking birds, boxing, and jazz; also, if you got there early enough, feasting on his special blend of grits.

 

 

peeweebirds20080711I have been working on my family of birds for the past 15-years and I consider it a labor of love.  My foundation roller was a  stray named Juliet. [I will post her picture soon] Juliet was the fastest and smoothest pigeon I had ever witnessed and the hole was always present.  Not very frequent, Juliet would average rolls in the 20-30 foot range.  Every once in a while she might squeeze off a 40 footer that would make you say oooooo.

One day Elwood called me and said he was bringing over some birds, alot of birds. When he arrived he said that he was quitting his club and getting rid of that family of birds.  I did not know at that time that he belonged to the BCRC and that I would be receiving dynamite birds.  I recall him telling me that he was frustrated and could not get information to assist in his breeding program.

 It was from this batch of birds that I selected a Black-Self cock and paired it with Juliet.  The offspring of this pair was peeweebirds20080311phenomenal and always stood out far above the rest, they are the basis of my family today.  I also aquired birds from Paul and Hilly, namely a Qualmond from Paul and a magnificent 1220 Strawberry cock from Hilly.  These birds were magnificent, bold, typey and could roll a storm.  Ultimately, it was the influence of Paul and Cornell that led to my decision to buckle down and focus on my two-bird nucleus.  I still appreciate that guidance today.

The next five-years, i believe, is a critical juncture for the preservation of the Birmingham Roller standard.  I believe that LARC will contribute to this effort by, 1) employing our thirty-point kit competition scoring rules; and, 2) employing a certification process of birds that meet the Birmingham standard.  It is our hope that we give the hobby an alternative view of what is possible–to push the performance limits of Birmingham rollers to the stratosphere.

 

 

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16 Responses to “Pete White”

  1. yes man, im a oldie but goodie, try 48 dude

  2. Todd DiAntonio Says:

    Pete,I Love the type and expression on your birds.They are obviously very well bred and not peas in a pod.They exude intelligence and pageantry….Aloha,Todd

    • Thanks, Todd. I have been working on my strain for quite some time, and trust me, its a constant state of evolution.

  3. Ron Vandendries Says:

    I am just starting know of any body with a couple pairs for sale
    Thanks
    Ron

  4. sweet birds man.

  5. WAT UP P WEE VERY GOOD TYPE. I KNOW THOSE BIRDS SPUN. I’M WORKING ON A PIECE 4 U IF U LIKE.

    • Thanks for thinking of me, however, i am good right now. Hopefully the birds are doing good and the predators are not causing too much havoc.

      –PW

  6. harry ashcraft Says:

    Ive raiesd rollers 50 yrs ,……..new to me are continentals ,,, are these continentals you picture???? Thanks

  7. harry ashcraft Says:

    Thanks for all the info???????

  8. robert abram Says:

    Hey like you i got my first rollers from elwood daniels also.when i was a kid. I would like to locate him . I just started back recently.plz give him my email thanks

  9. Jerry Chacon Says:

    nice i am going on 2 years with my Pensom Ralph Hilton Family , loving them

  10. tim ferguson Says:

    Im looking to get a couple pair of rollers next early summer do you sell birds.

  11. Do you sale roller pairs

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