|In The Beginning, The Story of Fats Schofield
THE SCHOFIELDS By Tom Swan
In 1922 shortly after he moved to his lifetime home in Morrisville, Pa. a neighbor to F.T. (Fats) Schofield gave him some pigeons to get him started in our wonderful pastime. Over 83 years later, fanciers in Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Florida and I am sure other parts unknown still covet this family of birds, known simply as the Schofields. Those original birds were from a very good pair of Chadwick Hansennes and from stock known as the "Day Blues". The birds of today still trace back to those original birds
While many other "American" strains or families have faded in popularity in recent years, the Schofields are more popular than ever. In the 2005 IF Convention race where there were only 28 day birds, 3 of the top 16 birds were of Schofield descent and all 3 from different breeders. Most other home grown families in the U.S.A. were based on success at 500 and 600 mile old bird races. The Schofields also excel at the distance, but have perhaps been even more successful at the 300 and 400 mile Young Bird futurities. Fats also had more of a European mindset in keeping his family competitive. If good birds were available to improve performance, they were added without regard to "strain". If the new bird or birds did not work out, they and all of their kin were eliminated. One very notable addition was a Dark Check HVR cock from Ronnie Boll of New Jersey. The Legend of the Schofields is enhanced by some of the distinguishing characteristics of the family. Many of the birds are heavily feathered on their legs and feet (booted) and many also display telltale white tail feathers.
FUTURITY SPOTLIGHT Fats was a top competitor in the Futurity races his entire life, but the spotlight really started to shine on him in the 400 mile Newark (De.) futurities of 1980, 1981 and 1982. In 1975 Fats started Bob Fletcher (flying as Country Loft) out with a team of young birds. Flying almost exclusively birds from Fats, Country Loft won 1st and 2nd in the 1980 race; 5th and 13th in the 1981 race and 2nd in the 1982 race. Fats himself won 1st in the 1982 race. 400 mile Futurities had become the rage and so had the Schofield family of birds. The Schofields were also cleaning up in the 300 mile futurities. Country Loft won 3rd and 4th in the 1977 CJC Futurity and 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 1978 GWC Futurity and had birds in the top 5 of 5 different Futurities for several years running. In 1973 Fats won 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 12th, and 18th in the GWC Futurity (over 200 Lofts and nearly 2,000 birds).
OTHERS JOIN IN Fats kept only a few pair of breeders and raised less than 40 young birds and generally had no more than 30 old birds. Nevertheless, you could generally find birds available from him and at very reasonable prices. This was especially true if you wanted some late hatch youngsters. Many successful flyers in the area were put on the map with these YB purchases from Fats. Perhaps most notable were John Glemser and his assorted partners from South Jersey and Paul Walsh www.Walshloft.com from Scranton, Pa. Paul actually got his first taste of the Schofields from his friend and mentor Patsy DePetiro who lived near Fats and then moved to the Scranton area.
THE AUCTIONS A landmark day in the Schofield pigeon family history took place on February 10, 1985. The entire stud of Schofield birds at Country Loft were sold at Auction. Many of the key breeders and racers of the Master himself resided at Country Loft at this time. I was used to going to these type events and finding perhaps one or two birds fit to go in my breeding loft. Here almost every bird seemed to be of Foundation quality. Over 20 years later, several birds still stick in my mind. IF 78 GWC 4036 - Blue Pencil hen - winner of the GWC Futurity and already the Dam of a Combine Winner for New Year Loft. This hen I still remember. The two others that were my favorites were the hen to his number one breeding pair (IF 75 GWC 3900 Dark Pied) and her daughter (IF 80 NEW 952 Dark Pied) that had won 2nd in the Newark Futurity; 1st in the Boothwyn Bond Race and 4th IF Hall of Fame. 62 birds were sold that day, realizing over $7500. I came home with an empty crate, but my quest for the Schofields had just begun.
Current AU President, Frank Greenhall, was the auctioneer that day and brought home several key birds from the auction. A short time later Frank sold all of his birds when he moved from Delaware to New York and I did not pass up my second chance. Frank had the cock to the Country Loft Foundation Pair (IF 73 QCF 1716). This bird had been bred by Fats from New Year Loft's "Valiant". Frank mated 1716 to IF 83 GPF 1463 the 2nd place bird in the GPF futurity who became known as the "one eye hen" when she lost an eye in an accident in the loft. A youngster from this pair (AU 85 WIL 2051) became my foundation Schofield breeder. My other acquisition at the Greenhall auction was IF 84 NEW 2925. This hen was also from the Foundation cock when mated to my old favorite from the Country Loft Auction, IF 78 GWC 4036.
Despite this dispersion of many of the key Schofield breeders, Fats himself hit upon another outstanding breeding pair. The cock was IF 81 TD 868 and the hen was IF 81 GWC 56. 56 was bred from the #1 Country Loft pair and had won 5th place IF YB Hall of Fame. 868 and 56 bred the 1982 Newark Futurity Winner and bred multiple 500 mile Diploma winners year after year.
After many years of battling with arthritis, Fats had the dispersal auction of his remaining birds in 1991. I was able to buy his remaining top two breeding pairs. The hen to his #1 pair was from 868 and 56 mentioned above, and the cock to the #2 pair was from 2 of his great long distance racers (IF 76 GWC 4706 and IF 75 GWC 3897). Subsequent to the Schofield auction, I was able to complete my quest for the Schofields with the purchase of another key breeding hen that Fats had given to his friend and former partner Norm Krier and the additional purchase of 3 long distance Combine Winners that John Glemser bred from his Schofield birds. The entire loft of Glemser Schofields were sold after the 1998 racing season with over $10,000 realized for just over 100 birds. THE FAMOUS BIRDS
27000 Still the Holy Grail among old timers
664 Dk. Ch. Cock - the Ronnie Boll HVR cock; also key breeder for New Year
Ice Cube (187) and the $300 hen (210) - top breeding pair 1975-1981
IF 72 GWC 4611 Blue Cock - Famous Board Bird and Breeder
IF 75 GWC 3897 Blue Check Splash Hen - another famous Board Bird
IF 73 QCF 1716 BB C and IF 75 GWC 3900 DK SPL H- Country Loft Foundation Pair
IF 76 GWC 4706 BC C - 600 mile winner and sire to IF 81 TD 868 (foundation breeder)
IF 78 GWC 4036 Blue Pencil Hen - GWC Winner and foundation breeder
IF 81 TD 868 DC C and IF 81 GWC 56 DK SPL H - top breeding pair of the 80's
IF 81 GPF 661 BC SPL - "Pretty Boy" - 3nd place GPF futurity and all pools ($3250). Splashed and booted - bred many good ones for John Glemser
IF 82 NEW 765 - Winner of 400 mile Newark Futurity for Fats ($5,000)
IF 83 BHS 98 - Red with Black Splash and Boots. Lot #35 at Country Loft Auction;
Foundation bird for John Glemser after Fats suggested he acquire it from the original purchaser (Van Dan). Lot #71 at Glemser Auction.
AU 85 WIL 2051 Dark Check Cock - Foundation Breeder for Tom Swan (bred from Lots #1 and #13 at Country Loft Auction)
IF 84 NEW 2925 Blue Bar Hen - Foundation Breeder for Tom Swan (lot #52 and bred from lots #1 and #5 at Country Loft Auction)
IF 85 TD 460 BBWF - Foundation bird for Glemser. Bred over 30 winners
IF 85 QCM 0899 DK Ch H - Super flyer for Teti and Glemser, won 1st at every station and was twice only day bird at 600 miles. Sister to IF 91 FRF 954 DK CH H that won many races and Diplomas for Glemser and IF 90 JRF 896 DK DH C that was a top breeder for John Glemser and Tom Swan IF 94 GWC 451 BB Cock - IF Champion Bird and Hall of Fame for John Glemser