The Mark and Dick Evans success story was extended beyond 'Myrtle Lofts' in Yorkshire when they formed their racing partnership with John Marles
, and founded their racing loft in Florida USA.
Mark & Dick
explained they would very much like for their bloodlines to achieve more outstanding results over in the U.S.A to the same extent as they have in their own country here in the U.K. However, without their birds being circulated throughout America, this would be impossible, so with this in mind in 2005 Mark & Dick
offered their very good friend John Marles
a partnership at his
own loft in North America.
spoke to his wife in detail what this offer entailed and both his wife and himself couldn't see any disadvantages for either parties and decided to accept this North American partnership with Mark and Dick.
decision wasn't taken lightly as there were, respected reputations at stake on both sides of the big pond.
As soon as Mark heard the good news from John he
immediately put together a team of their best bloodlines and made arrangements to ship 34 pigeons to John's loft in North America.
They included direct children from all their champion breeders, many of them parents to four, five and six generations of winners.
These birds were added to John's
already successful team of M. & D. Evans breeders which he
had obtained from them over the years.
Out of these birds, John
keeps the first round of youngsters each year for his
own race loft and then offers the next couple of rounds to the American fancier.
As soon as John
was involved with the M. & D. Evans bloodlines, he
decided for the first two years to place some youngsters in selected lofts in the Toronto area.
This exercise would help John sort out quicker which breeders were producing the best lines.
The chosen fanciers were asked to fly them as they would the rest of their young bird teams.
At the end of both young bird seasons, it was more than obvious that the M. & D. Evans birds had made their mark on the winning pages.
Every loft that John
chose to race for him reported successful winning lines!
said after only three years from accepting the partnership with Mark & Dick
the results of the M. & D. Evans birds continue to pour in daily.
An example in one combine 300 mile race the Evans birds had a field day winning 1st, 8th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 23rd, 27th, 55th, 61st, 63rd, 64th, 73rd, 76th, 78th, 81st, 84th, 86th and 100th Combine, from 77 Lofts sending 1,063 Birds.
This represents almost 20%, 1 in every 5 birds was an Evans bird and yet this was achieved by 2% of the lofts in the Combine.
Another Combine race the Evans birds won 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Combine with 84 Lofts sending 1,260 birds and what makes this result even better was that 1st and 2nd Combine winners are actual nest mates racing for two different fanciers to two different lofts.
Another fancier called Mike Valente that John
chose to help him select the best breeders won the first three races of the season winning 3 x 1st Combine wins in a row with the Evans birds with many more loft mates in the result.
said to Mark over the telephone that these are the best pigeons that have been imported to the USA for many years and he
was extremely confident that this is the next wave of pigeons to refresh and enhance the quality of the existing gene pool.
As the Janssens, Van Loons and Husyken Van Riel did in the past, and he his
100% sure the Evans bloodlines are going to perform in America as their ancestors are doing in other parts of the world.
often read in the American Racing Pigeon Digest
, stories about the great competition in America's "Little Belgium" area of Florida, an area boasting over 200 lofts in a six mile radius!
The Unit Ten Highlands area has around a hundred lofts in a half mile radius and is the original "Little Belgium.
visited the area and loved it.
yearned to race there.
Canada had no competition like this; the number of lofts in the Toronto area was steadily dwindling.
visited the Florida area several more times, visiting lofts, watching races, going to the grand GHC club house.
He dreamed of racing there so John
then talked over his plans with Mark and Dick.
Their foray into Florida racing as "Marles & Evans" soon began….
studied years of big GHC club results to find the perfect spot to race from.
found it on the short end in Brooksville, on top of a hill overlooking the race-course, a wonderful location to compete from.
had to wait two years for the land on that hilltop to come on the market, but the wait was well worth it.
In Canada he
had 65 miles over-fly in the Combine, which was a big disadvantage; now he
was up front and centre; ten miles short.
also studied several successful Florida loft designs, then after consulting Mark & Dick
they had a nice, functional loft built.
then brought down his
Evans breeders from Canada, and bred a few youngsters for their first year racing in Florida.
joined America's biggest club, the 210 loft strong GHC (Gulf Coast Homing Pigeon Club), which encompasses the whole area, ten miles from short to long and only a half mile wide!
also joined the smaller, 35 lofts, short-end FSI (Florida Sun coast Invitational) club, both flying in the Greater Tampa Bay Concourse.
Wow! Ten young birds, six hens and four cocks, actually did most of Marles & Evans' winning
racing under the name of Marles & Evans
opened a lot of eyes!
Mark, Dick and John
are all very proud to have moved into new competition and achieve such outstanding results right from the out start and more so when they were constantly told it was impossible to move in to "Little Belgium" and become an overnight success.
Mark and John
spend hours on the telephone talking plus trips to and from America to mull over any new ideas which may improve performances.
John quoted earlier that when he joined Mark & Dick as a partnership that there were reputations at stake on both sides of the big pond but with the results already achieved the partners of Marles & Evans have no worries at all.
They have proved they are world Class fanciers with world class pigeons.
has had pigeons for fifty five years and he
started when his
grandfather gave him two street pigeons when he
was five years old.
started racing in the junior club at age eleven and raced pigeons in Canada for about forty-five years and in Florida in the United States of America under the name of Marles & Evans
for the last three years.
loft in Canada is one where he
could modify part of the structure to suit the conditions of the day.
has a loft within a loft and has placed large aviaries directly in front of the loft which are enclosed with a plastic material for the cold and rainy parts of the year.
When the weather changes for the better then the plastic material is taken down.
The loft is made of wood and can be closed down if needed to maintain the heat or the many windows can be opened fully to take advantage of a nice day.
has twelve small exhaust fans which span the forty-eight foot loft and this is most important in Canada when racing on the dark system and especially for those days when the weather is hot and humid.
In the 1970s John Marles
raced both natural, double widowhood and we'll call it pure widowhood, and raced cocks only.
was driven crazy, but the results were fabulous!
Then with a young family he
raced just double widowhood and in 2009 in Florida racing under the name of Marles & Evans
, and he
raced their fifteen yearlings on double widowhood.
The partners told me, in 2011, they would like to also race a few pairs on natural as John feels they can be very valuable for the long end.
In the nearly forty years that John's
raced double widowhood he
has tried to implement any good sounding ideas and he
has tried breeding one, two and no young birds from them prior to racing but preference is for them to raise young ones and wean the young bird as soon as possible.
On shipping night, John
has tried many different methods and settled on showing the hen for a few minutes.
Each fancier seems to find the method that suits his/her own time schedule.
The length of the race determines the time he
will leave the pair together and when the distance of the race is short then so will the time be that he
leaves them together.
If it has been a real tough race then he
might leave them together over night and John tries to race the majority of the birds to at least the 500 mile stage.
Over the years the number of young birds John Marles
kept has also changed and in the 1960's and 1970's John kept no more than twenty five young birds.
In the last ten years racing in Canada John generally kept between forty and forty eight young birds.
had two lofts which ran a total of forty eight feet and therefore one bird per foot.
In the late 1980's John raced on the dark system and as soon as the old bird races were over they would be retired to aviaries and his
young birds would be spread o