"Rex" from the Roller Book authored by the late Joe Quinn from Jim Petersen
I first met Frank L. "Rex" Rexroat in 1964. I was living at home with my parents then and attending college.
Rex was the director at large of the United Roller Club, having just served as the club's President. As a 19 year old kid, I was impressed to met a man who had been all over the country and who had seen a lot of performing Rollers at lofts, to me at the time, that were just famous names of Roller Fliers.
My own Rollers weren't particularly impressive that day, but Rex must have seen that i was pretty serious about them. He was sympathetic in my flying a kit for company that wasn't quite up to their best and was open and very helpful when bombarded by my questions. I liked him immediately!
One of my best friends ever, who was like a big brother to me, George Reeve, was also going to enjoy a visit from Rex after he left my town of Davenport, Iowa. Rex and George were old friends that went back several years. George Reeve, himself a top flier of Birmingham Rollers, thought so much of Rex, he named one of his sons after him! Later that summer of 1964, I made the trip to Cedar Rapids to visit George for the first time myself. We became friends instantly. We not only had our common interest of Rollers to talk about, but our admiration for Rex as well.
Rex and I exchanged a letter or two, and then, in the fall of 1965, I wrote a long letter asking his explicit advise on Rollers. He replied with a 12 page, handwritten letter! It was full of his observations of the sport and specific recommendations about where i should obtain stock and what family(Pensom strain) I should use to establish my own family of rollers.
He said start with a couple of pair from an established flier whose birds I liked in the air. He said keep them close, mate dad to daughter and mother to son and work in a couple of hens of the same family, cull severely.
Rex had visited Bob Evans of San Mateo California and was quite impressed with the Evan's birds and Bob's management. When Bob entered three X"s (XXX) in his record book by a bird's band number, you could put it down as a real spinner. Rex saw a wonderful spinner in Bob's kit and saw it had two X's in his book.Rex pulled out his ball point pen and handed it to Bob saying,"Bob you can give that bird his third "X" now." Bob said,"Oh, I have a pen, and maybe he'll get that third"X" next year."
In that 1965 letter, Rex said he hoped to visit me following summer if the "Lord was willing." Unbeknownst to me, Rex had been diagnosed with cancer and passed away that winter. His long and friendly letter, spiced with his keen sense of humor, may have been so thorough because he wasn't sure he'd see me to tell me all that it contained. News of his passing came from our mutual friend, George Reeve. It was a very sad time for both of us.
I still cherish that letter and my friendship with both Reeve and Rexroat. We here in my area, still fly every year in the Reeve/Rexroat Memorial, an old bird Roller competition fly in their memory and in their honor. It's the least we could do for them and for all they did for us.
I've always felt blessed to have gotten: A) Involved with pigeons and pigeon people and B) Involved with rollers and Roller people. But if not for pigeons, I would have never known two of the finest gentleman I have ever met ANYWHERE, George Reeve and Frank Rexroat.......and would add Paul Vaughn to the list as well!
Central Roller Club