George Reeve's Rollers by Jim Petersen
Gerorge Reeve's Roller family was built primarily off of Bob's #1608 cock that was right off of Bob's best stock pair, 738 and 1102 which were half brother and sister off a blue check marked Plona cock that was out of Bill Pensoms '47 #1232 blue check cock known as the $350 cock (Pensom leg pulling Plona and J.L.Smith as to his worth as a stock bird and also kidding about his large size).
Evan's wanted the blood of that Plona #1232 blue check as it was some of the best ever. It was hot, and produced too many rolldowns when inbred, but Bob thought his old friend Joe Hein based a family of very safe spinners would make a great cross. He was right. Bob did well in the shows back in the 50's, but he said he kept all the best spinners despite their having faults, then raised some good lookers by accident and then mated them together to get lots of nice typed birds that still had the right spin in them. He knew that his very stable family bred down from the Hein birds would make a good cross, just a matter of hitting the right hook ups and breeding out from there.
George blended his original Evan's family (he had a start from Bob Evan's with several pairs in the 50"s) heavily with the blood of #1608. #1608 was quite large, but George bred down the size in two generations. George's loft was built around four cocks: '58 #1608 a red check marked, 2 half brother son's of 1608 ('60 #3067 a T patterned blue check and '61 #3109 a mealy), and a grandson of #1455 Blue grizzled ( the one used by the old Pensom club for so many years as a logo) '62 #3292 a tortoiseshell that pumped out a lot of fine spinners. The key hens in the bases of his family were primarily two half sisters Vaughn hens (close to the original 1956 Evan's birds that Paul started his loft with). He later worked in some Vaughn dilute hens.
A little more about #1608. Bob Evan's gave him to Jerry Ball of Ewing Missouri around 1958. he was right out of Evans best pair (738 & 1102, a half brother and sister pair down from Pensom's #1232- the $350 cock.) But #1608 was a very large cock bird and Jerry didn't really like him for that reason. Jerry, by way, was the guy who flew the best kits in that era around this part of the country. Frank Rexroat, who had been all over the country viewing Roller kits said Jerry had some of the best he had ever seen. Jerry wasn't overly fond of #1608 because of size and let George have him.
George bought #1608 home and went to work reducing the size and finding him to be an excellent stock cock. Some of the guys around here (mostly Ken Carlson and Ed Danielson, both anti Pensom roller guys, but good fellows nonetheless)ragged George about that "Turkey" he was building his loft around....they stopped laughing a few years later when they saw what George was flying and when viewing birds like #3348. When I switched from an old family I had to Georges, I had to laugh at those guys. I offered them the pick of my birds since they had a lot of the same blood....guess what two birds they wanted the most? hen George had given me and a Paul Vaugn cock I bought from Mike Shippert! They were pretty sheepish when i told them their argument against Pensoms wasn't very strong when they wanted the two birds of the Pensom strain that I intended to keep.
Paul started with a group of 15 to 20 birds from Bob Evan's 1958 crop, most of which Bob had been flying at his loft in San Mateo California! He told Paul to settle every one of them and fly them out before he picked out breeders as they needed time on the wing to really prove themselves as performers.
I have the original "pedigrees" basically Bob scribbling out how the parents to paul's new birds related to the imports on bits of paper. Paul's birds went back to a slightly different line than did George's, and they helped each other when they traded birds back and forth over the years.
Geore and I became close friends in 1964. When I went for active duty, I gave my old family to a couple of friends and after I got out of active duty in 1967, I started with 8 pair of pure Pensoms from George, most of which were his stock birds on long term loan, including his best spinner and stock hen #3224 right out of one of the half sisters Vaughn hens when mated to one of the son's of #1608. After that, George and I, and to a lessor extent Paul and I, traded birds back and forth over the years. They were great and wonderful years of good rollers and great friends which will always cherish.
Central Roller Club