Johnny Crawford & Jim Petersen with Jim's Truck!
A tribute to Al Perron by Tom Monson
Al was a fine man. Big heart. Great sense of humor. Kind to other roller men. Cared about the hobby.
When it comes right down to it, most roller men fit this description after they've been at it for 30,40, and 50 years. Paul Bradford was that way, and Dale Husband, and Bill Pensom. Jim Petersen is that way, and he's following after his mentors George Reeve, Frank Rexroat, Paul Vaughn, and more.
Roller men don't necessarily start out being kind, friendly, and big-hearted; they become that way over time. Most start off young and competitive, full of piss and vinegar, determined to become great breeders and flyers of rollers, Young roller men are often convinced that greatness is within their grasp-- because they don't yet know as much about rollers as they think they do.
But over time, rollers will break your heart. There are so many challenges: non-performers, rolldowns, paratyphoid, PMV, hawks, overflies, pigeon breeder lung, and on and on. Breeding and flying rollers is like playing the slot machines: we produce dozens and dozens-- sometimes hundreds of young rollers-- to score a jackpot: one bona fide champion spinner, or one jaw dropping kit that wins the WC regional with an impressive score. We nurture ridiculously high hopes that our champion will produce many like himself. We cross our fingers and hope that the kit that scores 800- 1000 points in the Regional will repeat that performance in the finals.
And then our champion breeds offspring no better than any others, or our outstanding regional kit is blown out of sight in the WC finals.
Faced with these disappointments, some roller men give up and drop out after 5 to 25 years. Others refuse to give up. They hang in there, and learn to accept the impossibilities and cherish the possibilities. What else are they going to do -- breed fantails? Eventually, the challenges of this hobby make us shed most of our pride and just enjoy our rollers for what they are and can sometimes be.
Al Perron of Alabama was like that. He could no longer fly predator- free where he lived, so he flew portable. He flew his portable kits at elementary schools, at county and sated fairs, and other public events, promoting the hobby that had brought him so much pleasure.
It was hard: he was growing old. Eventually, he began toting a portable oxygen tank wherever he went.
But Al, like others, refused to give up-- because he loved everything about being a rollerman.
Central Roller Club
Jim Petersen – Hall of Fame
Born and raised and still lives in Davenport, Iowa - Jim started his pigeon/Roller career in 1954 at the age of 9. By age 11, he was the Secretary for the local All-Breeds club. He judged his first coop show at age 19 and his first fly by age 24. Jim served the old United Roller Club as a district director and worked on several committees’ for that club and was their American Pigeon Journal reporter for nearly 20 years. In 1990, he was awarded the United Roller Club Silver Service Award.
From 1969 to 1971, Jim published the bulletin for the Iowa Roller Club and followed that by publishing the national bulletin for the old Pensom Roller Club from 1971 to 1975.
Jim founded the Frank L. Rexroat Memorial Fly in 1969 (currently known as the George A. Reeve/Frank L. Rexroat Memorial Fly) and has worked to keep this fly going, as it’s coordinator, judge and participant over its 44-year history (as of 2013). Jim has also coordinated other local/regional flies and has served as host to a number of World Cup and NBRC Fall fly judges. Jim has served as President of the Iowa Flying Roller Club and the Central Roller Club and is currently the C.R.C. Sec.-Treasurer. Jim has served the CRC in some capacity for over 32 years of its 37-year history.
Jim has judged many state and local flies and has served as a coop display judge at National and District events and conventions over the years. He has also given talks at national events.
Jim served on the 11 bird fly rules committee for the NBRC as well as the Hall of Fame Committee for that club and was elected to the NBRC Hall of Fame in 1991. Jim is the moderator/owner of the popular internet “Earl’s Roller List” the past 12 years, taking over for Earl Allen in 2001. Jim has authored many Roller articles over his 59 year tenure in the hobby, which includes sections in the recent Tom Hatcher “Keys to Competiton Rollers” book and also the Joe Quinn book, “In Search of those Fabulous Whittenhams”.
Jim is a relatively small operator compared to some, but his birds have stacked up well over the years as four 2nd place finishes in his state fly, two 2nd place finishes in WC and NBRC regional competition would indicate and many wins at the local level. Jim won the C.R.C. Futurity in 2006 for the 3rd year in a row. Jim has helped many over the years with birds, usually not charging anything for that help.
Jim considers any work he did as merely “paying his dues” for the enjoyment his birds have given him and especially getting to know the many fine people connected with the sport. At the top of this list are his two greatest friends and mentors, the late Paul Vaughn and the late George Reeve. The Roller family he has had for 43 years goes back to Reeve and Vaughn. He also cultivates a family of Carl Hardesty birds he’s had the last 22 years.