GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – Before the postal service and emails, texts and Twitter, there were messenger pigeons. The homing birds have made a come back and taken on a new role.
Pigeon racing is a hobby that can take participants all over the country, and clubs have formed all over the world to celebrate it.
"I could go to any town in America and look up a pigeon flyer, and I can guarantee you I would have a friend and someone to show me around," said local pigeon racer Eugene Green.
Some may wonder what it is about this niche sport that has many local residents hooked.
"It's the satisfaction of knowing that you've accomplished something, and basically your love of the bird," said Green.
It can be a costly pass time because racers raise the birds from infancy to ensure loyalty, not to mention the fuel cost driving to and from the launch location 100 miles away.
"Well you start them young, and you have to raise them on the property you want them to come back to," said racer Steve Bowie.
The race protocol is actually quite technical to make sure there is no cheating.
"When we are racing them we have a chip scanner that goes on their leg and hits like a scanner in the grocery store," said Bowie.
Wednesday night, the Grand Junction City Council voted to reinstate an ordinance that will allow pigeon racing in this area.
The club members raise anywhere from 30 to 50 pigeons, and generally lose about one third of them a year to birds of prey. Those who make it race around five years.