All material Copyright © 1996-2014 by Silvio Mattacchione & Co. unless otherwise noted.
From Sea To Shining Sea
By Silvio Mattacchione
Ever since our family moved to our farm in Port Perry I have spent a lot of time looking at the night sky. In the past, living in the city, I really never contemplated just how dark a night could be. However the past forty years have taught me this lesson only too well. Some nights, it is actually so dark, that I can barely see to walk. So dark that I cannot see my own hands or feet, in front of me. Now I fully understand why it is that any facility that is intended to study the night sky must, of necessity, locate itself outside of any cities, as these cities (and the night lights they generate) obscure a truly clear view of the night sky.
The night sky is made up of a great number of objects, should you ever have time to observe it. In a very real sense the night sky is akin to our very own pigeon fraternity.
Our immediate planetary system is made up of (in order of size) shooting stars, meteors, comets, moons (of various sizes) planets (both large and small) the Sun and in the great distance, the stars. Needless to say the cosmology of our own sport is also very similar, being made up of shooting stars that I would liken to those fanciers who come into our sport for a little while, who have immediate results, shoot to the top and then almost as quickly begin to fade and finally burn out and are gone. A brilliant even blinding flash in the night sky and then gone to be seen no more. A shooting star is a treat to watch and marvel over as it flashes across the night sky but just as quickly as it appeared it is gone!
Some fanciers are like meteors, as we track them they have the promise of greatness, size, power and some direction. They make their way through the sport with sheer force of will but like the great meteors of the night sky, that are tracked, come into full view, show great promise of possible devastation and at the last minute they veer off of their trajectory and are no longer of any significance, just another near earth miss, gone, no longer to be contemplated. No sooner is the shooting star dissipated and the giant meteor history, that we are forced to herald the arrival of the great cyclical comets, full of enormous power with a shimmering trailing tail it lights up the entire night sky and of necessity must be tracked. But as it comes into the orbits of larger bodies it also somehow loses its direction and never delivers its full force, and so it is also, with some fanciers, who fall under the influence of larger bodies and thus fail to deliver their full potential. Like the real comets we need not worry about them for another long cycle, if ever, during our life cycle.
As we continue we finally come to the moons of our system that again remind me of those fanciers, who having no ability, drive or understanding on their own but who fully reflect the light of others around whom they orbit. They exist only to reflect and promote the light of these greater fanciers just like the moon reflects the light of the sun in the night sky.
Now we finally come to the planets, some greater, some smaller but all of great power endurance and longevity, each will have its time, and each will have its seasons and so it is with so many good fanciers in our sport each committed, year in year out for the long run. Good or bad they are here to stay, they form the greatest and most enduring part of our fancy or night sky. There is no sport without them!
Finally we come to the largest and most powerful object in our planetary system. The Sun! But wait, it is not even seen in the night sky? We never associate the sun with the night. Actually most people never consciously give any thought to the sun. They never look at it, they never think about it. It's just there! It's always been there! Surely it will always be there! Well the answer for both the sun and for the fancier is that, no they will not always be there!
It is therefore my intention, now, to give credit to a Canadian fancier who has so dominated our sport, in Canada, so as to make the analogy used above a valid one. I have written articles on many fanciers, but no person, whom I have ever written of, can ever come close to the successful results of this, generation spanning, Canadian competitor.
Of whom do I speak? Well from "sea to shining sea" some of you may have heard his name, and I know that many of you will remember the attributes of his birds, beauty speed and stamina, his birds were often referred to as "The Protagonators." However it is, my intention, that all of you should now officially know his record. His record really does speak for itself, the record is documented, the record has been researched and as of this article the record is part of Canadian racing pigeon history! This past president of the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union (1971), this financial backer of the first ever CU yearbook issued, this fancier who has competed for 75 long years, has the flying records and success that are (and rightfully should be) the envy of the entire country. No fancier ever, in the sport of racing pigeons, in Canada, has more thoroughly dominated this sport than this person.
Figure 1: Karl Von Gardony with one of his favorite champions, the bond between man and bird is clearly evident.
Of whom do I speak? Mr. Karl Von Gardony! No I have not forgotten the distant stars in our original analogy, they represent, in this case, all of the great fanciers of Europe and the world, who have grown to call Karl Von Gardony their friend! Friendship, ordinarily cannot be purchased it is a gift that is earned and then freely given. Karl Von Gardony has earned the friendship and respect of some of the worlds great gentlemen fanciers.
Figure 2: Karl Von Gardony and Mrs. Von Gardony enjoying an evening out together.
This year will be the 40th year since I first meet Karl, who came to obtain (measure) the loft coordinates of a 13 year old immigrant boy for the races. I was 13 and Karl was 39. I am now 52 and Karl will soon be 79! Forty years we have all traveled the face of this world and during all of that time (other than those first few years that we raced together) I have only met Karl on a handful of occasions. At his home in 1986, in Tampa in 1996, at his home again in 2000 and then recently at the UNC (Up North Combine ) seminar that featured Frank McLaughlin and later an inspirational address by Mr. Frank Greenhall, current president of the AU (American Racing Pigeon Union whom I had last seen and spoken to at The Sick Kids Charity Auction in 1994). As my son Thomas and I sat and had dinner with Mr. Bob Stiver, Mr. Durval Medeiros, Mr. Karl Von Gardony and several others, I decided that it was now time for me to research the actual recorded flying history of this fancier.
As luck would have it Mr. Durval Medeiros who had also meet Karl when he was 13 years old was already far ahead of me and on the 23rd of March Mr. Medeiros called me at my office to advise me that he had already gone through the CU yearbooks for the past 20 years and that without a doubt there was no more successful fancier in all of Canadian racing pigeon history, furthermore the officially published CU yearbooks proved it! I asked Durval to go back in the records to 1964. So it was, that he (Mr. Durval Medeiros) carefully obtained and went through all of the past CU yearbooks and pulled out all of the details on both club and combine wins as well as providing me with photos of historical interest and a great number of past, published articles on Karl. That carefully researched information is in fact the most important component of this article!
Figure 3: Many articles have been written over the years, in newspapers and magazines concerning Karl and his passion for the racing pigeon!
I have written this article as a matter of public record, recognition of a "lifetime achievement in the racing pigeon fancy." My article appears in the winter of Karl's long life while looking back over 75 years of past competition. It is my acknowledgement of his ability, his perseverance, his intuition, a job well done.
Karl came to Canada from Hungary in 1959. In 1960, he moved from Montreal to Toronto and established a partnership with another outstanding flier from our past, Joe Petrie. Karl's first win in Canadian competition was a 200 mile race from Brockville against 91 flyers and 1400 birds eight minutes ahead of the second place finisher. In 1962 Karl won the most important award in Canada with a three year old "The Hall of Fame." This bird won two major 500 mile races plus several shorter races. The Gardony/Petrie partnership won over 80 firsts in only a few years.
Durval Medeiros took the time to go through the CU records from 1964 to 2003 and the results that were posted by Karl Von Gardony during this 39 year period were nothing short of amazing! Counting only first place wins only, over the past 39 years Karl has won 443 1st place club wins and during this same period he has won 281 1st place Combine wins in old bird racing. During this same period of time, in young bird racing, Karl has won 178 1st place club wins along with 63 1st place Combine wins. Finally to top it all off, during this period , Karl Von Gardony has also won 26 1st place Combine wins at the 500 mile station!
Figure 4: Charts researched and prepared by Mr. Durval Medeiros, April 2004, from official Canadian Racing Pigeon Union (CU) sources. CU yearbooks are readily available to most racing pigeon fanciers throughout Canada and can be consulted.
Figure 5: Total Old Bird Wins - 443 Club 1st and 281 Combine 1st, plus Total Young Bird Wins - 178 young bird Club 1st and 63 young bird Combine 1st in 39 years.
Remember these results are 1st place wins only. If we included other positions earned, the prizes would be unending!
Many more great seasons are ahead for Karl. I have no doubt that he will continue to excel at this great family pastime that has given him three-quarters of a century worth of enjoyment. I give you full credit, Karl Von Gardony, the record clearly shows that you are the top racing pigeon fancier in the entire country. Your results shine like the sun at noon! Congratulations from that 13 year old boy who you met 39 years ago in Toronto. Your performance records over the past 40 years prove that you are the very best racing pigeon fancier in Canada!
 CU race results researched and provided to the author by Mr. Durval Medeiros.
Racing Pigeons Section Contents
Background on Silvio Mattacchione, his pigeons, his loft, and inbreeding program.
A group of articles and editorials addressing various aspects of the sport of pigeon racing and the history of Silvio's line of Spanjaards/Janssens pigeons.
Buy fantastic pigeon books online! Selections include The Will to Prepare by Robert Kinney, Rotondo on Racing Pigeons by Joseph Rotondo, and The Pigeon Guide by Dr. Jon Esposito and Shannon Hiatt.
Some of Silvio Mattacchione's own winning stock is for sale.
Sivio Mattacchione offers a wide range of racing pigeon consulting services and consults with owners as far away as Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, The Philippines and the United States. Each consultation is tailored specifically to meet the client's needs, and is conducted in as thorough a manner as possible.
Good causes supported by Silvio and the racing pigeon and parrot communities.
Clever pigeon pictures constructed of keyboard strokes by artist Jerry Downs.
Links to other racing pigeon sites including those of clubs, products, and information resources. An easy way to navigate a series of pigeon web sites!
Silvio's e-mail, mail, phone, and fax contact information.