© 2020 Silvio Mattacchione BA MA
Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” ― Aristotle
Jim Gabler crossed my radar for the first time in December of 1999. Twenty- one years have passed since that date but I can still remember the original circumstances. The event that sparked my attention was the final dispersal sale, and retirement from the sport of the racing pigeon fraternity legend, Campbell Strange, founder/ proprietor of the world-famous “Oakhaven Farms” of Springtown, Texas, USA. Mr. Strange or “Campbell” as he preferred to be called was, in 1984, the founder of North America’s first professional “thoroughbred racing pigeon” breeding and racing facility. Campbell, a Californian businessman, sold his successful “carpet business” that he had started from the ground up. Campbell had sought out and acquired very famous racing pigeon superstars as early as 1967. These early acquisitions would form the initial base of his, future, and soon to be enormously successful commercial breeding operation. Without a doubt, one of the world’s premier foundation breeders was “Super 73” 1981 NL 8115173 purchased by Campbell in Holland and moved to Texas. “Super 73” from a performance point of view, was the “Secretariat” of the pigeon racing world and from a breeding and genetic perspective was the “Northern Dancer” of the racing pigeon breeding world. He was magnificent, he was unique, he was exceptional and his descendants carried on both his racing and breeding tradition. “Super 73” was 1st overall Sprint Ace of Holland in 1984 and 1985 he was 1st Overall Ace Pigeon of Holland.
Campbells decision to retire from the sport, dispose of his entire collection of elite breeding stock by public auction was not an easy decision. Having turned 60, Campbell decided it was time to transition into the next phase of his life while he was still healthy and mobile and able to enjoy life in a new location with the freedom to travel as he chose. That difficult decision allowed him to transition to the next phase of his life in Nevada. It was a choice; it was his choice after carefully weighing all of the potential alternatives.
Choice is something we all have, something we all need to be aware of because we are all confronted with events that require reasoned mature decision making. In short, you are the result of the decisions you choose to make!
Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.
…But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that, in short, breaks, “violates” … Vincent Van Gogh
I can see many of my readers wondering, why is Silvio writing about Campbell when this article is meant to help us all understand Jim Gabler’s story? Well, it’s a great question and the answer, though complicated, is in its essence quite simple. Campbell’s auction was billed as the “Auction of The Century” and rightly so. Campbell could have gone anywhere to organize, publicize and conduct this auction, but the reality was that Campbell Strange reached out to Jim Gabler to undertake this enormous responsibility.
“I was honoured when Campbell asked me to run his sell-out sale. With the support of the Rock River Valley Pigeon Club, we held a worldwide auction (without internet in 1999). Today it is still record selling for the highest prices ever for live auction without the internet. The auction was held in Chicago and flyers from all over flew in to be a part of this record sellout…” ~ Jim Gabler/personal communication
The fact that Campbell Strange, a legend on a global basis in the pigeon sport, approached Jim Gabler to undertake this final auction for his “Oak Haven Farms” speaks volumes. It is a testament to the integrity, honesty, the reliability, the trustworthiness of, the organizational and promotional skills of, the astuteness of and the credibility of Jim Gabler the entrepreneur, and Jim Gabler the pigeon enthusiast. Jim, in turn, had the total support in this monumental effort of all of his fellow members of the Rock River Valley Pigeon Club as well as their wives. It was an all hands-on deck effort. Given that the event had to go flawlessly nothing could be left to chance, security was paramount, and to ensure success Jim Gabler arranged for all of his support (Rock River Pigeon Club members) to travel together in a rented bus to downtown Chicago. It was a grand event in a huge open ballroom on the main floor of a prominent 5-star hotel. So just how successful was it?
600 People From 7 Different Countries
You can, all these years later, still feel the anticipation, the electricity, and excitement when reading Al Cunningham’s description of the events of December 1999 found in The Racing Pigeon Digest of Jan 1, 2000 page 12.
It didn’t take long after checking in to see that this was going to be a massive event. In an open ballroom on the main floor, everyone had begun to filter in, and it was evident that anybody who was anybody in the world of pigeons was present. People from all over the world were there. Names that you had only have heard of and seen pictures of in magazines were there. In my estimates, there were close to 600 people attending the event from 7 different countries… ~ Al Cunningham
The choice of Chicago as the venue for what was then the most anticipated live on-site auction ever held in the world was no accident. The City of Chicago is home to the O’Hare International Airport one of the largest aviation hubs in the world providing access globally. In 1992/3 Jim McClean and I traveled to Chicago to visit Bob Kinney and Horst Hackemer. Greater Metro Chicago and surrounding municipalities were a virtual hotbed of racing pigeon fanciers. Some of the very best in the world. These were very serious folks. In, I believe, October 1993 the greater Chicago area braced itself for the 83rd annual convention of the American Racing Pigeon Union and the projected attendance of some 2000 pigeon fanciers from around the world. Bob Kinney the Founder of The Thoroughbred Magazine was interviewed by Phil Borchmann a journalist with the Chicago Tribune and Phil’s article appeared on September 12th, 1993 and here is an interesting portion of that article:
In pigeon racing’s heyday, in the 1940s, Chicago’s pigeon fanciers numbered 600. Today, many of those members still belong to the city-based organizations but have moved to the collar counties. Indeed, the suburbs between Aurora and the Wisconsin border boast about 1,800 pigeon-racing enthusiasts… Interest, they say, continues to grow. ~Phil Borchmann-Special To The Chicago Tribune
Dedication, Research, Knowledge, Commitment, Courage, Belief in Self and Choice Is the Key
Before I get into the details and background story of who Jim Gabler is, I would like to address for a few moments some misconceptions that many fanciers formulate in their minds about various personages in our sport. What some fanciers come to believe, what some fanciers assume, what some fanciers convince themselves of, has very little to do with reality.
I have wondered about the origin or genesis of Jim Gabler’s byline or tagline “Quality is A Choice!” This tagline is given prominent exposure on his website and all his adverts and printed literature. Not long ago, I think mid-2019 a Canadian friend of mine took umbrage with Jim’s tagline and suggested that “ …it sure is easy for Jim/ADL to claim that Quality is a Choice given that he has the disposable financial resources to make that claim, but the rest of us do not. We live in the real world!” I didn’t get into it at that time, however, for decades I have watched as average working fanciers attended sale after sale, year after year, decade after decade spending $200/$300/or more per bird four or five times a year, years on end. Spending thousands on non-descript just average birds, or run of the mill birds. These fanciers choose a very risky path, they choose quantity over quality and then are disappointed when the results fail to materialize. Do they learn, does it dawn on them that their approach is flawed? Well no, as these fanciers repeat over and over the very same approach, the same methodology, but again over and over, year after year the results fail to materialize. So, they conclude that the reason they fail to succeed is their lack of resources. Well, it just couldn’t possibly be that they might lack the knowledge, the research, the commitment, the dedication, the intuition, the stock sense, and finally the patience and COURAGE to risk everything on their CHOICE?
“Quality Is A Choice!” The Back Story
Who was Jim Gabler in December of 1999? Most fanciers assume then and now that Jim Gabler in 1999 was able to purchase the key pigeons at the auction because he was a very wealthy man with enormous amounts of disposable income? This is the assumption but what was the reality? Most would be shocked to discover the truth. What was the truth? The truth was that he had done his research so thoroughly, so meticulously, he was so convinced that quality was the only choice possible that he was prepared to risk everything, he was prepared to gamble on his abilities, intuition, knowledge, stock sense because in his mind he had VERIFIED THE FACTS! Jim Gabler that day did what so many others had not the courage to do? He chose quality above all else. It was a Choice that he knowingly made. It was not easy but history proves that it was correct. Here is what Jim told me during our recent interview regarding his purchases in 1999, then you can decide if you might have had the courage to do as he did:
… My wife, Sheila along with Pat Kelsey, were clerks and cashiers for the auction. Sheila was not happy when I purchased Hekkenklak, 1st national winner for $25,000, then Mr. Aristona, Verona, Missy, Avenger, and other key birds. Smoke was coming out of her ears as she knew we could not afford and did not have the money. My answer to funding this was using multiple credit cards. She supported my craziness. Thank goodness for her patience, tolerance, and understanding. This was the beginning of ADL providing quality birds to our clients. Thus, our motto “Quality is a Choice”. ~ Jim Gabler/ personal communications.
As I began my research, my inquires on the background of Jim Gabler I could not shake the overall sense that his early life, that is, his formative years must have been hard, very hard, that he may have been drowning in adversity and poverty. Jim, later, openly confirmed my suspicions and in doing so he opened, for me, an enormous window through which I might better understand the man that I was interviewing.
…. my early years in life were indeed difficult…I was the oldest of 11 kids, we were dirt poor, church-going people and local hunters many times brought us food… in those days there were no government food programs, section 8 housing, etc. My 95-year-old mother had married 5 times to help support us kids, unfortunately, she made some very poor choices, for husbands. Each time she remarried our last name changed… very confusing to us kids… as our friends and family remembered our old names…My mom told me that I was moved 32 times before I was 15 years old,32 different homes, friends, and schools
again were a challenge…So it made me strong to provide stability to my family … this I did, yea… I married a loving Sheila a wonderful caring woman, wife, mother, and now grandmother…I just sold my business two weeks ago. I started the business as an idea… with just my wife Sheila and I in a very small 2-person office. I just recently sold the business as the largest of its kind in the world with nearly 200 employees, all catering to the needs of our Fortune 500 clients. Now at age 76, I focus my time on helping other people (probably acting out my past, by helping others) ~ Jim Gabler /personal communication
We, all of us, are all the results of the decisions we willingly choose to make. Many never rise above their adverse conditions. Many drown in their hardships, many wallows, and become bitter in all of the adversity and disappointments. A life full of hardships breaks great numbers of people, young and old. However, some, a special few, refuse to allow hardships to dictate their futures and these people choose to succeed despite their adverse circumstances. Adversity can make or break an individual, many falls and never get back up, others fall and decide that under no circumstances will they surrender and slowly, arduously they rise again and again and in so doing they discover their true self!
And so now, after having communicated at greater length with Jim Gabler I am reminded of a series of applicable quotes starting with the quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross:
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Strength and by this, I mean real strength is much more than physical power it is one’s ability to overcome all of those things that we once thought impossible to overcome. The Japanese international bestseller novelist Haruki Murakami touched on this very subject with the following words:
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about. ~ Haruki Murakami
Jim Gabler did emerge and survive the storm that was his early life and in a Christian sense or tradition he had personally experienced tribulations and Saint Paul commented or rather taught as follows:
We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:3–6).
Jim and Shelia, I discovered have had, in their personal lives more than their fair share of adversity (including the passing of their 37-year-old daughter Jodi in 2013) however because of that very fact they can share with so many others their experiences, insights, approaches, in short, they have learned to comfort those who in the course of their daily lives are facing similar problems:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (II Corinthians 1:3–5).
Serving America From the Middle of a Cornfield in Sterling
Excellence is an attitude, a way of going, a way of life for Jim Gabler. Excellence is everything and everything in Gabler’s life is a matter of choice. Who you wish to be, who you become is all a matter of the choices you choose to become one way or another? Choices ultimately define you! As I was researching Jim’s background, I stumbled across an exceedingly interesting article written by a US-based journalist Marissa Sulek and her article was published on September 11, 2019, almost two decades after 9/11. Her story highlighted how a Sterling, Illinois company played an important role on September 11, 2001, after thousands of lives were lost. This Sterling based company was asked by Discover (a Fortune 500 company) to help them identify 200 people who were missing after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Reference www.wqad.com/article/news/local/drone/8-in-the-air/how-a-sterling-company-acted-as-the-middle-man-to-a-major-company-on-9-11/526-c376cce4-d0e3-4ea2-ac4f-8214e236f09cefore
Discover placed the initial call at 3 p.m. on 9/11 and by 6 p.m. over 50 members of this Sterling, Illinois company worked around the clock to locate the families of those unfortunate missing workers. By 1 is the next morning the Sterling company had located the details for 199 out of 200 of those missing people. With this critical data, Discover was finally able to contact families of those missing in action.
18 years ago, I got a call from one of our major Fortune 500 credit card companies that said they had 200 employees in the towers, …All their records were gone,… we need to find these families …We were able by one a.m. that morning to find 199 of the families and deliver that data back to our client ~ Jim Gabler
Jim was rightfully proud of his people, as well he should be, advising that 8 | P a g e
They worked for free that night believing that every American would want to do something, we were able to locate the family details for the missing 200 Discover employees so that Discover could contact their families from and we did this from 1,000 miles away. ~ Jim Gabler
Jim Gabler So Who is he?
James A. Gabler (Jim) the founder of America’s Dream Loft was born on April 12, 1943, in the middle of corn country Sterling, Illinois. Like virtually all children of our generations (before computers, iPods, iPad, cell phones, virtual reality, Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and drones) he was interested in pigeons, dogs, sports, hunting and so much more. Jim had no qualms about revealing his educational background, he stated openly he was a High School D student but he graduated. He reminds me of a friend I had long ago, Hutton Gibson who was an “Autodidacts”, which was a fancy way of saying that like Jim Gabler he was “self-taught” no college degrees no airs just an enormous desire to succeed and extremely hard working.
Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) or self-education (also self-learning and self-teaching) is education without the guidance of masters (such as teachers and professors) or institutions (such as schools). Generally, an autodidact is an individual who chooses the subject they will study, their studying material, and the studying rhythm and time. An autodidact may or may not have formal education, and their study may be either a compliment or an alternative to formal education. Many notable contributions have been made by autodidacts. ~ Reference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autodidacticism
While researching this article I had some interesting interactions with Jim and came to certain conclusions regarding his personality. Jim Gabler, I believe is driven, Type A personality, he is competitive, motivated by challenges in life, in business, in the family. He is what I would say was a patriot as in a man who loves God, loves his family, and loves his country while remaining full of empathy and compassion. Jim seems to me to be a loving husband, a doting Father, and a Grandfather and a dedicated friend.
By the time Jim was 15 his family (11 brothers and sisters) had moved 32 times and his mother now age 95, had remarried 5 times. Jim Gabler left his home at age 15 and moved in with his uncle and was devoted to his uncle Herschel Longanecker who was a surrogate father to him and served to inspire Jim’s lifetime love of pigeons. Uncle Herschel had both Rollers and racing pigeons.
My uncle, Herschel who became a surrogate father to me inspired me in life and the sport. I got started in my first race at age 15 and when I clocked my first race bird “Pee Wee”. Had to ride my bike as fast as possible for 5 miles to the clock – I was the last place. ~ Jim Gabler
Jim’s first strain of pigeons was Charles Heintzman Sions. I remember well years ago speaking with Charles Heintzman many, many times in the mid-1980s. He was an enormous ambassador for our sport.
…50 years ago, I started with hand me downs from friends, then Charles Heintzman birds – beautiful red and silver Sion’s… ~ Jim Gabler
Becoming More Serious About Racing Pigeons
I have already mentioned that Jim was self-taught, motivated, hard-working, and dedicated and by age 32 he was in a position to marry Sheila and acquire his first home.
At age 32 when first married and a homeowner, I was able to become serious about the sport. I purchased the best I could afford (not much money then) at auctions and gifts from friends. ~ Jim Gabler/personal communication
Behind Every Good, Man Is a GREAT Woman
My wife, Sheila, had no history with pigeons when we met Our first date, I had to be sure about her and the pigeons……so the first date was shipping birds at the pigeon clubhouse. She was the first woman ever at this club. She was 21 years old, long blond hair and beautiful, Yes, the boys liked her.
Sheila was very active at our loft. Sanitation engineer, trainer, breeding, nursing, and surgery – sewing up birds that hit wires. She was very active in multiple clubs and auctions. My daughter, Jodi, was also very active in assisting me and may she RIP (passed away in 2013 at age 37). Now our adopted son, Jeremy, has come to work and help me in the last year as our loft manager and he is doing a truly SUPER job. ~ Jim Gabler
Starting His Company
Jim’s occupation was in Credit and collection he had risen eventually to the level of the financial manager and by then had been involved in multiple business ownerships. Finally, Jim and Sheila started their own business, just the two of them and they slowly and methodically grew this business, from success to even more success eventually serving some of the very largest Fortune 500 companies in the USA until 2020 by which point with nearly 200 employees it was one of the largest firms in the world in this specialized field.
VeriFacts, Inc is the nation’s premier provider of customer location information in the credit and collection industry. Providing the ARM industry with contact information since 1986, VeriFacts provides verified and 100% guaranteed contact points and customer asset information to assist with collection and litigation recovery. Specializes in Place of Employment locates. We serve creditors, agencies, law firms, debt purchasers, student loans, utilities, etc. ~ Jim Gabler
1996 was the Beginning of Really SERIOUS
Jim Gabler learned the most important lesson of all and that is the fact that “good pigeons make master breeders” or the simple fact that not you nor anyone else can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
Campbell Strange I dare say is an Icon of our sport and he was certainly a mentor to me. I met Campbell in 1996, purchased birds that breed winners. His knowledge and integrity were “one of a kind”. He purchased the best birds in the world. I learned so much from Campbell. ~ Jim Gabler
Rhonda, Jim, and Silvio Our Paths Crossed Long Ago
Life is full of all kinds of twists and turns and surprises. A long time ago I wrote an article about a young lady, rare really, she was a student at the time, absolutely nuts about pigeons and a wonderful and creative commercial artist. She had brilliant red hair, lovely to speak to and I wrote an article about this lady pigeon fancier developing a line of black racing pigeons and creating adverts and logos. It was a long time ago and I understand that this young woman is now a full Professor at a College in the USA. She was kind enough to prepare a logo for my son. The other day as I came across her digital folder on my computer, I opened it and low and behold I was shocked to find this logo of Jim Gabler’s America’s Dream Loft
1999 A Whole New Level of Serious
1999 was the beginning of a different level of seriousness. I met Campbell Strange in 1996 and I acquired many of his great birds at his sell-out auction. Birds such as “Missy, Avenger, Verona, Hekkenklak, Mr. Aristona”. You can see why the heading is appropriate Jim Gabler at this final auction purchased a group of the very finest of Campbell’s most prized breeding stock to the tune of $61,500.00 US.
Below a scan of the first page in Gene’s Digest giving Al Cunningham’s take on what he and most of the press of the world called “The Auction of the Century”
Over the years the most important pigeons at ADL included the following:
- Hekkenklak – 1st national champion
- Mr. Aristona – 1st national champion
- Verona – 1st national champion
- Miss / Avenger – proven breeders
- Super 72, (Andrew Jackson) proven breeder
- Smokin Joe – 1st All America, long-distance
- Campbell – 1st All America long distance
- Blue Lady – 1st All America, long-distance
- Tequila Jr. son of Queen L
- Queen King L – last daughter of Queen L
- Snowman – #10 breeder, 1st year 3 winners
- Whity Bart – Foundation breeder
- Gladiator – son of Gladiator – proven breeder
- Porsche 911 – so of Porsche 911, fantastic Gust – daughter of Gust winner 59,000 birds
- New QL son and daughter, 1st national winner
- Sigi – bred 2x winner of Hoosier
That Campbell Strange Final Auction orchestrated under the direction and management of Jim Gabler changed lives, broke world records, created lifelong friendships, opened the eyes of the world to this niche called racing pigeons, and the diversity of personages and personalities who populated this mostly unknown world.
According to the author of the Jan. 1, 2000 article of The Racing Pigeon Digest security for the birds was paramount and access to the birds was akin to penetrating a secure military installation there were so many people who attended in the hope of being part of “racing pigeon history” that the organizers concerned with possible overhandling of the birds instituted a $50.00 pay for a bid card and no one was allowed to handle any of the birds if you did not have a bid card. Even with this proviso, the birds were handled for 3 hours by several hundred registered potential buyers. Once the auction began 19 birds on the first page of the auction sheet sold for $195,000.00 US. 12 | P a g e
The 119 in the sale brought about $525,000.00 or about $4,400.00 US per bird average. Incredibly 2 pigeons alone brought $55,000.00 in just 6 minutes of bidding. “Senna” was sold in 2 minutes for $30,000.00 US and Jim Gabler purchased “Hekkenklak” for $25,000.00 in just 4 minutes of bidding. They key pigeons remained in the USA and only 5 pigeons eventually went out of the country.
So how good were these birds, well Gene Yoes in his article “The Final Chapter” wrote as follows
“In just the last thirty days, we received notice that birds closely associated with birds in the auction, have scored in several futurities: 1st 1999 Bay Area Classic (Breeder Mick Stevenson); 1st 1999 Motor City Detroit 1173 birds (Breeder Bobby Gonzalez); 3rd 1999 AU Convention race (Tom LaDuke, Two Toms Loft); 4th 1999 New England Open 169 lofts 1,826 birds (bred by Terry Yates and raced by Dick La Croix); FVC Club, 1999 YB Series; 1st 1999 FVC Premier Futurity (3 races) (bred by David Laux, Wisc.) (100% OHF); and 1st San Diego Classic (bred by Brad Hogan with Hekkenklak blood); six of the top twelve Snowbirds in 1999 were closely related to the birds auctioned in Chicago and three of the top twelve were of the Super 73 line and 100% from Oak Haven Farm stock. And I venture to say that no one in the US has had better results in futurities from birds from their bloodline than I have. That’s why 70% of the birds bought at the auction went to my former customers. They bought in the past and found that they were able to enjoy the success which gave them a return on their capital outlay.’~ Gene Yoes
I will give the final word to Campbell Strange, now 81 years old whom I had the opportunity of speaking to personally on March 24th, 2020 regarding his sale 21 years ago. He was kind enough to give me a direct quote as follows:
“No question that Jim left the auction with several of the very top birds.” ~Campbell Strange/personal communication on March 24, 2020.
SO JUST HOW GOOD WAS “SUPER 73”?
In 1999 Jim Gabler went “all in” he was so very sure that acquiring the Super 73 VanLoons was the key to a real future and fast forward 21 years and history tells us categorically that he did indeed make a prudent financial decision that day in the auction by putting down over $61,000.00 US for some truly exceptional VanLoons. But why? Well, a little history on “Super 73” will help us all to understand, why then, and why even today 21 years later the descendants of these “Super 73” VanLoons are still at the top in global competitions. The material provided under the heading “Campbell on The Super 73 History” was written by Gene Yoes and published originally in his The Racing Pigeon Digest”. 13 | P a g e
Campbell On the Super 73 History
“Campbell maintains to this day that the best bird he ever bought was Super 73, 81NL8115173, bred and flown by Gijs Peters. Super 73 was First Ace Pigeon Holland Sprint 84, Limburgh Reisduif, then 1st Overall Ace Pigeon Holland NPO 85, approx. 50,000 lofts In the summer of 1987, I was driving down the highway in Holland with Jan Hermans, we had an appointment that went belly-up on us, so we had a couple of hours with nothing to do. We were driving down the road with plenty of time to kill until our next appointment. Jan said there was a little guy called Gijs Peters who lived in the next village and he had the Overall Ace Pigeon of Holland two or three years ago. He said he would never sell that bird. He didn’t need the money, but he was a real nice guy, and a real good fancier. We went over to Peter’s house and sat in the back yard as he had the birds flying around a little bit. Finally, he brought Super 73 out and let me handle the bird. Well, the minute I handled this bird, I knew he was a really special bird. He was just phenomenal. He had finished his racing career but was flying out every day and was in tremendous condition. The muscle on this bird was unbelievable. Jan told me that a year or two earlier the Herbots Brothers and Grondelaers both had tried to buy this bird. Many others had offered up to $US12,500. That was top money in 84 or 85.
In 1985 he had won 1st Overall Ace Pigeon of Holland, and since he was on the race team, he did not sire many birds each year. Despite this limitation at the end of 87 by age 6, he had sired 12 1st place winners, with 10 15 different hens. Anyhow, I didn’t make any effort to buy the bird. I listened to the story and looked at the results and heard about all of the children who had already won first prizes, and he had only been in the stock loft a year. The point was he hadn’t bred very many and most of them were already first place winners. I went back to the motel, but I couldn’t sleep that night. I thought there had to be a way to buy this bird. I wrestled for hours thinking about different ways I could do this deal. The next day I called Jan and told him I needed to look at the bird again. We made an appointment the next Saturday morning. There was a race going on so we went outside and watched the birds come in. The birds were clocked and Gijs brought 73 outside for us to handle again. This bird was just like electricity. His muscle was unbelievable. He was just a bird apart from any I had ever seen and I felt that strongly about it at the time. In those days I didn’t have a catalog. The Bulletin started coming out with what you now call those yearly editions. I was the first guy to have several pages in color, similar to my catalog today. I would have the middle ten or twelve pages. So, there were some photographs of the loft in there and photographs of the stud pen with the name of each bird on it, and it looked impressive. I knew that Gijs was a guy with whom money wasn’t going to be a factor. He didn’t need the money. So, what I did was show them the annual yearbook with the pictures of the lofts and all of the top-class birds already there. I told him that this bird belongs to Texas. He was such a fantastic bird and would never get the recognition in Holland that he deserved. He needs to come to Texas where everyone that comes to visit would see him and he will become more famous and get the recognition he deserves. I offered him $20,000 for the bird and an airplane ticket so that he could come to visit the bird anytime, any year. You will always be able to come and see him. The bird would be going to a place where he would be well taken care of. This was very interesting for him. Also, $20,000 in 1987 was a lot of money. He didn’t comment too much on it and we talked about some other things for a little while. Finally, he said, I am probably going to let you have the bird. I won’t tell you for a few more days. I want to talk to my wife about it. I think you are right; I think the bird will have a good home and if I could go there, I would like to do that. That’s the way our friendship was established and that’s the way Super 73 was bought.” ~ Gene Yoes /Campbell Strange: The Final Chapter Is Written the Racing Pigeon Digest
Every Ending Is an Invitation to A NEW Beginning
Campbell Strange decided after a very long and enormously successful career that he was ready to move on. Everyone was shocked asking the question WHY? All things in time come to an end but every ending is a new beginning! Campbell was moving on to other adventures and his lines his genetic assets were auctioned and in so doing they were the quality seed other for new beginnings, so Jim Gabler continues along the road originally travelled for decades by Campbell Strange.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~Jenna Evans Welch,
Jim’s breeding success philosophically is quite simple, simple in principle but not easy in real life to achieve. At the heart of his approach is one fact above all else, proven quality birds based on proven intergenerational genetics and proven multi-generational analytics.
Attributes of pigeons: performance, performance, and performance…. when buying I seek multiple generations of winners as I believe racing pigeon success is based on genetics and analytics… the basket is our guideline, keep the highest quality of birds, add the highest quality, then performance, performance. For racing experience dictates crosses of best to best however for future breeding requirements mostly inbreeding. My base is the Super 73 lines and this base is blended into my Ulrich Lemmens lines, my Jelle Roziers lines, and my Bart Geernicykx and Porsche 911 lines. ~ Jim Gabler/personal communication
Before I get into Jim Gabler’s overall OLR results for the past three years it is interesting to note that Jim Gabler/ADL flies only One Loft Races and the AU Convention race and in 2019 ADL was 5th & 16th at the AU Race and in 2018 ADL was 6th and 22nd against 1000 also at the AU Convention race that year. As regards the South African Million Dollar race the comments of Mr. Frank McLaughlin below are of great interest:
Jim, congratulations on another super performance in the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race. You are making this look easy. To have pigeons in the top 63 the last four times you entered is remarkable. Many famous fanciers have never cracked the top 100. When competing against the best in the world one must have the quality of pigeon you keep. Nice Job ~Frank McLaughlin
ONE LOFT RACE RESULTS 2019 Results
- Equal 1st – 300 miles – Hoosier Classic Old Birds Series
- Equal 1st – 200 miles – Hoosier Classic Old Birds Series
- Equal 1st – 150 miles – Hoosier Classic Old Birds Series
- EQUAL 1ST 100 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK
- EQUAL 1ST 139 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK
- EQUAL 1ST 175 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK
- EQUAL 1ST 200 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK (1ST WON BY MARENGO LOFT OFF SON OF ADL QUEEN L)
- 1ST 250 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK
- 1ST 139 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK
- 2ND 325 MILES PLYMOUTH PEAK *
- 2ND 500 MILES WORLD ACE CHALLENGE (WON BY CRAZY AL SON OF GYPSY KING*)
- 1ST 125 MILES FLAMINGO INTERNATIONAL
- 1ST 225 MILES FLAMINGO INTERNATIONAL
- 1ST 325 MILES FLAMINGO INTERNATIONAL
- 5TH 325 MILES 2019 AU CONVENTION RACE
- 1ST 325 MILES RIVER VALLEY ROUND-UP
- 1ST 420 MILES RIVER VALLEY ROUND-UP
- 1ST 100 MILES RIVER VALLEY ROUND-UP
- 1ST 150 MILES RIVER VALLEY ROUND-UP
- 1ST RIVER VALLEY ROUND-UP OVERALL CHAMPION BIRD
- 1ST 100 MILES TEXAS SHOOT OUT
*ABOVE RACES MOSTLY EQUAL FIRSTS IN 2019
ONE LOFT RACE 2018 Results
- Equal 1st – 225 miles – Big Andy’s Race
- Equal 1st – 300 miles – Fast Eddie’s
- Equal 1st – 150 miles – AIC/OLR
- Equal 1st – 225 miles – AIC/OLR
- Equal 1st – 300 miles – AIC/OLR
- Equal 1st – 350 miles – AIC/OLR
- Equal 1st – 100 miles – River Valley Round-Up
- Equal 1st – 150 miles – River Valley Round-Up
- Equal 1st – 150 miles – River Valley Round-Up
- 6th AU Convention Race
- 23rd AU Convention Race
- 3rd Champion Bird River Valley Round-Up
- 6th – 300 miles AU Convention Race
- 10th – 400 miles Flying D
- 16th – 329 miles Flamingo International Challenge
- 22nd – 400 miles Flamingo International Challenge
- 105th – 325 miles Hoosier One Loft Race
2017 & Beginning of 2018 One Loft Race Results
- Equal 1st – 150 miles – River Valley Roundup
- Equal 1st – 225 miles – River Valley Roundup
- Equal 1st – 225 miles – River Value Roundup
- Equal 1st – 209 miles – Texas Shootout
- Equal 1st – 296 miles – Fast Eddies
- Equal 1st – 200 miles – Hoosier Classic
- Equal 1st – 150 miles – Hoosier Classic
- Equal 1st – 125 miles – Flamingo One Loft Race
- Equal 1st – 186 miles – California Classic
- Equal 1st – 200 miles – Mercedes Classic
- Equal 2nd – 100 miles – Mid-American Challenge
- 1st Sprint High Rollers Averages – Americas International Challenge
- 1st Champion Old Bird GHC Club (Raced by Zig Vanderwall)
- 2nd Sprint High Rollers Averages – Americas International Challenge
- 2nd Overall Grand Averages – Americas International Challenge
- 3rd Long Distance High Rollers Averages – Americas Int. Challenge
- 3rd 200 miles – Americas International Challenge
- 4th Overall High Roller Grand Average – Americas Int. Challenge
- 4th Overall Challenger Grand Average – Americas Int. Challenge
- 5th Grand Average Fast Eddies
- 5th 325 miles – Flamingo International Challenge 18 | P a g e
- 6th Challenger Sprint Averages – Americas International Challenge
- 7th Challenger Sprint Averages – Americas International Challenge
- 7th Long Distance High Rollers Averages – Americas Int. Challenge
- 7th 300 miles Mercedes Classic
- 8th 243 miles Blue Mountain OLR
- 9th 350 miles California Classic
- 12th 225 miles River Valley Roundup
- 12th 325 miles River Valley Roundup
- 13th 200 miles Big Andy’s
- 14th 200 miles Americas International Challenge
The Pursuit of Quality 21 Years After Campbell Auction Continues in 2020
“Quality is a Choice at ADL”, it was true in 1999 and it’s true today in 2020 and Jim Gabler is always trying to add the very best in the world to his elite breeding program. As an example, I was informed That in the last 3 months ADL has added an outstanding son of “Gladiator” to their breeding program. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only direct son of “Gladiator” in the USA.
“Queen L Dynasty” Has Now Moved to ADL
Last Daughter of Jelle Roziers Queen L ALSO Moving To ADL
Given that I wrote the definitive article on Jelle Roziers that was published worldwide I would never have believed it possible that Jelle Roziers would ever have considered, let alone agreed to sell his last direct daughter of “Queen L”. This news was shocking to me! Well like “Trump” Jim Gabler has mastered the “Art of The Deal” in bringing this priceless hen to America. But agree he did and ADL now owns this “rare genetic treasure” ADL now owns the only Queen L pair of its kind in the world!
Considering his initial acquisitions that began in 2017, Jim Gabler has sons and daughters of “Queen L”, “Oklahoma”, “New Queen L”, “Seen”, “Seven Jr”, “Gust” (a winner against 59,000 birds) and many more. A very special bird is SNOWMAN one of the most admired birds at ADL. A true #10 bird in the hand – best of all 3 of his kids in 2019, were OLR winners and 2 of them 2-time winners, ICEMAN a son of Snowman wins 2 – 1st at the Hoosier OB races again 200 of America’s best flyers. I can accurately state with total confidence that ADL now houses the most important colony of direct Jelle Roziers pigeons in North America.
Many of Jelle’s 1st National winners and sons and daughter off his Foundation – Queen L – today ADL has the only remaining original (pair) children directly off of Queen L. ADL has the best of Jelle Rosier birds in the USA. – Jim Gabler /personal communication
SIGI A PRICELESS ADL JEWEL
Ulrich Lemmen’s birds: Ulrich was in 2014 awarded 1st National Middle-Distance Championship 2014 of all of Belgium. He then offered his winning race team, 1st national winners, and key breeders to ADL. We bought them all! This was in 2015 and I am pleased that these birds are winning across the world and for ADL in the USA during 2019 OLR’s ADL was honored with record 1st place wins – Plymouth Peak7 races 5 firsts, Flamingo OLR 3 races ADL wins all 3 races. All = firsts. Best race at Flamingo on 325
miles ADL enters 5 birds, 3 are clocked, First 1st =first. Many of the winners were Lemmen’s crosses (Lemmens/Rosiers/Van Loons/ Geernicykx, Porsche 911). ** ADL for races flies’ birds that must be crossed. ~ Jim Gabler/personal correspondence
ADL ACQUIRES SON OF PORSCHE 911
The pursuit of quality continues unabated and not long ago the most expensive pigeon in the public auction at the 2018 AU Convention was acquired by Jim Gabler for $13,000.00 US. The first son of Porsche 911 ever to be sold in the USA and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht was personally present at the auction. It turns out that the underbidder was a famous Chinese pigeon racer. Porsche 911 is a grandson of New Freddy. New Freddy graces the front cover of the book “KINGMAKER: De Rauw Sablon a Racing Pigeon Dynasty” co-authored by Silvio Mattacchione and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and released in 2010. I well remember the photo caption in that book found on page 131 that stated “Nikolaas holding one of the prized breeding cocks, “New Freddy”. The Chinese have already offered 250,000.00 € ($340,462.59 US dollars) for him but PIPA Elite Center has refused the offer. Nikolaas says “Even if I was offered one million Euros, I would not sell him, he is unique”
ADL Lofts now owns a son of Porsche 911 which at the time was the very first son to arrive in the United States and was the high selling pigeon at the 2018 AU Convention Auction. He is a beauty and was specially selected for the AU convention auction PIPA organized in 2018 in Chicago. I am confident that offspring of this pigeon will do well in Jim’s loft and other people’s loft. Good luck! ~ Nikolaas Gyselbrecht
Do Not Forget Where You Came From
Jim has never forgotten the adversities he faced as a youngster. He has, notwithstanding his business success never forgotten what it was like to be growing up “dirt poor” and to this end, he has sought to make a difference in many ways including “Payback” to the sport he so dearly loves including in 2019 – $31,000 raised “Tim’s kids” a Massachusetts 16-year-old kids’ program,
Over the past few years fundraising for 10 different clubs across America. 30% of ADL sales went to these clubs. Additionally, support to new flyers, books for kids in China. One such group nearly $100,000. The sport has been good for ADL and Jim tries to pay it forward. In the past, Jim Gabler also held the position of President of USA National Museum (pigeons) Oklahoma City, OK. For three years. There were stints locally as President of clubs, combines, and overall support for the racing sport at every opportunity.
I also make a special notation regarding how proud Jim Gabler is of his adopted son Jeremy Steder who for the last year has been an invaluable addition to the ADL team. His son is most definitely an animal person and very knowledgeable when it comes to genetics. Jim advised as follows:
My adopted son Jeremy Steder for the last year has been my loft Mgr… he had no experience with the birds but is an animal person and familiar with genetics…. he has done a super beautiful job and our loft will now be renamed, ADL&Son!… This is a dream come true for me as its family and fun, Jeremy is so excited with these changes, and with this new job. In 2019 ADL prospered under Jeremy’s first year of breeding and racing. ADL & Son racing results in his first year of breeding were exceptional by any standard… of the 21 One Loft Races entered ADL 22 & Son produced 15 winners (Equal 1st) an incredible 75% winners. ~ Jim Gabler/personal communication
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