79 red cock   breed by Harry ALaxander  LtoR HARRY ALAXNDER,John A,Drew Lobenstean 


                        The Wind Beneath My Wings A tribute to the Master

                                                 Harry W. Alexander 

                                                        By: John A. Heck


Itís been over nine years since the devastatingly unexpected passing of the most   knowledgeable and influential pigeon fancier 1 have ever known. Although the pleasure 1 had of knowing this man was for such a short time, Harry Alexander was someone 1 was proud to call my friend. He had a major influence on my life and my desires to attempt to breed the "Ideal Jacobin". It was February 1988 at the "Super bowl" of Jacobins in Tulare California, when 1 first met Harry. Although 1 had read many of his articles on pigeons, and heard numerous stories about him, the man seemed only to be a legend until that very eventful day in February. 1 was still a "Rookie" in terms of breeding and showing quality Jacobins. Up until then 1 had more than my share of tips and terminology from the "Veterans" of the Jacobin shows. It seems everyone wants to tell you what to look and breed for but no one really seems to care if you fully understand all the fine details of what makes or breaks a "Show Quality Jacobin". That is, until Harry came along, Harry seemed to have sensed something in me and my young show team of Jacobins, that prompted him to inquire who 1 was, and what my ambitions in this breed were. His method of testing my knowledge as a newcomer was unlike anyone before him.

He would have me analyze and critique my own birds and those of others in the show pen, to see if 1 truly did understand the details, terminology, strengths and faults that all combine to make the "Ideal Jacobin". My young show team did very well, and Harry and 1 soon became very close. Harry was to me the teacher, and a very good one 1 might add. He had all the answers to my many questions. He knew more about Jacobins, genetics and all the other aspects of pigeons, then most other people were even vaguely aware of. 1 sensed that Harry saw in me, someone that was truly starving for knowledge and had the desire to breed the Ideal Jacobin. He went through great lengths to educate me on the details, and seemed thrilled to have someone like myself so interested. Who, with his help and guidance, could become the next "Master Breeder" of Jacobins. Someone who could help carry on the fancy and educate the next generation of newcomers to the breed.

Most people that are friends of Master Breeders" have the unfair advantage of maybe getting that certain bird that when introduced into their bloodline, might help them progress faster towards producing "Champions". Although Harry and 1 were great friends, the thing 1 would have to respect the most about Harry was the fact he did not like to sell his pigeons. Not even to his friends! His style was to share his knowledge and offer his thoughts and ideas on how, through selective breeding, anyone with the desire, and patience, could develop their stud into "Shit Kickers". The end result is much sweeter than going out and buying someone else's "Champions" to raise your "Champions".

Harry would make the 300-mile trip up to my place a few times a year. Just to help me go through my birds, and see how they were progressing. He had the task of pairing up Jacobins down to an art form. Bloodlines and records are the utmost importance, and when it was all said and done, and the pairs were recorded down on paper, there was always some kind of method to his madness. Everything made sense and no other birds could compliment each other any better. It really was quite magical.

Why would a guy with as much going on in his life as Harry had, make those long trips and put out so much effort to help a newcomer? Because that was Harry Alexander! In November of 1989, 1 didn't have any way to get myself, or my Jacobins to "The Pageant of Pigeons" in Los Angeles, a show 1 had been really looking forward to attending. Well, without me asking, Harry said he would see to it that 1 made it down there. He drove the 300 miles up to my place. When he got there we stayed up into the wee hours of the night looking over the Jacobins in my garage. Then packed up and made the 300-mile trek back down to Los Angeles. At the Pageant 1 could have made arrangements with someone else going north after the show was over, to catch a ride with, but Harry wouldn't have it. He ended up taking me all the way back up north. 1 have never had anyone go to the lengths Harry did to help someone like me out.

That was only my second time showing at the Pageant, and both times 1 had the "Champion" and "Best Young" Jacobin of the show. Harry had been a major influence in my breeding program, and was truly the "wind beneath my wings". He made me feel like 1 was a "Master Breeder", and whenever 1 was having problems, he was always there to help me with the solutions.

Although his passing was a shock to everyone that knew him, 1 think most of us felt cheated by not being able to let Harry know how we felt about him. If only we could have had the opportunity to say good-bye to him, before his death.

So if 1 may, 1 would like to include in this tribute to Harry W. Alexander, my sentiments that are expressed so clearly in the words to the song "The Wind Beneath My Wings" This is from me to you Harry. "Did 1 ever tell you you're my hero? You're everything 1 had hoped to be, and 1 could fly higher than an eagle, because you were the wind beneath my wings" "The wind beneath my wings..."

"Thank you, Thank you, Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings".