Frequently Asked Questions


Answer:  Please click on 'S. African Million Dollar'  for dates and fees.  I will handle everything for you each step of the way.

1.  If I enter three pigeons, pay the initial $1100 and all three are lost.  What happens then?  

Answer:  If all three are lost before the final race and you only paid for one pigeon, you get a free entry (one primary and two backups) the following year.  

2.  If I enter three pigeons and pay for all three before the first Car Race and all three are lost the day before the final race what happens then?

Answer:  If you pay for all your pigeons and they compete for all the Car Race prices and are lost right before the final race, you get a free entry for the following year and a $2000 refund.  You do not lose a cent if you pigeons do not make it to the final race.  Should your pigeon win a $1100 prize or a Car and is then lost, you do not get a refund. 

3.  Why are some pigeons on the race sheet listed as "Defaulted"?

Answer:  A Defaulted pigeon is a pigeon that was sent to the Million Dollar but the owner never paid any entry fee at all.  If you pay the $1025 for the three bird team, the birds appear on the race sheets but only the primary bird will be able to win prize money.

4.  What happens if a Defaulted or non paid bird scores in the prizes? 

Answer:  The prize money will go to the next paid pigeon.  For example a pigeon enters the loft first overall but was not paid (not activated), the 2nd. pigeon will be credited with the win and receive the $150K. 

5.  Whats happens in the post-race 50 separate auctions if I only pay for my one pigeons and all three make the final race and come home?  Are they auctioned and who gets the money?  

Answer:  As long as you paid the $1100 for your primary pigeon you still are considered the owner/breeder and will receive 50% less expenses of all auction proceeds.

6. If I do not activate my backup pigeon and he is activated by another fancier will I as the breeder receive the auction money? 

Answer:  YES

7.  Is it better to send older youngsters or squeakers to Million Dollar Race?

Answer:  This is probably the most asked question.  I asked the exact same question to the Director Zandy Meyer.  Zandy told me they have not been able to find a correlation with age and results.  Zandy told me if they receive 30% older youngsters, they find 30% of the pigeons in the prizes in the final race will be the sent over older youngsters.  If 25% are sent over as sqeakers, 25% in the prizes of the final race will be those sent as squeakers.  If 20% were loft flown or trained, the final prizes will have the exact same percentage of these pigeons.  Zandy said if he knew a secret he would tell the world so many more pigeons could compete in the final race.

What I do know is the greatest two pigeons ever to race in the Million Dollar were 'Color of Water' which I sent over as a squeaker in June and 'Birdy' which was born on April 11th.   

8.  Do they have any problem settling pigeons in the Million Dollar Race after they come out of the 30 day quarantine within the lofts?

Answer:  For the first two or so weeks when the birds come out of quarantine they have a soap like substance placed on one wing.  The pigeons cannot fly but can walk all around the roofs of the lofts.  Once settled they remove the substance and the birds start to fly.  This does not hurt the feather at all.

9.  What about Hawks?

Answer:  South Africa has fewer hawk problems.  The wild bird population is incredibly dense.    

10. Is South Africa a safe place to visit?  

Answer:  The Montecasino, is a sensational casino resort located in Johannesburg combines the timeless classical elegance of Rome with eclectic Monte Carlo architecture, providing a world-class entertainment experience. The resort offers luxurious accommodation, , a magnificent casino with unparalleled gaming enjoyment, an international dining experience, and a busy entertainment calendar.

The venue is approximately 15 minutes by road from the newly built Sandton lofts.   I have spent many weeks in South Africa from Johannesburg, Capetown, through wine country, Krugar National Park and several other game reserves and have never for one moment felt anything but completely safe. 

11.  If I buy my bird back after the race or buy another pigeon in one of the 50 auctions, how can I get the birds back?

Answer:  Each year after the auctions are complete we will import the pigeons back to North America.  I will handle everything and the pigeon will be shipped to your door for a nominal fee.  There could be delays depending on the countries status for importing and exporting.  Like any import and export anything is possible and long delays are likely.

12.  What is the substance they put on the wings of the pigeons so they cannot fly during the settling process?

Answer:  The director of the Million Dollar does not want to give all his secrets but from what I could find out they use the South African version of normal dish washing liquid.

13.  What is a Nomination Race?

Answer:  In the Million Dollar they call a race or training toss where pooling is allowed a Nomination Race. We are allowed to gamble or pool our pigeons in these selected training flights and Car Races.  My suggestion would be to send an extra several hundred dollars over when we activate our backups.  The pooling is so much fun.  All payouts and pooled pigeons are available for everyone to see immediately when the birds are pooled.  Pooling is very simple and you do it in your own account.  I can walk anyone through the process.  A hot pigeon can win a fortune in pool money.
There is also a $10 winner take all pick bird pool called the Cascade Challenge.  You need to win the toss or Car Race with the pick bird to win the pool.  That pool is always big. 

14.  What happens if the electronic chip on my pigeon goes bad?

Answer:  All the chips are checked at the Car Races.  Any bad chips will be replaced.  If the chip is dead for the final race the chip will be replaced, the pigeon will race and the organizers will return the $1000 entry fee.  You cannot lose.

15.  If my primary pigeon is lost how does the race know to activate my backup?

Answer:  Should your primary pigeon be missing for five days the computer will automatically activate the next in line backup pigeon.  Should the primary pigeon be missing the day of shipping a Car Race the computer automatically activates the backup so the backup pigeon can win the prizes.

16.  What happens if my primary pigeon returns after a week or two?  

Answer:  Once a backup becomes the primary pigeon it remains the primary pigeon.  If I pigeon returns it now becomes the backup.  

17.  If I send three teams to Million Dollar Race pay the $1000 per team and the $25 registration per team, two teams are lost and the third team has all three pigeons, do I owe any money?

Answer:  If two teams are lost you will receive two free entries the following year.  The third team has only one active pigeon.  You will need to pay $1100 per bird to activate the second and third pigeon on the third team.   Each team is a stand alone team of pigeons. 

18.  How does the Knock-Out competition work?

Answer:  Knock–Out Competition: Five rounds — One Winner — US$25 000!
This competition will take place over the last four Hot Spot races and the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race.
Only pigeons entered prior to and basketed for the first Hot Spot will be eligible.
Should any Hot Spot be canceled one of the training flights prior to the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race will be used to calculate the next round’s pigeons.
Knocked Out pigeons still compete in all other competitions.
Knock Out Round 1—Hot Spot 2 — 65% of the entered pigeons returning from the Hot Spot will move on to the next round.
Knock Out Round 2 — Hot Spot 3 — 55% of the above pigeons returning from the Hot Spot will move on to the next round.
Knock Out Round 3 — Hot Spot 4 — 35% of the above pigeons returning from the Hot Spot will compete in the next round.
Knock Out Round 4 — Hot Spot 5 — 20% of the above pigeons returning from the Hot Spot will compete in Knock Out Final.
Knock Out Final Round—Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race — The first timed remaining Knock Out Pigeon will win US$25000.

19.  What are the Grand Average Prizes and does a pigeon have to be paid to win these prizes?

Answer:  A pigeon has to be paid before the final race to win the Grand Average prizes.  The prizes are 1st, $10,000, 2nd, $5000, and 3rd, $2500. 

Below are the questions I asked the Trainer/Loft Manager at the Million Dollar Race Lofts  on Jan 21st 2011.

How old are the majority of the German pigeons when they arrive to the Million Dollar in May?
Trainer:  The German's ship young pigeons.  Maybe 45 to 60 days old when they arrive.

Frank:  What do you think of training the pigeons before sending them to the race?
Trainer:  Pigeons trained at the home lofts seem to be the first pigeons lost when they hit any sort of adversity.  Trained pigeons also leave the race lofts dragging others along with them.  We discourage training pigeons before sending them to the Million Dollar.
Frank: If I send weekly shipment over in May, will they go into different lofts and different sections?
Trainer:  The pigeons will go in different lofts and sections if they come in to the lofts in different shipments.

Frank:  What is the best time (during the intake period) to send the pigeons to Million Dollar Race?
Trainer:  The best time might be the very first possible date to ship to the lofts when the lofts are empty.  Most shippers make one shipment at the end of the intake period.  It could be best to ship the pigeons over to empty lofts so the pigeons are comfortable and settled before any other pigeons are in the lofts.  

Frank:  What are the pigeons vaccinated for in the Million Dollar Race?
Trainer:  The pigeons are vaccinated for PMV, Salmonella and Pox. 

Frank:  When a Loft List is published is every pigeon on the Loft List on the property?
Trainer:  Pigeons in the recovery loft are not on the Loft List.  We try to get the pigeons back into training program as soon as possible.  You will notice a bird missing from all lists for a toss or two only to see the bird reappear.  It may have been recovering from something.  

Frank:  What exactly is the weekly training program?  
Trainer:  Sunday is the day of total rest.  Monday is a 25 mile loosen up toss, Tuesday thru Friday the tosses are about 50 miles and Saturday is the longer toss.

Frank:  What makes a great Million Dollar Race Pigeon?
Trainer:  A great is a pigeon that can perform without tricks or games provided by the owner.  A Million Dollar pigeon needs to have the innate drive to home to its loft on talent alone.  The pigeons are provided everything they need but they excel because of the greatness contained inside them, not because of systems or a particular management style.

Frank:  What do you think of the pigeons that are left for the final race?
Trainer:  The pigeons that remain at this point are all super pigeons.  Every breeder should be proud to have a pigeon remaining in this very elite group.

Frank:  Any suggestions you can make to my US friends?
Trainer:  Send the best you have that can compete at nine to ten hours on the wing.  

20.  What is the Log In for?

Answer:  The Log In is for entrants and will contain all their account information, pigeons band numbers, teams and contact information.  You do not need to have a Log In to view all the information on the website.  The Log In passwords will be sent to new entrants when everything has been checked and double checked by the organizers.

McLaughlin Lofts

​World's Finest Racing Pigeons