I wrote a brief history of the club several years ago and this is sort of an up-date as to where the club is as of December 2010,


The Club now flies the south/southwest course starting at Clarksville, IN and then into Kentucky and Tennessee.  The longer races are currently flown with a club down in Kentucky to help defray shipping costs.


As is the case with most clubs, members come and go.  The older members who have passed away have been replaced in part by newer members.  However, as is also true in most clubs, the new members slowly move out of the sport because of the time and resources required to continue. It should be mentioned that Wayne Gritter has probably brought more members into our club than any PR man in the sport.  Without doubt he is the Club’s greatest recruiter. They come and go!


Sadly, two of the most interesting people one will ever meet passed away.  Sonny Hager and Bill Pranger sadly passed away as did Cliff Gerbig.  Sonny won more opening 100 mile races than anyone I can remember.  He had them ready for the first 100 …old birds or young birds.  Sonny moved to Bicknell for a few years and then came back.  Putting his loft together fell to the task of Don Adams, George Bernier, George Chatman and Mike Radkovic. And who will ever forget the night Bill Pranger bought every loft in the Calcutta Auction.  He made sure he had the winner! I think he had a few brewskis earlier. The club did not take anything off the top in those days! If there was a job to be done Bill was always there. Always!  And Bill would sneak in and win a race when no one expected it.  I remember many, many mornings having breakfast with him and Bev at the Waffle House just off the exit at Edinburgh and then we’d go to Ogilville to release the young birds.  I recall running out of gas twice in one week and who was behind me?  Billie.  The gas gauge indicated that I had a half tank of gas so how could I have run out of gas?  The fuse for the gas gauge had blown at the time it showed the tank to be half full.  Billie found the problem of the blown fuse!  Have not run out of gas since.


The club dues and shipping costs still remain very affordable because the Club holds an annual Winter Auction to help offset the costs of shipping.  The Winter Auction is currently held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and has generally been successful. The Past Winter Auction (2010) featured birds from the Hapyco Lofts of Chic and Judy Brooks of California.  Flyers from Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and New Jersey participated in the Auction.. Some outstanding birds were purchased at very, very reasonable costs. The club did very well in sharing with the proceeds from the sale.


This past year (2010) the club once held a Young Bird Auction to generate interest and to also help generate income to help defray the shipping cost of the YB races.  Several years ago the club held a race to help generate funds for the RILEY HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN.  It was held with the assistance of Bob Kevoian of the BOB AND TOM RADIO SHOW in Indianapolis, IN.  To be honest, issues with the ineptness of certain members of the Hospital caused the efforts of a significant donation by one of the members of the Show to go unrecognized after repeated efforts to resolve an over-sight..  Through club efforts and the generosity of Bob Kevoian the club made a donation of $10,000.00 to the Children’s Hospital.  It was disappointing that we could not continue with the Race.


As is also the case with most clubs, flyers come and go because of time constraints with their jobs.  Such was the case with a few of our “old timers” such as Gary Dinkins, Steve Hunter, Michael Knaack and Phil Lucas to name a few.  Also lost to the club was George Bernier who served as the Treasurer for a few years because of the Allergic reactions he sustained when around his birds.  While George no longer flies, he continues to maintain his membership and attends many of the meetings. Also retiring from active participation in the sport was Al Unversaw who was a member of the original club back in the 40’s.  He still maintains a few birds for his enjoyment. Joining the club a few years ago and becoming a very tough competitor is Aldin Redzvelja who came to the United States from Bosnia. He has won out of turn already. Also joining the club is Don Adams who had the skills to set up the site you are now viewing and Tim Foddrill who is a novice with the strong urge to learn.  Along with the guys who come in we have some that will be leaving.  One such person is Steve Youngs who is moving out of state to be near his daughter.  Steve is the Sion man and probably knows more of the history of the Sions and Charles Heitzman than anyone alive.


The past few years the Club has been led by a few gentlemen that have helped to maintain its membership.  Men like Gary Dinkins, Dr. Carl Schwartz and the now current president Mike Maloney have kept the club viable and solid.  Also serving as the Treasurer has been George Chatman, who besides working a 90 hour week, took care of the books and did a tremendous job. And there is no tougher competitor in the Sport than George Chatman who wins out of turn in both the Old Bird and Young Bird Races..   Mike Radkovic currently serves as the Treasurer. Then there is Don Edmonds who drives approximately 250 miles every week-end to serve as the Race Secretary even though he has been seriously ailing with health issues.. He, Tim Lucas and  Scott Horton, formerly of the Wabash Valley club, are now members of our club.  Don and Scott win their share of races while Tim has just joined the club this year. We see very little of Mel Thomas and Jerry Canady.  Mel lives in Lafayette and has had serious health issues and Jerry’s job limits his ability to participate.  Denny Fackler holds the distinction of living in Floridas and retains his membership in our club.  Denny was a “go getter” when he lived here.  He was responsible for bringing in the Winter Auction of 2000 and 2002 that saw Bob Kinney, Crazy Al, Frank McLaughlin, Tom Van Handel and Randy Read bring their birds in for the biggest auctions our club has seen.


The club currently meets every month at the home of Bev Pranger who always makes sure there are cookies, cakes, and drinks for the malnourished.  She gets a lot of help from daughter Denise and grand-daughter Amanda who serves as the “webmistress” of our web site.


Current Members as of December 2010


Don Adams                     Charles Ballinger           George Bernier          Jerry Canady          George Chatman             Don Edmonds                 Denny Fackler          Tim Foddrill           Wayne Gritter                

 Scott Horton                    Tim Lucas                 Mike Maloney        Bev Pranger                    Mike Radkovic                Aldin Redzvelja        Denise Sanders       Dr. Carl Schwartz           Mel Thomas                     Steve Youngs


While the club is small the members are very tough competitors and anyone can win on any given day, depending on the wind.


Now the question is “What will the future hold” and who will write it?


Mike Radkovic

December 2010
















By Mike Radkovic


The club got its charter in the middle 30's  and the Club flew the West/Southwest Course.   Stations started in Marshall, Il and then Effingham, Il, Highland, Il., Rolla, MO. and then on to Joplin, Mo. 

Birds were basketed at the train station and then shipped by rail to the longer races.  The shorter races were driven by members of the club.


My earliest recollection of the Club was repeated mention of Sam Karabell who apparently dominated the club from the distance races.  His loft was located in the upper portion of his garage and it was said the temperatures in his loft reached 100-110 degrees at times.  He had to clean his lofts before daylight because of the excessive heat.  Some say it was the heat that brought on the wonderful condition of Sam's Birds where he dominated the races.


Sam Karabell passed away in the late 40’s! Later the club held a 500 Mile Race and named it in his honor out of respect for this wonderful gentleman.


In the late 40's and early 50's the club was spearheaded by Charlie Herin and Fred Sauerteig.  Charlie Herin moved to Cincinnati because of a company move and shortly thereafter became the National Secretary of the AMERICAN RACING PIGEON UNION.

Fred Sauerteig, who published an Insurance Digest that was subscribed to nationally, remained a strong supporter and a strong competitor until his passing.


Although the club  was very small, it was very, very competitive with no single flyer dominating the race results. One of the very, very competitive flyers at that time was Al Unversaw,  who after moving to Ohio, has returned to the local area and is a current member and flies both the Old and YB Series.


One of the more colorful flyers was a wonderful gentleman from England, Roland Hendley.

Roland came to this country in the 50’s and was a brick mason by trade.  He had flown with the great Freddie Marriott in England before coming to the states.  He spun many a yarn about the great English flyer! Roland must have been a pretty good flyer in England because he and Pop Myer won our Kellogg Klassic Futurity in 1963.


It should be mentioned that Marlin Reid, who was just one of the boys here, moved to the Chicago, IL area where he achieved national recognition for his results.  He often said that Indianapolis was the most difficult place in this country to race pigeons.  After moving to Illinois and achieving national prominence he returned to Indianapolis in the late 80’s, early 90’s and was just one of the boys.  He took his turn in trying to win a race!  He was tragically killed in an automobile accident while visiting friends in Chicago.


The club is currently sponsoring a race to benefit the Riley Hospital for Children.

It was started by a local Radio personality, Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom show, to benefit the Children’s Hospital with a sizable donation to inaugurate the event in 2004.  Our plans are to continue to sponsor the race annually.


That’s a brief history of the club. We currently have about 25 dues paying members and welcome anyone who is interested in joining our club to contact one of our members or Wayne Gritter at 1-317-861-5503 or





SomeEarly members:


Jay Carrier

Bob Essex

Fred Henke

Charlie Herin    Later became Treasurer of THE ARPU INC

Sam Karabell

Walter Karg

Pop Myer

Marlin Reid

Dale Sare

Fred Sauerteig

Al Unversaw







Current Members:


Don Adams

Charles Ballinger

George Bernier

Jerry Canady

George Chatman

Don Edmonds

Denny Fackler

Tim Foodrill

Wayne Gritter

Cliff Gerbig

Steve Hunter

Mathew Kirkwood

Tim Lucas

Mike Maloney

Pat Maloney

David Pennington

Bev Pranger

Kathy Prosser

Mike Radkovic

Mike Radkovic, Jr

Denise Sanders

Dr. Carl Schwartz

Mel Thomas

Scott Watson

Steve Youngs



Some Later Members:


Ray Alcorn

Clint Bailey

Howard Beall

Mike Berkshire

Ed Blaesing

John Brinkman

Ken Bucci

Tom Calhoun

Carroll Castleman

Leo Cleary

Bob Clements

Alan Clouse

Charles Coffing

Clayton Cooper

Alex Cornella

Bob Creviston

Al Croy

Bill Davis

Curt Davis

Steve Davis

Gary Dinkins

Leon Edwards

Denny Fackler

Ben Fechtman

Ed Ferguson

Bill Freeman

Ed Fruits

Sal Gatto

Marcello Graffitti

Debbie Hager

Sonny Hager

Bill Hardie

Richard Harper

Roland Hendley

Fred Hert

Paul Hundley

Dave Husted

Tom Kemph

Doug Kenney

Thad Kenney

Mike Knaak

Gib Lawrence

Jack Levy

Bill Linnabarry

Phil Lucas

Matt Matthias

Charlie Merrick

Charlie Mollenkoph

Deanne Mollenkoph

Jim Payne

Jim Piepenbrok

Bill Pranger

Ken Pridemore

Jim Proctor

Kim Renfro

Steve Richards

Fred Rising-Moore

John Rogers

Joe Rogers,(Jr Member)

Frank Rush

Hank Sabetti

Gary Sarver

Russell Scott

Wally Smith

Maynard Soukup

Gary Tamo

Al Unveraw

Tony Venezia

Floyd Walters

Gordon Ward

Tim Waughtel

Bob Weber

Tom Wood

George Worland

Steve Yerich

John Zeigler

Dave Zierer

Rick Zirgibel