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High-stakes pigeons

Gazette staff March 26th, 2013

Three Oklahomans might wind up caged in the wake of a nationwide undercover investigation of pigeon-racing (yes, pigeon-racing) by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Credit: Brad Gregg

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has charged Karen Mae Clifton, executive director of the American Racing Pigeon Union (AU); internationally known pigeon racer Richard Wayne Mardis; and James Orr Steele, president of Pigeon Racers of Oklahoma (PRO), with felony commercial-gambling charges.

PETA investigators in 2010 allegedly witnessed illegal betting totaling nearly $250,000 at an Oklahoma City convention hosted by the AU and PRO.

Call us naive, but we had no idea there are actually people so eager to throw away money that they organize and bet on pigeon races.

CFN has lots of questions: How does one train a pigeon to fly to a certain destination point? Why pigeons? Surely, peregrine falcon contests would be more interesting. And why is our windshield evidently along the racecourse?

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