The Sonoma County Racing Pigeon Club (SOC) was granted an AU Charter in 1973. Bill Hatcher, Don Wood, Don Spence, Don Larroche, Henry Burgo, all met at Bill Hatcher’s home to form the SOC club. At the time the SOC started there were two other small clubs – Jet and Santa Rosa.
Other fliers from the two smaller clubs soon joined the SOC and shortly thereafter, when Don Spence moved to Rhode Island, Bob Gerhow bought Don’s place. It was this move and the presence of Bob Gerhow that was the huge catalyst for the explosive growth in the SOC club. Bob was a character and very generous; providing the members a state of the art clubhouse for many fun events and memories. During this time Bob Gerhow was considered, by many afterwards, to be the very best Combine Race Secretary the Bay Cities Combine ever had.
The SOC club grew to over 50 paying members and it wasn’t unusual to have over 30 fliers shipping in the Young Bird series. Bill Hatcher recalls “In passing, I can only say that during the SOC heyday era, when all the big guns were still alive, Roy Hunter, Al Baccone, Jim Lewis and others …. that this era of pigeon racing had to be the ”greatest” timeframe for pigeons in the Northbay Concourse.”
After Bob Gerhow’s passing, the club moved to Henry Burgo’s home in Sebastopol and remained there for a number of years.
The SOC Club currently operates out of a business park located in Santa Rosa. Membership includes fliers as far south as Novato and as far north as Lake County – giving the club about a 50 mile front. Flying primarily a East to West headwind course, the birds must navigate the deserts of Nevada, climb over the Sierra Nevada (6500-10000 feet), descend into the North end of the San Joacquin Valley, climb a smaller range of mountains and passes, drop into the Vacaville area and continue on another 25-40 miles against the wind, up and over another small range, fly through Napa Valley, up and over another small range of mountains and THEN drop into the Santa Rosa-Petaluma Plain.
Click Here SOC Members For Our Current Membership List
Thanks to Henry Burgo & Bill Hatcher For The Interviews & Information
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