Thoughts about Oskar Zovich

by D Kinnear, N Bugeja, T Kvidera, M Beat, H Bal
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My Buddy Oskar
by D Kinnear
I first met Oskar in the fall of 1976. At this time Oskar and I were considered greenhorns as far as flying tipplers. Oskar’s first pigeon coop was an old garage. The breeding section had a dirt floor. His loft is quite the upgrade from way back when. 🙂 Oskar and I hit it off right away. He started with the old strain of Canadian tipplers back then. They consisted of birds from the late Harry Hunt, Donny Wilson, and Harry (Yawny) Adams. He did okay with them for a beginner. He was not satisfied with the birds he had and he was able to obtain some good blood from some imports. This was through our friends from the South. Oskar started to become very competitive with the other flyers flying the English strain. This was not a very popular move with his new ideas on flying and the English type of birds. They looked quite different than the old style of bird that many were used to back then.

Some very uncomplimentary remarks were made about these birds, like they are not real tipplers…etc. Another factor into Oskar improving his times with the birds is that he was a former nurse. He knew how the system of the pigeon works. He applied this and with his knowledge at what the different feeds had on the birds he started to become very successful. Of course with this success he became the target of all sorts of nasty things, like he had a whole bunch of secrets, (different potions in a bottle). He became the Voodoo Man. :-). Of course these were just natural tonics that we give the birds today but back then it was magic. Of course the secret was just plain Common Sense. He has no secrets. He will tell all he knows, always willing to give a helping hand either with birds or advice. Speaking of advice, if you want him to give you advice on what you are doing with the birds he will tell it like it is. It may not feel nice at the time, but it will help you over the longer period of time. Like he says, if it does not make any sense, it cannot be true.

Also, do not tell him that a record cannot be broken. If it was done before, then he will do it too but even better. Oskar and I joined the CNTA club way back in the early eighties. We flew in the old club for a few years. We became disenchanted with some of the stuff going on there and we formed a new club in 1984. There was Oskar, myself and our friend Kemo Basic. We called it the Ontario Tippler Union. We flew under the International Rules from the NTU of Great Britain. The old CNTA did not fly under these rules. The club was not supposed to last but it is still going strong after 25 years and a name change to CNTU, the Canadian National Tippler Union. By the way the old CNTA is long gone. Oskar and I made a few trips down to the United States and made many friends, one in particular, Wally Wiechec from Buffalo, New York. As Oskar will tell you, if it were not for Wally, he would not have been able to develop his family of birds today. With Wally‘s huge coop and fantastic knowledge of breeding they were able to put birds together and Oskar was able to prove them in the air.

It is common knowledge that “Oskar is the man” when it comes to flying birds. His many records that he holds are vast. But for all his achievements, it his generosity that people remember too, whether it is with the birds or advice. Many a night Oskar and I watched the birds and we talked about everything in life. He is like a brother to me. I want to thank him for being there for me not just for the birds but for being my best friend. He has a wonderful family. His wife Kathy is a wonderful, generous person and a great cook. You never leave their home hungry as Kathy will feed you until you are stuffed and then some. Unfortunately Kathy is ill and having a hard time right now. God bless her and wish her a full recovery. Oskar is by her side when she needs him most. His best friend, Elvis, a finer son a man could not ask for was unfortunately killed in an accident in 2002. This took a heavy toll on Oskar. But fortunately with his great family he was able to carry on with life, and the pigeon world is better for it. This is about Oskar Zovic, the Greatest Tippler Man! I am proud to say he is my friend.
Danny-Boy a.k.a. Danny Kinnear, September 2009

A few more friends
by Nino Bugeja

Well where do I begin. I guess it was 10 or 12 years back when my daughter put the pigeon bug back into me when I bought a sick tumbler at the local market and nursed it back to health to make her happy. I was hooked, Tipplers were on my mind so I looked around to where I could acquire some. I ended up buying some from the local market and then heard about the club of the day back then, the OTU Tippler club. I had heard of this guy Oskar as the Guru of flying and solid sound stock. I also heard he came to the local flea market that dealt in livestock.

As it turned out, on one Saturday morning I met Oskar in the coffee shop and asked if he had any birds for sale. He promptly told me no, but did suggest a different man by the name of Ross Morden. I guess he didn’t like my looks. At any rate I met with Ross and bought some birds from him, as well as some from the flea market and a guy out in London Ontario.

I joined the club and started going to some meetings and meeting some of the guys, of witch Oskar was I believe at the time one of the executives. He was a rather soft spoken man, that always stated exactly what he meant very clearly. I could see he was all pigeon man and was very dedicated to the sport. It wasn’t till I started flying some respectful times with Ybs, did he take notice of me. I think from a visual standpoint he thought I may have been just another rough looking character, and should stay clear of this guy, but the fly times seemed to have broken the ice between us and he gifted me two ybs one day when he came to the house. From that day, we have become very good friends, and I must say, his knowledge in pigeons, and more specifically in the sport of “Tipplers” was very extensive.

Since our initial meeting, I have come to know that Oskar was indeed a man that was honest from the bottom of his heart, always willing to help any one that asked for it with his knowledge and his generosity of giving his stock away was endless to those that needed quality stock, very generous indeed ! Not only did I meet a great guy, but also a great family as well.

We have spent many a morning together sharing stories of flying and breeding Tipplers for many years now, not always agreeing mind you, but always in good spirits and fun. He truly is the “Master” of flying over hear and has been a “Rock” when it comes to the Tippler. He has experimented with so many outside “Strains” of “Tipplers” with his own family, only with one thing in mind and that is the improvement of the “Breed” in terms of their ability its staggering. It has taken him a lifetime to create his own family of birds based on his personal “Ideals”, and it shows in his many accomplishments he has secured over the years. All his wins, all his records and always consistent, the sign of a “True Breeder”.

Oskar is a man of vision; for 35 years he has been an essential player in reviving and maintaining an active Canadian Tippler Sport.

He has put much time and energy into establishing a respected Canadian National Tippler Union, a club of high integrity. Oskar continues to support and relentlessly promote the Tippler Sport throughout North America.

Oskar has created his own distinct family of birds and has impressively bettered all of the Old Bird Canadian Tippler records. His achievements, commitment and dedication is evidence of a beautiful, enduring love affair with our sport. I expect much more successes from Oskar in the future and look forward to many more years of sharing in his passion for the Flying Tippler Sport. Congratulations Oskar! You are a great Tippler man. Kemo Basic

Oskar Zovich: The Best Tippler Flyer on the Continent
By – Tim Kvidera, past FTA President

Anyone who has been following the happenings within the endurance Flying Tippler fancy in North America is very familiar with the name of Oskar Zovich. He has been active in the game for decades and is always in the thick of things when the competition is at its best.

He is the holder of many record times in Canada. When the FTA, Flying Tippler Association of America, put out its final fly summary a few years ago fourteen of the twenty best Official System Old Bird times were flown by Oskar’s kits. These top twenty earning times were flown between 1984 and 2005 with times ranging from 16 hours and 12 minutes to 18 hours even, the Canadian Old Bird Record. In the Top Twenty for each of the Spring and Summer Series FTA flies Oskar is listed 34 times with kits having flown 12:27 through 18:00. Undoubtedly he is the most consistent, high quality endurance Flying Tippler competitor of our era. These accomplishments are only exceeded by how nice a guy he is.

I was fortunate to be able to combine a weekend before a business trip to Penetanguishene a many years back, 1991, and spend a couple days with Oskar and Kathy. Oskar was the tour guide as we visited many of the prominent Tippler lofts in the Toronto area – Harry Hunt, Gord Chater, Kemo Basic, George Vertolli, Henry Langley, Harry Smith, Herb Keay, Donny Wilson, Martin Beedie . That visit is a cherished memory of mine.

Each year at Louisville for the National Young Bird Show I look forward to seeing Oskar, as well as any other Tippler fanciers that make the trip. Unfortunately with all the show, judging and genetics commitments I usually have our time together is always less than I would like. Oskar is a fountain of information. You do not have to sort through the chaff to find the bits of wisdom. He feeds you straight grain. The only problem is having memory enough to retain the knowledge he shares.

He shares this knowledge, and birds, with many as can be seen by the high quality times that are often flown in the Toronto area. The only regret I have in our relationship is that I have not been able to make the time to fly my birds, down from birds from him, up to the potential that they have in them. They are great birds and someday I will give them the priority they deserve. Oskar, I love ya man — Tim

Michael J. Beat on Oskar

I think the first time I heard Oskar’s name was from Tim Kvidera. I used to keep more in touch with Tim in those days as he always knew the pulse of the Tippler world. Since he was at the hub of the Flying Tippler Association of America (FTA), he was my only real contact to what was happening in tipplerdom. Tim also kept close in contact with the Canadian flyers. Everything was communicated through snail mail and letters. In like manner I had come to know of Stan Ogozalek as well. It was probably from an ad in the American Pigeon Journal (APJ) or just from the FTA club bulletin. Yet both of these fine gentlemen were what kept my interest in Tipplers alive for many years in which there were no other contacts for many miles around me. I was in my late teens. The well-known Bob Nolan showed print tipplers in the pigeon shows each year and he claimed they were from the family of Bill Pensom when Bill Pensom had some tipplers amongst his rollers. Apparently Bill had acquired them from England. Nevertheless, these show tipplers were not the artisans of the sky that I had grown to admire. But that’s another Story.

I don’t remember the first day I met Oskar Zovich in person. But with a certainty I can tell you without a doubt that Oskar does. His memory has always been that of an elephant. It’s always been his trademark and a rare gift to possess. There are others who might say it is a curse since there are so many negative things in life that we all would just as well want to truly forget. Be it as it is, I do know that I was introduced to Oskar through my friends Tim and Stan albeit not formally and in person. When I moved from the West coast to the East coast seventeen years ago, the opportunity opened for me to somehow make my way up to Toronto for a visit. By that time I had only one thing on my mind—to meet Oskar Zovich. I think the year may have even been earlier than 1999 although my photos of 1999 do tell a story. What I walked away with that first encounter was an unforgettable memory.

I met other tipplermen that day too. Seems like when someone comes from afar, the fellas all want to hang out together. I met Dan Kinnear & Harry Smith. Tom Rankin was also about.

For years I spent the time in my loft alone, dreaming and imagining the perfect flying team. I guess that’s the dream of all Tipplermen in their loft, but I had observations that I could not explain very well. Foremost, my personal experience in flying birds “into the dark” was unique. So when I first shared my thoughts to Oskar, he had no problem understanding me for he too had years of experience doing this sort of thing. For me, it was sort of a “homecoming” although the first ever visit. To put it succinctly, it was as if Oskar could read my mind and explain my experiences to me without my even opening the mouth. That is how I felt at least. That is what I remember. We talked that day about feeds, strains and colors yet did not skimp on the deep conversations about night training. This was something that had limited if any circulation in the “tippler writings” of the day. It would be years later before compilations on the subject would be printed. It was an encounter to remember. Of course, birds were in the air, for our sun-burned faces at the end of the day told the tale of tipplermen scouring the sunny skies.

In addition to the techniques there were the birds as well. I had seen the Lovatt strain of birds in several other lofts and had seen their variety of colors. But oh! never had I seen an “opal” nor an “andalusian” brushed onto the feathers of a tippler! It was apparent that I was seeing birds of a “different feather” all of which were capable of doing the teens of hours in a single day. One might think I was lost in a surreal dream but I eventually snapped out of it when the time came to head home. I will never forget the wonderful hospitality of Oskar and Cathy on that lovely day. I don’t recall the actual date, but ask Oskar. I’m sure that he could tell you.

Harpreet Bal

Gee-where to start. Well, let me start from when I heard the name Oskar for the first time. In November 2002 I bought the entire loft from Tony Ponciano who was living very close to the late Ross Morden. While working out the details Tony mentioned that he keeps Zovich stock, some he bought and some birds are/were on loan. I gathered Tony was proud to mention who’s stock he was keeping while I had no idea who Oskar was. Well, I took me a few months to find out who he was and get his contact information. I called Oskar for the first time in Spring of 2003 and mentioned to him that I bought the entire stock from Tony P. and believe I have some birds which belong to him. As usual, he said “Okay” and a big pause. Well, long story short I asked him to come and take the birds which belonged to him. His answer was “okay”, I can come take a look but now the birds belong to you since you paid for them”

A few days later Oskar came to see me. We introduced ourselves and went straight to the backyard. He took a look at the birds and kept asking me about one hen which I had no clue since I let a few out in mid winter to see them fly. Not a good idea. I let out about 10-15 birds which I saw for last time. I guess you live and learn. While Oskar was looking at them I said “Take whatever bird was on loan to Tony”, Oskar refused to take any bird. Well let me tell you, if Oskar would have been a dishonest person he could have walked out with as many birds as he wanted that day. I am very glad he is who he is.

Since 2003 we’ve been talking about tipplers, life, moral values, you name it. I find him a very nice and decent god fearing human being. It amazes me how sharp his memory is. I hope I get to be half as good as he is when I get that old :). Talk about health sciences, after all he was a nurse. What about history? What about his honesty? I thought he was only good with pigeons but I find him very knowledgeable person, caring, reasonable and a great human being to associate with.

Let’s talk about his pigeon accomplishments. He is one of the most knowledgeable people I know. Breeding to flying, training and conditioning – a wealth of knowledge. His top breeders were selected right out of the nest bowls. Oskar reads the eye, body structure/strength feather quality and more. As far as color goes he produces some of the greatest and rare tippler colors in the world. A big thanks to Oskar and his mates who created and tested these colors.

Also. thanks to Oskar’s for his generosity, I have top birds in the loft and sound step by step advice. It is all free of charge. He helps me with the birds in selecting breeding pairs to training to flying. Oskar is behind it all. Secret behind my flying is him. It feels good to fly best times this year in North America for YB’s & old birds, 17hrs 5mins old birds and 15hrs and 33mins Ybs. Even though I had few flys well over 18hrs due to DQ’s they can not be counted. So thank you Oskar for all the birds, advice and motivation. You are a true tippler man.

After saying all of this, I find Oskar very judicious. He talks openly and honestly and to the point. Oskar refuses to deal with dishonest people (mainly thieves & liars). Is he wrong? I’ll let you be the judge. He is very hard to trick, trust me I did tried many times, it does not work. Few times I did not tell him what I was feeding the birds & telling how they were flying. This is how much he knows about his family of birds. He asked “They are not the flying on what you are telling me, So what are you feeding them?” at that point I had to tell him my little secrets. 🙂

Jokes aside, Oskar is a very dear friend, he is like father to me. We talk every day; sometimes he gets a late call but does not mind. I pray to god he and his family live happy and healthy for years to come.