|1st Best In Show|
I met Rick Watts in 2010 on a trip to England from the United States. A friend of mine introduced us and we became acquainted from a distance. So when traveling back the next year I hoped for the chance to meet and see his birds. It took several tries until things worked in our favor, and my driver and I made the trip up to Ricks place otherwise known as "Watts Mansion Headquarters".
It was late in the day, and as we entered we were met by Alfie the Watt mascot, and as Rick walked us back to his room he introduced us to his wonderful wife Barbara. This year makes 43 that she has put up with him. Barbara is well know for making wonderful show cage covers. It was easy to relax as we sipped our tea and talked about the challenges and wonderful experiences I have come across in the hobby in my short few years back.
As daylight was fading we walked outside towards the bird room, lights were shining bright. Rick has
a large outside flight to the left of the entrance and as you walk into the room you see long rows of breeding cages and young bird flights. Then in the back of the aviary he has more breeding cages efficiently placed throughout the room. Rick uses the box style cages, and wood nest boxes. As I was viewing the bird room I began to notice some of the cherished Challenge Certificates and Awards he has won over the years, a reminder of how much the hobby has rewarded his hard work.
As birds were brought into show cages for me to photograph I was struck by the quality I was seeing. There is no doubt these are top quality Champion birds. Consisting of great length and the desired feather direction we all are working for. At the time of this writing it has been 3 years since my visit, and I have noted an increased quality in Ricks birds as I have seen them posted on Facebook. I was able to get some quality shots but as there was a lack of lighting for photography work this late in the day it limited me in the speed I could shoot to pull off what I wanted to capture. I always try and present a bird as I see it. My next visit will be more in-depth...
I have learned something about the people I have met in this hobby as I have moved along. Many present themselves in a way that might not be truthful, some are guarded while others are completely deceitful. Rick isn't like any of those. I have seen him hold his own in blunt conversations. Thats what I like about him. If you have a question ask it, but don't play games and get to the point. Rick has been known to go out of his way to help others, I have seen this many times watching from where I sit, but he has no time for those who ask then don't heed advice. Some will not partake in an offer thinking it might be too good to be true. Watch him, because under everything, Rick has a good heart.
|43 years of marriage celebrated this year|
Rick has been in the hobby a long time, and has impacted many across this world. He has helped to export birds to the US and beyond. I'm sure our friendship will grow, as I endeavor to improve my stock.