Bill Ensign

Bill EnsignI was attracted to racing pigeons at the age of five when my Great Grandfather had a birthday party in Santa Rosa Calif. A really good friend of his was a man named Bill Strassburger. He brought some birds in the trunk of his car to release for a training toss and he invited me over to his house to see his birds. The next day my mom took me over to his house in Brisbane Calif. Just south of San Francisco; what a sight he had a big two story home with an office full of trophies, he had so many that a lot of them were in a big box. We talked for a while and he said let's go out and look at some birds. It was breathtaking, his loft was bigger than the apartment that we lived in, and it sat right on the side of a cliff, and at the bottom was the San Francisco Bay.


After handling some birds Bill told me if I was ever in a place where my mom would let me have birds he would give me some. Well, eleven years went by but I still had the love for the birds. I met a man in Sacramento California By the name of Frank Meder. He invited me over to his house to look at his birds; I at that time would do anything to be a part of his racing program. He gave me my first job and every day after school I would ride my bike to his house about a mile. I would let out his birds for their daily exercise; let them fly for an hour call them back in and feed and water the birds. On the weekend I used to go over and watch the birds come home from a training toss or a race. I wanted to get some birds of my own so Frank helped me build a little loft in my backyard and you guessed it, I contacted Bill Strassburger and he said come and get them. He gave me five birds; a grizzle cock, a red cock, and three hens. I had the bird's home for about two weeks when a cat broke into the loft killing all but one, the red cock. I fixed the problem so that no more cats could ever get into the loft but I knew that it wasn't the right time for me to have the birds. In 1973 I got rid of the remaining birds I had and made myself a promise not to have any more birds until I could afford to do it properly.


In 1979 I moved to Las Vegas NV it took me until 1986 to get on my feet. I bought an acre of land and built a house and a pigeon loft. I picked up the phone and called Frank Meder and told him that I was ready for some birds.  I wanted to fly young birds that year, so he sent me thirty birds. What a great time I had. I won my first race and from then on I was hooked; after the 1988 season, it became too time consuming to take the birds down the road every day. So I decided to stop club racing and concentrate on the multi-loft Classic races and multi-loft futurity races.


After winning my share of the races over the next ten years I was introduced to Vic DeBrouwer in 1999, he was told by a friend of ours that he needed to get to know me and that is just what he did. Over the next few years we became very close he invited me to a golf tournament in Palms Springs this tournament was benefiting the City Of Hope. Vic was on the committee and I didn't want to go at first but after he told me that he would pay for me to go, how could I turn him down?


After our third year of going to the tournament, I said to Vic, have you ever considered putting on one of these tournaments in Las Vegas? He said yes but only if I would co-chair with him. I said i'm in. I guess the rest you can say is in the history books I wish you could have seen the look on Vic's face when the City Of Hope said we had just risen over $1,000,000.00. By this time I had finally talked Vic into moving to Las Vegas and I asked him if my birds would make a good cross on his birds he didn't hesitate to say - yes I know they would - so this is when Vic and I decided to form our new partnership TWO BE WON.