High-stakes pigeons

Credit: Brad Gregg

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.

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

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.

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

Gazette staff

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