Petroon Van Staden

A notable fancier emerged to take over the reins and reshape the roller sport in South Africa dramatically. Petroon Van Staden, also known today as the “Grandfather” of the local roller pigeon, advocated 1 extra point for grouping and the removal of the maximum of 5 points awarded for a roll of 60 feet or over.

But to do this another method of judging had to be found. Petroon Van Staden formed his Professional Roller Club, PRO, in 1979 and at the same time introduced a revolutionary new method of judging. Instead of using the traditional method of measuring the bird’s depth of roll in feet, Petroon made use of a stop watch to measure the depth of roll, allocating 1 point for every second of roll by the bird. Many of the remaining EDRS members either joined his club or formed clubs with the same principles. These clubs differed from the clubs established a few years earlier because they allocated unlimited points for depth of roll.

Many of these birds would fly in the clouds and start rolling and only stop just before reaching the ground. Such spectacles were not often seen as it took an experienced breeder and many roll-downs to produce safe rollers of this depth. Rollers of this nature normally roll only once in 20 minutes, and have a slower roll action than that of the kit performer but still possess the ability to return to the kit after rolling.

1980s Governing Body

Communication between the clubs began to deteriorate to the extent that each club became unaware of similar clubs in neighbouring towns. Although they all flew according to the same basic principle, each club changed its rules slightly to suite its own needs. These differences in rules greatly reduced the possibility of future reconciliation of clubs into one body with a common purpose and direction. But all was not lost as in the late 1980’s a group of fanciers decided to establish a governing body that was called the South African Roller Pigeon Federation (SARPF). The founding Chairman, Sias Frylinck`s first task for the new founded SARPF and his committee, was to locate all the clubs and their members still flying local rollers pigeons, get them together and discuss a way for everybody to agree on a common set of goals and rules that would be acceptable by all. This was easier said than done, but eventually after hours, days and months of debate, a set of rules based partly on the Van Staden principle was agreed upon. A Constitution was drafted and accepted by all the affiliated clubs which at the time consisted of the Western Districts Roller Club (WDRC), Southern Suburbs Rolling Club (SSRC) and the remaining Eastern Districts Roller Society (EDRS).
SARPF logo


The logo on the left was the 1st SARPF logo and was designed sometime in the 1980s; the logo on the right is the new SARPF logo and was introduced in 2001

Resolving Club Disputes

In the years that followed, many other clubs joined the SARPF while some also left or were disbanded. The SARPF stopped functioning many times over the years due to unresolved disputes. However, in June of 1998, three clubs, one in the North West Province, Fochville Roller Club (FOCH-RC) and two clubs in the Gauteng Province viz. ‘Elsburg Roller Vereeninging’ (ERV) and ‘Wesrand Roller Duif Vereeniging’ (WRDV) came together and decided to revive the South African Roller Pigeon Federation. Barry Rohland was elected as chairman and 74 active flying members took part in competitions based on the original rules and constitution of the SARPF. In 2000 Carel Laufs was elected as the new Chairman of the SARPF, and like Petroon van Staden, he saw the need for the local roller sport to grow in South Africa but, to do that, disputes left unresolved had to be addressed and resolved. He suggested that each affiliated club nominate a club representative and then joined by his Club Chairman would be invited to meetings with the Executive Committee of the SARPF to resolve disputes. This method turned out to be very effective and successful.

In the months that followed, many such meetings took place and eventually by the end of 2000 a set of rules that everybody accepted was agreed upon, a new Constitution in both Afrikaans and English was drafted and accepted by all. A new Logo and score sheet was also designed for the SARPF.

In 2002 a Newsletter called THE ROLLER PIGEON was first introduced to the members and was chosen as the official mouthpiece of the SARPF. Minutes of meetings, competition results and articles sent in by members to the Editor were published in THE ROLLER PIGEON each month.


Newsletter and Constitution

Examples of the Newsletter THE ROLLER PIGEON left and the South African Roller Pigeon Federation CONSTITUTION on the right.

South African Distance Roller

In 2008 in a surprising turn of events, the local roller pigeon was registered as the South African Distance Roller by the South African Fancy Pigeon Association which resulted in the local roller pigeon becoming the 99th official registered pigeon in South Africa.
Roller Pigeon

SA Distance Roller Pigeon

The pigeon WRDV 597/1997 that was selected to represent the Standard of the SA Distance Roller Pigeon.

New Era

Carel Laufs continued as the Chairman of the SARDF until the end of 2010 when he took a decision to step down with the hope that someone new with fresh ideas would take over and carry on with what he had been doing for the last 11 years and ultimately take the SARPF to the next level. This decision turned out to be a mistake which resulted in the disbanding of the SARPF in early 2011.

As in the past, clubs continued and changed the original set of rules to suit their club. This continued up until the end of 2016 when two fanciers, Johan Drotskie and Wouter Gerber, decided it was time to revive the SARPF. After some investigation they were pointed in the direction of the former Chairman Carel Laufs.

After they had made contact with him and explained their plan, some discussions took place as to where they wanted to go with the Federation. It seemed like history was repeating itself and as in the past, their biggest challenge was to get all the clubs still flying distance rollers together. Most importantly, to get them all to accept one set of rules based on the previous Federation rules. This proved to be the biggest challenge as clubs had been flying their own sets of rules for the past 6 years. Their reluctance to change was understandable. However, in order to revive the federation, it was crucial that everybody agreed on the same principals and rules.

2016 Executive Committee of the Federation

In October 2016 a meeting was held by four clubs who had a vested interest to see the federation revived. This was followed by a second meeting in November 2016 where the Executive Committee of the Federation was elected. Carel Laufs was again elected as the Chairman, Johan Drotskie as the Vice-Chairman and for the first time in the history of the federation, a woman was elected. Naomi Murray was elected as the Secretary and Wouter Gerber was elected as the Treasurer.
Naomi Murray

SADRF Secretary

Naomi Murray, the first lady to ever serve on the Federation Executive Committee.

South African Distance Roller Federation Logo Changes

From the onset, the committee made it clear that things had to change if the Federation was to get to where it belongs in the South African pigeon fraternity. During a marathon meeting that lasted 11 hours, big changes were made, the first of which was to change the name of the federation to be in line with the type of pigeon that would compete in competitions. It was then agreed to change the federation name to South African Distance Roller Federation. By doing this the SADRF embodied the South African Roller Pigeon. Many changes followed and the logo was again changed.
SADRF logo


The new SADRF logos designed in 2017.

Committee Structure Changes

The structure of the committee was changed where the Executive Committee of each club became the Sub-Committee of the federation with the purpose of being the decision makers for the federation to enable the Executive Committee to execute whatever decision was made by the Sub-Committee. A formal dress code was also introduced that was compulsory to wear whenever the federation was represented.
SADRF Dress Code
SADRF Dress Code

SADRF Dress Code

On the left is Johan Drotskie wearing the dress code for the Executive Committee. And on the right is Dirk Badenhorst wearing the dress code for the Sub-Committee.

Official launch of SA Distance Roller Federation

The official launch of the newly founded SA Distance Roller Federation took place on 28 January 2017 during a formal gala ceremony. In the months that follow, more members joined the federation with very few disputes being raised and it seemed that the affiliated clubs had settled in and were content with the rules.
SADRF Launch

Federation rings

One major change in 2017 came when the federation decided to contact the South African National Pigeon Association (SANPO) who is responsible for ordering and distributing approximately 600 000 rings annually. These rings were mostly ordered by affiliated clubs or unions throughout South Africa. A plea was made to the association requesting that the federation could order rings from them. After the association had made contact with their supplier, an agreement was reached that all federation rings would in future be ordered from the association. This meant that for the first time in the history of the federation, the old aluminum ring was replaced by the modern plastic coated ring similar in design to the racing pigeon ring.


The old SARDF rings (purple) were used up until 2010 and the new SADRF rings (yellow) supplied by SANPO and introduced in 2017.

Partnership with the South African National Pigeon Association

This partnership with the Association grew to the point where a decision by the federation`s Annual General Meeting in February 2018 was made to affiliate with the association, therefore allowing the federation to get to the next level that it always sought to be. This was the first step to get the federation and the SA Distance Roller Pigeon recognized nationally as well as internationally. So, on 10 March 2018, during the Annual General Meeting of the South African National Pigeon Association held in Bloemfontein in the Free State Province, the application from the federation to become an affiliate of the association was accepted. Another first in the history of the SA Distance Roller Pigeon and the federation in becoming the first roller pigeon institution to form part of SANPO.

In 2018 more clubs joined the federation and the membership more than doubled from the previous year giving an indication that the federation is on the right track to once again represent the SA Distance Roller Pigeon in South Africa.



On 10 March 2018 the SADRF was officially accepted as an affiliate of SANPO. On the left is Carel Laufs (SADRF Chairman) in the centre, Fadiel Hendricks (SANPO President) and on the right Naomi Murray (SADRF Secretary).