And the pay isn’t birdseed. Varriello won $40,000 for first place in a race in 2011.
The hobby is very popular in Hernando County. The area is home to Gulfcoast Homing Club, one of the largest racing pigeon groups in the country.
For Varriello, his flock is like family.
"You don't wanna lose them," he told WTVT. "And you will do anything in your power to try and keep them, and you try and deter anyone who's trying to steal them."