Succesful pigeon racing (Part 4. 11-02-23)
Successful pigeon racing
How does someone manage to be dominant in the races for half a century without interruption and also provide countless people with quality pigeons? This question is often asked me.
Racing successfully with pigeons cannot be summarized in one sentence, but in a number of factors: Parts that have to complete the circle, the main is quality.
Quality is not taken seriously enough by too many. Those people are looking elsewhere. Where they don't have to look for it and in what are side issues for me.
While they were (and still are) looking for better medicines, better supplements and better veterinarians for decades, I was looking for better pigeons.
I am still grateful to myself for it.
The fact that I am reasonably capable of valuing results has certainly helped me.
In this respect I may say that I have built up a certain reputation.
If someone's star was rising somewhere, I would have been there already. Before anyone in the Netherlands had heard of Vandenabeele, I had already tipped off one Koen Minderhoud.
I was one of the first to arrive at Claessens, Houben and so on. Superman Eric Limbourg says in a film that I was the first foreigner to ring the doorbell, he was still playing with the youth at the time, and according to Leo Heremans, only one foreigner was there before me: German W Roeper.
Are results the only truth in pigeon sport? Hmmm. They say a lot about quality, but not everything. You have to be able to compare them.
So a 1st prize means little to me. I want to know where and against whom it was achieved. And under what circumstances.
As an example, that big competition from years ago. I 'lived' all the way east, there was a strong northwesterly wind, so my pigeons were very favored, which was reflected in the results.
To my surprise I saw that all the way 'west' an early pigeon had also been clocked. Although I had a handful of faster pigeons, I still gained respect for that pigeon, which performed so against the elements. After all, not only the wind direction, but also the mass of the birds.
That pigeon had quite alone detached itself from the rest.
Therefore I wanted it. I called the owner, introduced myself and the man then: "You're kidding me, aren't you? You are not AS.” "I don't see any reason to fool you."
He again: 'Come on. You had several pigeons yourself before that pigeon of mine.'
Let me keep my mouth shut I thought and that was a good thought. The next day the pigeon was in my loft between the pigeons that had preceded it on that flight. As a breeder he became superior.
Then there was the pigeon that performed so bizarrely well against enormous participation in different weather that it was talked about and not always complimented. Its performance was TOO exceptional.
Fair game? Anyway, I went with 5,000 guilders in my pocket to the fancier.
That was the price that I knew an acquaintance would gladly pay for such a pigeon. The man certainly didn't seem like a fraud to me, but that doesn't mean anything. I've known more evil characters behind an angelic face.
He couldn't make a pedigree, something that didn't interest me much, but I was shocked when he was honest enough to say that his wonder pigeon didn't have a brother or sister that could win a prize. I did not buy it. "You're not going to enjoy it much," I said to the man who bought it after all. And if that was true.
Good pigeons is often a matter of luck, but you can lend a helping hand. By not purchasing pigeons without a good family.
With pigeons from which brothers and sisters perform you have a better chance of acquiring a good breeder and two excellent racers from the same nest is the ultimate. Breed from such birds!
- The nest brother of super breeder 'Olympiade 003' from Gust Janssen was also a gifted racer.
- Danny van Dijck had his 112. As a youngster he flew minutes ahead in Union Antwerp. His nest brother, the 111, was little less. They both breed well.
- 'Harry' from Hooymans is known as a racer and breeder in all corners of the world where pigeons are raced. Less known is that his nest brother 'Cees' was also a phenomenal racer.
- I myself had my Ace Four and Supertje, the 145 and the 144, Nest buddies that by then on average over 11,000 pigeons had become 1st and 2nd Ace Pigeon in the Fed. What they brought about as breeders defies description. Now my 21-318 and 21-319, nest mates again, are 1st and 2nd Ace Pigeon. Leideman got two from the same parents that are possibly even better. This must provide enormous perspective.
The young Dutch National Champion Bals will in my opinion also be lucky. Two nest mates won 1st and 2nd against 10,000 pigeons. Such MUST be good breeders.
Of course, humans also make mistakes. For example, I should never have gotten rid of one of my National winners Orleans.
Those Japanese kept whining, also because he had a direct Janssen (son Jonge Merckx) as a father. He had triumphed with a tailwind, which was another reason to move him. How stupid I was.
As if beating 10,000 pigeons, even if only for a minute and with the wind behind, was a matter of luck.
How relative even winning is, I learnt from that Barcelona winner, a long time ago. This provincial winner in Antwerp would hardly have won a prize in Steenbergen, then the mecca of the long distance. But it was a provincial winner and sold as such. It is reminiscent of that pigeon from Gebr. v d Brande Berlaar.
In the Fed ‘Diamantverbond’ he won the 7th prize against about 100 pigeons, in surrounding competitions he would have won the 1st prize against more pigeons with the same speed.
A big mistake was also buying very expensive youngsters from what was then perhaps the country's best in the long distance. There was nothing wrong with the man, but he stuffed his pigeons full with (legal) medicines. "You will only succeed if you also treat them medically", I was told. So we didn't succeed.
It is best to get your pigeons in a region where they specialize. So for long distance pigeons you would rather not go to the long distance champion who plays in a 'vitesse nest'.
There is also more competition where many fanciers race few pigeons together and less where few fanciers race many pigeons together. 1,000 Pigeons entered by 12 fanciers or by 200 makes a big difference in average quality in my opinion. Furthermore, when you compare, you should not only pay attention to the speeds of the winners, but especially to the speed of the bird that wins the last prize.
Shorter duration of a race indicates better competition, but I'm happy to voice my opinion for a better one.
Ace Four (145) and 'Supertje' (144) were nest mates. They became 1st and 2nd Ace Provincial, 11,000 birds average in competition every race. Never happened before it says in this magazine. They both became sensational breeders!
In other articles more about selection Conditioning Health, observation, Luck. Pens and food.