And....Again food for thought
When I moved to the little town in which I live now (8,000 inhabitants) there were 4 clubs, today there is only.
In a neighbouring little village were 86 fanciers, now there are 9.
In the City of Tilburg there were 1.700 fanciers, today there are 90.
It is really depressing.
In Poland there are 47.000 fanciers now. What did we in Holland and Belgium do wrong?
This dramatic development was not the only change.
One of the reasons that fanciers found this sport so interesting some decades ago was that they could win much money in the races.
Take me for example.
In those days my pigeons won more money than I could make by working.
Today there is little or no money in the races.
The money is gone, together with the fanciers.
Watching the home coming of the birds. Not from a one loft race but at Houbens. How popular pigeon sport was in the past !
Today fanciers can still make money though, but not in the races but by selling birds.
Not to Dutch and Belgian fanciers, they do not give much money for pigeons, but to foreigners.
In the 70-ies the Japanese started buying, then the Taiwanese came and now it is the Chinese.
Of course they do not buy just birds, they want them from fanciers here who have a name, in other words; fanciers who are famous.
So what Belgian and Dutch fanciers should do to make money is: become famous.
"But that is not easy if they do not have good birds" you may think.
This is a wide spread misunderstanding.
There are lots of fanciers who are world famous, fanciers who sell a lot, but... whose birds are of poor quality.
What you need in our countries near the North Sea to become famous is:
- Race Long Distance.
- Race many birds.
- Be on good terms with the media, which of course implies that you pay them.
- And preferably have a strain.
Small fanciers who only race middle distance because they do not have enough birds to race long distance as well, can forget it. Even if they have super birds chances are great they will be ignored.
Lofts like these you see everywhere in Belgium. Reminders of the glorious past.
Take me and myself for arguments sake.
In 2009 I had entered 3 pigeons for a Long distance race from Blois.
Provincial I won 2nd and 3rd, S-National 9th and 12th.
One week later there were reports in the press on fanciers with a so-called good result from that race.
My name was not mentioned, a fellow fancier who won 18 prizes got all the attention.
But... this man had entered 37 birds and when I had 2 of my birds home (so only one was missing) he did not even have one bird from the 37 he had entered.
It seems impressing when you see somebody"s name 18 times in the result sheet.
More impressing than the name that is only mentioned twice.
And such things often happen.
A man who wins 40 prizes from 100 birds that he entered was in fact average.
The man who won 5 prizes from 5 birds he entered was super.
But the first man makes the show, he often gets all the attention.
Smart people who can read results well are aware of this.
You know what happens here?
Many champions go to the small unknown fanciers with few but good birds when they want to improve their family.
There they buy pigeons for little money while they themselves sell them for much money.
At least if the buyers are foreigners... !!!
It is the media that make foreigners eager to have birds from certain fanciers here. The media are the "opinion makers".
Smart fanciers in Holland and Belgium who do not have birds to win races in the first place realise that and gladly pay for publicity.
Unfortunately many fanciers abroad do not realise that publicity is not always made because fanciers race so well but they paid for it. Or their middle men did.
And when those sellers cannot show results they show off with strains and popular bloodlines, since they know how naive many fellow sportsmen are.
ALWAYS THE SAME
When Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese or whoever hear about a super bird the first thing they ask is: "What strain is it?"
The same thing happens when somebody races real well.
I will never forget that visit of a Chinese with his Dutch friend back in 2005.
They wanted to buy 6 birds.
After they had found 6 pigeons that they liked I gave them the pedigrees and they left. After 10 minutes however the doorbell rang and there they were again.
Had they forgotten something?
No they had not. The Chinese had had a quick look at the pedigrees and there was one he did not like.
The bird was off my 04-124 which was not bred by me but by Leo Heremans.
And this was a problem for that Chinese.
He had never heard this name of Heremans, therefore he asked if I would be so nice as to replace the bird.. That was no problem.
And guess what happened in September 2012?
He mailed me if I could buy him 12 birds from Leo Heremans !
No chance of course.
Then, believe it or not, he asked if he could buy my 04-124.
Then he would have at least ONE Heremans bird.
Back in 2005 Leo had super birds but he was unknown in China.
Today the whole world knows his name and half the world are after his birds.
I was the first one to buy his pigeons for friends in Taiwan and China. That was back in 2003. Why for friends only?
Because others would not have wanted pigeons from a man they never heard of.
The Heremans birds are a hype now.
Suddenly half the country seems to have Heremans birds now if you believe all the ads in the pigeonmagazines and on the Internet.
In fact I got 6 birds from Leo Heremans back in 2004, only one is left.
Because also Heremans breeds bad pigeons but that is something only Heremans himself seems to be aware of .
Sometimes I feel sorry for all those who buy castles in the air from the money they have worked for so hard.
And I wonder what name will be the next hype.