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South Africa

The one million dollar race in Sun City South Africa needs no introduction.

I got several mails about the last race.

Some were anonymous. Something like:

I do not like such mails. It looks like those people want to hide something.

Normally I delete them, this time I read some.



One mail was about the on the million dollar race and it was critical. The man, presumably a Belgian, claimed the results were manipulated.

'How else could I explain that year after year the Belgians achieved such poor results while Germans and also fanciers from 'developing pigeon countries' often beat pigeons from famous Belgian champions' he complained.

I once discussed this issue with a Belgian big name.

He had entered 6 birds; none of them was in time in any of the races.

'Yes, but I am not such a fool as to enter my best birds' he said.

Come on.

Enter your 6 worst birds and pay 6,000 USD for them?

People like him can make a horse laugh.

I am sure the results are NOT manipulated; the Belgian birds are just not good enough!

In such races names and strains do not count. And pedigrees from here to Tokyo do not count either.



A Dutch mailer was critical about Pipa.

They wrote on their site that Koopman was again outstanding while the truth was his performance was real poor with 4 birds in the first 100 from' 110 birds he had entered.

27 of those 110 had returned, so 83 of them did not!

He was right. Coincidentally Pipa had an auction of Koopman birds at the time and it was not smart publish this. The whole world could see the real result so their publication was bad for their credibility.

He also blamed Pipa for the crazy prices that were paid for pigeons.

Those prices are crazy indeed.

No bird in the world is worth 250.000 euro, no baby is worth 86.000 euro.

Moreover every serious fancier knows that good racers need not be good breeders.



Another mail, probably from a German, was less critical but there was some sarcasm in it.

'The Chinese and others pay fortunes for Dutch and Belgian birds but the one loft races all over the world show they are no better than others' he said.

Especially the Germans dominate year after year.

What he forgot was that those foreigners, Germans included, got the ancestors of their winning birds in Holland and Belgium.

How can such things be explained?

Well, here we come to the one and only real secret in pigeon sport: Selection.



Those one loft races are organised in countries where the circumstances are far more difficult than in Belgium.

Countries that are as flat as Belgium and Holland simply do not exist.

How different are the countries in which the buyers of 'our' pigeons live.

You simply cannot compare Germany, England, South Africa, Portugal and so on with Holland and Belgium.

There the birds have to face heat, mountains, valleys, lakes, and woods, and so on on their way home while the country side 'here' is as flat as a billiard.

Moreover 'our' birds often have tailwinds and they are only released in nice weather, while in other countries they are more easy going as regards the weather on a racing day.  

So what happens?

The buyers of 'our' pigeons race their descendants under much harder circumstances with the result that throughout the years they have created a bird that has fewer problems overcoming the hard conditions on their way home.



Long way back I was in Japan. I was invited by a man who races my birds and won races from 1,000 kilometres.

I was shocked when I heard read this.

My birds that were raced from 1,000 kilometres and even won such races?

No way. They just cannot handle such distances.

But when I saw his birds, so my family in the 5th or 6th generation, I did not recognise them. Those birds were quite different from mine.

Very strong types, created by selection on the races throughout the years.

The survivors of the fittest.

What I want to say is this:  

I do not find it so strange that foreigners beat the Belgians and the Dutch in one loft races all over the world.



And do you know what is so remarkable?

The winner of the final race is very often a bird which did not perform before.

It seems that you need short distance birds for the first races but long distance birds for the final race. So in fact all round birds.

But the Belgians do not have all round birds, they specialise; race either short distance or middle distance or long distance.

The racing program in Germany is quite different. They have no other choice than to race the same birds from all distances.

Moreover the German birds have to overcome mountains on their way home, the Dutch and Belgian pigeons do not know what mountains are.

So it is obvious that for one loft races you need all round birds.

Foreigners appear to have such birds, Belgians not.