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To be or not to be

Every now and then there are other names that are in the spot lights.

I mean other names of fanciers and other names of pigeons.

In the past 'Oud Doffertje (v d Wegen), Dolle (van Geel), 131 (de Weert), 'Meeuw' (Dr. Linssen) 019 (Janssen), 'Vechter x Witpenneke' (Klak). 'Zwarte Moordenaars (Braakhuis), 'Fieneke' and the Golden Pair of Meulemans were hot.  

In recent years people from all over the world are after descendants of 'Schellens', 'Figo', 'Wittenbuik', 'Kleine Dirk', 'Kannibaal' and De Rauw Sablon.

The names I mentioned deserve their fame because pigeons like Figo, Wittenbuik, Kleine Dirk, and Kannibaal and so on gave many good birds but' even more bad ones.

But no one talks about the bad ones, nor do they get any publicity.  

Thus many are misled since they think a bird is good if it descends from a famous pigeon and furthermore many do not realise that there are or were many super birds that never got famous.

In this article I will talk about a real famous bird ('Kannibaal') and a bird that is not famous ('Vip'), but which one was a better racer!


The fact that certain pigeons or pigeon families are trendy is as old as pigeon sport.

They are trendy because fanciers think they are superior to others, while others think about makingmoney.

Take the recessive reds from Meulemans.

When they got hot Meulemans himself did not even have one such a bird himself, so he imported them and thus he could sell fanciers what they asked for.

In the 80-ies Romein got a fantastic red Janssen bird, named 'Rooie Appie'.

'Rooie' refers to the colour (red) and 'Appie' to the man where Romein got the bird:  Albert van der Flaes. 'Appie' is slang for Albert'.

Since 'Rooie Appie' got much publicity many people wanted red Janssens then, especially Japanese and Americans.

Janssen Brothers themselves did not have any reds in those days, but since many fanciers were after them the Janssens imported red birds just in order to sell.

Klak was different.

He only wanted Janssens but no red ones since he did not like them and did not care for the money.



So pigeons and fanciers also owe their fame to money which I will show by some more examples.



One of them is Hofkens.

He raced supers but was pretty unknown, since he did not like publicity.

After he passed away his birds were auctioned for a fortune since smarter guys knew how good they were.

And guess what?

A bit later fellow sportsmen suddenly 'realised' they also had Hofkens and advertised them.

It makes me think of Arie van den Hoek and his grizzles.


Arie van den Hoek.

Arie was a scribe, many Belgians liked his articles but not his birds since many were Dutch and' grizzles.

The auction after his death was a success as well which was reason for some to import grizzles and offer them for sale, claiming they were 'van den Hoek birds'.


Van Rhijn Kloeck.

And there was Van Rhijn Kloeck, probably the best racers ever in the province of Antwerp.

At the time that they destroyed the races one could read many ads from people who offered van Rhijn Kloeck pigeons for sale.

Then, when the results of van Rhijn Kloeck went down no one seemed to have their  birds any more, since you could not find the name in ads any longer.



Today 'Kannibaal blood' is hot both at home and abroad.

Today is 2007 and 'Kannibaal' was the best of Belgium in1996.

In its pedigree we find un known names, like usual, and it was born by coincidence, which is usual as well.

In 1995 Dirk lost a bird in winter, therefore he could not mate his birds as he wanted to, and that was his luck: Kannibaal was born.

It is about the same story as of Klak's '613'.

Its father was so ugly that he wanted to get rid of it but since a cock was caught by a hawk he was short of a male, therefore he kept a bird that he did not want to keep, it became father of his '613'.  

'Kannibaal' (95-6246005) stunned the nation in 1996 when it won:

- Dourdan     727 p ' 1st

- Dourdan  1.060 p ' 3rd

- Marne        856 p ' 1st

- Dourdan    694 p ' 1st

- Orleans  5.140 p ' 7th

This meant a coefficient of 0,8177% and no bird in Belgium was better that year.

With such results the bird would have had no chance at all to be an Ace in Holland but that is not a matter of quality but of the number birds in the races.

I was one of the persons who tried to buy Kannibaal, but Dirk did not sell which turned out to be one of the smartest things he ever did.



10 Years later, in 2005, Crucke bought a round of babies from van Lancker for 25 euros each.

Never heard about Van Lancker before?

You need not be ashamed of that; in the mid nineties few people had heard about van Dijck.

Crucke is no fool, he knows pedigrees do not mean much and he compared breeding good pigeons with a lottery; the more tickets the more chances.

Therefore he bought a whole round to enhance his chances to have a good one among them andthe babies were not off the breeders but off the racers.

But how do you find out if a bird is any good?

Right, by racing them.

So he raced the birds he had bought and one became National Ace in 2006.

Some consider this bird (B-05-4247376) the best ever.

Crucke bought babies from the racers indeed since he knew too well that 'breeder' is no more than a name that we give to a bird.

His grizzle, called 'Vip' won from the Inter provincial races in 2006:

Chateauroux       3.665 p ' 1st

Bourges              1.752 p ' 1st       

Argenton             4.104 p ' 2nd

Chateauroux      2.793 p ' 3rd

Blois                   1.245 p ' 7th

Orleans              2,242 p -16th.

Even if it would have won one prize less it would have been the best of Belgium.

Its coefficient (4 races) 0,2405 % was far better than that of 'Kannibaal' and another difference is that VIP was raced INTERPROVINCIAL (West and East Flanders).

In these Inter provincial races the best birds of the best fanciers of the 2 biggest pigeon provinces compete, while 'Kannibaal' was not even raced provincial.

Sympathetic Dirk van Dijck, the breeder of Kannibaal, his father, and sympathethic pipa guys Nik and Thomas. (photo Pipa). 


'Kannibaal' was a super racer but 'Vip' was better.

Unfortunately the bird can't help that it will never be as famous as 'Kannibaal' since it was sold to China.

Would his off spring be as good as those of 'Kannibaal?'

No one can tell but some things are interesting:

Neither - Van Dijck nor Crucke paid much money for the birds or the parents.

- None of those 2 supers have famous names in their pedigrees.

- Both birds were children of YEARLING racers.

- 'Kannibaal' made van Dijck world famous; the breeder of 'Vip' will never be famous.

- In the past one could buy children or brothers of Kannibaal at reasonable prices since it was not that famous then, today people pay crazy prices for its children.

Now you may wonder if I wrote this article because I bought 'Vip blood' in order to make money on them.

I DID buy 6 brothers and sisters of VIP indeed but that was not the reason to write this article. The birds were for a friend in the Far East and are gone.

Was it smart not to keep them for myself?

No one can ever tell, thanks God.  

 Charles van Lancker, real rich and real happy. He is the breeder of 'Vip', probably the best racer ever and he can dance all night long though he is of an older generation.
Photo: M Ku