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Silver (2) 31-12-2021

Silver (2)

 As you could read in previous article, the headline ('silver') refers to 25 years of writing articles. Also to 25 years of contacts with champions and what I learned in those years. To benefit yourself and also to share with you.


What characterizes pigeon sport in recent years is the large amount of money involved. And the naivety of many (mostly) foreign buyers in this regard. The number of sales only seems to increase, some even for the umpteenth time 'total'. One such fancier sold all his old ones, including a series of pigeons with a fantastic record. The yield was very disappointing compared to sales of lofts that performed much less. And it had a reason. There were no or few well-known names in the pedigrees of those pigeons that could win from 200 to 700 km against a large participation.
Some pigeons with a breathtaking record of achievements yielded less than youngsters that never saw a basket from the inside but did come from famous lofts.
There are even examples of youngsters who were paid more than that entire loft of performance pigeons. Just unbelievable.


Also take the almost total sales of Andre Roodhooft. That was certainly a success, but men who do not reach his ankles in performance made more of their pigeons. Same story here. There are examples of youngsters that had not yet proven anything for which more was paid than for top pigeons from Andre.


By the way, now that we are talking about names, by far most have become famous  with pigeons from completely unknown fanciers, mostly from their own region.Willy Daniels was perhaps the best in this century in the ‘little long distance’. Besides Voets, the pedigrees of his miracle birds show names that are only known in their own region.
William Geerts, who died much too early, is another such example. Acquired world fame with sprint birds from unknown Fonske Jacops.
Ludo Claessens got his stock pigeon from a fellow townsman and on a market.  Platteeuw and D v Dijck also bred many of their top birds from pigeons from mostly unknown locals, ‘sprint men’ in most cases.
Who doesn't know ‘de Leeuw’ and the Extreme from Wouters? The well-known Jos Vercammen and son certainly do. Just look at the pedigree of those two truly exceptional breeders.
Raoul Verstraete acquired world fame at the time, especially through descendants of a bird named Uno, which was a phenomenon, by the way. Uno was able to fly minutes ahead and even won 1st National Bourges. Not for  Raoul. He had bought it from a completely unknown local.


Over the years I have made a lot of loft reports of famous fanciers.In doing so, I mainly wanted to point out what distinguished the champion from others. I also kept asking about supplements that they gave their birds. Or the name of a supplement that they absolutely did not want to miss.
You don't want to know how different the answers were. And how fervently some believed in the beneficial effects of the "stuff" they gave.But there were/are also the more down-to-earth fanciers and I include myself among them.
Those are people who had already tried everything and completely lost their faith in 90% of the supplements because they noticed no difference. But watch out. I don't want to influence anyone. Are you successful and do you think it is due to some kind of supplement? Keep it up and ignore me.


In the aforementioned eighties it became clear to me: The really good pigeons also perform with tail winds. Especially with tailwind I would almost say.
Quite a few fellow sportsmen and scribes did not agree. But those many years of writing taught me that this was right. Too many times you can read about a super pigeon that won 1st prizes against enormous participation with strong headwind, but also at almost 1,800 mpm.I mentioned the '80s'.
When I once again won National Orleans (zone) it was with a cock on little babies and with a tailwind. Two years later I sold it. Also because I had heard too often that it won with a tailwind. As if they wanted to say: ‘A lucky winner.’
He still came from a Son of Jonge Merckx from Janssen Bros. But what a mistake it was for me to get rid of that pigeon it would turn out later on.
Apparently I was stupid enough not to realize that winning with a lead of a minute against 10.000 pigeons also had to indicate an extra talent.   


There are examples of fanciers who quit the sport because they believed that they could forget successes if they did not toss their pigeons frequently.Especially young pigeons. They did not feel like going on the road with them almost daily. Although it undoubtedly has advantages, especially on the first flights.
I found that it is not a necessity. That you can do without. Falco Ebben also experienced this. He became a good racer, especially with the descendants of some of my pigeons. And Falco never made it a secret that he often tossed his babies in between the races. In 2021, however, he only hit the road once a week.
However, this was not reflected in the performance. He performed as usual. 


What I also learned in all those years? That even the best pigeons in the world can also give junk. Others taught me that and I experienced it in my own loft. Therefore my incomprehension every time when more is paid for a single youngster that never saw a basket than for an entire loft of performance pigeons.

The pedigree madness in our sport is bad, but you hear so much more nonsense. It made me conclude that what distinguishes (potential) champions from others is that they know how to separate sense from nonsense. Or call it essentials from details.

 Good pigeons I call a main thing. Supplements, driving, eye colour and so on I call details.


 My '164' that won 1st against 26,000 birds in the nineties. Not pretty at all. Even the colour, smokey blue, was ugly.