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Special pigeons (10-03)

Special pigeons

 Most of us once had pigeons or remember them because they were different for some reason.

The man had bought some eggs here and after the season I saw him again. To show the babies. They seemed healthy, of good shape and I didn't know anything else. He also had a piece of paper with the origin and the performances as a youngster. I knew he had the eggs from the parents of a phenomenal racer. A real super. He did not have the young from those eggs with him. They had already been lost from the first flights. Because of too stupid? Could be. Believe me. If you have a super racers there is no guarantee that the parents will ever give one again. Despite all the stories about inbreeding, line breeding, golden couples, breeding eyes, graders and experts.

It was before the turn of the century that I became kind of friends with Leytens Bros, who were unbeatable at the time. "I've discovered a man who races super, I have some of his birds and will give you one", I promised. Vandenabeele was the man but he was unknown at the time. "I have a son of his ‘Kleinen’ and you will get a baby from it’’ I said. They never heard of ‘Kleinen’ either, but what was there to lose? A few years later the brothers had a pigeon that was unbeatable in the long distance. Their "World Champion". Bred from my present and when I was there I wanted to see it again. The brothers looked at each other and one nodded. As if he wanted to say "ok, just say it." What was the story? Before the son excelled in the long distance, the father, that pigeon of mine, was brought to the poulterer. He did not even get home from the shortest training flight. Until the men got tired of picking up that rascal  everywhere. By the way, you often hear examples like this.

I remember the first pigeon I bought. It was "the old light", a six-year-old cock belonging to an uncle from nearby Ulicoten. Half the village was involved in pigeon sport at the time (they had little else), and half the village knew "the Light" because it won so much money for my uncle. But what half the village also knew was that he had never given a youngster that could win a prize with any hen.Still, I wanted to take a chance and asked my uncle if I could buy that pigeon. That was possible. Five guilders, (2 euros). I was 12 years old then and I have never completely forgiven him. But you don't believe it: From then on, in my loft, he gave one good after another, with which hen it didn't matter. It is from then that I have learned to put a lot in perspective in pigeon sport. 

One of the names that will live on in pigeon sport as long as it exists is that of Desmet Matthijs.The pigeons of Valere and brother-in-law Julien have written history with those of contemporaries such as Delbar, Hector Desmet, Oscar Devriendt and Catrijsse. The story Desmet Matthijs is the story of that one pigeon: the legendary "Klaren" (46-3060539). At the age of 21, he breathed his last, but even then he was a legend. It was a middle distance racer, but the one time he flew the long distance, National Chateauroux, was won. If "de Klaren" was a gifted racer, he was even better as a breeder. Descendants such as "de Genaaiden", "de Rik" and "de Kapoen" were long distance aces out of thousands and would make the name Desmet Matthijs a household name in all corners of the world where pigeons were raced.As a youngster, "de Klaren" did not win a decent prize and did not seem capable of it. It should be known that at that time exhibitions in "the Flanders" were very popular and Valere Desmet put "that dummy who couldn't win a prize" on a show. Then he immediately knew what the judge thought about it.The comment was short: "Soup." Barely six months later, the career of one of the best pigeons to have ever flown began. And his parents? They just ran into each other. "De Klaren" was the only really good one ever born from that couple. For graders, connoisseurs, writers know-it-alls and anyone who is interested in good pigeons again "food for thought". 

The name of "Lehmler" will not mean much to young people. Or they must live in the Tilburg region and have heard its name from the elderly.And unfortunately I also belong to the latter. Wim was an adept of Kees Noyen, at the time one of the best in the Netherlands with few pigeons. If not THE best. Wim also had Noyen pigeons and what kind of. He played even better than his teacher and playing well was very profitable at the time. As usual at the time, there was also a lot of gossip. "Lehmler had a secret." "His pigeons could only go as far as Orleans, 450 kms."Until he got tired of it and basketed five pigeons for the Semi National race Chateauroux, about 600 km.After the flight, the competition, or what thought to pass before, could lick the wounds. The five arrived almost together, all very early and won all the money.

It is reminiscent of the show of Fernand and Koen Marien a few years ago from Bourges. By way of exception, they (also) put five pigeons in, which all five classified very early. National that is to say. Both Lehmler and Marien were formidable Middle Distance players but got their most sensational results at long distance. In Belgium Willy Daniels is currently superior in the little long distance. On his  pedigree cards you can see that they mainly descend from sprint birds.

One of the very best long distance birds in the history of the Dutch pigeon sport was one of Louis and Eugene Stabel from Goirle. He won the 16th National Bergerac, the 7th National St Vincent and the 3rd National Dax in three consecutive races, at that time against enormous numbers of pigeons. They had just gotten that phenomenon from fellow townsman H Verhoeven. Because he had hens left in a year that Stabel had too little. Would Verhoeven ever have given that pigeon to Stabel if he hadknown what he gave away? Do not believe!  

- Breed many youngsters from your better pigeons and race them. The more lots, the more chances.

- If you have a good one, you have no certainty that the same parents will ever give a good one again.

- You often get good pigeons purely by coincidence.

- Many short distance players in Belgium do not realize what their pigeons are capable of on the further distances. "You won't find the best Middle Distance pigeons in Belgium on the result sheets, because fanciers keep them back for sprint races.

 The release of a short distance race. Many of these birds can easily handle the long distance but the fancier is not aware of that.