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Affinity and more

In the pigeon sports magazine De Duif of March 2016 there were interesting loft reports on young Bart Geerinckx and Dutch Nico Volkens.
I know them both pretty well.
Bart is a full time professional, which may look kind of strange in these days.
Because sadly enough pigeon sport is collapsing rapidly. In my province alone in 2015 the entry went down with 265,000 birds compared with 2014.
Every year the number of fanciers goes down. Every year there are fewer clubs, fewer food stores, fewer specialised vets, less attention in the media and so on.
The only thing that increases is the number of pros
30 Year old Bart Geerinckx is one of them. Last month Stefaan Lambrechts, also still in his thirties, decided to quit his job and became a pro as well.
Some fellow sportsmen are not happy with this development. They are afraid the gap between the top and the rest will even become bigger than it already is.
“But times they are a changing” Bob Dylan taught us and there is no other choice than to accept. As for me there is not much wrong with becoming a pro.
Moreover: Is not it fun for the “little man” with his little loft to beat such profs that race an army?
Young Bart Geerinckx (second from left) became a full time pro after father Luc (right) passeed away.  

The other report was on Dutch long distance star Niko Volkens.
He lives in a province which is, in my opinion, the best as for great long distance.
Not only from Holland but from All Europe.
Better long distance birds you will not find anywhere.
In the magazine you can read about the Golden Pair of Volkens.
I often say that those so-called Golden Pairs that especially Easterners like to talk about hardly exist.
“Hardly”, because there are exceptions. Volkens is such an exception.
He called this outstanding pair: “The Bonte Koppel.”
The Dutch word “bont” refers to some white in the featherings.
Scientists believe that what is born out of "love" is more valuable and more vital.
This applies to both humans and animals. Affinity it is called.
The famous “Bonte Koppel” of Volkens was a result of free mating, their babies were “love babies”. And what kind of.  
It is reminiscent of what I once experienced with my late friend David Lin Yun Ta.
He published my articles in Taiwan and China. Once I complained it was not easy for me, because I do not know what fanciers over there would like to read. Our pigeon cultures are o so different.
David: “Fanciers here would like to learn how to breed good pigeons.”
”How to breed good pigeons?”
“It is not maths”, I said and added that I believed in free mating.
When he heard this he looked as if he saw water burn.
Let pigeons themselves find a partner? I could not be serious. But I was and referred to super pigeons, known all over the world, that were born of parents that chose their partner themselves.
And I thought of all those Easterners that asked fanciers in Europe to mate a certain cock with a certain hen.  If they did they would buy babies.  
The man with the striped shirt is the late Mr Lin Yun Ta.  
How good the descendant of the pair of Volkens were was shown in that amazing race from Barcelona (1265 km). 12 Birds in the race won 12 prizes International.
Both the cock and the hen of “Bonte Koppel” were born in 1990. Volkens got them from Sam de Jong.
Never heard of this Sam de Jong?
There are many super racers that are un known abroad.
As for me Sam de Jong was the best some decades ago.
The point is that in those days (the pre Internet era) in pigeon sport the media formed our opinions.
Sam de Jong was not a seller and he did not advertise and such persons were and still are not interesting for the media.
I had a dinner with Gaston v d Wouwer and his wife Maria.
I met Gaston for the first time when we both were guest speakers at seminar in the little town of Beerse. I still remember what he told me then and there: “People know me now, but believe me, in the past I had better birds. But then I only raced short distance with few birds. And in such a situation you will never get the credits you deserve, regardless how good your results are.”
How right he was.
G v d Wouwer
Later, back in 2008 , I bought some babies from Gaston. They cost me 100 € each apart from children of his “Kaasboer”.
For a young cock of this top breeder I had to pay 1,000 €, which I did.
But too bad, none of its babies was any good. So I the poulterer would be his next destination.
But this is a small world. When dealers heard about my plans they contacted me and wanted to buy the son of “Kaasboer”. “It has proven to be no good at all” I said.
They laughed at me,for them this was no issue.
The had clients and the only thing that mattered for them was the pedigree.
One dealer offered me 2,000 euros. I did not feel like selling a bird that had proven to be no good and therefore I called Gaston.
“Sell it” he said, ”it may be a good breeder elsewhere.
I listened to him, sold it and this turned out to be a big mistake businesswise.
The dealer sold it for 5,000 euros!!
During the dinner Gaston told me some things that may interest you.
- He himself never paid any money for pigeons.
- He only raced/races hens, because he learnt they perform far better than cocks.
He is not the only one. Also champions like Jef van Winckel, Daniels and de Bisschop stopped racing cocks.
And what about Luc van Mechelen? In 2015 he had 6 Ace Pigeons KBDB. All hens.
- Gaston is not a slave of his hobby. He takes care of the hens only once a day and that is late in the evening.
- He does not race his babies “on the nest” (natural) nor with separated sexes as so many do; his system is something in between.
He mates his young hens with old cocks.
Racing “on the door” like we call it is a good system but not good enough, he says. Young hens need a fixed partner.
The couple should be mated well but not come on eggs.
Food for thought! 
Jan de Bisschop and father Gustaaf saw the light. The only race hens.