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C & G Koopman (Part one of two)

Not one fancier in Holland, Belgium or Germany was talked about so much than Koopman in recent years. This father/son combination was a great name since long but their results have become fairy tale like in the last decade.
When it was real ‘pigeon weather’ (hot and headwinds) the name of the winner was often known even before the birds were released.
For many fanciers it was a surprise if Koopman did NOT win.

The secret of these pigeon men is that they know too well what you need to be a winner in this sport: Quality birds.
Whereas others are looking for better medicine, better vitamins or better vets Koopman and son have been after better birds all their lives.
It was in the 70-ies that they started to find them and to Belgium they went. Belgium was for them Louis van Loon and Janssen Brothers.
Could they have chosen better addresses?
The crossing of these birds resulted almost immediately in a type of pigeon that was superior to others.
In 1979 Koopman had the National Ace Short Distance and in 1980 the 3rd National Ace Middle Distance from about 56,000 fanciers in those days.
In 2003 Koopman has no less than 3 Olympiad birds among which 1st and 2nd Long Distance and also the years in between he was the man to be beaten.

In 1994 he was 1st World Champion V.l., he was National Champion fond and 2nd National Champion young birds.
Both in 1995 and in 1998 he was crowned 2nd World Champion V.L. ‘Emperor Qin’ (98-5821415) was 1st World Champion V.L. young birds in 1998.
In 2000 he was National Champion Middle Distance, he had the National Ace Middle Distance (‘Mister Ermerveen’) and meanwhile ‘Zeno’ (92-5310364) represented Holland at the Olympiad in Utrecht.
How many Provincial and Semi National NPO races were won Koopman does not know himself though he is not that old.
Anyway it is very doubtful if there is any fancier in Europe who can claim so many National titles, Semi National victories and Olympiad birds than Koopman.
Breath taking results such as the following became the trademark of Koopman.
Duffel 242 kms, 30.580 birds(!): 1, 2, 3 and so on.
Chimay 345 kms. 15.438 birds: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10 and so on.
From long distance races he was even more superior.
He races 40 widowhood cocks and 40 widowhood hens and 25 to 30 breeding pairs for the greater part based on the old bloodlines plus a mix van Dijck, Glazenburg and Van Hove Uytterhoeven must guarantee the future.
How father and son managed to turn a big farm into a world famous pigeonloft we will try to explain in detail.

Way back in the 70-ies Arendonk and Poppel were the places to be for good birds. In Arendonk they purchased no less than 20 birds from Janssen brothers. Those were not cheap indeed but Koopman did not care. They just wanted the best that was available for money.
Two of the Janssenbirds turned out to be sensational breeders, the so-called ‘Gouden Duifje’ and ‘Raket 84’.
It is well known that Janssen Brothers raced from Quievrain (145 kilometres) and Noyon (245 kilometres) but nearby Arendonk lived a man who destroyed the races from 300 to 700 kilometres.
His name was Louis van Loon who had created a kind of own family with birds from Cattrijsse, Janssens, Van Rhijn Kloeck, Van Tuyn and De Smet Mathijs.
So also to van Loon they went. He did not only supply them with good birds but became a friend and a teacher as well.
Gerard: ‘It is him who taught me so many ins and outs of this sport that I doubt if I would ever have become great without his advice’.
I myself live very close to van Loon (on the other side of the border though) and still remember the Christmas presents ma Koopman sent me in those days to take to Louis van Loon. They were meant to show their gratitude. The most important thing they learnt from van Loon was that you should breed from the Super birds themselves rather than from birds related to them.
And a super, van Loon always says, is a bird that has been racing well during three years or even longer.
Birds that race good for only one or two years are no birds to build on.
So it was mainly the van Loon birds crossed with the Janssens that would be at the base of one of the most impressing careers in our sport. The career of father Cornelis Koopman and his son Gerard.

Janssens ‘Golden Duifje’ (B-81-6116734) was a granddaughter of ‘Oude Geeloger’ on father’s side (B-74-6696296).
Her mother was ‘Goed Duifje from 72’ (B-72-6112590, a daughter of famous ‘Young Merckx’ and ‘Schone Duivin’, the mother of 019!).
Koopman mated ‘Golden Duifje’ to 78-1342748, a blue white flight that was of the Janssens, Smeulders and Delbarblood and this pair gave two absolute Wonder birds:
- 85-105259, called ‘De Zitter’ and
- 88-2763998 ‘De Beatrixdoffer’.

‘DE ZITTER’ (85-105259) AND HIS BROTHER ‘BEATRIXDOFFER’ (88-2763988)

‘De Zitter’ won:
- Den Bosch 4,540 p – 1st
- Strombeek 2,788 p – 1st
- Venette 6,369 p – 2nd
- Den Bosch 3,787 p – 2nd

‘De Zitter’ was a super breeder as well and became father of illustrious birds such as:
‘Ons Louis’ 88-913 that won 1st S-National Bourges from 7,688 birds.
‘Formido’ 93-400 that won 1st Interprovincial Derby Cambrai from 4,969 birds.
‘Gerjo’ 93-398 that won 1st Beek from 2,205 birds.
‘Cornelia’ 89-749, mother of ‘Johan’. ‘Johan’ won 1st S-National Creil from no less than 16,439 birds. (Semi National means section 7, later on section 10) and last but not least:
‘Mother Gentil’ 91-5112715.

‘De Beatrixdoffer’ won:
- St Ghislain 10,828 p – 1st
- St Ghislain 3,717 p – 1st

Also ‘De Beatrixdoffer’ was a miraculous breeder and gave birds such as:
‘Zeno’ (92-5310364) that represented Holland at the Olympiad in Utrecht in 1995.
At the age of 9 years ‘De Beatrixdoffer’ gave:
‘Noble Blue’ (97-2253103). Then ‘De Beatrixdoffer’ was mated to ‘Golden Lady’, the legendary daughter off of ‘De Kannibaal’. So ‘Noble Blue’ is a halfbrother of ‘Kleine Dirk’ and… he is father to the two wonder birds ‘Mr Ermerveen’ and ‘Miss Ermerveen’.
Those birds, world famous now, will be introduced later on.

‘RAKET 84’ (B-84-6726519) AND VAN LOONHEN (B-85-6294112)
This was another spectacular breeding pair in the 80-ies.
‘Raket’ was also purchased from Janssen Bros, 85-112 from Louis van Loon.
People often talk about Golden Couples, too often in my opinion, but this WAS a Golden Couple.
They became the parents of the legendary ‘Eric’ a bird that was THE sensation of West European pigeon sport in the early 90-ies.

‘Eric’ (88-4024619) won:
- Uden 15,511 p – 1st
- Beek 14,881 p – 1st
- St Ghislain 2,206 p – 1st
- Etampes 302 p – 1st
- Houdeng 8,422 p – 3rd
- St Quentin 14,326 p – 12th

‘Super racers are the best breeders’ Louis van Loon always said.
‘Eric’ WAS an outstanding breeder but two of his sisters had inherited the breeding capacities of this family as well.
One sister (88-4024671) became mother of ‘Branco’ and as mentioned before mated with ‘De Beatrixdoffer’ she gave Olympiadbird ‘De Zeno’ (92-5310364).
‘Eric’ himself became father of:
‘Sultan’ (93-395) which was 7th National Ace as a baby and won 1st Semi National
NPO Etampes (15,750 birds) as a yearling, 22 minutes ahead of the rest.
’94-245’ that won Beek 5,251 p – 1st and last but not least
‘Gentil’ (92-5310320) the top breeder number one of recent years.

THE MAGIC PAIR ‘GENTIL’ (92-5310320) AND ‘GOLDEN LADY’ (B-96-6286060)

‘Gentil’, the son of ‘Eric’ was mated to ‘Golden Lady’ and this pair gave birth to one super after the other. If their children were not outstanding racers they were outstanding breeders.
Gerard considers ‘Gentil’ and ‘Golden Lady’ the best breeding pair he ever had, others consider it the best breeding pair that ever was!!

‘Gentil’ (92-5310320) won:
- Orleans 4,006 p – 1st
- Minderhout 1,407 p – 1st
- Minderhout 4,333 p – 2nd
- Orleans 10,997 p – 4th
- Cambrai 2,175 p – 4th
- Reusel 4,525 p – 6th
- Houdeng 3,707 p – 10th
- Bourges 1,286 p – 10th
- Duffel 4,160 p – 11th

‘Gentil’ was at the Olympiad in Basel in 1997, he was 2nd World Champion VL in 1995 (long distance) and 4th World Champion VL in 1994.

Let’s switch over to ‘Gentil’s partner ‘Golden Lady’.
Koopman would not be Koopman if he had stopped his search for the best birds available after he had laid hands on the Janssen and van Loon birds.
Belgian Dirk van Dijck from Zandhoven had a Wonder bird in 1996, called ‘De Kannibaal’ whose results were so good that he became National Ace.
Koopman heard about this bird and headed south.
At a Champion parade of pigeon magazine De Duif he bought a daughter of ‘De Kannibaal’ mated with ‘Sister Rambo’.
‘Rambo’ was another Ace at the Van Dijckloft in those days and had won 3 firsts in the legendary Antwerp Union.
Buying B-96-6286060 was one of the best things he ever did.
She was such an outstanding breeder that he named her ‘Golden Lady’ later on.
It is mainly descendants of ‘Golden Lady’ and ‘Gentil’ that are responsible for the recent successes.

(Will be continued)