National Aces the best?
Are National Aces National Aces?
Every autumn the National Aces of Holland and Belgium are published in the media.
These birds are supposed to be the best in their category of the past year.
'National Ace' means the Ace (best bird) of the nation.
But are these birds really the best?
I dare to doubt that for several reasons.
But first I want to deal with some misunderstandings.
Fanciers who read those publications may have noticed that different birds are described as 1st National Ace and understandably they raise eye brows.
Only one bird can be 1st Ace National.
The point is that all pigeon magazines in Holland and Belgium have their own so-called National championship.
In Holland the National competition called 'WHZB' is very popular, probably because this competition is so old.
But it is just the championship of a magazine (NP Orgaan).
Another magazine ('het Spoor') also has its national championships with other calculations.
In Belgium they have the championships of BDS which is (or was?) strangely enough popular in Japan.
It is again the championship of a magazine, this time a very small one with very few subscribers and only the subscribers can send in results.
A club (Ave Regina) has its championships, which some also call 'national' but most fanciers has never heard about it.
In fact Belgium has only one REAL National championship: That is from KBDB.
And also Holland has only got one that is official: That is from NPO!
So the champions and Aces from KBDB and NPO are the only reliable ones and their lists of Aces represent the best birds of the country one may think now?
There are several things one should take into serious consideration.
The owners of pigeons that perform well have to send in the results themselves and many fanciers do not do that.
The reason is that they are not aware of the fact that their bird is so good or they simply have no pigeon magazine and do not know there is such a thing like a National Ace.
There are several examples of fanciers who had a very good racer, they sold the bird to a smart middleman, once this middleman was the owner he sent in the results of the bird that he had bought which later on turned out to be the National Ace.
Understandably that is good business for those smarter guys, since a National Ace is worth much money.
Then there is something else; the strength of the competition.
There are areas where fanciers race all birds that they have, the good, the bad and the ugly.
For many of them pigeon racing is just fun.
Of course in such a competition it is much easier to win than in areas where fanciers only enter their very best birds, since they race for (much) money.
Since the entry is low in areas where much money is at stake fanciers have no chance for a National Ace, not even with birds that win the 1st prize in all races
The reason is simple.
A 1st prize against say 500 birds results in a coefficient which is worse than a 4thprize against 6,000 birds.
Furthermore one should know that there are areas in which many fanciers live that specialise on the 2-day races.
Since they know their birds have no chance to win a prize at middle distance they do not clock the birds.
And it is obvious that in case the majority do not clock their birds since they are just basketed for training it is much easier to win.
ME AND MYSELF
In 2000 I myself had a bird (98-191) that became 2nd National Ace Middle Distance.
But, believe it or not, in all races it beat the bird that was 1st National Ace.
How such a thing is possible?
The owner of the National Ace lived close by but raced in another Fed.
If my bird won 1st in 'my' Fed against 700 birds, his bird won 5th against 4,000 birds in his Fed which resulted in a better coefficient.
The Feds also had a combined 'Provincial' result sheet and in this result sheet my bird always won a prize before his.
If 191 won 3rd against 8,000 birds, his won 12th.
But the results in the Fed counted for the National Championship and not the Provincial results.
The good man did nothing wrong, he stuck to the rules, but you may understand that since then I never sent in results for National Championships any more.
And there is something more.
For some 'National Competitions' you have to send in prizes won by old birds that were won from April 1st till in September.
But in every province the racing program is different.
Where I race the 'Middle Distance season' is finished end of June.
From then on we can only race youngsters.
Elsewhere however you can race old birds in July, August and September.
So in one area birds can be entered for 5 Middle Distance races, elsewhere they can be raced 20 times.
It stands to reason that chances are not fair at all to win the title of National Ace.
It just depends on where you live and what the racing program is in that area.
If you can race a bird 5 times or 20 times makes all the difference.
And as I said the strength of the competition may differ much from one area to the other. The problem for foreigners is that they cannot know that.
I give you an example of what I mean.
The best all round bird of Holland in 2009 has a coefficient of 0,2 which means that it won average 2nd prize against 1,000 birds in 10 races.
There are many little clubs in which it is absolutely impossible for a bird to win 10 times 2nd prize against only 200 birds!!
It's a shame I cannot write this in Chinese! It would open eyes.