Memories (part 2 of 2) Dec 27th
The first birds that I ever bought was when I was about 30. They were from Joske Smits who was the father in law of Georges van Riel, the son of Jef van Riel from the illustrious partnership Huyskens van Riel. Smits had won the first 3 prizes from a prestigious race but what intrigued me was that those winning birds were brothers.
Though my budget was small I could buy 2 babies of the same parents. Those birds were ok and I learnt from them that if a couple produces more than one good racer there is a good chance those will be good breeders as well. Therefore I prefer babies of such good racers to those of their parents (the ‘breeding couple’). It must be said that at a young age I already had real good pigeons. They were partly birds that I had gotten for free from my neighbor Vermeulen. And Vermeulen was the owner of the best bird that I have ever known.
Granted 'best pigeons ever’ there have been a mass. Think of "Pandoer" from Kil, ‘Dokus' from Somers, ‘019 "of Janssen Bros, 'Fieneke’ from Vervoort 'Supercrack’ from Crusson" and others! Janssens’ '019' and to a lesser extent 'Fieneke' I have known pretty well. I personally think that the fame of '019' is exaggerated, "Olieman from compatriot Jos v d Veken (raced in the same years) was better. .
From the same races both ‘019’ and ‘Olieman’ won many firsts but they were raced in different clubs, which Janssen Bros did not regret. ‘Olieman’ beat ‘091’ in speed in every race. By the way ‘Fieneke’ is a descendant of Olieman. But '05' from Vermeulen was the best ever in my experience. Vermeulen was my neighbour before I was married and I will never forget that flying miracle with the modest name ‘05’. It won 1sts in any weather from all distances. Vermeulen was a man with money and bought pigeons everywhere. What he did was mate the most expensive cocks with the most expensive hens, the biggest names with the biggest names. Then came that one special year. After he had mated his birds two were left, a cock and a hen that he had gotten for free. They became the parents of ‘05’.
The good birds that I had shortly after I married I got from Vermeulen, from Smits, from Hofkens and from Janssen Bros. They were so good that shortly after I had settled into my current residence, fanciers came to my place to watch the home coming of the birds from the races. 'You have fantastic birds, but do not underestimate those from Jan Diels’ I often heard when they were standing in my yard. Once one of those guys had brought a result sheet with him to show me how good Jan Diels was. He had won 1st, 2nd and 3rd . But what made this result so sensational was that he had only 3 birds in the race. Unfortunately I was so stupid as to ignore all the good things that I heard about Diels. Leo Heremans (THE Leo Heremans) and Rudie Diels (nephew of Jan) were smarter. Unlike me they imported Diels birds for a very low price and they made them famous.
In those days foreigners did not buy our pigeons yet, nobody cared about pedigrees and completely unknown fanciers with real super birds there were many. There were also many pigeon magazines but those were far from objective. Like most foreign pigeon magazines to day they each had their favorites, depending on which fancier would sell with which magazine. If a fancier did not sell at all the magazines ignored him, regardless how good his results were.
- Sterckx Lille had supers. The ‘Leeuw’ from Wouters descends from this loft.
- Leysen was a superman. ‘Kannibaal’ from Dirk van Dijck descends from this loft. -Slaets had fantastic birds. Smart Jos Vercammen lay hands on them. -Staf V d Bempt Vorselaar, de Hoogh Oosterhout, Verhoeven Goirle and countless others were super champions without a name from whom you could buy real good birds for little money.
Most champions today got their basic birds from such un-known locals.
This is something that often surprises foreigners who wrongly think that the big names have the best birds. They fall for the undeserved bla bla that they read about them.
Take the late William Geerts for arguments sake. He dominated pigeon sport in Antwerp with birds that he got from utterly unknown Fonske Jacobs. But Fonske had few pigeons and played sprint races only. These are no ingredients to make a name. A fancier with breath taking results at little long distance in recent years is Daniels. He has always been a good racer though but only became well known after he started racing long distance (the Nationals). He also got his basic breeder from a local guy: De Meijer.
This de Meijer had a pigeon that had won a lot of firsts from Quievrain, 120 kilometers. For a voucher Daniels got a baby from that multiple winner and to-day Daniels is hard to beat at long distance with off spring of that sprint bird. Also from Voets he got real good birds. They lived close and Daniels got those good birds for free. Just to thank him for taking good care of the birds when Voets fell ill.
Voets was a kind of friend and twice I bought a round of youngsters from him. Guess what he said both times when I left? "Hopefully there is good pigeon among them.” ‘Hopefully’ and ‘a good pigeon’. What a nice realistic guy Voets was.
I sometimes say that breeding pairs do not exist. Maybe that's a bit exaggerated but nevertheless I am close. 'Breeding pairs’ I call pairs that produce one or two good babies every year. Take 'Pauline' of Albert Derwa, a phenomenal breeding hen. ‘Every year she gave a good bird’ Albert said. "Every year A good bird? Is this not too modest?
Not at all, such pairs are very rare. The famous "Old Couple 'of Meulemans and the ‘Golden Couple’ of Hans van der Veken were such pairs.
V DE VEKEN HEN
From the latter I bought 2 babies long way back. One of them gave a ‘once in a life time’ hen. She was in the team that won for me from National Chartres 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 32nd, and so on (4252 pigeons). She became the grandmother of Ace Four and his sister ‘Supertje’.
So Iconic birds like 'Bubbles' from Verkerk,' Fleur from 'Jepsers v d Wegen, "Ad' from Mardel Wouters and numerous national winners and ace pigeons that descend from my loft are descendants of the best breeding couple that I have ever known:
‘The Golden Couple’ from Hans v d Veke.