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Paul Verbeke and
In this Part 1 of three installments, Stefan Mertens reports on the
winners of the 2006 season. Parts 2 and 3 will appear in the next months.
For your enjoyment, archived reports on National Winners from several
prior years are kept available on SiegelPigeons.com.
The national race from Bourges had 19,083 old and 11,215 yearbirds in
the basket. Due to the very difficult start of the racing season because
of bird-flu, there were about 4,500 fewer birds than in 2005. On Saturday,
the weather was too bad so the pigeons stayed one day longer in the
basket. Released on Sunday in not the best of weather conditions, this
race became a hard one. Winner in the old birds was Peter Houben - Dilsen
and was also the quickest one of the 30,000 birds. In the yearbirds,
we have a world-known name in first place, namely Gommaire Verbruggen
19,083 OLD BIRDS
1. Houben Peter - Dilsen (1275.56 m/m)
2. De Bruyn Wynand - Balen (1274.36 m/m)
3. Kessen Jean - Lanaken (1273.47 m/m)
Peter built his first loft in 1993. Before that time he was the right
hand of the partnership Ramakers-Salden (Eisden), where he learned everything
about the pigeon sport. When he started in his own name, he was lucky
to come in contact with Giel Conings of the partnership Conings-Smeets
(Kotem). Giel Conings gave not only a lot of good advice, but also a
lot of birds. Peter says that nowadays 90 percent of his colony exists
from pigeons from Conings-Smeets. The other 10 percent comes from Ramakers.
Peter says, "I only race with hens on widowhood, and every year I start
with a team of 24 hens. The cocks of those hens are only raced at the
end of the year. The hens' team is basketted 15 times in one season,
from March until the beginning of July. After their last race, they
go to an aviary and stay there until they're coupled at the end of November.
They do an early breeding and are separated again, and in February they're
coupled a second time. They brood for five days and then they're on
It's important for the hen-system that the hens are tossed three times
a week at 97 km, with these tosses in all weather conditions. The man
who trains the birds is Giel Conings, and in 13 weeks he goes about
40 times to that distance.
The winning hen is "Angèle" 5033912/03. She is a granddaughter of the
famous "Paula 5000" from Remi De Mey (Booischot). Before winning Bourges,
this hen won 5th Dizzy 1005b. - 9th La Ferté 619b. - 12th Dizzy 302b.
- 12th Melun 320b. - 33rd Dizzy 436b. - 35th Macquenoise 567b. - 36th
Toury 377b. - 47th Macquenoise 504b. - 77th La Ferté 896b.
11,215 YEAR BIRDS
1. Gommaire Verbruggen - Scherpenheuvel (1267.56 m/m)
2. Thone Jos - As (1264.11 m/m)
3. Van Gestel Gebroeders - Bevel (1260.73 m/m)
A very happy Gommaire Verbruggen met us when we congratulated him on
his national victory. "At last" was his first reaction, saying "I've
been a pigeon fancier for 35 years, and I won eight times the 1st semi-national
[semi national means that one province doesn't participate so it is
not a real national] - 3 times the second national and now it is bingo
with the first 1st national."
Verbruggen continued, "Last winter I sold my total old widowers team
in China, so in 2006 I could only start with a year bird team. This
team was 95 birds strong and was raced on total widowhood. For the national
race from Bourges, I basketted 93 birds.
Something new to note? Gommaire answers, "Yes, just like a lot of top
lofts, I train and feed my birds a lot. Now I feed my birds three times
a day, and every two weeks I toss them two times from 100km."
"When they arrive I add some protein powder to the mixture, to let the
birds recuperate quickly."
The national winner is called the "Gil" 2143154-05. "Gil" is a late
summer bird and named after Verbruggen's grandson. His father is "Jonge
Bliksem" (3241937-03), a direct Gaby Vandenabeele cock (out of "Bliksem"
[3158062-98] X "Kaatje" [3192099-00]). Mother is "2036308-99," on her
father's side a granddaughter of the "231" from Engels Jos and Jules,
and on her mother's side a granddaughter of Gommaire's top breeder "Blauwe
The national race from Limoges (Limoges replaced Brive) had 9,672 old
birds in the baskets, and they were released on Saturday at 8 o'clock.
It became a very nice race and the fanciers from the East-Flanders province
clocked four birds in the top five. The winner is the combination De
Graeve-Van Geert, after the disqualification of the combination Verscheure-Van
Den Berghe from Beveren-Leie. They had clocked at 16:04 o'clock (4:04
p.m.), and their bird's speed was 1188 m/m. But in Belgium, all the
fanciers have to clock the countermark of their first arrived bird within
five minutes' time, even when the bird is clocked electronically. And
when they opened the clock at the club to check, there was no countermark
found. The rules say that disqualification is mandatory, and so this
9,672 OLD BIRDS
1. De Graeve Van Geert - Smetlede (1173.40 m/m)
2. Raf Luyckx - Belsele (1170.49 m/m)
3. Roger De Geyter - Belsele (1169.37 m/m)
The combination De Graeve-Van Geert are certainly very good fanciers.
For years they have focused themselves on the long distance races. After
already winning a 6th nat. Perpignan, 7th national Perpignan, 7th national
Barcelona, 10th national Dax, 12th national Cahors and 13th national
Perpignan, they now won the first national. But also the 6th national
ace-pigeon long distance (1999), 11th national champion very long distance
(2000), 7th national champion long distance (2001), 3rd Olympiad pigeon
long distance South-Africa, 3rd national Champion very long distance
(2003), 10th national champion very long distance (2004), and 6th national
ace-pigeon long distance are on their impressive result list.
Every year they start with a team of 75 widowers. Count also the 25
pairs of breeders and the 80 youngsters, and then you know how many
pigeons there are in their lofts. In 1986 they bought 44 youngsters
from Serge and Noel Decroix (Rumbeke), and the base for their success
was established. Later the blood of these Decroix pigeons was enriched
with birds from Etienne and Frank Devos (Deerlijk - 13 children and
grandchildren of the "Kleine Didi" are on the breeding loft), Ludwig
Van De Casteele (Oekene), Marc Pollin (Zwevegem), Sierens-VD Broucke
(Zwevegem) and De Rauw-Sablon (Lebbeke).
The winning bird is called "Ronaldinho" (4295602-04), and he also won
the 714th national Limoges against 17,456b. - 69th provincial Vierzon
His father is the "4432376-02" (received as an egg from De Rauw-Sablon),
and his mother is "Dorien" (3310983-97). "Dorien " has as father the
"Didi Junior II" (full brother of "Kleine Didi") and as mother "Wouter
Duivin" (daughter of the "Wouter" from Gaston De Vooght who won the
1st national Dax). "Dorien" is already mother of "Scherpen" (45th national
Barcelona) - "Zidane" (10th nat. Dax) and "Figo" (53rd nat. Barcelona
and 48th nat. Beziers)
The national race from Aurillac (this in the place from Montélimar)
had 6,609 birds at the basketting table. (Last year for Montelimar it
was 10,197 old birds.) On Saturday at 6:50 a.m. the birds were released
and the top birds had a velocity of 1350 m/m.
6,609 Old Birds
1. Paul Verbeke - Gits (1384.24 m/m)
2. Bernard Favart - Baregnies (1363.75 m/m)
3. Willy and Jean-Luc Ampe - Aartrijke (1360.88 m/m)
Rutz and Sons
It is still possible
that a "little" fancier can beat the top lofts. Paul Verbeke (69 years
old) has only nine widowers and 23 youngbirds. The pigeon sport can
be beautiful! For the national race from Aurillac, Paul had only basketted
one cock, and that red cock won this national race in an impressive
way. Paul has been a fancier since 1963, without outstanding results.
In 1997 Paul considered quitting the pigeon sport, but on a certain
day he met Noël Van Slambroeck (Poelkapelle), who had bought a lot of
good birds but due to work circumstances had given them all away to
Michel Vereecke. Noël said to Paul, "Bring me 15 rings and I will ask
Michel to band you some youngsters." He did as he promised, and a new
base for the Verbeke loft was established. Later these birds got company
from pigeons from Odiel Vanneste (Rumbeke), André Brouckaert (Gits)
and Charles Coopman (Gits).
The winning bird is "De Roden" (3122276-03). When we asked about his
pedigree, Paul couldn't give a detailed one. His father is a son of
"Zoon Goeie Rosten" (strain Decroix - Rumbeke), and his mother goes
by the name "Blauwe Kouse."
In the case of Cahors, we have a famous race on the program. Released
at 7 o'clock, 6,665 old birds participated. It became a very hard race,
and the top birds made a velocity of only 1130 m/m! National winners
were René and Etienne Bourlard from Harveng.
6,665 OLD BIRDS
1. Rene + Etienne Bourlard - Harveng (1139.93 m/m)
2. Boudewijn Jonckheere - Torhout (1122.15 m/m)
3. Van Hoecke Luc - Oedelem (1116.36 m/m)
When the wind blows from the east, then we think that we can go to West-Flanders
to congratulate the national winner, but this time we were wrong. There
were a lot of fanciers from West-Flanders in the top ten, but the victory
went to Bourlard (Harveng), whose loft is in the French-speaking part
Do you still know them? In 2005 they had a real top season with the
national victory from Limoges as top result. And now one season later,
they're again there with the 1st national Cahors.
Since 1983 Rene (66 years) and Etienne (41 years) have formed a "pigeon-combination."
First they raced weekly on the short distance, but after some clubs
closed the doors to those fanciers, they decided to try it a little
bit further. The base is made up of 80 percent pigeons from Yvon Deneufbourg
(Estinnes) and some birds from Ghijsselbrecht (Knesselare), Marc Roosens
(Leernes), Pochet Eugene (Quaregnon), Delbruyère (Solre Sur Sambre),
Roger Depetter (Fontaine l'Eveque).
Every year they have about 55 widowers and 20 hens on nest position.
These pigeons are basketted for races from 600 to 1000km.
The national winner is named "Lucky" 9003254-04. "Lucky" is just like
a lot of other Bourlard pigeons-at his best when it is a very hard race.
Before going to Cahors, he was also basketted for Bourges, and in that
race he won 17th against 1009 old birds.
The father of "Lucky" is 9051600-00 (received as an egg from Marc Roosens).
Mother is 9003354-97 (strain Deneufbourg X Ghijsselbrecht).
06.23.06 PAU INTERNATIONAL
With Pau we have traditionally the first international race of the season.
Organiser Colombe Joyeuse got in a total 6,544 old birds. There were
2,061 from Belgium, 2,412 from The Netherlands, 1,108 from France and
963 from Germany.
International 6,544 Old Birds
1. Rutz and Sons - Blieskastel (D) (1089.04 m/m)
2. Friedh Menne und daughters - Hamminkeln (D) (1044.04 m/m)
3. Patrice Pautler - Mertzwiller (F) (1043.32 m/m)
In Germany they're in the big names if it concerns the very long distance.
Karl Heinz Rutz and his twin sons Sven and Jens thought they had their
best season ever in 2005, because in that year they won the "Europa
Beker" and were in the top three of the very difficult very long distance
championship named the "Europese Marathon."
Everything started with the purchase of the hen "Angelina" (09788-93-567
strain Descamps-Van Hasten + Catrysse) by Helmut Grun (Lahr). That hen
was a real top breeder, and certainly the name of her son "Beloki" (also
a good flyer on the very long distance) can be found in 80 percent of
the pedigrees of the Rutz pigeons.
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In 2000 father
and son decided to focus only on the very long distance, and therefore
they bought birds from Houben (Epen - NL), Jan Lijnders (Reuver), Kipp
and Sons (Althornbach), Bernd Morsnowki (Krefeld), Ben Hendriks (Appeldoorn),
Etienne Van Hecke (B) Wilfried Stiel (Acren), Heinz Seegmuller (Grossteinhausen),
Jan Dons (Kapelle Op Den Bos) and H and R Wijnands (Maastricht).
In total they have a racing team of 98 birds, which are raced on total
The international winner is "Zoon Rocco" 0709-03-886. His father is
"Rocco" (0709-02-299, a son of the previously mentioned "Angelina").
His mother is a pure Kipp and Son hen, (4900-98-1390) and comes from
"4900-96-222" (78th nat. Barcelona, 16th national Marseille, 58th national
Perpignan) X "4900-96-221" (80th national Dax, 57th national Pau, 31st
JEAN MOENS-WINNER NATIONAL PAU
There was a laugh and a tear when we met Jean Moens. A laugh for the
national victory but a tear because his lovely wife Christiane (who
helps a lot on the pigeon loft) was in the hospital for a serious operation.
Jean said, "The operation went well, but I have to wait a few days to
tell her the good news because she is still in intensive care."
Jean has been a fancier his whole life, in the beginning together with
his father and since 1966 in his own name. In 1971 he decided to make
the step to the long distance and bought birds from Remi Ghijsselbrecht
(Knesselare), Herman Brinkman (Tuk), Kees de Jong and Eric Limbourg
(Brussegem). Every year there are 40 old and 20 year bird widowers.
Sometimes some old hens are coupled to some year cocks, and those hens
are then raced from Barcelona. On the medical scene, Jean has everything
under good control because his son Dirk is a specialized pigeon vet.
The national winner is "De Pau" 2037076-03. His father is the 2017678/99
(directly from Eric Limbourg and son of the 1st national Narbonne and
grandson of the 1st national Perpignan). Mother is "4483308/96" and
is a daughter of "De Laureaat," or in other words the 1st international
Barcelona against 20,935 b. from Remi Ghijsselbrecht.
9,786 Old Birds
1. Claus Armand and Hans - Wortegem-Petegem (1227.70 m/m)
2. Mitchell Martyn - Hulste (1224.38 m/m)
3. Demeester Decraene - Nokere (1219.66 m/m)
History repeats itself. They like to hear that at the home of Armand
and son Hans Claus from Wortegem-Petegem. Just 11 years ago, our father-son
combination also won a national race. Then it was Narbonne, which was
noted on the race results. Armand has been a pigeon fancier his whole
life. His parents were the owners of a pigeon club. When he married
in 1958 he began in his own name. His first birds came mostly from Octaaf
Van Herpen (Ronse). A few years later his son Hans was also infected
with the pigeon virus, and together they decided to go to the long distance.
Hans, who is a good friend of Georges Carteus, bought some pigeons from
Georges, and one hen (B92-4025298) became the top breeder in Claus'
loft. Since then, every year some Carteus pigeons come to Wortegem-Petegem.
Also, birds come from Onijn Germain (Ronse), Gerard and Michel Vanhee
(Wervik), Frans Van Wildemeersch (Brugge) and Albert Devriese (Maarkedal),
and last but not least pigeons from Norbert Ally (Aarsele).
Regarding Claus' loft, we have a big name but not a big colony within
the pigeon sport. With 30 widowers, 10 pairs of stockbirds, and 40 youngsters,
this is classified as a small loft.
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Georges Bolle and
The national winner is a real topbird and is named "De Crack" (B02-4069331).
Before his national victory, he won the 20th national Limoges against
21,409 b. - 22nd national Cahors against 9,275b. and was the 8th provincial
ace-pigeon East Flanders on the long distance.
His father is the "4439067-00" (a son of top breeding hen 298/92). Mother
The national race from Albi was totally new. Normally, we have the national
race from Orange that weekend, but due to some restrictions from the
French government, the organizers had to go to Albi. With a very strong
northeast wind, we can count Albi among the very hard races. Only a
few top birds had a velocity above 1000 m/m, and only 450 birds of the
5,063 could reach their loft on release day.
5063 OLD BIRDS
1. Bolle Georges - Kortemark (1068.29 m/m)
2. Devos Etienne - Deerlijk (1042.83 m/m)
3. Lefebre-Dhaenens - Zulte (1040.65 m/m)
Do I still have to introduce him? I don't think so. Georges Bolle is
more than a name known world wide! Georges already clocked 1st national
Limoges against 8,784 b. (1982) - 1st national Dax against 7,810 old
birds (1986) - 1st national Limoges against 22,506 year birds - 1st
national Cahors against 9,043 birds (1996) - 1st national Dax against
4,170 birds (1998) and now first national Albi.
The base of the Bolle colony are pigeons from Jozef Vandenbroucke (Wielsbeke)
and Gerard and Michel Vanhee (Wervik). In 1993 Georges Bolle sold his
whole colony, but a few years later he started again. One of his top
birds "Den Adjudant" (3002050/91) was bought by Adhemar Lerno (Lokeren),
and when this bird became available again in a total auction Georges
bought this pigeon back. "Den Adjudant" became the top breeder for Bolle,
and now around 80 percent of all Bolle birds have the name "De Adjudant"
in their pedigree. When Georges buys pigeons, he likes to buy them from
"unknown, little fanciers." So he bought three topbirds from Gilbert
Finaut, two superb yearbirds from Simoen (Zedelgem) and topbirds from
Gerard Baert (Torhout).
A few pigeons in a lot of lofts-this is the key to create top condition.
Every winter there are around 160 pigeons in lofts where you have places
for 600 birds. Widower lofts with 12 boxes where only three widowers
have places is more a rule than an exception.
The national winner is called "Arthur" (3053076-03). Before winning
the first national, he won in 2006 also the 20th national Aurillac against
6,611 birds. His father is the "Pisa" (3003333-01 - a son of the 1st
national Dax 1998). His mother is "Elsie" (3037213-02 - directly from
Noel Lippens from Aarsele and granddaughter of his famous "Vital").
PIGEONS STOLEN FROM GEORGES BOLLE
Unbelievable but true. One day after winning the 1st national Albi ,
13 top widowers were stolen from Georges, among them "Arthur" the 1st
national Albi. Georges and his lovely wife were not home because they
were basketting pigeons for Barcelona International. When they came
home around 11 p.m., they didn't notice anything different, but when
they entered the lofts on Monday morning, they saw immediately that
there were no droppings in some boxes, and when they checked everything
they saw that all the pigeons which had already classified them at the
top in national races had been stolen. Not only "Arthur" but also the
2nd national Bourges were gone.
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