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  News > 2006 National Winners - Part 2
  2006 National Winners
Part 2

by Stefan Mertens

Part 2 of Three Parts. For Part 1, click here.
For Part 3, click here.

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  for larger version

The Van Tuyls



Michel and Didier


Eric Herbots



1st Limoges

Daniel Platteeuw


In this Part 2 of three installments, Stefan Mertens reports on more of the winners of the 2006 season. Part 3 will appear next month.

For your enjoyment, archived reports on National Winners from several prior years are kept available on


With Barcelona International, we have the most important race for the long and very long distance racers. This "Marathon of the Sky" had this year 23,275 old birds in the basket and those were liberated on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. On Sunday, some minutes past 6:00 a.m., our friends Michel and Didier Desbuquois clocked their famous pigeon "Roger Barcelona." This was good for the national victory in Belgium.

On the international scene they are at second place because Gerard Van Tuyl clocked a good hour later in Hellouw (The Netherlands) and so he won the international competition. Participating countries and number of birds are Belgium: 11,895 - Netherlands: 6,781 - Germany: 2,393 - France: 1,814 - Poland: 319 - Luxembourg: 73. (Due to the bird flu, England could not participate.)

23,275 Old Birds - International

1. Gerard and Annie Van Tuyl (Hellouw - NL) 1288.61 m/m
2. Michel and Didier Desbuquois (Kapelle OD Bos - B) 1244.66 m/m
3. Carlo Dominicus (Goes - NL and the international winner, category hens) 1237.05 m/m

Hellouw is a nice little village in Holland with around 900 people, and among those are six pigeon fanciers. Five of them are racing weekly the short- and middle distance, and only one is concentrating his efforts on the very long distance. His name is Gerard Van Tuyl, the man behind the international victory of Barcelona in 2006.

Already as a young guy, Gerard raced pigeons. First (since1984) together with his brother, but in 1990 he decided to make it on his own and to focus on the very long distance. Therefore, he bought birds from very famous Dutch racers like Theo Ernest (Steenbergen), Gebroeders Hagens (Achthuizen), Gebroeders Van Santvoort (St Michiels Gestel), and since 2002 he breeds together with Lei Kurvers (Hulsberg) and Roger Wijnands (Maastricht).

Gerard races his birds on nest position, using 80 couples. Hens and cocks are basketted and this only for the very long distance races (Pau - Bordeaux - Narbonne - Perpignan and so onÖ).

The winning bird is a nice blue cock named "Rodico" (NL03-1138257) and was basketted on three-day-old youngsters.

Father of "Rodico" is NL96-9694028, "Zoon Van Zeldern" (Theo Ernest), or a son of the famous breeder "De Van Zeldern" (NL84-1260609).

Mother of "Rodico" is NL00-1977900 (strain Gebr. Van Santvoort X Gebr. Hagens)

11,895 Old Birds - National

1. Michel and Didier Desbuquois - Kapelle OD Bos (1244 m/m)
2. Delrue-Vanbruane - Lauwe (1187 m/m)
3. Viaene Danny - Lichtervelde (1150 m/m)

Do I still have to introduce them? I don't think so. Among the archived reports on, you can still read a report about this loft, and in this report you can read that this brother team had only one dream-winning Barcelona. This dream came true, and I don't have to explain how happy they are with this victory.

The winning bird is "Roger Barcelona" (B03-2010062). This superb dark cock already won 146th national Barcelona (2005) against 12,998b. and the same year 65th national Perpignan against 7611b. With these results, he became 8th national ace-pigeon KBDB very long distance.

His father is B98-2448595 - or a 100% Emiel Matterne (Overhespen) bird. Mother is B98-2216043 (own breed).

07.10.06 ST VINCENT

7,242 Yearbirds

1. Eric Herbots - Zoutleeuw (1393.16 m/m)
2. Romain Goethals - Maldegem (1363.16 m/m)
3. Pascal Hauben - Uikhoven (1306.16 m/m)

On this national very long distance race, only yearbirds are allowed. The liberation of those birds is late in the afternoon so the one-year-old pigeons are not forced to fly a whole day and are obliged to rest and finish their rush home in two parts.

I had never seen so many people gathered at the loft of one fancier to watch the birds come home from a race. In a certain way it is normal that there are so many supporters at fancier Eric Herbots' place because for St Vincent he had basketted 105 yearbirds. Count also his 166 old birds which were basketted for Barcelona and had to come home the same time as the St Vincent birds. Yes, then there is certainly something to see over there in Zoutleeuw.

Eric got infected by the pigeon disease through his grandfather. Due to a lost bird from Bert Van Bree (Meijel - Holland), Eric got in contact with this fancier and some birds from Bert moved to Eric. Bert is a very long distance racer (in 1994 he was national champion long distance from the Netherlands) and that's why the birds from Bert, who were at Eric's, were basketted for a Barcelona race. They did well.

Eric, who is very busy as a butcher and has not so much time for the pigeon sport, was immediately infected with the long distance disease and decided to concentrate himself only on this discipline. When Bert Van Bree had to stop the pigeon sport due to health problems, Eric bought all his birds. Those 200 pigeons were all long-distance birds and mostly based on the strain of Jan Aarden.

Eric has his own special method to take care of the birds. The pigeons are housed in wooden garden lofts, and during the whole winter hens and cocks are together and can fly out day and night. In March everything is separated, and the pigeons are tossed. The pigeons are coupled so that they have youngsters from three or four days old in the nest on basketting day. The last 14 days before basketting, all birds are trained daily at 70 km, and Eric doesn't look at the weather conditions.

The winning bird is "Clemenke" (B05-2192678). This chequer cock has as parents two Bert Van Bree birds, namely NL00-2337646 and NL01-2239770.

07.10.06 LIMOGES

13,463 Old Birds

1. Vandenberghe Raphael - Munkzwalm (1549.57 m/m)
2. Waldack Luc - Gavere (1542.51 m/m)
3. Luyckx Raf - Belsele (1537.05 m/m)

Raphael, a son of a farmer, got his first pigeons when he was a little boy, but it was forbidden to race them. Later, when he was 18 years old and left school, he got 20 youngsters and with those youngsters he participated for the first time in a pigeon race. In 1968 Raphael married, built his own house and at the same time some nice lofts in the garden. Like a lot of other fanciers, Raphael raced on the short distance, and this with birds from "everybody." But in 1988, he decided to invest and went to Sylvain D'Hondt (Semmerzake), Renť Vandenheede (Zingem) and DaniŽl Van Ceulebroeck (Balegem).

These purchases were successful because in 1993 he won the 1st provincial Limoges. At the end of 1990, Raphael invested again, and this time he was looking for birds for the very long distance. In Holland, he bought pigeons from Chris VD Velden (Zuid Beijerland), Kees De Jong (Lepelstraat), Wim Coenen (Nuth) and in Belgium from Martin Ravelghien (Tiegem), Andre Derouck (Wondelgem), Gerard Labiau (Brakel) and Marc De Groote (Zottegem).

Raphael starts each year with 48 widowers and about 100 youngsters. Around March 20th the widowers are coupled, and after a 10 days' nesting, they're placed on widowhood. Before the racing season starts, all birds are always treated for seven days against paratyphus. During the racing season, every three weeks the widowers receive a Spartix tablet against trichomonaisis. Ornithosis is never treated preventatively.

The winning bird is the B04-4030534. His father is the B01-4451245, a son of the "Luitenant" from DaniŽl Van Ceulenbroeck. The "Luitenant" was Olympiadbird Belgium in LiŤvin (France).

Mother of the national winner is B02-4442030, again a pure DaniŽl Van Ceulenbroeck pigeon (daughter "Goeveneur").


11,536 Old Birds

1. Platteeuw DaniŽl - Zillebeke (B - 973.71 m/m)
2. Van Dommelen Ko - Philipsland (NL - 849.11 m/m)
3. Vanderveeke Rob - Westdorpe (NL - 831.06 m/m)

With Dax we had an extremely hard race. The pigeons were released late in the afternoon, due to some fog at the release place. Combine this with the very high temperature and you know immediately that it has to be a real very long-distance bird that has to win.

The winning bird is a blue cock named "Michel" (B04-3205041). "Michel" is a typical very long-distance bird-a lot of feathers, no weight but a body full of character. Before winning this international race, "Michel" scored 73rd Poitiers against 2957 b., 997th international Narbonne against 5870 b., 1806th national St Vincent against 10,020 birds.

His father is the "Klaus" B02-3203109 (own strain). Mother is B02-3203006 (strain Luc Sioen X Brouckaert).

All the widowers were coupled December 8th and bred a couple of youngsters. At the end of March they were coupled again and after four days of nesting, they were coupled again. After the first short distance races, they visited a specialized vet and on his advice they were treated against tricho (with Tricho Plus) and against ornithosis (with Orni-Cure). On basketting day the widowers always receive one spartix tablet and a vitamin tablet.


15,364 Yearbirds

1. Maroy Geert - Heestert (1076.56 m/m)
2. Deschacht Philip - Bredene (1066.44 m/m)
3. Hebberecht Chris - Evergem(1059.02 m/m)


Geert Maroy

"De Zitter"

Johan Tant


Etienne Devos

The national race from Limoges (only yearbirds allowed) was also flown in hard weather conditions. North wind and a temperature above 30 degrees centigrade (or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit)! Winner is "De Zitter" (B05-3115621), owned by Geert Maroy. At 47 years old, Geert has been a pigeon fancier his whole life. When he constructed his house, he built his lofts at the same time. In total, he has 65 widowers, and those are divided on among different lofts. The loft where the national winner is sitting has the sun only in the morning, and this probably explains why, during those very high temperatures, the condition of the birds was best in that loft. Due to the high temperatures, it became too warm in the other lofts, which of course is never good for creating top condition.

The "Zitter" or the national winner is a combination of the strains Verheye X Bla-Van-Wo and won already 4th ABlis 500b., 22nd Bourges 1200b., 8th Dourdan 300b., 46th Chateauroux 644b., 51st Argenton 581b.

The national winner did, just like his loft mates, an early breeding. Normally the widowers are coupled a second time at the beginning of April but this year they were not coupled again. For the rest, a "normal" widower system is followed, and if we ask Geert how the national winner was motivated he answers that he didn't do anything special.

07.22.06 SOUILLAC

The national race from Souillac had 6475 old birds in the basket. They were liberated at 7:00 o'clock in the morning and it became a very nice race.

6475 Old Birds

1. Tant Johan - Olsene (1256.21 m/m)
2. Hautekiet Michel - Ruddervoorde (1248.53 m/m)
3. Thumas Thierry en Bart - Nossegem (1247.17 m/m)

It is all in the genes, that is sure. The mother of Johan Tant (38 years old) is a daughter of the late ValŤre De Smet-Matthijs from Nokere.

In 1989 Johan started racing pigeons, this is all thanks to Lefebre-Dhaenens from Zulte. And Johan was immediately successful because he became 2nd provincial champion in the youth division. The birds in his lofts are all from friends like Lefebre-Dhaenens (Zulte), Baudonck-Van Praet (Olsene), Daniel van Ceulenbroeck (Balegam), Roger Van Colenberghe (Zulte), Philip Dobbelaere (Olsene), Willy Ruttijn (Kruishoutem), Frans De Keyzer (Aartrijke) and during the last years Emiel Denys (Zulte) and Frans De Keyzer (Aartrijke).

Johan has a very nice team of 45 widowers and every year about 120 youngsters. The widowers are basketted for a provincial or a national race. The youngsters are raced following the open-door system, and they get a nice programme so that the first selection can happen already in their first year.

The winner of the first national Souillac is the "Eduard" (B04-4240768). He is a chequer cock with a lot of character because it is hard to keep him in the hands. Before winning the first national, he already scored the following top prizes: 501st national Limoges 17,456 b., 313th provincial Argenton 5458b., 271st provincial Chateauroux 7206b., 717th provincial Blois 4896b.

His father is the "Ed Poeh" (B98-4251626) and is a pure Lefebre Dhaenens pigeon. Mother of "Eduard" is B00-4164833 (VD Walle X Alfons Vervaecke).


10,323 Old Birds

1. Devos Etienne en Frank - Deerlijk (1084.59 m/m)
2. Brockamp P. en Ph. - Boppard (Deutschland 1077.46 m/m)
3. Colbrandt Andre - Bottelare (1076.32 m/m)

Due to the bird flu, it was still forbidden to liberate pigeons in southeast France and so the Marseille race was replaced by Carcasonne. Because of bad weather, it was not possible to liberate the birds on Saturday, but on Sunday they were liberated at 7:40 o'clock. Carcasonne became a very hard race because on liberation day only a few pigeons could reach their home.

National and also international winner became the world-famous father-son combination Devos Etienne and Frank from Deerlijk. We must say they're doing a very nice job there in the Klijtstraat in Deerlijk. After winning the 1st national Marseille, 1st national Dax, 1st national Limoges, they win now international Carcasonne. There are a lot of fanciers who have to do it with less. The international victory was a nice victory from top bird "Zidane" (B03-3001583). Before winning this international race, this blue cock also won the 2nd national Albi against 5063 birds (after the bird of George Bolle).

The Devos loft is known for his "Didi" dynasty but over the last years this bloodline was strengthened with pigeons from the late Roger Florizoone (Nieuwpoort), Gaby Vandenabeele (Dentergem), Georges Coutteau (Nieuwpoort), Harinck Poelmans (Genk) and Noel Lippens (Aarsele).

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Every year they start the season with 70 widowers and after an early breeding and nesting in April they're on widowhood. On the medical scene, our father-son combination is very careful. Every week a specialised vet examines the birds and if necessary they're immediately treated. Certainly trichomonaisis (the mother of all diseases) is preventatively treated very often, and the birds are treated against ornithosis on regular basis.

Etienne had three birds basketted for this international race. "Zidane" was clocked on liberation day at 20h. 43 min. and 52 sec. The other two birds were clocked the morning after at 7h. 42min. and 7h. 44min., or again a superb result.

Father of the "Zidane" is B00-3190062 "Kleine Wittenbuik," or a cross of their own strain X Vandenabeele.
Mother of "Zidane" is B00-3190002, "Eddy Duivin."

Look for Part 3 of 2006 National Winners next month...

[Note: This is the second part of a three-part article. For Part 1, click here. For Part 3, click here.]

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