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  News > Joop Merx
  Joop Merx
1st and 2nd National Orleans

by Stefan Mertens


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Joop Merx

Vaals: Orleans, this year organized for the 50th time, is also known as "Derby der Junioren" in the Netherlands. Till a few years ago, Orleans was the biggest young bird race in Europe. Sometimes there were more then 200,000 young birds liberated in this French city. But due to some new rules (which are made by the government and are very complicated) the young birds may not be raced further than 500 km. Therefore "Orleans" is now divided into three races. The south part of Holland races from Orleans, the middle part from Troyes, and the north from Morlincourt. It's a pity that such things happen. But rules are rules, and they must be followed.

To give you some idea about this race, we give you the results in the different parts of Netherlands.


In district "Zeeland" the winning pigeon was clocked by P.D. Pladet (Hoek). His bird was clocked at 14.03 o'clock (2:30 p.m.) with a velocity of 1099 m/m. He is followed by De Beule and Son (Kapellebrug - 1092 m/m) and A. Schieman and Son (Axel - 1086 m/m).

In district "Brabant 2000" the victory was for the Combinatie Snoeren (Kaatsheuvel). His youngster flew the 471 km with an average speed of 1125 m/m. Second were Combination Spierings and Velthoven (Waalwijk - 1124 m/m) and G. Kouters (Noordhoek - 1123 m/m).

District "Oost-Brabant" had the famous fancier Gijbels Peter (Reusel). He clocked at 14.33 o'clock (2:33 p.m.) for 448 km and his bird flew 1140m/m. Second became H. Van Venrooij Jr (Deurne - 1134 m/m) and M. Van Dam and Daughter (Deurne - 1134 m/m).

The easternmost lofts had the fastest speeds, and so we come in district Limburg. There were the two young birds of Joop Merx (Vaals) the quickest with a velocity of 1271 m/m and 1268 m/m. Third was P. Demollin (Vijlen) with 1248 m/m.


Let's start with district "Zuid Holland." In this district, the well known fancier Piet Van De Merwe (Dordrecht) had the best youngster. The speed of the winning pigeon was 1100 m/m). Second was A. De Winter (Ouderkerk aan de Ijsel - 1085m/m) and third were Gebroeders Van Den Heuvel (Gouderak - 1084 m/m).

In district "Noord Holland" we have Combination Van Leeuwen-Van Grieken (Aalsmeer) as winner. Their youngbird flew 1063 m/m. Second was Gebroeders De Horde (Amstelveen - 1061 m/m), and third J. Jansen (Haarlem - 1033 m/m).

In district "Midden Nederland" Arco Hakkert (Deil) was the winner. His young bird flew 1091 m/m and was quicker than J. Blom (Geldermalsen - 1087 m/m) and P. Bambacht (Hellouw - 1086 m/m).

Fancier P. Van Hilten (Nijmegen) had the quickest young bird in district "Gelders-Overijsselse Unie." At 15.09 (3:09 p.m.) it was clocked for a distance of 412 km and a velocity of 1116 m/m. At this speed, this young bird was the fastest young bird against 52,000 youngsters liberated in Troyes. Second in the district was A. Piechnik (Brummen - 1090 m/m) followed by G. Visser (Groessen - 1069 m/m).

District "Oost-Nederland" had H.A. Eijkelkamp (Vorden) as winner. With 1106 m/m his young bird was quicker than Combination Bokhove and Kootstra (Hengelo - 1103 m/m and Combination Alejandre (Terborg - 1094 m/m).

The last district that liberated in Troyes was district "Kuststrook." There was a photo-finish needed to determine the winning bird. After all clocks were opened, fancier Bronswijk-Boon ('S Gravenzande), who had clocked at 15.20 o'clock (3:20 p.m.) for 406 km. and at a speed of 1069m/m, was determined to be the winner. Second place went to F. Van Kruk (Naaldwijk - 1068 m/m) and third place to Combination De Raaf (Wateringen - 1059 m/m).


The last two districts situated in the northern part of the Netherlands raced from Morlincourt. In district "Noord-Oost Nederland" the victory went to young bird specialist B. Benjamins (Zwartemeer - 1294m/m). Benjamins came in before two young birds of the world famous fancier Gerard and Corneel Koopman (Ermerveen), who both flew 1293 m/m.

In district "Friesland '96" the victory went to A.J. Kors and Gerrits (Steenwijkerwold) Their young bird flew at a speed of 1194 m/m, out in front of birds of W. Van Dijk (Oldeberkoop - 1086 m/m) and P. Van Linde (Zwartsluis - 1086m/m).


This year we visited the national winner from Orleans, who is located in Vaals. Situated in the most southern part of Holland, Vaals is also known as the "drielandenpunt" (translation: three-country point). This means that you can stand on a certain point where three countries (Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) "touch" each other. But this is not why we went to Vaals. We wanted to know more about Joop Merx.

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Joop Merx, his family, and his champions

Merx's racing and breeding lofts

Entrance to Merx's young bird loft


A view of the roof ventilation

Merx's small
widowhood hen loft

Joop Merx, who was for us an unknown name, is the fancier who won the first national Orleans. Even more, he succeeded to win the 1st and 2nd national, and this against 28,014 young birds. And that was not all, because Joop's third and fourth pigeon are at the 8th and 9th positions in the race. And we must certainly mention that Joop is not the fancier who is standing with a big basket in the club. No, for Orleans he had only basketed nine youngsters, and they won all their prizes.


The young hen who was the quickest of all participants is named after Joop's little daughter, Quincy. Quincy (ring number: 2114446/02) was one of the better young hens in the loft because before she won Orleans she also won the following results: 8th Sezanne 701 - 48th Etampes 652 - 51st Mettet 398 - 66th Reims 662 - 117th Ciney 1351 and then 1st Orleans.

"'Quincy' was very quickly my favorite young bird," says our friend Joop. "You know how it goes. A man weans a nice group of youngsters, and there are always one or two favorites in it. Well 'Quincy' was such a youngster. Only a voice was missing. Really unbelievable."

When we look at the pedigree of "Quincy" we come to a lot of famous names. Her father comes from Peter Bambacht (Hellouw) and is coming out of two birds from Gebroeders De Wit (Kouderkerk). The mother of "Quincy" was bought by Slechtriem Gebroeders (Kerkrade). The grandmother of "Quincy" was a very good racing hen (1st Montargis 1026 - 2nd Epernay 1434 - 2nd Bourges 637) and is a full-sister of the "Rambo" (1st provincial Limoges 2399 - 2nd provincial Bourges 6560 - 7th provincial Vierzon 6638, etc.).

It is not the first time that Joop breeds good youngsters out of the parents of "Quincy." A sister (259/01) won in 2002: 6th Reims 789 - 7th Rethel 864 - 8th Laon 876 - 9th Sens 655.

The difference between the 1st and 2nd national was only a few second. It was "Desire" (named after the lovely wife of Joop) who won the 2nd national. "Desire" (2114458/02) won before this result following prizes: 16th Etampes 652 - 29th Etampes 1141 - 30th Mettet 398 - 32nd Sourdun - 60th Sezanne 701 - 60th Reims 662 - 129 Mettet 1104 - 140 Rethel 1079.


Joop is a "little" fancier. In the winter he has only 65 pigeons in his loft. "Quincy" and "Desire" were both from the 2nd round from the stock birds that were coupled around Christmas.
Every year, Joop weans 40 youngsters. As with a lot of fanciers, the youngsters are darkened from the middle of April until the end of Mai, a very short period. This could be noticed in the moult of the wing feathers, because on the day that Orleans was flown, the youngsters had already moulted three or four wing feathers.

Before the first official race, the youngsters are trained a lot, but once the racing season starts there are no training flights on the program. The reason for this is that Joop doesn't have the time because he has to work.
After the third young bird race, the young hens and the young cocks are separated and raced on the open-door-system for the rest of the season.

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Inside Merx's widowhood hen loft

The interior of Merx's young bird loft


I asked Joop if the young birds were specially motivated for Orleans. He answered, "Well, to be honest, I was a little bit afraid. I'll explain. The week before Orleans, I saw the condition growing from day to day. The youngsters trained extremely hard. Every day they were away for more than one hour. The young hens were in such good condition that they started to pair up with each other. Can you believe that I didn't sleep the last night before Orleans? I was always thinking about those hens. On basketing day I left the young hens and cocks together for about one hour. I created a lot of dark places as an extra motivation. This motivation was more than enough because I had the results of my life."

And the four young hens that won those top-ten prizes? They have already been transferred to Taiwan, because the Taiwanese fanciers like those Orleans birds a lot.

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