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  News > National Winners from Belgium 2001 Part II
  News from Belgium and Europe

National Winners from Belgium 2001
Part II
by Stefan Mertens

This is the second part of a two-part article. To see the first part, click here.

Distance - Brussels 850 km

4,713 old birds national - 19,622 international

1. Nouwen Paesen (Grote-Broghel) 1210.07 m/m
2. Jos and Jan Loobuyck (Aalter)
3. Jos Joosen (Brecht)


1st International Marseille 2001


After Pau, Barcelona and Dax, Marseille is the third international race on the program. Internationally, there were 19,600 birds basketed, and we must say that the finish from this 850 km (distance from Brussels) was a real thriller. In other sports like cycling, they talk about a photo-finish, but in the pigeon sport, we have to wait till the clocking times are known, and that can take some hours.

Jaak and son Dirk Nouwen were still thinking and talking about the race when I visited them. "Can you imagine…such a distance…and only one second (or, in other words, 21 meters of the whole distance!) between the first and second international. A fancier would, in hindsight, regret that nothing was ready when such a pigeon comes home. We knew the clocking time of a German pigeon, and when we calculated his speed, we had to clock around 7:50 p.m. to beat him, but it was only 7:13 p.m. when our pigeon came home. I can assure you, your heart will stand still for a few seconds when this happens."


The 2000 season was just finishing and new plans being made for the next. The widowers team was prepared following the "dry-widowhood" system. This means that the first coupling took place at the end of March. After brooding 10 days, everything was taken away, and the widowers were on widowhood. Jaak Nouwen says, "Once the 'hard work' is started, we always give a three to four week rest between very long-distance races. Recuperation is important for a long-distance bird. But we have one important rule, and that is that we always try to basket very motivated pigeons. We did the same for Marseille. It all started a few weeks before basketing. In front of the nestbox, we built a supplemental perch which the future international winner-named 'Late Schone' (ring number 5295724/95) took without hesitation. When this happened, we closed the 'Late Schone' in his box for about a week, and another cock took the perch. Four days before the basketing of Marseille, the 'Late Schone' was released from his box, and with a little bit of help from his boss, the 'Late Schone' took over his perch again. But that was not all. A supplemental perch made the box a little bigger. The 'Late Schone' was so happy with his new box that he scored very well by winning the first international. The pigeon sport can be so beautiful!"

Father: "De Narbonne" base stockbird. Won 1st provincial Narbonne. 2nd provincial Montauban
Grandfather: 6074028/85 "Blauwe Carlens"
Grandmother: 5122152/86

Mother: 5055514/91 Daughter 1st national Barcelona hens
Grandfather: 5065571/84 13th national Perpignan 3306 birds
Grandmother: 5020214/87 1st national Barcelona hens 1991


Yvon Deneufbourg 1st Nat'l Beziers '01 old birds 

Daniel Parijs 1st Nat'l Bourges '01 young birds
Distance - Brussels 840 km

6,471 old birds
1. Yvon Deneufbourg (Estinnes) 970.56 m/m
2. P. and P. Philippens (Voeren)
3. Firmin Lust (Maarke)


Yvon Deneufbourg from Estinnes-au-val, near Binche, is no stranger to success. Indeed, his time as a pigeon fancier is marked with many fine achievements. In 1979 he was 1st General Champion KBDB. He won 1st European Long Distance Champion, 1st Long Distance Champion Cureghem Centre, and 1st national Decathlon, to name just a few.

However, one recent Saturday was one of the happiest in Yvon's pigeon career because he won the first national from Beziers-with the only pigeon home on the day of liberation from 11,927 birds competing. By the way, Beziers is a new race point this year for Belgian fanciers and replaces Narbonne in their national program.
Yvon Deneufbourg's national winner recorded a velocity of 970.56 m/m. Not a high velocity, but the extreme heat created a lot of difficulties for the pigeons. Yvon's two-year-old cock (9164341/99) proved that he could master the conditions.

Yvon was, of course, very pleased with his national victory. But success on that day did not end there. He was also 2nd national from Bourges. The 2nd national Bourges prize winner was a two-year-old cock, "067", and was Yvon's only old bird basketed for that race.

No doubt you're wondering what strain of pigeons they are. Well, they all come from his very good friend Marc Roosens. The lofts house 24 breeding pairs, and for racing there are 40 old birds and 30 yearlings. The widowers are raced to the same loft that they are raced to as young birds. Yvon consults a vet once a year and is guided by his advice. A regular treatment is given for canker, and after a hard race he may treat them with Baytril to combat coryza.

Father: "Le Dax" 9221659/96
Grandfather: "Geschelpte Sulmon" 604512/91

Mother: 9020952/94
Grandfather: 421180/93
Grandmother: 425991/86

Distance - Brussels 450 km

Bourges national is, next to Barcelona, the most famous race in Belgium. He who wins a top result is the fancier in the spotlight. This year was the Bourges race's 50th anniversary, and, like every year, there were a lot of participants. In total, there were 42,582 young birds, 13,716 yearlings, and 12,266 old birds.

42,582 young birds

1. Daniel Parijs (Ottenburg) 1229.14 m/m
2. Stassart and Son (Thuillies)
3. Rosseels Achiel (Aarschot)


The winner against more than 40,000 young birds was Daniel Parijs from Ottenburg. His winner was a fine blue hen, which has now been named "Rita" (2182847/01 after Daniel's wife, who does a lot of work in the pigeon lofts. In fact, if it were not for Rita's assistance, Daniel would have great difficulties keeping and racing pigeons because of his work. He is manager of a chemical factory, and must spend more time away from home than he would like.

The pigeons at their home were originally there for therapeutic reasons. Daniel's father, Emiel, had been very ill, and doctors told them they must try to do something to lift him out of a depression. They saw pigeons as the answer and built a loft. This therapy worked, and Emiel recovered. It was only after father Emiel's death that Daniel and Rita decided to keep the pigeons and then built more lofts.

The base of the loft are Janssen pigeons, with the originals coming from a friend whose sister was a neighbor of the famous Janssen brothers. Afterwards, pigeons from De Klak and Van Den Bosch were added.

The national winning hen was, like all other young hens, raced on widowhood. The system is as follows: the young cocks and the young hens are separated when they are weaned. At the same time, they are also put on the darkness system. Daniel darkens his youngsters until the beginning of July. At the beginning of July, the young hens are paired up with old cocks, but they may not lay eggs. Once they are well paired up, they are separated. The cocks are placed in an aviary, in the same way as widowhood hens are normally treated.

At the start of this procedure, the hens don't fly very well, and because of this Daniel was tossing them from 30 km twice a week. After a series of tosses, the hens were flying well.

Father: 2369319/94 "Blauwe Klak"
Grandfather: 2499801/87 Borgmans Bros. - son "Ballon" (100 percent Klak)
Grandmother: 1776611/85 Gebr. Van De Weydeven

Mother: 2218239/99
Grandfather: 2074034/87 base cock
Grandmother: 2369309/94

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Antoon Reynaert 1st Nat'l Bourges '01 old birds

1st National Bourges 2001

Jean and Gerry Conaert 1st Nat'l Perpignan '01

12,266 old birds

1. Antoon and Hilde Reynaert (Passendale) 1,214.48 m/m
2. Yvon Deneufbourg (Estinnes)
3. Jean-Claude Debieve (Hornu)

"De Keizer" (roughly translates as "emperor") is what Antoon Reynaert and his daughter are called in their area. This is a name they received after winning for the third time in a row the provincial ace pigeon at the middle distance. The Reynaert pigeons are very beautiful-pigeons which are closely related to each other and who have the talent to win a first prize very easily.
"Goen" (763/88)-a real superbreeder-is responsible for this winner.
But let's go back to the Bourges national. In the old bird category, there were 12,266 old birds basketed, and the "Figo" (3020065/99) was simply the best. "Figo" is a real top bird. He won not only a first national, but also the 3rd ace pigeon KBDB middle-distance. To convince you of his qualities, I'll give you his results from the last two years.

2000 (as a yearling): 10th Clermont 630, 12th Clermont 303, 1st Chartres 228 (1st against 249 old birds), 1st Chartres 165 (1st against 193 old birds), 1st Chartres 112 (1st against 151 old birds), 2nd Blois 178

2001: 1st Clermont 398, 4th Chartres 387, 6th Chartres 228, 19th Chartres 262, 1st Chartres 229 (8 minutes in front), 1st Chartres 234 (4 minutes in front), 1st Tours 593 (8 minutes in front), 3rd Blois 287, 1st Blois 205, 1st national Bourges 12,266.

The Bourges national race as not usually on Reynaert's widowers' program but due to the good weather and the widowers' very good condition, Antoon changed his mind and basketed for Bourges. It was the last race of the season, and the hen was shown, as usual, a few minutes before basketing.

Father: "Schicht" 3138647/92. This bird is also father of "De Keizer" (1st provincial Ace pigeon middle distance '98) and "Favorie" (1st Ace pigeon middle distance '97)
Grandfather: "Goen" 3307763/88 (11 x 1st prize - Dierickx X Janssen)
Grandmother: 3089349/87

Mother: "Crissie" 3336674/95. This bird is also mother of "De Keizer".
Grandfather: "Hengst" 3160827/89 (14 x 1st prize)
Grandmother: "Sisi" 3138672/92 (Daughter Goen)

Distance - Brussels 910 km


8,088 old birds
1. Jean and Gerry Conaert (Dilsen) 1337.90 m/m
2. Jos Vanolmen (Broechem)
3. Latruwe Gerard (Ruddervoorde)

Jean Conaert and his son Gerry have been known for many years as good long-distance flyers. In 1993 they won a national victory with the hens from Cahors, plus 3rd champion in the long distance in Limburg province with the yearlings. This was the start of a nice career as pigeon fanciers, because since then they have won several provincial victories.

But at the beginning of August, it was "Bingo" for the national race from Perpignan with their hen "Lady Di", who has already achieved ace pigeon of Limburg. Due to nice weather, a lot of fanciers didn't trust it and thought that some pigeons would come home during the night. That had been proven in Germany, where there were a lot of pigeons clocked between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. But Jean didn't trust that to happen in their case, and at midnight he went outside to have a look at the lofts. But he didn't see a pigeon. At 5:00 a.m. Gerry was awake, and the first thing he did was to have a look at the lofts. Suddenly he saw something moving on the roof. He looked again and saw one of their Perpignan hens.

"Lady Di" got her name after her first stunt from Barcelona, in 1998, when she returned from that race in the middle of the night. Father and son Canaert train their pigeons in night races. Before the long-distance season, they train their pigeons from 20 km from their loft just before dark. The Perpignan winner (5166917/96) was raced on the widowhood system early in the season. In the second part of the season, she was allowed to have a nest. After 10 days of brooding, she was given a three-day-old youngster, just a few days before basketing for Perpignan. Jean created an extra motivation. He made a small hole in the nestbox next to her, where a cock was locked in.

And now something special. A vet friend recommended giving "Lady Di" some "parrot food", a mixture with a very high level of protein. Jean doesn't know if "Lady Di" won because of the parrot food-maybe she learned to speak and asked the way….

Jean and Gerry have 10 breeding pairs and 75 racing pigeons, cocks and hens. All yearlings have to fly Jarnac and Beziers, and if any do not win prizes, they are removed from the loft. The old birds have to win good prizes on the very long distance.

Father: 5308768/95
Grandfather: 5318875/87 Nouwen-Paesen
Grandmother: 5189615/90 Toon Stoffels

Mother: 5175503/94
Grandfather: 5339019/89 Maurice Borgers
Grandmother: 5116602/91 Piet Linden

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Georges Langbeen 1st Nat'l Perpignan '01 YB

Marimo Van De Nelde 1st Nat'l Argenton YB '01

3,923 Yearlings

1. Georges Langbeen (Wetteren) 1,301.30 m/m
2. Roger and Stijn Himpe (Waregem)
3. Edward Vandesande (Berendrecht)

Georges Lanbeen, a 49-year-old postman from Wetteren, raced pigeons with his brother Luc from 1974 until 1991. Now Luc races very well in Neder-over-Heembeeck, flying the same strain as Georges, and it is here that the breeding pigeons are kept.

Georges has already won 2nd national Limoges and has now won 1st Perpignan national yearlings. The national winner (ring 4437834/00), who competed against 3,923 yearlings, is a June-bred pigeon and was hardly trained. He raced from Vierzon and Chateauroux this year, from which he came back injured. From Perpignan, he was more attentive, because when Georges had a look at 5:50 a.m., he found him already in the sputnik. The droppings told us that he had already been in the loft for some hours, so he must have flown in the dark.

The national winner is named "The Little Paul" because his parents came from Paul De Graeve and Marcel Van Geert from Smetlede.

Georges races only from Barcelona and Beziers, the other races being for preparation purposes only. At the start of the season, he had 14 widowers, eight old birds, and six yearlings. The old birds went to Barcelona and won locally 4-6-11-24-27-64 against 291 pigeons. The first five pigeons stayed in the loft, all brothers. Two didn't return and the pigeon with the 64th prize was removed from the loft because his results were not good enough.

The six yearlings were prepared for Beziers, the race that replaced Narbonne, and five pigeons went as preparation to Limoges. They didn't win good prizes, so they were all eliminated. "The Little Paul" was the only yearling in the loft, and as mentioned before, he came back from Chateauroux injured, and was therefore not raced to Limoges. He went by accident to Perpignan because Georges couldn't race him to Beziers due to circumstances. Georges said "The Little Paul" asked to be basketed for Perpignan. When he was training, he was looking everywhere for his hen. So he was well motivated when he received her before basketing.

Father: "Oude Marcel" 4429116/92 - De Graeve Van Geert - Smetlede
Grandfather: 4567423/88 Paul Govaert - Schoonaarde
Grandmother: 3080889/88 Decroix - Rumbeke

Mother: 4344960/94 De Graeve-Van Geert - Smetlede
Grandfather: 4138046/93
Grandmother: 4138056/93


Distance Brussels - 520 km


23,149 Young Birds

1. Marina Van De Velde (Grobbendonk) 1,416.45 m/m
2. Van Leest-Peeters (Nijlen)
3. Ducheyne-Schiers (Vorselaar)

The national young bird winner of Marina Van De Velde (6093060/01 was born in the winter, and after weaning, he was immediately "darkened". He won a top prize on Noyon, and after that he won 50th Orleans (1,422 pigeons) and 32nd Toury (714 pigeons) before Argenton. Coupled with an old hen, he was raced on the classic widowhood method like a real widower. After a difficult time because of the darkening period, the winning cock was in good shape for the last week's race.

It was Emiel Janssens from Bouwel who helped Marina and her husband Paul start in the pigeon sport. Those Janssen pigeons came extremely well, but a dog killed their seven best breeding couples. With insurance money, they bought some good pigeons at the auction of William Luyten in 1997.

Due to very bad weather, there were not many people at the auction, and Marina bought the famous "Superman" and another six pigeons who were all good breeders. A new and successful start was made. In 1998 they bred 120 youngsters, and they flew very well. In 2000 they were 2nd provincial and 17th national from Limoges, and champion of young pigeons in a famous Antwerp Club. They were also the 9th long distance champion with the young birds (Cureghem Centre) and 11th national champion young birds on the national races.

And this season it all went perfectly. The old birds put nice results on paper, with the top result being the 1st inter-provincial against 4,743 birds.

Father: 6547901/99 Heremans-Cuesters (Vorselaar)
Grandfather: 6581505/93 "Goede Witkop" (18 x 1st prize)
Grandmother 6580802/98. Comes out of "Brother Kanibaal" Van Dijck X "Goudklompje" Gebr. Haesendonckx
Mother: 6145017/00 Somer Andre Grobbendonck
Grandfather: 6595150/97 (Louis Haverhals X Van Loock X Verstricht)
Grandmother: 6066258/99 (Luyten X Voets X Ger. Haesendonckx)

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Jacques Vandenheede 1st Nat'l La Souterraine '01

Flor Engels 1st Nat'l Guerret '01 YB

Distance - Brussels 550 km

17,323 Young Birds

1. Jacques Vandenheede (Zingem) 1,301.11 m/m
2. Noel Claeys (Landegem)
3. Rene Naessens and Son (Waregem)


To win three nationals in three years' time is not for everybody, but Jacques Vandenheede succeeded in this. In 1999 he won Bourges National against more than 44,000 young birds. In 2000 Jacques won 1st national Gueret in the hens category, and how he has won 1st national La Souterraine against more than 17,000 birds. A top fancier.

What is the system? By the first and second rounds, Jacques has bred about 160 youngsters. The first round is darkened from the moment they are weaned until the end of May. The first training flights in the program begin in April, and in five tosses, they go from 40 km to 150 km and farther.

The young bird lofts are very nice. Hens and cocks stay together and can, without any obligation, start a nest. On the floor is straw, 20 cm deep. A lot of little boxes guarantee a good motivation. The young birds get a first tricho treatment two months after weaning. Once the season is started, there is a one-day treatment against tricho and ornithosis every week.

For La Souterraine, Jacques had 44 young birds in the basket. Young birds on all kinds of nest positions. The "Blois" (the national winner) was basketed on a four-day brood. He was sitting near the drinking bowl. It was already his second nest.

"Den Blois" 4352565/01
137th Argenton (5386 pigeons), 15th Blois (1857 pigeons) (1st Blois 148 youngsters), 41st Dourdan (952 pigeons), 6th Dourdan (585 pigeons)

Father: "De Musseew" 4057111/96 won 1st St. Denis (1109 pigeons)
Grandfather: 4044164/91 "Jonge Blauwe Proven"
Grandmother: "Laat Jong Anatool" 4044128/91

Mother: 4199316/94 "Witpenneke Henri"
Grandfather: "Schone Henri" 4200319/84 Henri Vandendriessche
Grandmother: "Monique" 4179353/85 Verselen-Vanschorisse


Distance - Brussels 550 km

10,181 Young Birds

1. Flor Engels and Sons (Putte) 1,192.25 m/m
2. Rudy Hendrickx (Maasmechelen)
3. Jos Thone' (As)


Must I introduce them? I'm speaking of Flor and his sons Jules and Jos Engels. Personally, I see them as the best middle-distance racers in Belgium and perhaps Europe. The number of provincial victories they have won cannot be counted anymore, but this year the counter stopped at 10. What a season!

Breeders and widowers are coupled at the end of November, and they produced 160 youngsters. A very strong selection eliminates 20 to 30 youngsters before the young bird season begins. Also, pigeons that come home a week late do not enter the loft again. This way, many diseases are avoided. Youngsters that are not 100 percent healthy cannot bring down the condition of the whole team.

By the end of February the young cocks and hens are separated, and they are darkened from March 1st until June 25th. But next year the darkness period will be shorter. Darkening and top condition do not mix. After darkening it surely takes one month to bring about top condition in the birds.

Many young bird specialists are following the real widowhood system with their youngsters. This means that young hens are coupled with old birds and old hens with young cocks. But all of that work was too much for Engels, and they changed the system. They raced them again on the "open door system" and believe it or not, it suddenly all went better.

On the day of basketing, hens and cocks come together around 2:00 p.m., and they stay together for about two hours. Motivation in the lofts increases as the season goes along, and when the youngsters are in good shape, it can't go wrong.

The young hens are basketed every week for races between 350 and 550 km. The cocks are sent every two weeks, to save them a little bit for their later career as a widower.

"Gueretje" 6153610/01

Father: 5272347/00
Grandfather: 6237714/90 grandson "Kleinzoon Witpen" X "Oude Lichte"
Grandmother: 6307183/96 Daughter 1st semi-national Chateauroux (13,285 pigeons)

Mother: 6396481/98 Sister 1st provincial Gueret
Grandfather: 6529698/93 Halfbrother "62" and "803"
Grandmother: 6495098/94 Daughter 1st semi-national Chateauroux (13,285 pigeons)
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