It sounds like a perfect story: a top class pigeon fancier who lives at the foot of the infamous Koppenberg hill in Melden lets his pigeons climb the hill to gain strength and resistance for the important extreme long distance races. That sounds good to us!
As spring approaches and temperatures go up the Flemish Ardennes is inevitably getting ready for cycling in its purest form, with the important spring classics Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Dwars door België, E3 Harelbeke and of course the Ronde Van Vlaanderen coming up in quick succession.
The cyclists train hard and those that lack the strength, talent or drive will be dropped from the peloton sooner or later. It appears that the pigeons of the internationally renowned loft of De Smeyter-Restiaen in Melden are training equally hard. Joost is a fancier with several years of experience in the sport, even though he is still fairly young. He knows exactly how to find great racing and breeding pigeons.
It was at the very beginning of his career that he obtained his pigeons from Jan Ernest in Steenbergen (the most important long distance region in The Netherlands), from Vervisch in Kortrijk (BE), from Denis Vanderbeke in Nukerke (BE) and from Louis Van Grimbergen in Zottegem (BE). Pigeons of Luc Van Coppenolle, Gaby Vandenabeele, W.A. De Bruyn and Eric Vanacker were added to the team later on as well. This was the basis for today’s pigeon breed that has been able to compete with the best at international level.
Other fanciers have won great prizes thanks to the Joost pigeon breed as well. Some lofts that come to mind are the former top class pigeon loft of De Clercq-Vervaeren from Rillaar, Yvan Haelters from Nukerke, Dany Dusausoit from Beloeil and Casaert-Senechal from Russeignies. The bloodline of the renowned Joost, first international Perpignan, can be found in the lofts of several great fanciers, including Erik Limbourg and the Desbuquois Brothers.
Joost runs his pigeon family like a professional. He looks after his own pigeons while also taking care of the lofts of Dirk Deroose in Kruishoutem, where his approach has proved to be successful as well. Dirk has brought some of the very best pigeons to his loft and these are now in the hands of a top class caretaker. He managed to take a national victory from Bourges young birds in 2013, besides many other great results.
Dirk Deroose and his national winner from Bourges
Joost used to have ambitions for both the middle distance and the extreme long distance but over the last few years he started focusing on the one day long distance and the extreme long distance instead. He knows exactly how to efficiently pair his pigeons and how to select the strongest birds, which shows that he is a true expert. The result is a long list of top prizes and ace pigeon titles.
The racing team (64 old cocks, 48 yearlings and 15 hens are vaccinated against paratyphus and paramyxo during spring but the breeding pigeons do not receive medication. Joost relies on the feed products of Versele-Laga, as well as Belgavet supplements, which are purely natural feeds. This is something we see more and more, especially among extreme long distance fanciers, who increasingly rely on the strength of the pigeon itself. Joost closely monitors his pigeons throughout the season as well and this allows him to win many prizes. Veterinary surgeon Lanneau from Moen takes care of the pigeons’ health and his motto is better to be safe than sorrow, taking a proactive approach.
It is for the second time in three seasons that the title of ace pigeon longer middle distance is won by a hen of De Smeyter-Restiaen. The title was won by Peggy (BE09-2045788) in 2011, for the partnership of De Clercq-Vervaeren in Rillaar. In 2013, Elsie (BE11-4274336) won that same title in the loft of Joost in Melden. This is no coincidence. It is the result of a structured approach. Peggy is a daughter of top class breeder Le Gitan. Click here for the pedigree of Peggy. The sire of Elsie is Bleu Vanacker (FR78186-07), a son of the 6th national Irun (FR); the dam of Elsie is a daughter of Joost (1st international Narbonne) paired to a hen of Luc Van Coppenolle (international winner of Narbonne 2013). Click here for the pedigree of Elsie.
Elsie has won the title of Ace Pigeon extreme long distance with the following top results:
Bordeaux 23rd against 5,507 pigeons Sint-Vincent 9th against 3,738 pigeons This resulted in a total coefficient of 0.6585.
Poitiers (525 km) club: 156 old birds: 2-8-27-31-35-37-42-45 (8/17p) 189 yearlings: 1-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-13-14-15-19-20-22-30-34-36-37-38-49- 51-53-54-56 (24/35) Agen (778 km) club: 54 old birds: 1-3-10-16-17 (5/17p) 221 old birds: 1-5-19-34-41-45-49-50-60-68 (10/17p) 72 yearlings: 3-4-6-8-11-14-19-24 (8/20p) Barcelona (1050 km) club: 221 old birds: 1-2-11-60-61-62-63-64-65 (9/18) nat.: 10,542 old birds: 12-15-552… int. hens: 6642 p: 5-7… Libourne (710 km) club: 312 old birds: 1-8-9-17-21-34-35-55-62-79-88-102 (12/21) 136 yearlings: 1-2-3-5-6-8-9-10-13-14-17-18-20-21-22-25-26- 34-37 (19/27p) St-Vincent (847 km) club: 74 old birds: 1-2-4-5-7-9-10-12-16-24 (10/12p) nat.: 3,738 old birds: 9-24-39-42-78-82-100-207-314 (9/12) int.: 10,907 old birds: 29-73-122-124-237-245-297-602-876-1858 (10/12) int. hens: 1857 p: 7 (1p) Narbonne (853 km) club: 187 old birds: 1-18-20-24-27-31-33-47-50-52-53-55-59 (13/17p) 128 yearlings: 5-7-9-11-24-39-41 (7/13p) Perpignan (913 km) club: 98 old birds: 5-8-9-11-14-15-16-22-25-26-29 (11/24p) nat.: 5,613 old birds: 51-191-211-237-293-333-361-708-1047-1076-1257 (11/24) int.: 15,106 old birds: 108-358-413-476-592-670-735-1612…(11/24) int. hens: 3,049 p: 62-97-108 (3/7p)
Joost is preparing for the upcoming classics as well and he tries to get his pigeons in great form for the most demanding races. It will not be an easy task for him to do better than last season but we know we can expect anything from Joost. PIPA wishes him all the best!