Guido Loockx is very famous in pigeon racing. His super pigeon Pantani, born in 1996 and the main stock pigeon of his breeding loft, is probably just as renowned as the late former cyclist Marco Pantani. Ever since Guido's pigeons have been winning one first prize after the other. In 2012, he achieved, for example, the following results:
1st National Champion Yearlings KBDB Winner Gouden Duif Belgium 1st Provincial Champion Yearlings Long Distance KBDB 1st Provincial Champion Youngsters Middle Distance KBDB 5th National Champion Youngsters Middle Distance KBDB 6th national ace pigeon middle distance KBDB 1st national ZC Montluçon old birds 1st national ZC Argenton yearlings 1st national ZC Tulle yearlings 1st provincial Gien I and Gien II 2nd national Montluçon old birds
It is not that easy to obtain the same results in 2013 but Guido made a successful attempt. He can't complain since he won two first prizes in zone C and had a 1st provincial (12th national) ace pigeon KBDB on the longer middle distance. A couple of Guido's top-table results in 2013:
1st national ZC1 La Souterraine 1st national ZC1 Bourges 1st provincial Guéret 2nd national Issoudun
Years of hard work
Just like it is for everyone else, Guido's success didn't come by itself. “After graduating from university and completing my military service, I took over my dad's family of birds," Guido starts. “Because my father was self-employed, he had too little time to occupy himself with his pigeons. We started racing together at our current location in Tessenderlo in 1990. A couple of years later, my dad quit because of health problems and from that moment on I've been racing our pigeons on my own." As mentioned above, Guido bred the ace pigeon Pantani in 1996. Pantani won, for example, a 1st national from Bourges and was Olympiad pigeon all-round in Blackpool, UK. Nearly all the pigeons housed in Guido's breeding loft are related to Pantani.
Top prizes as selection criterion
It goes without saying that Guido has now developed his own working method. Given the results it seems to be working. "I breed two rounds of youngsters for my own from about 40 breeding pairs,” Guido says. “These are trained well and participate in the sprint and middle distance races. I sometimes basket them for national races but it also occurs that they do not participate in the nationals for an entire season, for example if the weather conditions are bad.” The fancier from Tessenderlo admits that young bird racing is not a priority for him and that he particularly focuses on racing old birds and yearlings in the national longer middle distance races. “Therefore, most youngsters are kept and only have to prove what they're worth as a yearling," Guido explains. “Both hens and cocks are raced on total widowhood. Cocks are raced up to Argenton, which is organised around 15 August. Hens are basketed till the last national race from Guéret. At the end of each season, a selection is made.”
After that selection, only pigeons which have won real top prizes remain. "The number of prizes or the prizes per 10 are not taken into account. Only real top prizes are," Guido says. "My selection is based on performances, never on external characteristics. The wing theory, eye theory, etc don't mean a thing to me. Only results count.”
Four early breeding rounds
Guido Loockx also has his own breeding method. “At the beginning of December, all breeders are paired. The best ones are re-paired on a regular basis and their eggs are floated out under other pairs. That way I have four early rounds of youngsters from my best breeders instead of two," Guido explains. “I also breed with my widowers during winter. They all raise one round of youngsters. As of February and weather permitting of course, they can train around the loft daily.” The racing hens are not used for breeding before the season. “I try to let them be as much as possible during winter. They start training around the loft in February as well. They only get to see a cock once they arrive home from a sprint race somewhere around 15 April.”
In this way, Guido hopes to prepare his pigeons for yet another successful season.