The organisers of the ‘Belgische Verstandhouding-Entente Belge’ had 9.091 participating pigeons for their Montauban, just over 2.600 pigeons more compared to last season. This was certainly due to the very tough Limoges 3 weeks ago, as a result of which experienced long distance fanciers thought it wiser to give their pigeons an extra week’s rest… and now opted for Montauban instead of Cahors for some of their pigeons. You always have to deliberate with such a case… because within two weeks, Brive will be too close for the majority of these pigeons, whilst the Cahors pigeons were given an extra week’s rest for it. It’s not always easy to take the ‘bull by the horns’ and make the right decision at such moments!
A decision which also had to be made by the liberation, which the organisers from both Montauban and Libourne faced on Saturday morning, when there was a thick cloud package from the region round Paris to over our part of the world (read: entire Belgium), from which rain fell in the afternoon as predicted, although better weather was forecast for the late afternoon. But there you are then, you have to make a decision… if it subsequently turns out to have been the right decision you will receive compliments, if it was the wrong decision… then you’re doomed! Drawing conclusions ‘afterwards’, once the results are known (also from other races), is of course easier… but the people have to make a decision on the Saturday morning, not afterwards! Not many people are willing to step into their shoes and accept the responsibility at such times!
After a day’s postponement, the pigeons were liberated on Sunday morning, but it was still quite a tough race due to the weather forecast, with a ‘midsummer’ character and temperatures rising high. The first pigeon at national level landed by the sea, in Nieuwpoort by Hubert Deceuninck-Vanhoucke… ‘Bert’ as his friends call him, clocked his winning pigeon, which was also his first nominated, at 18h05 from a distance of 795,810 Km which gave a velocity of 1170,31 m/min, good enough for national victory then! In second place we see Eric Laleman from Merkem (1148,85 m), in 3rd place the brothers Marc & Gerard Santens from Oudenaarde who are known to be the men to beat when the going is tough… in 4th place a very strong Etienne Meirlaen from Deurle with his 1st which stands up to 5.000 national and the entire ‘root’, and which in the preliminary forecast will achieve place 75 national with his first 3 nominated already in the clock… whilst Eddy Vangheluwe from Harelbeke closes the national ‘top 5’!
Bert Deceuninck (65 y.) is someone who has acquired name and fame in the pigeon world, as a historian and foremost a real top pigeon fancier. In total he has already classified himself 17 times in the national championships KBDB, already won 4 x 2° International in the ‘grand distance races’, won 2 x 1° Olympiad pigeons, in addition to the ‘National Marathon’, and was even ‘General Champion of Belgium KBDB’… so we can describe Bert as more than an ‘established value’ in our national pigeon port! His ‘national victory’ from Montauban is then very thick icing on a very big cake!
Bert is known in pigeon circles as a man of the ‘extreme long distance’, Barcelona is then his ‘big dream’ every year… although along the way he has retrained to a dapper ‘all-rounder’. That partly came through his German sport friend… and now a regular visitor… Gunter Prange, known to many for the famous brew of the so-called ‘Prange Suppe’! It must have been about 16 years ago (in 1995), when Gunter Prange won the 1° National Ace pigeon with a pigeon (‘The 402’ B93-3248402) originating from Deceuninck-Vanhoucke. Gunter crossed this with pigeons out his Koopman basis, and raced really well. Bert was also impressed with these pigeons, so it is not surprising that pigeons from the crossing moved to Nieuwpoort, and naturally descendants out breeding phenomenon ‘Ringlose Nr 12’ (father and grandfather of no less than 3 National Ace pigeons!) from Gunter Prange! Bert prefers to keep these pigeons apart for breeding, in addition to his own basis for the ‘grand distance’ (own old sort x Jan Theelen). In this way he has become more and more an ‘all-round’ champion over the last few seasons, with 1st prizes from the sprint (Clermont) to the extreme long distance! At the end of June this year the counter already stood at 10 x 1st prizes, in 2010 he clocked 19 x 1st prize, whilst in 2009 he booked down 17 x 1st prizes!
However, the Deceuninck-Vanhoucke colony is not as extensive as some people think. There are many lofts, says Bert… but some lofts only house 3 to 5 pigeons. In total he has 42 widowers (o.b. + yl inclusive), 45 youngsters from the first round which are used for racing, and another 20 to 30 summer youngsters. The old birds and the yearlings roam free together in the lofts.
Normally his racing pigeons take part in winter breeding… but this year the pigeons were coupled on the 15th of December, but the eggs were thrown away. Every year Bert leaves for South Africa, amongst other things for the Sun City ‘One million dollar race’, and during this period of absence his son-in law (also his former carer, but no independently active) takes care of the pigeons. To unburden him Bert threw all the eggs from the racing pigeons away. The pigeons were coupled again on the 15th of March for 4 days (so no more brooding), and they left in widowhood. I heard that many fellow fanciers had done this for years, but for me it’s the first time… and the performances are sublime, says Bert… so there is a good chance that this system will be continued in the future.
For Montauban Deceuninck-Vanhoucke basketted 4 pigeons from which 3 were clocked on Sunday, with their 1st nominated and national winner first at 18h05, their 2nd nominated at 19h53 and their 3rd nominated at 20h35 or 3 good prizes from the 4 basketted! But don’t ask me the places of the 2nd and 3rd pigeon… they were reported to the club, but at that time it was a ‘madhouse’ here because of the ‘national victory’! Before they left, the Montauban pigeons were shown their hen, as always. Bert explains why! Simply because in the majority of the lofts there are only 3 to 5 pigeons, and then sometimes you have to chase after them to get hold of them… if they are shown their hen then that problem is solved. After 3 to 5 minutes they are basketted for the race. By the homecoming they are usually only allowed to see their hen for 5 minutes as well, this prevents the pigeons which have remained in the loft are less disturbed. It is not until the following day once the pigeons which remained home have finished their daily training that they are allowed to see their hen for a full hour.
The weekend of 25-26 June was also a direct hit with 2/2 from Libourne and also 6/7 from Tours with the first 3 nominated first in the clock here too!
The national winner from Montauban answers to the name ‘Mister All Round’ B07-3070342, a clapper with a marvellous honours list and descends from pigeons originating from Gunter Prange.
Father: ‘The 146’ B06-3026146
Son of the ‘Jonge Sprinter 804/01’ self 3 x 1e prize and grew later to be a top breeder (out a crossing Sprinter x ‘Brother 402’ 1° Nat Ace pigeon x ‘Super daughter 402’, a half-sister 2° Nat Ace pigeon Prange) x ‘Super daughter 402’ 362/97, direct Gunter Prange … a super breeding hen and grandmother of the ‘Jonge Limoges’ with his 5 x 1st prize, the ‘Super As 343’ with his 6 x 1st prize, the ‘030’ with 4x 1st prize etc… (out the 1° Nat Ace pigeon 1995 Germany, the ‘402’ a direct Deceuninck-Vanhoucke…. x ‘Sister Branco 577/94’ direct Koopman and mother of the ‘1009’ which was 2nd Nat Ace pigeon in 2003).
Mother: ‘Bea’ DV02098-06-289, direct Gunter Prange
A 100% Gerard Koopman pigeon coming out ‘Son Noble Blue’ 504/04 (a full brother of ‘Mr Ermerveen’: 1° Nat Ace pigeon and Olympiad pigeon Cape Town S-Africa) x ‘Daughter Ons Louis 918/88’ (a half-sister ‘Branco… out ‘Ons Louis 918/88’ winner 1° Nat Bourges x ‘Daughter Noble Blue 400/00).
The ‘146’ x ‘Bea’ are, in addition to ‘Mister All Round’, also parents of the ‘Raket 384’ (5 x 1e prize), ‘The 322’ (3 x 1e prize) etc… but their most famous son up to yet is of course :
-‘Mister All Round’ B07-3070342
An excellent racing pigeon with, included on his honours list, 41 prizes from 43 baskettings, with a.o .
1° Clermont 289 p. (195 Km)
2° Tours 596 p. (445 Km)
6° Prov Tours 3.691 p.
1° Blois 422 p. (400 Km)
1° Tours 344 p.
4° Blois 411 p.
3° Poitiers 476 p.
9° Prov Poitiers 2.496 p.
86° Prov Tarbes 1.104 p. ’10
232° Nat Tarbes 4.576 p.
434° Intnat Tarbes 15.035 p
1° Nat. Montauban 9.091 p. ’11
207° Nat Limoges 19.323 p. ’11
Last year Bert wanted to see what his Prange pigeons were capable of, how far they could go, and so entered this ‘Mister All Round’ for Tarbes. When he arrived home the trap was still closed and when Bert opened it the pigeon was so startled that he remained on the roof for a long time (almost an hour according to Bert) before being clocked, normally he would have won around the 40th place national (now then 232° Nat).
As we stated, he keeps his own ‘great distance sort’ and the ‘Prange pigeons’ apart for the breeding. Yet he has also tried a crossing of both lines, and that was now his 2nd nominated from Montauban (at 19h53) which also won top from Limoges!
For feed the pigeons are given a mix of 4 different brands. By the homecoming it is 2 days sport, from then on 50% light and 50% sport, up to 4 days before the following basketting, when once again 100% sport is on the menu. P40 granules are added to this mixture, as a result of which they hardly need any other vitamins or supplements. For the medical care he follows the advice of Dr. Henk De Weerd (products Belgica De Weerd), supplemented with a few Van Hee-products.
And Bert Deceuninck-Vanhoucke has, after 4 places of honour (4 x 2nd prize International), finally grabbed his more than earned ‘national victory’! The ‘drive’ is still there, says Bert… if I enter pigeons for something, I want to ‘win’… from whatever distance! And at that level Montauban was the 10th Bull’s-eye for 2011, but indeed a ‘big shot’! Congratulations Bert, and enjoy it to the full!