He has been a phenomenal fancier in Rupelmonde right from the start of his career but he has now become a national star as well. Hugo Vlaeminck lives for his hobby and that explains his achievements over the years. The East-Flemish fancier started his career in the sprint races, where his pigeons overpowered most of their opponents. He was banned from the sprint competition a few years later.
He was forced to switch to the middle distance in 1998 and he has been among the top racers since. He has won one prize after the other and he has achieved excellent results in this discipline as well, with, for instance, 13 golden, 8 silver and 8 bronze medals in the competition of Gouden Ring Waasland. He then started competing in the longer middle distance and the national races, something he and his wife think he should have done much sooner. The only thing that kept him from changing over was the fact that he was not sure about the strength of his pigeons. Hugo eventually made the switch though. The middle distance was no longer a challenge, because his pigeons had won nearly every prize. He had lost interest in this discipline so he wanted to join the premier league. His first season (2012) went very well and he could only hope to do even better in 2013. He exceeded his expectations this season with tremendous results.
It goes without saying that Hugo has had a brilliant season with several top results, but it would take us too far to discuss them all. We will take a closer look at a few highlights instead:
Vierzon 332 yearlings: 1, 3, 7, 19, 21, 30, 44, 47, 48 (13/15) Châteauroux club. 557 yearlings: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 19, 24 (13/15) prov. 4671 yearlings: 1, 2, 6, 10, 22, 35, 130, 139, 189, 222 (12/15) Argenton club. 218 old birds: 1, 3, 10, 34, 43 (5/7) prov. 3161 old birds: 1, 3, 35, 304 (5/7)
It is remarkable that his pigeon family consists of only 24 widowers, including 14 yearlings and 10 old birds. You can only perform at such a high level with such a limited team of pigeons if you have a first class pigeon breed. His loft houses 70 young birds and 15 breeding pairs as well. “Quality is my top priority; I’d rather have 24 top class pigeons than 100 average birds. I have some bad luck from time to time as well. Sometimes I lose one of my pigeons because they get stuck in power lines”, says Hugo. It takes a lot of training to become so successful and his pigeons have to fly out every day from early April until the end of November. From 1 May pigeons have to train for 45 minutes both in the morning and in the evening, depending on the weather conditions of course.
Some said it would be impossible for him to do even better this year but he proved them wrong. The fancier from East Flanders did even better by winning the title of National Champion Longer Middle Distance Belgium 2013, thanks to his experience and the effort he put in over the years. He won this title in quite an impressive way. It was his strategy to basket his pigeons three times in a row before giving them a week off. This means his pigeons missed three races in which they could not win points for the national champions. His total coefficient was no less than 5% lower than the second in the ranking. His first nominated was always the same pigeon and one of his pigeons was second nominated in four races. These are the five races with which he took the national title:
Châteauroux 3553 yearlings: 92nd (1st nominated) – 73rd (2nd nominated) Montluçon 4817 yearlings: 26th (1st nominated) – 24th (2nd nominated) Gueret 3052 yearlings: 161st (1st nominated) – 38th (2nd nominated) Argenton 4880 yearlings: 20th (1st nominated) – 31st (2nd nominated) Châteauroux 1130 yearlings: 4th (1st nominated) – 5th (2nd nominated)
Hugo believes that this season has been the highlight of his career. He has won great victories, top prizes and great results and the title of national champion is the most impressive achievement of all. He has always been dreaming of adding the title of national champion to his list of achievements and he did it in 2013. He hopes to continue racing at this level in the future. Hugo concluded by saying “I want to continue as long as I am healthy and fit enough to take care of my pigeons.”