Henri and his son Mark
The now 50 year old Henri developed a fascination with pigeons at an early age. He was playing in a combination with his father Henk whilst still at school. Other fanciers would call him "Van Venrooij Junior" but his colleagues from around Deurne quickly realised that he was a name to be reckoned with. The combination started winning championship prizes already in the 1980s and they were quite successful in every discipline in the following years. However, they had greater ambitions, they wanted to make it to the very top. Father Henk did not want to get in the way of his son's ambitions and decided to leave the combination. He obviously continued to support his son, who was on his way to a brilliant career. Henri was eager to learn and he closely watched the results of the other lofts, especially those with Janssen origins. Eventually, he paid a visit to the brothers from Arendonk, and he obtained his first Janssen pigeons in 1988. Many more Janssen birds would find their way to his loft in Deurne in the years to come.
In the meantime, Henri noticed that Corneel and Gerard Koopman were running a particularly successful loft as well. Henri was increasingly drawn to the one day long distance competition, and he knew that the Koopman breed was perfectly suited for this discipline. A first group of six Koopman pigeons was purchased in 2001, and a total of 35 direct Koopman pigeons would eventually move to Deurne. As it turned out, the pairing of Janssen x Koopman proved a brilliant combination.
Henri is always looking for top quality pigeons that could bring his own breed to another level, and we were not surprised that he visited the loft of Gerard and Bas Verkerk as well. Descendants of their best pigeons were obtained in 2009 and were paired to the bloodlines of Janssen and Koopman. As you might have guessed, these three top quality breeds proved a great match. In fact, much of his current generation of pigeons is based on Verkerk x Koopman, reinforced with Janssen.
The 2014 season
Henri has been very successful for quite some time now but 2014 was possibly his best season ever, winning 20 first prizes and claiming almost every championship title in his club CC Deurne. He was also 1st champion nominated and 1st champion not nominated in the province of Eastern Brabant, as well as 1st pigeon champion old birds. We take a look at some of his best results of 2014 (including only his prizes 1:20):
Chimay 187 km 882 p.: 1-2-3-4-6-12-13-14-16-17-23-25-31-38-41-42-etc. (37/56) Vervins 225 km 882 p.: 2-4-5-6-7-8-9-11-18-22-24-27-28-38-etc. (33/54) Laon 253 km 959 p.: 4-8-9-10-11-18-20-21-24-25-39-40-41-etc. (29/52) Sezanne 338 km 801 p.: 1-2-3-4-6-7-9-10-11-13-16-19-etc. (36/46) 2,290 p.: 8-9-10-13-15-19-21-23-24-29-etc. Sezanne 338 km 792 p.: 2-3-4-6-7-8-9-10-13-14-15-16-17-20-22-26-28-29-30-etc. (33/45) 2,786 p.: 3-4-5-7-8-13-15-16-23-24-27-etc. Laon 253 km 954 p.: 2-6-8-9-10-11-13-15-16-17-18-19-20-25-37-38-39-40-etc. (35/44) Sens 404 km 757 p.: 1-2-3-5-6-7-8-9-13-14-15-17-20-23-24-26-29-etc. (38/43) 2,366 p.: 1-2-3-5-8-13-17-19-32-34-35-37-etc. Laon 253 km 680 p.: 2-3-4-5-7-8-10-11-13-15-16-17-22-24-25-26-etc. (36/41) Sens 404 km 515 p.: 1-3-6-9-11-12-13-17-19-26-etc. (30/36) 1,809 p.: 2-9-13-17-24-25-26-etc. Sezanne 338 km 255 p.: 1-2-3-4-5-etc. (10/17) 8,552 p.: 1-2-3-4-etc. Laon 253 km 438 p.: 1-2-3--4-5-6-8-9-10-11-13-14-15-16-17-etc. (34/41) Hannut 100 km 437 p.: 1-2-34--5-6-7-8-9-11-12-16-17-etc. (31/43) Hannut 100 km 897 YL.: 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-18-19-21-23-etc. (41/60) Chimay 187 km 1,169 YL.: 1-2-34-45-6-7-8-11-12-14-18-19-21-22-23-24-etc. (44/73) Laon 253 km 788 YL.: 1-2-3-5-6-7-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-etc. (42/62)
The champions of today
As we said, the pairing of Koopman x Verkerk proved a great success. The three Verkerk pigeons NL09-1186056 Baske, NL09-1186054 Houdini Junior and NL09-1186063 combined with pigeons of Koopman can be found in the pedigrees of most of today's racing birds. Click here for the pedigrees of the three Verkerk pigeons.
Kaja is a direct daughter of that same NL09-1186063 of Verkerk x Koopman. Click here for the full pedigree of Kaja. She has won quite a few prizes:
Sens 515 p.: 1st (and 2nd rayon against 2,366 p.; 14th against 11,428 p. in the province) Sens 757 p.: 2nd (and 2nd rayon against 1,809 p.) Chimay 882 p.: 3rd Laon 680 p.: 4th Laon 224 p.: 4th Hannut 194 p.: 5th Gien 139 p.: 6th Chimay 1,070 p.: 9th Isnes 129 p.: 10th Sezanne 792 p.: 16th Hannut 356 p.: 17th Sezanne 1,147 p.: 19th Isnes 265 p.: 20th Isnes 875 p.: 24th
Flitz is a direct son of Baske of Gerard and Bas Verkerk. You can find the pedigree of Flitz here; he has won the following prizes:
Sens 757 p.: 1st (and 1st rayon 2,366 p; 13th 11,428 p. in the province) Isnes 436 p.: 2nd Hannut 437 p.: 2nd Hannut 356 p.: 4th Hannut 437 p.: 4th Sezanne 313 p.: 6th (and 17th rayon 2,165 p.) Laon 680 p.: 7th Vervins 882 p.: 9th Laon 438 p.: 10th Epernay 221 p.: 10th Isnes 745 p.: 14th Sezanne 792 p.: 15th (and 27th rayon 2,786 p.) Laon 959 p.: 20th Sezanne 1,147 p.: 28th Sezanne 1,053 p.: 30th
Beauty is a direct hen bred from Houdini Junior of Gerard & Bas Verkerk. You can find the full pedigree of Beauty here. Let's take a look at her list of achievements:
Laon 839 p.: 1st Sezanne 801 p.: 1st (and 8th rayon 2,990 p.) Orleans 144 p.: 3rd (and 19th NPO 4,555 p.) Sens 644 p.: 4th (and 6th rayon 1,972 p.) Isnes 745 p.: 5th Hannut 437 p.: 6th Vervins 882 p.: 8th Chateauroux 331 p.: 11th Isnes 384 p.: 11th Sezanne 313 p.: 12th Isnes 1,329 p.: 17th
Ylva is another descendant (a granddaughter) of super class breeder Baske of Gerard and Bas Verkerk x Koopman. Click here for the full pedigree of Yiva. This hen has won quite a few prizes, including:
Sezanne 728 p.: 1st (and 1st rayon 2,803 p.; 14th 14,951 p. in the province) La Souterainne 252 p.: 2nd (and 55th NPO 5,281 p.) Chimay 282 p.: 2nd Epernay 311 p.: 2nd Sens 757 p.: 3rd (and 3rd rayon 2,366 p.; 15th 11,428 p. in the province) Sens 515 p.: 3rd (and 9th rayon 1,809 p.) Sens 432 p.: 5th (and 14th rayon 3,678 p.) Chateauroux 328 p.: 5th Isnes 728 p.: 9th Laon 438 p.: 9th Laon 954 p.: 11th Chimay 370 p.: 11th Sezanne 792 p.: 20th
Bojana perfectly illustrates the origins of Henri's current collection of pigeons, as all three key bloodlines (Janssen brothers, Koopman and Verkerk) can be found in her pedigree. Click here to learn more about the origins of Bojana. She finished in 11th place in the sprint category for the Budapest olympiad, and she has won the following prizes:
Epernay 351 p.: 1st Chimay 370 p.: 1st Chimay 1,070 p.: 2nd Isnes 1,329 p.: 2nd Laon 680 p.: 2nd Laon 438 p.: 2nd Sezanne 1,147 p.: 3rd (and 3rd rayon 3,540 p.; 23rd 17,085 p. in the province) Reims 1,009 p.: 3rd Sezanne 801 p.: 3rd (and 10th rayon 2,990 p.) Laon 818 p.: 7th Laon 959 p.: 8th Sens 757 p.: 9th Vervins 1,422 p.: 11th Vervins 882 p.: 11th Chimay 882 p.: 12th Isnes 745 p.: 21st Laon 600 p.: 26th
We conclude with Ilonka, another hen from the successful pairing of Koopman x Verkerk. Click here for the full pedigree. Ilonka is a half sister of super class breeders Areza and Sandro of Pieter van de Merwe (Dordrecht, NL). She has won the following prizes:
Montlucon 299 p.: 1st (and 2nd NPO 6908 p.) Strombeek 1,016 p.: 2nd Sezanne 1,059 p.: 2nd (rayon 6th 6,028 p.) Nanteuil 426 p.: 2nd (and 8th rayon 2,720 p.) Epehy 731 p.: 3rd Sezanne 1,147 p.: 4th (and 4th rayon 3,540 p.) Pommeroeul 1,096 p.: 4th Sens 432 p.: 6th (and 19th rayon 3,678 p.) Orleans 328 p.: 6th Nanteuil 263 p.: 6th Strombeek 454 p.: 8th Peronne 974 p.: 12th Sens 644 p.: 15th Chateauroux 328 p.: 15th Sens 784 p.: 22nd
Henri works for the Waal Staal steel works in Deurne. He works from 8 am to 4:45 pm every day, and his pigeons have been looked after before going to work.His wife Anita used to take care of the young birds, until she was diagnosed with bird-fancier's long one and a half years ago. She is no longer allowed to enter the lofts and Henri has to wash his clothes and shoes after having been with the pigeons. His oldest son Mark offers a helping hand whenever he can. It takes a top class pigeon fancier with excellent pigeons to be able to combine a demanding job with a highly successful career in pigeon racing.