De Smedt André & Geert Bourgois.
Wieze, a part of Lebbeke, is situated between Aalst and Dendermonde. This is a place where the October beer flows generously and also the place where the annual champions’ day of East Flanders takes place. That is where we went to visit the brand new winners of national Vichy youngsters. André en Geert De Smedt’s little dark hen has brought this victory to Wiezem despite the bad weather conditions.
André and Geert basketted 6 hens for this last classic race for young pigeons. There were 313 young pigeons basketed in Ninove and the first four nominated won the 1st, 13th, 35th and 48th place. And on top of that it was a magnificent first national. Could you ask for more?
The winner is a winter youngster and was kept in darkness from 6pm till 9am until half May.
She was vaccinated against paramyxo, parathyphoid and pox. All the vaccinations where administered separately.
The preparations didn’t run all that smoothly. They flew twice Quievrain and twice Noyon. The following were Dourdan, Bourges and Blois. Then it was the turn of the national Bourges for young pigeons. Pigoens weren’t clocked on short distances. The first Bourges brought them a 17th place, Blois a 15th place. National Bourges ended for them with a local 376th place against 1500 pigeons. After that the loft seemed to have lost its condition. This is was probably caused by application of a weedkiller in the immediate neighbourhood of the loft. The result was that the majority of pigeons stayed home for about 6 weeks. Only about 5 times they were taken via own transportation about 50 kilometer away to practise. And then came Vichy with its already known fantastic result. 4141444-04 (what a nice number), has gotten the name “Miss Vichy”.
Miss Vichy was extremelly drawn to her nest, hesitated to leave her place and therefore she didn’t train as much. To make up for this, she was taken away to practise several times prior to Vichy.
In the origine of Miss Vichy we can find 3 lofts. The greatest share goes back to Silvere Toye, both grandmothers are direct Toye pigeons from the lines of Ramona, Wittenbuik zwartje and Invicible Montauban. One of the grandfathers is the son of the Supercrack and the brother of Madeleine (1st national Limoges) of André and Patrick De Smet, Semmerzake. The other grandfather is from the loft of Hubert Bourgeois, sprint racer from Wieze, who is today the loft manager of André and Geert De Smedt’s lofts.
Father, Clement De Smedt, was a pigeon racer already shortly after the war. He did have a break of ten years eventually, but in the mid 70’s he picked up the racing again. In ‘96 the father died, and the brothers André and Geert decided to keep on racing pigeons, even today still in their parental home. Although the father was predominantly a sprint racer, the sons have decided to focus on the middle and long distance.
The old strain was slowly replaced an pigoens such as Clara and Geert Philips, Grembergen, André and Patrick De Smet, Semmerzake, Georges Carteus, Ronse, Marcel Aelbrecht, Lebbeke and Silvere Toye, Otegem took their place. In the beginning whole rounds of youngster were purchased, lqter on thy decided to be selective and only carefully thought through youngsters were bought. André owns and runs the restaurant "Het Brouwershuis", which is very popular in the area of Wieze and Geert is a truck driver. Because they are both very busy men they had to look for someone who could take care of their loft. Hubert Bourgeois, a local sprint racer, took this place to the great satisfaction of both sides. It is without a doubt that Hubert also has his share on this succes.
Despite the fact that this national victory is one of young pigeons, André tells us that their main focus are widowers. Every year there 48 widowers prepared for the job, out of which 75% are yearlings. Most of them are raced on heavy middle distance and light long distance, only some are raced on the long distance.
Young cocks are not forced,they fly twice Dourdan and once Blois and afterwards they are kept at hole for the next year. Young pigeons are trained with the help of a sliding door and are later raced on the nest.
André would like to thank to his friends André and Patrick De Smet, Semmerzake for their support over many years, good advice and help with the selection of the pigeons.