Only the very best pigeon fanciers are capable of achieving great results and top prizes on a weekly basis, and Astère Vergotte is obviously one of them. The experienced fancier from Aalter has really mastered the art of racing with the hens, and it enabled him to become a highly renowned player. His national first prize from Chateauroux I yearlings in 2014 was a crowing achievement for him.
From columnist to specialist
He is most of all a hens' specialist. Aster Vergotte (67), a retired car mechanics and welding teacher, is a well known fancier, especially thanks to his blog and his weekly column, in which he shares his stories and experiences in pigeon racing. Astère does not keep any secrets. He is always willing to help others and to give advice to his colleagues. In fact, he does not keep any secrets about the way he runs his own loft, or his way of keeping pigeons. He is open about his secret to success (click here to learn more about the road to success for A.Vergotte).
The success story of Vergotte is based on racing birds with great potential, and he is known for his exceptional level of performance. In addition, Astère is very successful with his old and one year old hens (raced in classic widowhood) and with the young birds in the longer middle distance classics. This is no nonsense pigeon racing at the highest level. This fancier does not care for pigeons with an impressive pedigree that do not have proven record; he only looks for pigeons that have won many prizes. His loft houses nothing but prize winners and great champions, and this gives you an idea of the value of the Vergotte pigeon family.
The quality of your pigeons dictates how clever you are as a fancier
This is one of the most remarkable quotes of Astère. It shows he knows what he's talking about, and it characterises him as a pigeon fancier. He learned the ropes from his father Cyriel, a successful sprint and middle distance fancier back in the days. Astère helped him clean the lofts, he trained and basketed pigeons and they returned the clocks together. In fact, Astère played an important role in his father's pigeon loft. However, his father preferred to feed and prepare his pigeon for the races on his own. Astère was only allowed to take a look over his shoulder. Astère then started keeping pigeons on his own in the Stationsstraat but he had quite a difficult start. He had a few pigeons of his father Cyriel and a few pigeons from neighbouring lofts but that did not work out at all. Every week he saw the pigeons from his neighbour Alfons Braet win early prizes, while his pigeons were still on their way home.
Astère had enough of this and he asked his neighbour Alfons if he could buy a round of his youngsters. Alfons, who was not a young man anymore, made a surprising counter-offer. He asked him to keep his breeding pigeons in Astère's pigeon loft, provided that he would give him a round of youngsters every year in turn.
It was a major breakthrough for Astère, as it turned the Vergotte breed into a super class pigeon family. The Vergotte pigeons started to dominate both sprint and longer middle distance races, and Astère turned from a struggling fancier into a grandmaster. He was a proficient and smart fancier who could get more out of his pigeons than the others. Still, there was only one thing that had really changed: his pigeon collection. Clothes make the man, and pigeons make the pigeon fancier! It takes a lot of hard work, a strict selection procedure, racing a lot of pigeons, and trying to keep nothing but very talented pigeons that are up to the task. This is the only true secret behind the success story of the Astere Vergotte pigeon breed. It explains his motto: "The quality of your pigeons dictates how clever you are as a fancier".
The first important achievement for Astère at national level was the title of 2nd Nat. Champion longer middle distance KBDB in 2009, the season in which he also became 1st General Champion OVV-FVOV in his own province. It was a crowning achievement for a fancier who achieved great results on a weekly basis, and season after season. He has continued to achieve great results since, and went on to win the following provincial and national titles in the past three seasons:
1st National Chateauroux I 21,515 yearlings 2014
1st Provincial Champion middle distance KBDB East Flanders (1st & 2nd nom.)
7th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance old birds KBDB 2015
11th Nat Ace Pigeon longer middle distance YL KBDB 2015
13th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance young birds KBDB 2013
14th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance YL KBDB 2014
15th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance YL KBDB 2013
He also won several top prizes in the PIPA rankings.
These are just a few of many highlights in recent seasons. Several first prizes were won in the club and at provincial and zonal level, as you can tell from this impressive overview:
It is all about top class pigeons and prize winners
The Vergotte pigeon breed iconsists of nothing but top quality pigeons and outstanding racing birds with a proven record. In this loft only the racing birds with an impressive palmares will be transferred to the breeding loft after their racing career. The breeding loft in Aalter is home to nothing but proven racing birds and ace pigeons, and it would be impossible to include them all in this article. We will only discuss four national ace pigeons from 2013 to 2015:
7th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance old birds KBDB 2015 3rd Best old bird 2015 Belgian national races – 6 prizes (PIPA ranking) 4th Best old bird 2015 Belgian national races – 5 prizes (PIPA ranking) 7th Best old bird 2015 Belgian national races – 7 prizes (PIPA ranking)
11th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance YL KBDB 2015
14th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance YL KBDB 2014 3rd Prov Issoudun 3,162 p. ’15 4th Zone Bourges 1,792 p. ’15 9th Nat La Souterraine 4,164 p. ’15 13th Zone Argenton II 3,297 p. ’13 18th Zone Chateauroux 3,380 p. ’13 23rd Prov Blois 1,327 p. 26th Nat Gueret 9,815 p. ’14 30th Zone Bourges I 3,461 p. ’14 75th Prov Orleans 3,205 p. 165th Nat Chateauroux I 21,515 p. ’14 etc…
15th Nat. Ace Pigeon longer middle distance YL KBDB 2013 1st Clermont 241 p. 6th Zone Chateauroux II 935 p. ’13 8th Zone Chateauroux I 4,107 p. ’13 11th Zone Gueret I 2,222 p. ’13 11th Zone Bourges 1,664 p. ’13 46th Zone Bourges II 1,265 p. ’13 54th Zone Bourges I 3,085 p. ’14 97th Nat Montluçon 14,230 p. ’14 etc…
The unwritten rule in pigeon racing is that winners are bred from winners, and Astere Vergotte has put this into practice. His success story is based around top class racing birds with a proven record, or cracks and great champions. This is how he managed to become a national star in the longer middle distance.