How to make it to the top and how to maintain your position
Creating a pigeon loft that can compete with the best at national level is a time consuming process involving a lot of hard work. You have to breed quite a lot of pigeons and you have to make a strict selection as well. The quality of the pigeons in your loft, the loft itself and the skills of the fancier managing the loft will influence how long it will take you to reach the top. Many are called, but few are chosen to perform at a top level, even though this is what a lot of fanciers are aiming to achieve. It is even harder to maintain a high level of performance for an extended period of time. The strength of your pigeon breed will be a decisive factor and a top class fancier knows when it is time to add new bloodlines to his existing family. A new bloodline can really take your breed to a higher level but it sounds a lot easier than it is. It is something that keeps fanciers awake: which bloodline do you need if you want to improve your pigeon breed?
Bart on a recent visit to China with PIPA, holding Erik Limbourg's pigeon Gilbert.
We assume Bart Geerinckx has been wondering as well. His late father Luc has paved the way for his son by creating a pigeon breed that excelled in the sprint competition before becoming one of the country’s strongest longer middle distance teams. Luc Geerinckx climbed his way to the top in the longer middle distance and the light long distance using pigeons of his neighbour Jos Soontjes, in combination with pigeons of Flor Van Loock, Alfons Slaets and Jef Keirsmaekers. The bloodlines of Gladiator, Wittekop Sylvester and Willyke have become world-famous for their breeding qualities. These pigeons have made him a successful fancier but they have also allowed him to gain momentum. Nothing could stop him. His success story began about 10 years ago with the title of National Champion Yearlings KBDB 2012, followed by a long list of top results, titles and provincial and national victories. We give you the highlights of the last four years of his career:
1st National Limoges 11,814 old birds in 2009
1st National Argenton 12,447 old birds in 2012
1st + 2nd Nationaal Argenton 16,325 old birds in 2013
1st Olympiad Pigeon All Round 2013 Nitra
2nd + 9th National Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2013
5th National Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB 2011
Sadly enough, Luc could no longer witness the past two successful seasons of the Geerinckx pigeons. His son Bart and his assistant Jurgen were to take over the loft and they have given their best. The results were impressive. It was a perfect tribute to his late father and mentor Luc. He laid the foundation and Bart and Jurgen could reap the benefits.
Most of their colleagues were not surprised to see them win one top result after the other. Fanciers who follow the competition closely knew that they were bound to win many prizes. Just take a look at the prizes they have won at zonal level, in a number of middle distance national races of 2013 (in Zone B1):
Chateauroux 3,270 old birds: 2 - 15 – 26- 52… (8/13) Montluçon 2,545 old birds: 1 - 2 - 3 - 6 - 9 - 14 - 24 – 70 – 78 – 80… (20/24) Montluçon 3,721 yearlings: 2 - 4 - 5 - 9 - 16 - 17 - 19 - 23 - 26 - 27 – 28 – 44 -51… (26/51) Argenton 2,035 old birds: 1 - 2 - 8 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 18 – 44 – 46 – 47 – 68 – 80… (18/21) Argenton 3,519 yearlings: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 – 6 – 45 – 52 – 67 – 69 – 75 – 77… (20/40) Chateauroux 865 yearlings: 1 - 3 - 4 – 6 - 9– 13– 15– 20– 21– 53–57–62–65–68–69-78… (21/39) Argenton 832 yearlings: 2 - 3 - 6 – 9 – 14 – 21 – 41 – 47 – 53 – 54… (17/29)
These are impressive numbers that say more than words. Spectacular wins and championship titles even at national level have made the Geerinckx loft one of the most appealing pigeon families in the longer middle distance in Belgium. This is a pigeon family with a homogenous breed based on great looking pigeons. These pigeons have powerful wings, vibrating muscles, an intelligent mind and a strong body. These pigeons are near perfect! These are super class birds that perform really well both in their home loft and in other fanciers’s lofts. The best breeding hen of Gaston Van de Wouwer today is a direct Geerinckx pigeon, just like the best breeding cock of Bart and Nance Van Oeckel. This is something many other fanciers noticed as well, which explains why such national and international stars as Gerard Koopman, Pieter Veenstra, Pascal Ariën etc. have already paid a visit to Wommelgem.
Bart Geerinckx and Jan Hooijmans on their recent visit to China.
To stand still is to go backwards
Luc had told Bart that you should never rest on your laurels as a pigeon fancier and this has always been in the back of his mind. If you want to maintain your position as a top class fancier you will always have to try and stay ahead of your opponents. One of the most important aspects is maintaining or improving the quality of your pigeon breed but how can a fancier improve his existing pigeons if he is already one of the very best of Belgium?
One of the possibilities is to look for pigeons that have been capable of beating your own pigeons, sometimes in the most demanding conditions. They have the second and ninth best pigeon in the National Ace Pigeon Championship Longer Middle Distance 2013 so they did not have a lot of choice. Bart knows that ace pigeons are bred from ace pigeons so that explains his choice of obtaining national ace pigeons to strengthen his pigeon breed. One of the things you have to keep in mind though is the price tag of a top quality ace pigeon.
Bart Geerinckx is holding New Laureaat during a visit at Hugo Batenburg's loft
New Freddy turns heads
National ace pigeons are among the most popular and most sought after pigeons and nowadays most of them are being transferred to countries far away. The PIPA Elite Center (PEC) of Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and Dirk Deroose are among the few fanciers that have been able to keep a number of first national ace pigeons longer middle distance in Belgian hands, with New Freddy and Amalia, first nat. ace pigeon longer middle distance KBDB 2010 and 2011 respectively, as the most notable purchases. The PEC houses several descendants of Bender, first national ace pigeon longer middle distance KBDB 2012 as well. Experience has shown that these national ace pigeons are quite often invaluable breeding pigeons as well and that was also the case for New Freddy. In fact the family of Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede are the proud owners of two first national ace pigeons longer middle distance KBDB as well. New Freddy is fully inbred to Freddy, which was bred by Freddy Vandenheede. You can find a number of invaluable descendants of New Freddy in their breeding loft as well.
It is this New Freddy bloodline that has had a major influence on pigeon racing in the longer middle distance over the past three seasons and Bart Geerinckx had noticed that as well. He was really impressed with the results that have made new Freddy win his national ace pigeon title. He was particularly successful in demanding weather conditions, high temperatures and headwind. In addition, he often had to cover a lot more kilometres compared to his opponents. This highly talented racing pigeon could really overpower the other pigeons, often in tough conditions. Today he is doing great as a breeding pigeon as well.
Side note: New Freddy was involved in a joint breeding of grandmaster Gaby Vandenabeele himself, who was quite impressed by this pigeon as well. Three of Gaby's best breeding hens were paired to New Freddy (for instance a dam of the 1st National Agen of Bert Vanden Berghe).
Does it surprise you that a fancier like Bart Geerinckx is impressed every time he gets to see New Freddy on one of his visits at PIPA or the PEC? He is even more impressed by the amazing results of this successful bloodline in recent seasons. It is no surprise that he obtained a youngster from New Freddy x Amalia, which he bought in the latest PEC auction (New National’s Promise BE13-4176434).
The big deal
Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and Dirk Deroose (the two PEC shareholders) paid a recent visit to Bart Geerinckx’ pigeon loft. They were, of course, interested in taking a closer look at the two hens that have won a title of 2nd and 9th National Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB 2013, as well as a few other top class Geerinckx racing and breeding pigeons. They were both very impressed by the outstanding collection in Wommelgem, which is the kind of collection you do not get to see very often. They had an interesting conversation after the visit and they started thinking about doing a joint breeding with this talented group of hens.
Bart and Matador, Hugo and New Witbuik and Dirk and New Laureaat during a visit at Hugo Batenburg's loft
They gave it some thought and they were willing to go even further: they decided to partially sell New Freddy to Bart Geerinckx. The PEC had used the same concept for Hugo Batenburg in relation to the long distance pigeons New Laureaat and New Witbuik. The people at PEC have a lot of respect for the kind Bart Geerinckx and they are really impressed by his results as well, so it did not take long before the two parties had come to an agreement. According to this agreement Bart Geerinckx will have a 50% shared ownership of New Freddy, which will be paired to some of Geerinckx’ very best hens in the years to come.
Bart does not keep pigeons off most of his best pigeons but he did have a few. Let’s have a look at some of New Freddy’s possible partners:
This is likely to be beneficial for both parties. It is the goal of both the PEC and Bart Geerinckx to make their pigeon breed even stronger to stay ahead of their opponents. We wish them good luck!