Forty or so years ago certain advanced thinking American and Canadian fanciers ventured into Europe. They learned a great deal in Belgium and Holland about professional racing pigeons as well as many pigeon personalities. They wrote articles and reports on many fanciers and many of these fanciers became household names in North America. The birds that these pigeon scribes wrote about were much in demand and eventually everyone concluded that they needed to have them. The odd thing however was this; often time the names touted were far from ‘National Champions” in their own countries let alone globally. A very good friend of mine often told me that the real champions were, usually, very little known in North America, Why? Well he explained most fanciers in North America do not read Dutch or German or Flemish nor do they receive ,on a regular basis, the Journals that are produced in Belgium, Holland or Germany so, he continued, the vast majority of North Americans are very, very slow to uncover those real “jewels of the sky” as they are emerging. When the general population finally does discover these gems it’s usually too late and the game is virtually over
Yet success depends to an enormous degree, upon access to “timely” and “totally accurate “information. The only way hitherto that, that was possible, was for a very small group of fanciers who spoke and read various languages and were so motivated as to register subscriptions to these foreign publications and study them carefully and regularly. Very few fanciers in North America could do so because most of us are, in fact, “linguistically challenged”. So the very few personalities that had access developed distinct advantages in many fields including, advances in health protocols, advances in flying systems and techniques, and most important of all advances in their ability to source genetically superior birds. Even today, for the bulk of fanciers this is still the case but it does not need to remain so.
Thankfully however, for those who are inspired, dedicated and farsighted the internet has changed everything and hopefully forever. Many European fanciers now have websites, newsletters and much more. Fanciers outside of Europe can spend time tracking down tomorrow’s celebrities without the aid of most intermediaries. With the development of professional pigeon internet news gathering and highly reputable , totally transparent and exclusive auction sites like PIPA foreign fanciers now have the potential for a front row seat to the auctions of some of the most exclusive proven performance and breeding stock ever available and all from the comfort of your own home. But remember everyone in the world wants quality and if the pigeon world is now your oyster so the flip side of this coin is that the entire world’s fanciers are now your competitors. We can become as “well informed” or remain as “ill informed” as we wish to be. For those with “eyes to see” much can be learned by visiting the online archives of past PIPA sales there truly is much to learn, much to uncover much to discover.
The old names , from the past, that I grew up admiring and that I thought were invincible have for the most part all but fallen to the wayside and new, young, aggressive and totally dedicated, internet savvy, fanciers are now emerging and dominating. One of the world’s young, highly successful, supremely dedicated professional racing pigeon fanciers is none other than Gerard Koopman. Have you ever taken the time to ponder on how he got to the top? Have you ever pondered how he continues to stay at the top? Well I have so wondered, in fact I have thought a great deal about not only him but a raft of other extremely successful younger generation European fanciers who have become famous for their racing exploits. These exceptional professional fanciers do everything well but their greatest advantage is “access to information” in real time. “Timely information” and then taking aggressive action on this information. As we say in North America “striking while the iron is hot!”
These professionals, known world -wide for their savvy and exceptional results are not blinded by outmoded preconceived notions of strain or hype that still binds most of us North Americans. They are not as foolish as to believe in the false concept of “pure” this or that strain. Nothing is pure. They, these leading professionals, are always looking to improve their results and this can only be done if one is committed to continuously improving their base stock. So where does a super champ go to “buy his birds”? Where indeed for that is truly part of the secret of gaining success and definitely a great deal of the secret if one is to maintain success for a lifetime.
Well on that note we arrive at the subject matter of my article, Benny Steveninck and his exceptional breeding sire “Chipo”. What would you say if I told you that many “super” fanciers including Koopman have acquired the pigeons of Benny Steveninck of Hamme? Most fanciers worldwide would say Benny who? Of Where? Yet those in the know know that Benny has a “super pair” and that this “super pair” has proven its ability to produce exceptional performance pigeons with the added ability of being themselves pre-potent. Performance wedded to prepotency and that is the only secret we need to ever understand if one desires to become successful in our sport!
Eight pigeons bred by Benny Steveninck bring 26,000 Euros with high sellers going to Koopman and Great Wall.
Benny Steveninck's Super Pair, Parents of "Chipo" and a host of other Super Pigeons!
This pair represented above has produced many great pigeons but one of the true “jewels” is the incomparable “Chipo”. How good is “Chipo”? Well so good that there is currently a two year backlog for receipt of any of his direct children. You would need to wait a minimum of two years and you would be lucky to get one because the line already ahead of you is long and quite distinguished.
"Chipo" the Super pigeon. Champions in Europe are lining up for two years to purchase his sons and daughters!
“Chipo” was born in 2003 in Hamme, part of the East Flanders a Belgian province that calls itself home, (at the time), to over 11,000 racing pigeon fancier. To put that into perspective that is almost 5 times the number of fanciers registered in Canada in the entire CRPU.”Chipo” (B03-439022) in the year of his birth brought an incredible success to his breeder Benny Steveninck. As a youngster his results were fantastic, so much so in fact that “Chipo” was crowned the very best Middle Distance pigeon provincially. Yes he won the “Ace Pigeon competition” as a young bird and immediately there were offers to purchase this young superstar “Chipo” but Benny , wisely, refused to sell, remaining content to campaign him again as a yearling to discover just how good he really was. The easy decision would have been to take the money but long term the right decision was to thoroughly test the cock to insure future long term success. Benny was not disappointed as “Chipo” moved from strength to strength! A quality pigeon, if allowed to compete will repeatedly show his qualities.
Well now that I have your interest let’s go back to the beginning and ask again, “who is Benny Steveninck?” Well personally Benny has always been involved in sports and worked hard to develop his athletic abilities in several sports including soccer, marathon running and bicycle racing. When he decided to devote his efforts to excelling at pigeon racing he was certainly in a position to understand and appreciate many key factors leading to success including nutrition, conditioning, and motivation. Since he had experienced all of these issues personally he knew full well how they needed to be applied in the cases of the pigeon athletes he now coached.
Benny Steveninck, is 48 years old, and compared to many of the old timers in our sport he is a virtual newcomer. Benny started racing seriously in 1998 .His father Raymond was in fact a fancier and for a period of time Benny and his father flew together ( lofts were located at his father’s home) but unfortunately the time required away from his wife and young family was stressful . His wife realizing the importance of the pigeons in Benny’s life proposed the building of a garden loft in their own back yard. It was not very long before Benny’s wife Karin also became fascinated with Benny’s pigeons. Benny’s success, in part, is due to the dedication and enthusiasm that Karin and his youngest son bring to the care of the pigeons. Karin is there to help Benny, and she does that with a lot of natural ability and total enthusiasm. But let’s have no doubts as to who drives this “high speed train” to success. Benny’s occupation is that of an engineer who operates high speed commuter trains for a living which makes him one exceptional operator on two separate sets of tracks. One sees him safely transporting commuters to their destinations at high speeds the other sees him engineering the success of his racing pigeons in National races. In both instances Benny delivers first class performances on time and on occasion “ahead of the pack’!
When Benny started he decided that he would participate in the Middle Distance races and to this end he, after considerable research decided to acquire the pigeons of well-known middle-distance specialists. The first of these was Willy Van Houtte (Wevelgem) from whom he acquired youngsters and in no time whatsoever Benny was able to attain success with these Van Houtte birds. Benny in time decided that these original Van Houtte birds could be further improved with a judicious cross and to this end he purchased the birds of Eric Brootcoorens (Idegem) as well as those of Johan Van Damme (Dendermonde), Verstraeten Sylvain, Michel Hautekiet (Ruddervoorde) and Geert and Clara Philips (Dendermonde).
The breeding loft currently consists of 24 pairs, 60% of which are sons, daughters, brothers or sisters of “Chipo”. Benny’s line of pigeons are very, well musceled,with very soft plumage and are very tame and some have even referred to them as “sweet” pigeons who often can be seen sitting on the head or shoulders of their kindly “Boss”. Benny & Karin Steveninck, in the province East-Flanders with their 'Chipo-line' seem to be well on the way to world fame and many world class fanciers are making their way to the “STEVENINCK LOFTS”
When “Chipo” was finally sent to the stock loft he was mated to a superlative hen named “Hautekiet 89” B03-4328989 .This hen was of the line of strain Michel Hautekiet of Ruddervoorde and had won seven prizes as a young bird. The pair proved immediately and immensely successful and amongst a host of others they were parents to the following super performance cocks: "Chihaut 100" (B04-4138100), DE Crack or "De Crack" (B05-4323999), "Chihaut 98" (B05-4323998).
Daughters like "Vierzonneke" B 07-4216899, who was 1st Provincial Vierzon In 2007 as a youngster she was:
6th Momignies 623 p.
20th Noyon 203 p.
17th Noyon 99 p.
116th Dourdan 1.066 p.
254th Dourdan 1.424 p.
206th Dourdan 684 p.
In 2008: 99th Ecouen 406 p.,20th Dourdan 397 p. and 1st Prov Vierzon 2,003 Yearlings and 2nd Intprov Vierzon 5,076 yearlings.
She is a daughter of "Chipo" coupled with the "Hautekiet 87" 987/04.
"Chihaut 100" (B04-4138100): 15th provincial ace-pigeon as a youngster, 6th national ace-pigeon middle distance KBDB in 2005 as a two year old. His results included 1st Noyon 807b., 1st Dourdan 508b., 1st Dourdan 384b., 1st Dourdan 204b., 3rd Dourdan 565b., 2nd Dourdan 357b., 4th Dourdan 441b., 3rd Dourdan 317b., 2nd Dourdan 198b., 2nd Dourdan 180b., 5th Dourdan 349b., 4th Dourdan 270b., 7th Dourdan 420b., 9th Bourges 333b.
"De Crack" (B05-4323999): Results included 4th Bourges 1,971b. (11th national against 12,989 year birds), 1st Dourdan 394b., 2nd Dourdan 453b., 15th Blois 1,973b., 2nd Dourdan 194b., 7th Dourdan 564b., 5th Dourdan 169b., 7th Dourdan 227b. 3rd Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB East-Fl 2006, 1st Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB East-Fl 2007
3rd National Ace pigeon 'Small Middle Distance' KBDB 2007
"Chihaut 98" (B05-4323998): Results included 1st Noyon 539b., 1st Dourdan 571b., 1st Dourdan 342b., 1st Dourdan 227b., 1st Dourdan 226b., 2nd Dourdan 443b., 2nd Noyon 400b., 8th Dourdan 786b., 3rd Dourdan 229b.
Second generation get out of “Chipo” are also extremely successful and there are many 1st prize winners here as well including B05-4323835 (son "Chihaut 100"): 1st Dourdan 330b., 1st Quievrain 119b., 3rd Dourdan 342b., 2nd Dourdan 226b., 6th Dourdan 143b., 13th Dourdan 579b. B06-4249317 (son "Chihaut 100"): 3rd Dourdan 310b., 3rd Vichy 255b.
It is important to note that many of the brothers of “Chipo” are of the same caliber as their famous brother. Examples such as B04-4138962 comes to mind : 1st Noyon 255b., 1st Dourdan 229b., 1st Dourdan 198b., 1st Quievrain 103b., 3rd Dourdan 270b., 6th Dourdan 508b., 11th Dourdan 915b., 9th Noyon 533b., 5th Dourdan 284b., 7th Dourdan 379b., 9th Dourdan 357b., 4th Dourdan 148b., 6th Noyon 183b., 7th Dourdan 198b., 8th Dourdan 204b.
A nephew of “Chipo” out of “Chipo’s” brother was A son of "brother of Chipo" 1st Dourdan 659b., 1st Dourdan 248b., 2nd Dourdan 579b., 3rd Dourdan 443b., 3rd Quievrain 119b., 8th Dourdan 1,013b., 8th Dourdan 266b., 9th Dourdan 227b., and much, much more.
PARENTS OF "GUERET" 1St National Limoges Yearlings 2009
"Gueret" 1st National Limoges Yearlings 2009 against 16.896 yearlings (884 more than in 2008).
"The Gueret "4216930-08, won 1st Provincial Gueret in 2008 and in 2009 was the
2009 WINNER 1st NATIONAL LIMOGES YEARLINGS 'GUERET' BE08-4216930 was bred from Chipo X Houtekeit hen. This performance by “Gueret” probably gave Benny the greatest pleasure to date in the sport. Can you imagine the nail biting taking place when you come to realize that Benny won this race by a mere 12 seconds!
Yet as the following race records will attest these are super pigeons that are now much in demand.
Benny Steveninck Race Results 2009
Dourdan 343,043 km
02/05/2009 1033 yearlings 3,5,30,49,82,119,...
09/05/2009 797 old 1,29,42,...
16/05/2009 761 yearlings 7,10,12,...
23/05/2009 465 old 3,21,23,38,42,...
800 yearlings 8,9,10,24,48,...
30/05/2009 344 old 1,7,8,9,16,43,51,60,...
555 yearlings 8,9,36,45,...
13/06/2009 247 old 4,5,6,14,32,...
397 yearlings 2,3,4,24,35,42,...
27/06/2009 148 old 2,3,6,8,18,...
298 yearlings 4,7,9,...
04/07/2009 131 old 2,3,25,...
11/07/2009 1442 youngsters 2,18,22,23,32,57,62,79,124,135,...
18/07/2009 965 youngsters 12,21,22,67,68,70,79,80,90,...
01/08/2009 542 youngsters 7,9,18,20,21,23,28,36,37,38,41,44,...
08/08/2009 496 youngsters 1,2,3,15,17,45,46,...
15/08/2009 825 youngsters 8,14,50,64,79,89
22/08/2009 550 youngsters 1,6,9,17,25,27,28,37,51,52,..
225 youngsters 3,5
29/08/2009 477 youngsters 5,9,15,43,46,...
Ecouen 258,889 km
25/07/2009 438 youngsters 1,2,3,4,7,12,13,...
1009 youngsters 2,3,5,26,27,38,78,...
Noyon 185,540 km
26/04/2009 202 old 3,4,5,6,9,...
21/06/2009 451 youngsters 1,2,3,8,38,...
28/06/2009 466 youngsters 2,5,6,7,10,16,39,41,...
Bourges 460,741 km
23/05/2009 1535 yearlings Zone B 50,119,248,261,
Chaterauroux 505,712 km
07/06/2009 3758 old prov. 41
4559 yearlings prov. 65,107,160,209,370,
Poitiers 570,470 km
20/06/2009 2554 old prov. 17,174,...
04/07/2009 4331 old Zone B 144,455
11/07/2009 16893 yearlings nat. 1
Souillac 714,968 km
20/07/2009 2601 old Zone B 100,119,...
Blois 438,375 km
04/07/2009 local 78 old 1
Prov, 1078 old 27
18/07/2009 local 45 old 1,2,6
62 yearlings 1
Prov. 657 old prov. 6,9,44,...
837 yearlings prov. 1 (fastest of 3656 pigeons)
La Souteraine 572,348 KM
28/08/2009 local 24 old 1,2,5 & 6
prov. 463 old 9,15,61 & 98
Zone B 1506 old 9,24,168 & 302
national 4489 old 21,48,325 & 598
Nationale vluchten Young Birds
Local 683 4,6,14,23,46,75,..
Provincial 8180 28,39,85,171,...
National 37357 530,652,1186,...
Local 476 15,17,...
Provincial 5705 149,162,...
National 23900 719,782,...
La Souterraine: 22/08/2009
Local 398 7,11,21,23,37,..
Provincial 4293 78,110,178,200,...
National 17814 253,375,638,719,...
Local 347 1,2,3,5,6,7,9,10,17, 20,21,22,23,25,26,27,30,...
Provincial 3108 5, 7,10,17,22,25,67,84,142,157,164,198,200,
Beide Vl 1628 5, 7,11,13,21,23,45,54,86, 95,100,120,121,127.....
National 14245 231,263,306,412,500....
Past years performances and championships
10th champion speed and middle distance youngsters 2004
6th national champion ace pigeon short middle distance 2005 (4138100-06 son chipo)
8th national champion short middle distance old pigeons 2006
10th national champion yearlings 2006
12th national champion yearlings 2007
3rd national champion ace pigeon short middle distance 2007 (4323999-05 son chipo)
4th national champion short middle distance old pigeons 2008
3rd national champion ace pigeon short middle distance 2008 (4323998-05 son chipo)
Provincial ace pigeon champions:
1st champion middle distance youngsters 2003 (4329022-03 chipo)
8th champion old pigeons middle distance 2005 (4138100-04)
3rd champion middle distance old pigeons 2006 (4323999-05)
3rd General Champion 2006
1st champion middle distance old pigeons 2007 (4323999-05)
2nd champion middle distance old pigeons 2008 (4323998-05)
4th champion middle distance old pigeons 2009 (4323998-05)
4th champion long distance youngsters 2009
19th champion middle distance youngsters 2009 (4188037-09)
1st provincial Bourges yearlings 2007
1st provincial Vierzon yearlings 2008
1st provincial Argenton yearlings 2008
1st provincial Gueret youngsters 2008
1st provincial Limoges yearlings 2009
1st provincial Blois yearlings 2009
1st national Limoges yearlings 2009
One of Benny’s Lofts
As the results clearly demonstrate Benny and Karin have come a long way since beginning in the sport in 1998.They and their “Chipo Line” of pigeons are well on their way to world fame. Hopefully some of these incredible bloodlines will soon make their way into North America. Time will tell? But somehow I cannot help but feel that the first fanciers to get on to the “Chipo” express line will get to their racing destinations before many, many others.