Semmerzake, the golden triangle, the very centre of the East-Flemish pigeon sport, was again successful on a national level in 2005. André and Patrick De Smet, national champion long distance KBDB 2005. This magnificent performance was achieved with the following results: Montelimar zone A, 66° and 21° national, Orange national 213° and 6° national, Limoges old national 850° and 149° national, each time with the first and second nominated pigeon. A coefficient of 17,6928 is sufficient to leave the rest of Belgium far behind. André and Patrick can hardly be called unexpected winners, for years they have been part of the very top of Belgian long distance racing and they became 3° national champion long distance KBDB in 2003.
2005 was again an exceptional successful year for this team of father and son; they won no less than 23 first prizes and 26 second prizes. The crowning glory of their work was the national title long distance.
Building of the strain
André decided in de mid fifties to start racing with pigeons on his own. Soon, his expert’s eye had found the way to the best strains. He chose Desmet-Matthys and the Janssen Bros, Arendonk, with a touch of Hofkens. André had been known for years for his “vale trein” (“pale brown train”): pigeons that rushed home not giving one inch, returning home from the most difficult races one after another, like a train. As for speed and long middle distance racing he sent the competition from pillar to post. But nonetheless, he was not entirely satisfied: André also wanted to have a say on long distance. So he went to Deerlijk, to Roger Vereecke, and bought quite a few pigeons. At first, it did not seem to be a good move, André was not satisfied with the youngsters that were raised. But later-on, it appeared to be the best purchase he had ever made. One of the Vereecke pigeons was “de Crack”, a cock of 1978, 1° provincial ace pigeon and 1° ace pigeon Marathon. This pigeon was not only an exceptional racer but also an excellent breeder. Crossbred with his own strain this “Crack” raised one top pigeon after another. Soon, he left his mark on the entire colony and the “pale brown” train became “bluish”. The train thundered on and also on long distance. An extremely strong long distance strain was born, a very close, inbred family of pigeons that has been forming a top colony for many years with little or no contribution of new blood at all. Winning was now possible from Bourges to Barcelona.
Cocks as well as hens are raced on classic widowhood. The season of 2005 was started with 40 widowers and 70 widow hens. A rather large colony. In fact, André prefers to race with hens because they can be motivated and kept in shape more easily than cocks. Achievements of these hens certainly are in no way inferior to those of the cocks. Although it has to be said that the national championship was won with 6 cocks. The pigeons are basketted just on a nest bowl. Upon arrival, it so happens that couples stay together for several hours. One hour of training each day is obligatory and once they have returned to the loft, they are locked in their nest box to prevent them -especially the hens- to couple.
The racing cocks are breeding during winter, which is not the case as for the racing hens. They are all re-coupled on April 1st for a round of eggs. The pigeons receive as much natural products as possible and medication is administered only in case of illness. But nonetheless they do receive a precautionary cure against tricho during the racing season.
Care is perfect teamwork. Everyone -André, Patrick and Madeleine- has his or her tasks and the pigeons are soon acquainted with the routine. André is convinced that, with respect to care, a woman’s hand can really work magic.
Focus is on the achievements of the pigeons. If a pigeon does not perform well, he of she is relentlessly thrown out. And there is certainly no shortage of top results, even too much to mention them all, that is why this article contains only a concise summary of many years’ of top results. Let’s take a look at the period 1990-2005.
First prizes: no less than 411 first prizes over the last 16 years:
1990 – 19 x 1° prize,
1991 – 13 x 1° prize,
1992 – 35 x 1° prize,
1993 – 23 x 1° prize,
1994 – 10 x 1° prize,
1995 – 31 x 1° prize,
1996 – 34 x 1° prize,
1997 – 16 x 1° prize,
1998 – 43 x 1° prize,
1999 – 38 x 1° prize,
2000 – 33 x 1° prize,
2001 – 22 x 1° prize,
2002 – 31 x 1° prize,
2003 – 25 x 1° prize,
2004 – 23 x 1° prize,
2005 – 23 x 1° prize.
1° nationals: in that same period no less than 12 pure first nationals (all of Belgium) as well as 7 x 1° national zone A. No less than 434 prizes within the first 50 national.
1° national La Souteraine young pigeons 1993, 9164 pigeons
1° national Limoges hens 1995, 326 pigeons
1° national Barcelona hens 1997, 2158 pigeons
1° national La Souterraine old pigeons 1998, 1071 pigeons
1° national Cahors hens 1999, 671 pigeons
1° national Limoges hens 2000, 486 pigeons
1° national Gueret old pigeons 2000, 975 pigeons
1° national La Souterraine old pigeons 2001, 1835 pigeons
1° national Gueret young pigeons 2001, 1433 pigeons
1° national Barcelona hens 2002, 2927 pigeons
1° national Limoges 2-year-olds 2003, 8618 pigeons
1° national Cahors hens 2004, 538 pigeons
Provincial and inter-provincial victories: no less than 74 provincial and inter-provincial victories and 524 prizes within the first 10 provincial. I shall spare you this lengthy list.
3° national champion long distance KBDB 2003
Olympiad pigeon for Utrecht and Blackpool.
1° national champion long distance KBDB
1° general champion FVOV
1° champion most prizes FVOV
1° champion Elite club
2° champion “Brive vrienden”
2° interprovincial champion FVOV
Belgian pigeon sport:
4° best loft
3° long distance BDS
2° long middle distance
4° general league table
2° ace pigeon Long Distance
La Colombophile Belge:
1° category long distance
3° ace pigeon long distance – extreme long distance
8° best colony
8° national old yearlings
5° old yearlings
16° criterium of Ace Pigeons, “belgische verstandhouding”
23 x 1° prize
26 x 2nd prize
2005 top pigeons:
Below you will find some pictures of top pigeons in the present loft André and Patrick De Smet. The future seems to be guaranteed.