This has been the challenge for Eddy and Maarten Leutenez right from the beginning. They deliberately chose to work with a small group of pigeons when they made a new start in 2007 from Kruishoutem. It was somewhat inevitable as well: they did not have a lot of room to build a new loft and they do not have the time to take care of a lot of pigeons either, partly due to Eddy’s health problems and due to Maarten’s busy daytime job. They wanted everything to be manageable.
Eddy Leutenez has quite a reputation in our sport, as one of the very best pigeon fanciers in Belgium in the last 25 years. His list of achievements includes no less than six national first prizes, as well as four national second prizes. Eddy Leutenez knew what it means to be a top class fancier and he knew that you have to make sacrifices. This all came to a stop when lung problems forced him to end his career in 2003. It was a serious blow. His loft in Semmerzake closed its doors after a total auction.
A fresh start in Kruishoutem
Meanwhile, the Leutenez family had moved house to Kruishoutem. After four years without pigeon racing his son Maarten gradually started thinking about making a fresh start and that is what he did after he completed his studies. Eddy’s health had improved so he agreed right away. It was the start of a new partnership. Eddy was going to assist Maarten from the sidelines to help him find his way to the top. He would not enter the lofts or clean them, because his doctor had forbidden him to get into contact with pigeons. He can still see the pigeons make training flights around the loft. Sometimes one of their pigeons arrives home at the loft after having achieved a great result and this reminds him of some of his great successes back in Semmerzake. The feeling of winning a top result is what every fancier strives for and it is a feeling that is hard to describe to an outsider.
Eddy knew from experience that you can only become successful with top class pigeons. His proficiency and his knowledge allowed him to recognise pigeons that had the ability to become a champion one day. The next step was to create a new foundation based on a number of carefully considered purchases. The two fanciers have an eye for talent, they are not afraid to make large investments and they have been able to reap the benefits, which is great. This is why Eddy and Maarten have become a successful partnership.
Leutenez pigeons: strong, quick and smart
Pigeons need to be strong, quick and smart. That is the main requirement for the pigeons of this partnership. They have found this type of pigeon in the loft of Marc De Cock, who has a collection of international champions himself. Eddy and Maarten have obtained some of Marc’s finest pigeons but they also went back to their own pigeon breed, using for instance descendants of the bloodline of Milan. They also paid a visit to today’s coming star Benny Steveninck, who lives in the neighbourhood of Marc. Benny’s excellent Chipo bloodline was introduced in the loft in Kruishoutem in 2008.
In the 2009 racing season José Denoyette won a first interprovincial prize from Tours in very difficult conditions and Maarten & Eddy were impressed by this result. When Eddy was on his way to pick up his grandchildren from school he also passed along the loft of José to take a look at his winning pigeon. He was immediately impressed by this amazing racing bird! It did not take him long to close a deal: the winning hen Bolleken was moved to their loft in Kruishoutem and this pigeon soon formed the foundation for the renowned Bolleken bloodline. She played a key role in the breeding loft right from the beginning and her parents were soon added to the team as well. Today everybody knows what you can expect from a pigeon from the Bolleken bloodline: these are pigeons with big muscles, a lot of strength and explosive power, as well as a high level of intelligence!
The successful lines of Milan and De Rauw-Sablon
The line of Bolleken has been in the forefront in recent seasons but there is more: the old bloodlines of Eddy Leutenez and their De Rauw-Sablon pigeons have been very important in the loft in Kruishoutem as well. Both successful lines stem directly from the top class pigeon breed of Marc De Cock from Temse. We take a look back at these interesting bloodlines to discuss their impact on the Leutenez pigeon family.
Some of the best breeders are crossings of both breeding lines, which were bred from Federer BE08-4347712 (a grandson of Dream Couple De Rauw-Sablon) x Siska BE08-4347741 (a granddaughter of Milan). You cannot underestimate the breeding value of Federer; he is without doubt one of the stock pigeons in this loft. We take a look at some of his most successful descendants:
1st Interprovincial and 13th National Brive 11,130 p. 43rd I.Prov. Blois 5,142 p. 72nd National Argenton 19,816 p. 102nd National Chateauroux 22,718 p. 110th National Chateauroux 20,517 p.
46th National Chateauroux 22,718 p. 95th National Chateauroux 18,725 p. 237th National Souillac 5,667 p. 315th National Bourges 14,145 p.
51st I.Prov. Tours 2,874 p. 72nd National La Souterraine 11,236 p. 7th Nat. Zone La Souterraine 7,450 p. 115th National Gueret 16,988 p.
The Limoges 579 BE11-4307579 is another top class descendant from the De Rauw-Sablon breeding line; he is an inbred to long distance icon Limoges De Rauw-Sablon and a son of Dream Couple. In his first year as a breeder he became the sire of:
4th Prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance Young Birds KBDB East Fl. 53rd Nat. Zone Argenton 4,379 p.
Elisabeth BE03-4411155 (a 100% Marcel Aelbrecht) has played a significant role in the build-up of this pigeon breed: she is the dam of Mauro, usually the breeding partner of Bolleken. This means she is an integral part of the amazing Bolleken bloodline. Elisabeth is grandmother of, for instance:
3rd Best Young Bird of Belgium in the national races 2010 69th National Gueret 13,885 p.
2nd Prov. Montrichard 306 p. 12th National Argenton 7,046 p. 53rd National Bourges 31,719 p. 240th National Gueret 14,362 p.
To conclude, we would also like to highlight the importance of Eddy’s own pigeon breed, based on the renowned bloodline of Milan, which was returned from the loft of Marc De Cock. The top class breeders Grote Milan, his nest brother New Superbreeder, Siska and Elrio originate from this breed. We have discussed the breeding results of Siska (paired to Federer) earlier in this article. She is a half sister of Grote Milan BE06-4370915 (they have the same dam), a grandson of top class pigeon Milan. He is the sire of:
-De Zwarte Milan
16th I.Prov. Limoges 2,960 p. 57th National Chateauroux 18,725 p. 62nd National Chateauroux 22,718 p. 145th National Chateauroux 20,517 p.
5th I.Prov. Blois 2,333 p. 21st I.Prov. Orleans 3,205 p.
8th I.Prov. La Souterraine 767 p.
At the beginning of 2013 his own nest brother and top breeder New Superbreeder BE06-4370914 joined the team as well. He was purchased in the PIPA auction of Marc De Cock and he was already the sire of:
-Grandson Deep Impact
1st Prov. La Chatre 4,675 p. 45th National La Souterraine 17,017 p. 99th Nat. Zone Chateauroux 9,112 p. 179th National Bourges 12,607 p.
1st Club Bourges 249 p. 138th National Bourges 14,598 p.
26th Nat. Zone Souillac 2,296 p. 113th National Tulle 6,695 p.
9th Prov. Bourges 1,294 p. (1st club 134 p.) 187th Nat. Zone Chateauroux 9,112 p.
Another important breeder in this loft is Elrio BE06-4370898, a direct son of Milan. Elrio is the grandfather of Lennie, a great champion of Camiel Verdonck from Nazareth:
1st Internat. Perpignan 16,893 p. (in 2012) 1st National Perpignan 6,661 p.
Each of these pigeons are amazing breeders that have allowed Eddy and Maarten Leutenez to become some of the most successful fanciers at national level in Belgium.
There is room for a total of only 20 breeding pairs in their loft, which has 16 breeding boxes. There is also a smaller loft that offers place for 7 other breeding pairs. There is a team of about 20 racing pigeons and between 50 and 60 young birds every season whose task it is to win top results. I think you will agree that this is quite a small group of pigeons, considering the current national calendar of the longer middle distance and the long distance. Still, Eddy and Maarten have been able to compete with the greatest champions of our sport, as David against Goliath. It goes without saying that their pigeon family in Kruishoutem is of exceptional quality.