He has been racing at a top level for over thirty years, or even more. Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior is incredibly strong. Is he too strong for his opponents? One thing is sure: he is one of the best and possibly the best fancier in Germany! The graduate banker has been running a successful insurance company for more than 30 years together with his wife Annette. They both love their work, they have raised four children and they can look back on a satisfying life.
Franz-Wilhelm lives in Wenden, which is located in the south of the Olpe region, amid the natural park of the Ebbe Hils, in Sauerland, Nordrhein-Westfahlen. He races in the local club 405 – Bergisch-Land, which is part of eleven pigeon racing unions. In any case, Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior is planning to take a break from pigeon racing for a few years.
Why he needs a break- in his own words
"I could not have imagined a better start to the 2012 season: I took the overall victory in the DBA with five victories. Unfortunately a few birds of prey (the Northern Goshawk and the Peregrine Falcon) caused trouble for many fanciers and their pigeons in the spring. Despite the setbacks and the stress we managed to complete five training flights and 14 races in different weather conditions. These races were often a serious test for the pigeons and the fancier. The goal was to do a final race of 600km but due to the weather circumstances we did not reach our goal. It was a very hot day and we decided to save our best pigeons. Still, my racing pigeons have had an outstanding season in the old bird competitions despite the setbacks: 47 two digit prizes including 7 first and 13 second prizes; 14 prizes were won by five pigeons, who had a sensational season at all levels. After 43 years of (very) active involvement in pigeon racing, both in my own loft and in the union, I have run out of energy. It is not easy to combine family life, work and the day to day running of a pigeon loft at a top level. It is simply impossible to have some free time, to go on holiday or to take up a sport. In order to maintain good health I have decided to pull back from the sport for a while. It is time to refuel and to take a look back. In the following two or three years I will quietly try to further improve my breed with a very small team of carefully selected young birds. “
The total auction of all breeding and racing pigeons of Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior puts an end to his successful career as a pigeon fancier. He will keep 30 young birds for his own pleasure and possibly to make a restart with his breed in two or three years.
Willi Hertel has published a new book titled Taubenflüsterer (pigeon whisperer) and he has dedicated an entire chapter to Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior. With the kind approval of Willi Hertel we have included some of the most interesting passages of his book.
At the German racing pigeon exhibition of 1971 there was a young man who was taking a close look at the top class pigeons with blinking eyes. His name was Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior. At that moment he was imagining himself showing his very own pigeons at the exhibition. Many years later, in January 2002, his dream turned into reality. He exhibited four of his best pigeons: the 0710-93-725 (winner of 76 prizes), the 0710-94-919 (67 prizes), the 0710-94-965 (65 prizes) and the 0710-94-851 (65 prizes). The blue coloured 919, 965 and 851 were sitting side by side. On top of that the 851 won a fifth prize in his category with 93.25 points. This pigeon breed is now almost an integral part of the exhibition. This breed is often represented by the 0710-98-620, winner of 93 prizes.
Belief – Trust – Respect
You have to believe in your pigeons, you have to trust them. You should respect them. It is also important to be patient with them. This makes the difference between a pigeon whisperer like Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior and an average pigeon fancier. Year in year out he has been working on his pigeon breed, making significant improvements. His most important piece of advice is not to be satisfied with your results. “Your aim should be to make improvements in the following season. That is the only way to make it to the top.”
His Olympiad pigeons
One year later, in 2003, the 0710-94-851 had yet again an outstanding season. He won 77 prizes and he was the third most successful pigeon in the DBA. Franz-Wilhelm developed into a top class fancier whose achievements are hard to match. At the DBA competition 2012 no less than five Gonschior pigeons were number one in their category; together they had the best all round performance of the event. The hen 0710-06-22 belongs to the very top. Each of these pigeons originates from the 851.
The jury that had to select the Olympiad pigeons for 2003 did a very thorough job. Of course they knew the preference of many international fanciers. Not only the first prize winners were selected but also the winners of other top prizes. The 851 made a great impression and he was immediately selected for the cock's competition. He won no less than 77 prizes in his career! It seemed the jury had made the right choice: the 851 was one of the main competitors and became first Olympiad Pigeon! When Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior climbed the podium he could not put into words what went through his mind. His entire career as a fancier flashed before his eyes. He was finally where he wanted to be!
Let's take a closer look at this top class pigeon. This is a short summary of his list of achievements:
1st Olympiad Pigeon 2003 in France 1st Ace Pigeon (olds) in the union '97, 2nd prov. Ace pigeon Best pigeon in the union 2002 with 12/12 prizes! 11th provincial ace pigeon A total of 77 prizes won Winner of the silver 'President'-Medal DBA 2002 3rd best lifetime performance DBA 2003 2nd place in the 3A category
Initially it did not look as if 851 was to become a great racing pigeon. He did not have a promising start: in his first race it took him no less than four weeks to arrive home. He had lost his chip and he was completely exhausted. His fancier had a difficult choice to make: keep him or get rid of him? Eventually he put his trust in this bird and he decided to keep him. After that disastrous flight he won the title of first Ace Pigeon in the union and he has been winning top prizes ever since.
So, he had already demonstrated his strength as a young bird. In the loft of Franz-Wilhelm Gonschior the racing pigeons are used for breeding as well. He keeps the youngsters that were bred before the season, as well as the youngsters from his best racing pigeons bred after the season. One of his daughters, the 0710-98-581, won the title of Best Hen in 2000 with 12 prizes and the first Ace Pigeon in the Union. The 0710-02-502, another daughter of his, was the best yearling and the first one year old Ace Pigeon in the club in 2003! This 502 is an exceptional pigeon: she was paired with the 0147-04-365 from Peter Janßen and this couple bred some outstanding descendants with remarkable achievements. These pigeons have turned into top class birds, first prize winners and Olympiad Pigeons.
The second part of our report will deal with his most recent achievements.