Hok Jos Vercammen traditionally begin their racing season in April, and they continue to race right until the last young birds' races in September. And we all know that Jos, who was joined by Lars a few years ago, is never just racing along. They are always ready to win, whether it be a sprint, a middle distance or a long distance competition.
Specialisation… or just the opposite?
Many lofts choose to focus on one single pigeon racing competition, for instance the hens or a team of widowers. Some fanciers prefer to race with their young birds only, while others are much more fond of racing their old birds or yearlings. The fact is that many fanciers now pick one particular discipline in which they want to excel.
That is not the case for Jos & Lars: they have a team of young birds, yearlings, and old cocks and hens that are raced every week. "That does not make things easier for ourselves, this is of course a very demanding strategy", Lars admits. "But we have been racing like this for years, and by keeping our best birds at the end of each season, we have managed to come up with a pigeon family that can deliver from the young birds' races through to the old birds' races, across a variety of distances."
You could say that Jos and Lars have specialised in all disciplines. Although you can hardly call this specialisation of course. Hok Jos Vercammen instead adopts a global approach; their pigeons are expected to be on top of their game every single season, they are expected to deliver every year again.
When looking at the achievements of the Vercammen family in recent years, we often come across the same stock breeders. And most of these unsurprisingly stem from stock sire Elektro BE08-6174630.
Elektro bred several talented birds in the following generation as well. And his most eye-catching grandson is Mustang (BE14-6175237), winner of a 1st Nat. Chateauroux of 22,818 pigeons, and the fastest of 33,018 pigeons. Mustang was transferred to the breeding loft in Vremde shortly after this impressive result, where he showed even greater potential. We picked three of the most valuable descendants of Mustang.
In June this year, Jos & Lars claimed a 1st Prov. Issoudun of 2,147 yearlings with Rose, BE18-6020078. Rose had already won a 3rd Nat. Chateauroux of 17,281 p. earlier on. Her nest brother claimed a 62nd Nat. of 17,281 pigeons in that same race from Chateauroux.
Rose and her nest brother are two grandchildren of Mustang.
Click here for Rose's pedigree.
Lilly BE15-6020277, a daughter of Mustang, won the following prizes:
1st Nat. Zone Argenton 3,954 p. – 3rd Nat. 13,708 p. 1st Noyon 492 p. 1st Noyon 226 p. 2nd Chevrainvilliers 688 p. (behind a loft mate) 39th Nat. Zone Bourges 3.024 p.
Click here for Lilly's pedigree.
Fanta BE18-6020277 was the 2nd fastest pigeon in the national race from Issoudun of 19,646 pigeons for Jos & Lars in 2019! Fanta is a grandchild of both Mustang and Elektro. In fact, her dam is Lilly, winner of a 3rd Nat. Argenton of 13,730 pigeons, which we just talked about!
Jos & Lars talk in more detail about Mustang in this PIPA TV video.
Racing bird BE18-6020146, the first and as of yet only youngster of Iron Man BE17-6025089 that was raced by Jos & Lars, claimed a 51st Nat. Bourges II of 10,401 yearlings this season! This should make it fairly clear that Iron Man is indeed just as successful in the breeding loft as he was in the racing loft! Good quality breeds are guaranteed to deliver, and that clearly applies to Iron Man...
Iron Man was himself a terrific racing bird. He outperformed his opponents in many races throughout the 2018 season, many of which took place in hot weather and into a headwind. A brief overview of his best results of 2018 says it all:
“Iron Man”(B17-6025089) won for instance:
1st Chevrainvilliers 654 p. 1st Melun 616 p. 1st Chevrainvilliers 379 p. 2nd Melun 710 p. (behind loft mate) 28th Ecouen 2,072 p. ... 1st Ace Pigeon ZAV 2018
Click here for his full pedigree.
Elektro Junior, BE16-6032012, is one of the youngest but also one of the most successful sons of Elektro currently living in the breeding loft. He was himself a 5th Nat. Ace Pigeon middle distance KBDB and a 1st Ace Pigeon middle distance yearlings! He won his best prizes in a variety of conditions: good and bad weather, and at high and low speeds. He was always up at the front:
1. Chevrainvilliers 480 p. 1. Chevrainvilliers 418 p. 1. Noyon 278 p. 2. Quiévrain 534 p. 3. Chevrainvilliers 736 p. ...
“Elektro Junior” is the sire of the following prize winners:
1. fast. Melun - 2,855 birds 1. fast. Argenton – 500 birds / 13. prov. – 2,579 birds 1. Fay aux Loges – 189 birds 5. Prov. Issoudun – 2,147 birds 18.Nat. Chateauroux – 2,850 birds 48.-67.-90. Nat. Zone Bourges – 3,348 birds 2. fast. Melun - 1,100 birds 3. Melun - 434 birds (after 2 loftmates) 5. Melun - 650 birds 6. Melun - 540 birds 7. Chevrainvilliers - 848 birds 8. Melun - 540 birds 8. Chevrainvilliers - 454 birds 245. Nat. Chateauroux - 12,855 birds
Most of you will already be familiar with the story behind Olympic Elektro PL0264-13-400. He was one of the, if not the best pigeon ever to have raced in Poland for Marek Trzaska. This grandson of Elektro won a 1st Ace Pigeon title in the Brussels Olympiad, after which he was given a place in the breeding loft of Jos and Lars. He got a prominent spot, and he is now the sire of the following prize winners:
He only bred two youngsters to race during his racing career:
Both are first prize winners
1. prize - 3,982 birds 1. prize - 3,822 birds
In 2017 he moved to Belgium and his youngsters are the winners in 2017/2019 of:
2. prov. Vierzon – 286 birds 3. Nat. Zone Chateauroux – 819 birds / 5. Nat. – 2,850 birds 8. Prov. Fay aux Loges – 3,793 birds 9.-11. prov. Issoudun – 2,147 birds 24. Nat. Chateauroux – 2,850 birds 29. Nat. Issoudun – 11,465 birds 29. Nat. Zone Argenton – 1,547 birds / 66. Nat. – 5,158 birds 42. Nat. Zone Bourges - 2,836 birds 54. Nat. Zone Chateauroux – 1,970 birds 1. Melun - 762 birds 1. Chevrainvilliers - 278 birds 2. Chevrainvilliers - 396 birds 3. Melun - 710 birds (after 2 loftmates) 3. Melun - 540 birds (after 2 loftmates) 3. Melun - 495 birds 3. Chevrainvilliers - 379 birds 3. Chevrainvilliers - 232 birds 4. Melun – 1,210 birds 5. Chevrainvilliers - 536 birds 5. Chevrainvilliers - 494 birds (after 4 loftmates) 5. Melun - 439 birds (after 4 lotmates) 6. Melun - 439 birds (after 5 lofmates) 7. Melun - 616 birds 7. Melun - 424 birds 7. Melun – 323 birds 12.Melun – 441 birds 19.Prov. Chevrainvilliers - 5,197 birds
Every year, the Vercammen family receives a long list of references. 2019 was no different. And the racing approach of Jos & Lars clearly shines through in these references: their goal is to excel across all distances, and in every category. You can find a full overview on their website. We selected a few of their most remarkable references below.
The Ottens Combination
The Ottens combination became 3rd Nat. Champion in The Netherlands middle distance 2019. And the Vercammen birds played an important role in winning this magnificent title. The combination had already been quite successful but they wanted to push their existing pigeon family to the next level. And what better way than by investing in Vercammen birds? It proved an excellent move: two full brothers have helped the Ottens combination win their 2019 championship title, and the two brothers are both 50% Vercammen descendants through their dam.
1. Chimay 1,848 p. 1. Rethel 1,328 p. 1. Zutphen 720 p. 2. Chimay 4,814 p. 5. Tongeren 3,127 p. 6. Chimay 2,467 p. 33 Gennep 11,279 p. 31. Chimay 9,643 p. 32. Weert 5,669 p. 25. Quievrain 3,774 p. 44. Gennep 6,038 p. 6. Arlon 705 p. 33. Deurne 3,265 p. 13. Kalkar 1,007 p. 31. Tongeren 2,298 p.
1. Asse Zelik 7,005 p. 1. Weert 2,762 p. 4. Gennep 6,038 p. 17. Chimay 6,279 p. 11. Arlon 3,395 p. 4. Kalkar 1,007 p. 11. Quievrain 1,139 p.
Mister Green (Taiwan)
Mr. Green from Taiwan is particularly fond of the Vercammen birds. He has many 100% Vercammen birds in this collection, and these have done really well. 2019 was a great season as well: Mr. Green won for instance a 1st Ace Pigeon over 6 'Summer Races'. And he also has a 1st and 3rd Ace Pigeon over 5 races. Both these ace pigeons are 100% Vercammen birds.
Successes in Poland for Szkolny
Krzysztof Szkolny from Poland purchased an inbred daughter of Elektro through PIPA, which he paired to another original Vercammen cock. This breeding pair bred an outstanding racing bird: New Eelektro PL-0355-17-4222.
This pigeon won the following prizes in major races:
1. Szprotawa 1,327 p. 3. Eberswalde 3,054 p. 4. Cybinka 3,264 p. 4. Eberswalde 2,558 p. 5. Eberswalde 2,937 p. 4. Lubsko 3,130 p. 7. Lubsko 3,274 p.
The wing of New Elektro.
And our last reference of today is one that has only just come in. Lars just informed us that the 12th Ace Pigeon Pioneer Bejing 2019 is a grandson of Mustang. The sire, a son of Mustang x Angel (daughter Barco), is also the sire of a 40th Nat. Chateauroux of 17,281 pigeons for Jelle Roziers.
Click here for the pedigree of the sire of a 12th Ace Pigeon Pioneer 2019.
Vercammen: homogenous, recognisable and successful
Even when they are still in full preparation for the national racing calendar, the Vercammen birds are already winning top prizes. Sprint, middle distance or long distance? It does not really seem to matter all that much; these are natural born winners in any competition. It has become ingrained in the DNA of the pigeons of Jos & Lars Vercammen.
You can almost tell that these are special pigeons the moment you pick one up. It has become a highly recognisable breed; there are not many physical differences between the different pigeons, and even the youngsters quickly grow similar in size as the old birds. And this leads to the same conclusion: this is a homogenous breed that delivers in all circumstances, in all competitions and in every distance. They demonstrated this again with a series of brilliant results, for instance in Issoudun, Limoges II and Chateauroux III.
These pigeons would obviously stand no chance in the wild. These are top level athletes that have never learned to survive in nature. They are bred and trained to return to their loft as quickly as they can. Out in the wild, the pigeons with the best chance of survival are those that can gather food or escape their predators.
A passionate pigeon fancier however can select certain pigeons based on specific criteria - like in nature -, and he will eventually try and incorporate these features into his pigeon family. If you can do this generation after generation, you can continue to raise the bar and focus even more on a certain set of features. Judging from the results and from the overall appearance of the Vercammen pigeon breed, it seems like this is exactly what Jos and Lars have done. This is how father and son have managed to become such a successful combination over the years.
Their ambition to excel every single week of the season is what has shaped their fantastic pigeon breed over the years. Their pigeon family is a unique achievement, and team Vercammen will probably continue to finetune their breed over the next several years.