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Ludo Claessens - Putte (NL) I jumped out of my skin… there was a pigeon at the trap!

I hear some people asking themselves how things are now with Ludo Claessens. Well, we are pleased to inform you… that everything is well with Ludo and his wife Maria. They have now discovered that there is life… after the pigeons.
Pigeon sport, that stands for doing everything for the pigeons 365 days per year! Whoever wants to win in the summer, wants to sparkle.. or stand at the top, has to sacrifice everything… has to do very much for it, and sacrifice much more! You don’t have to explain this to a ‘super champion’ like Ludo Claessens… he knows all about it… by being ‘Nr 1’ in the middle distance in the Netherlands for years, one of the best, if not the best middle distance racer ever in the world. Last year the fairytale ended. Firstly there was the ‘ramp’ from Pithiviers in 2007 which ruined an entire racing season for the old birds… from which Ludo recovered strongly at the end of 2007 with the youngsters, closing with provincial victory from St.Quentin and as ‘icing on the cake, the ‘cracker’ from Orleans National NPO against 9.096 p.    1,3,5,9,16,38,57,60… and 19/23 and the first 5 nominated pigeons in the clock by place 38. Then followed the ‘cowardly thefts’ in February 2008, say… the ‘last drop’ that made the cup run over… as a result of which Ludo stopped with the pigeon sport for definite, and his entire colony was sold on PiPa.
Since then the Ludo Claessens household enjoy the ‘niceties’ of life, and commute back and forth between the Netherlands and Portugal where Ludo has now bought a house. Last Friday he returned to the Netherlands after staying 3 months in Portugal. Saturday evening he was lounging in his ‘armchair’ when he suddenly saw a pigeon sitting on the support of the trap! Of course, the pigeon couldn’t enter the lofts because these had been closed for definite six months earlier. ‘Good God…’ Ludo called to Maria, is that not ‘Simply the Best’ sitting there at the trap? You can’t be serious… replied Maria! But Ludo had already put on his pigeon overall, which had still been hanging on the coat rack, and had left for the garden… but he couldn’t see the pigeon anymore. A moment later he saw a pigeon hiding in the lilies quenching it’s thirst in the fishpond, and sure enough… Ludo recognised him  straight away… this was his ‘stolen super crack from the beginning of February 2008’, his ‘Simply the Best’! Ludo quickly let him inside, and saw that he had obviously been through a lot, he had clearly ‘flown’… but for the rest there was nothing wrong with him, he still even had his foot ring on! Maybe he’s escaped… Ludo stammered full of amazement, his legs shaking. The apple of his eye, his best pigeon ever… which was stolen, was suddenly back. Ludo got some food and grit, and gave him a bath to help him recover from his exertions! What was he to do with this one pigeon?
But it wasn’t over yet. On Monday morning Ludo was up quite early, but as the weather didn’t look promising he decided to go back to bed for an hour. When he got up again at 9h30 there were no less than 3 hens walking around the loft… yes, indeed, also 3 of the 8 pigeons that had been stolen, including the 9 year old ‘Mother Simply’, and the 2 super hens ‘Nest sister Kirsty’ and ‘Blue 007’. They looked exceptionally vibrant and fresh, as if they had just been liberated close by. So within 2 days there are currently 4 of the 8 pigeons back in the lofts of Ludo Claessens! Ludo immediately reported it to the police and they drew up a Procès-verbal. As long as the actual perpetrator (s) are not exposed, their motives will remain a mystery!
There are then 2 hens still missing, a late 2007 that has never flown so will never return home if it is liberated in the area, or even in the same street… and 1 old hen ‘Schoon Late Donkere’ (last daughter of… the ‘Late Donkere’) is still missing without a trace. The other 2 stolen pigeons from the Ludo Claessens lofts were the ‘Wizzard’ and ‘Kannibaal King’, and are 2 crack pigeons which Ludo bought in the auction of Colijn-Ganus, and have never flown outside by him. Ludo got in touch with Colijn-Ganus, but up until now the 2 pigeons haven’t returned there!
It doesn’t bare thinking about… precisely these pigeons, which were in fact the reason that Ludo stopped with pigeons after the thefts, arrived back at the lofts in Putte alive and well… just  1 day after Ludo returned from his trip to Portugal! Coincidence? Maybe…
Ludo was naturally very pleased to see these pigeons again… but it didn’t give him that ‘hooray feeling’… no, there is no great joy in their return! I told a very few close friends, says Ludo… and their first question was if I was going to start racing again? But there is not a hair on my head that thinks about it, it’s not a case of the pigeons having returned that I am suddenly a fancier again… whoever knows me, knows that Ludo Claessens is not like that! I have abandoned the pigeon sport, I’m still healthy… and have discovered other things to enjoy in life! We commute back and forth between Putte and our 2° home in Portugal… there is a trip to China planned on the calendar, and I have a few more holiday plans and plans for the future! No, stop is stop… this won’t make me change my mind! Pigeons have given me a lot of pleasure, but now it is over and out… It’s enough! I’m taking these pigeons to Knesselare to PiPa straight away, they can decide what they want to do or are able to do with them! That was an emotional Ludo Claessens, who was still shaking from the incident… but now has a feeling of ‘all’s well that ends well’ to help him enjoy life to the full in the future! Adieu pigeon sport…
Godsend Ludo and Maria!