Masao Kitano (Zoutleeuw, BE) wins the first national Châteauroux 22,249 old birds

It is the ultimate dream of most fanciers to turn your hobby into a profession. That dream came true for Clement Matterne.

Clement and his national winner Ilona


Exactly three years ago the Japanese fancier, Masso Kitano decided to use a different approach. He had been trying to become a successful fancier in Belgium with the help of a Japanese assistant. However, this was a nearly impossible task, because his assistant did not understand the language and he was not familiar with the habits of the Belgian fanciers. That is why he decided to look for a Belgian pigeon fancier who already had a successful loft and who would be interested in entering a business agreement. It was via the Herbots brothers that he came into contact with Clement Matterne. They quickly came to an agreement and from then on the pigeons from Zoutleeuw would be raced under the name of Kitano Masao.


The downside is that your business partner is always there to watch what what you are doing, even though he is thousands of kilometres away. He expects you to perform well. Failure is not an option in Japanese culture but that is exactly the philosophy of pigeon fancier Clement Matterne. He won his first prize only three years after entering this agreement, with a first National Chatêauroux against 22,498 old birds.

Het oog van Ilona

Ilona (5015544/10)

This victory proves once more that friendship can lead to great things in pigeon racing: the dam of Ilona is a hen from the Raets brothers (Kortessem, BE), two close friends of Clement. She originates from the lines of Herbots and Schellens. Her grandmother was a national first prize winner as well with a victory from Brive against 25,727 pigeons. She was paired to a cock that originates from one of the most famous bloodlines in Limburg: the Cerinx brothers. These brothers have been providing pigeons for nearly every top class pigeon loft in Limburg. One pair of youngsters from this pair went to the Raets brothers, a second pair remained in Zoutleeuw. Click here to learn more about the dam of Ilona. This is clearly not the first important achievement of Ilona. Last week for instance she won a 350th national Bourges against 19,655 old birds and he she has won several other top prizes as well:

Chateauroux: 1/307
Vierzon: 34/403
Bourges: 40/810
Jarnac: 21/319
Orleans: 248/2452
Toury: 10/3399
Nanteuil: 8/172
Argenton: 28/1168
Moulin: 16/485

Ilona, winner of Bourges I National 2013 old birds

Breeding loft

Clement has a fixed team of 16 breeding pairs, as well as eight feeding pairs. The main bloodline consists of pigeons of Van Avondt & Zoon (Haacht, BE). Kitano is an excellent pigeon fancier in his home country of Japan and he purchases a few well performing pigeons from Zoutleeuw for his own loft every season. Before these pigeons are moved to Japan, Clement can breed two rounds of youngsters from them. Afterwards the pigeons take the plane to the country of the rising sun. Clement sometimes advises him about pigeons from other lofts as well. It is then up to Kitano whether or not to purchase these pigeons but he usually agrees with Clement when it comes to buying other pigeons.


Every season Kitano Massao pays a visit to Belgium for the big race from Barcelona. Barcelona is still the most appealing race for foreigners. One thing’s for sure: chances are few that the agreement between Clement and Asao Kitano will come to an end, especially when you consider Clement's excellent results and his fresh national victory.