Most-read articles of 2017: Incredible sale prices for pigeons, record averages, the impact of stock breeders, the KBDB and doping (Part 2)

It has become an annual tradition for PIPA to bring you an overview of the 10 most-read articles (in all languages) of 2017 just before New Year. Club pages, race reports and ranking pages are not included. Here is a look at the top five of 2017.

5. Night of the Stars auction in Blackpool (UK)

The annual pigeon exhibition in Blackpool is the main event of the season for fanciers from Great Britain. A number of pigeon auctions are organised alongside this event every season, with the Night of the Stars auction being the most anticipated one. This auction was based around some highly exclusive pigeons from a number of highly renowned Western European lofts. In other words, this is the cream of the crop at international level, with pigeons coming from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. Nineteen different fanciers selected two of their most valuable youngsters to be offered for sale. The auction hall was swarmed with people, as this Night of the Stars auction in Blackpool proved an overwhelming success, with many record breaking sales. This event did set a new record, with the highest average sale price for a young birds' auction in the United Kingdom: a group of 38 youngsters were sold for 135,000 EURO, or an average of 3,500 EURO per youngster. This is unprecented in Great Britain.

4. Super Prince, an invaluable breeder for Gino Clicque

Fanciers across the globe were left amazed by the impressive achievements of racing bird Super Prince back in 2010, when he won 3 national top 6 prizes, as well as a title of 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB. Super Prince also won a 12th Nat. Bourges in 2009. Super Prince proved to be a highly talented racing bird but he proved even more talented as a breeder. He became the grandfather of one of the big stars of 2017: Golden Prince, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance YLs KBDB in 2014. This pigeon became the most expensive bird ever to be sold in an online auction, with a fancier from South Africa paying an incredible 360,000 EURO to obtain Golden Prince. And there is more: Super Prince is also the grandfather of Prince Rudy, winner of a 1st Nat. Limoges 14,575 YLs in 2015, and of Olympic Princess, winner of a 1st Nat. Bourges 10,173 YLs in 2016 and the fastest of 45,730 pigeons (for Ronny Menten). And he bred several more successful racing birds and provincial and national ace pigeons along the way. Super Prince and his direct descendants have enabled the Gino Clicque pigeon family to develop into a world class team.

Jan Hooymans showing the amazing Harry, on which he founded a family of super class racing birds

3. De Harry of Jan Hooymans, growing to become a legend

Every fancier hopes to discover a highly talented breeding bird in his collection one day, a stock breeder capable of passing on his exceptional qualities to future generations. This type of bird can raise your level of performance significantly. Some of them can even lead to the creation of a world class pigeon breed, capable of dominating the competition for many years, breeding winners and national ace pigeons one after another. When we think of renowned stock breeders, we think of the likes of Dirk Van Dyck’s Kannibaal, or Gaby Vandenabeele’s Kleinen. Gerard Koopman has a world renowned stock breeder in his collection as well: Kleine Dirk, bred from the Kannibaal bloodline. Gaby Vandenabeele bred several illustrious descendants from his stock breeder Kleinen, including most notably Wittenbuik and Bliksem. A combination of the lines of Kleine Dirk and Bliksem have in turn given way to the creation of another renowned stock breeder, the now world famous Harry, which saw the light of day in the lofts of Jan Hooymans in Kerkdriel (NL). Jan Hooymans has become a world famous fancier thanks to this Harry. This breeder has passed on his exceptional qualities to a new generation of champions, just like his own parents did. Jan Hooymans created an internationally renowned team with Harry. Harry became a renowned brand that stands for top quality. He is the Messi or the Ronaldo of pigeon racing, and his descendants have continued to make history, providing Harry and numerous other fanciers across the globe with new champions.

Kaier, the new owner of Nadine, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance YLs KBDB 2017

Willy Daniels made history winning a 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance YLs KBDB two times in a row with the sisters Sara and Nadine

2. Nadine of Willy Daniels, the most expensive hen ever

Yet another new record was set in the beginning of August. It was then that the outstanding racing hen Nadine (which was called Selin at the time) of Willy Daniels claimed her fourth top prize at national level, resulting in a title of 1st National Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2017. She promptly attracted pigeon fanciers from across the globe. This is not a surprise, if you take into account that she is a full sister of Sara, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle distance YLs KBDB in 2016. In the end, it was Kaier, a Chinese collector of exclusive pigeons, who managed to get his hands on this hen, paying an incredible 400,000 EURO. Xing Wei (more popularly known as Kaier) already had a number of national ace pigeons in his collection, including Ike (Chris Hebberecht), Warrior (Team De Jaeger), and Norma (Verreckt-Ariën). Many fanciers were interested in buying this pigeon but the winning bet came from Kaier, who will be adding another prestigious bird to his exclusive collection of pigeons.

1. Another new record in a memorable Gino Clicque auction: the most expensive pigeon sold

The online auction of the West Flemish champion Gino Clicque in early March proved another milestone in PIPA's auction history. Gino Clicque now holds a second place in the prestigious list of most successful auctions ever, with an overall revenue of 2,145,375 EURO (just behind Leo Heremans, who is still the record holder). A group of 405 pigeons were sold in auction for an average of 5,297 EURO per pigeon. And this auction set a new record as well: that of most expensive pigeon ever to be sold in an internet auction. As it turned out, Samuel Mbiza & Mark Kitchenbrand were determined to obtain the outstanding Golden Prince. There were many potential buyers but the South African combination managed to place the winning bet of 360,000 EURO, a new record. It was an event that was covered extensively in international meda, including tv, radio and newspapers. Nonetheless, any fancier can try and set a new record if he wants - the sky is the limit.

Gino Clicque and his son Jasper became the center of attention internationally with their record sale of Golden Prince

Jasper and Gino Clicque and the buyers of Golden Prince: Samuel Mbiza and Mark Kitchenbrand