Rutger Rittersma (Groningen, NL) makes dream start with a first and third international Agen old birds against 23,539 pigeons

It was only his first international competition and he already took a first and third prize in the old birds’ category against 23,539 opponents. Rutger has fulfilled a childhood dream this weekend.

Rutger and his winning hen Miss Possible

Rutger, a 35-year-old fancier from Groningen, was well prepared for his first international race in his career. He planned to basket his old birds for the international classic Bordeaux/Agen. His friends told him he was mad but he did not change his mind. Last weekend he proved that it had not been a bad idea after all.

The 23,539 basketed pigeons were released from Agen on Sunday morning 8:40 with a two day delay and in good weather conditions. One of these pigeons was the pair No Mercy (NL08-1962771) x Miss Possible (NL08-1962728). Rutger had prepared this pair along with about ten other old birds especially for this race. The pigeons were raced with a seven day old youngster, which he thinks is the most preferable method if you basket a pair for a race. They had to cover 1,099 km before they landed in their loft in Groningen.

First and third international Agen 2013

Rutger kept a close eye on the earliest pigeons via the internet and he was fairly confident about his pigeons. He had basketed his strongest pigeons of the last few years and he knew they might land in the middle of the night. The pigeons from the south were flying really fast and Rutger decided to wait for his pigeons until 1:50. He then lay down to sleep on a small bench, planning to wake up again at 4:30. Rutger could hardly catch any sleep; he woke up at 3:40 and he ran to his loft. He noticed a pigeon that was sitting on the terrace below the garden table. The pigeon was surprised by his sudden presence and she flew away to land on the roof of the garage. Rutger was surprised as well and he woke up his wife Janneke to ask for advice. She advised him to simply call the pigeon back to the loft. A few minutes later he was writing down wing code H08. He clocked his hen Miss Possible at 3:52min30sec, which had achieved a velocity of 1,279 m/min. She managed to beat all her opponents. Rutger was just settling down when his cock No Mercy landed on the board as well. He arrived at 5:46’27” as his second pigeon and he won the third international prize. This was a historical moment for the fancier from Groningen, who has been involved in the sport since 1995.

Miss Possible (left) and No Mercy (right) with their youngster

The winning hen of this weekend was basketed for six sprint races, one middle distance race and a one day long distance race to prepare for this weekend, just like her partner. This resulted in a total of 2,400km. Two weeks before the glorious race Rutger focused on recovery and a healthy diet. The pigeons were trained one last time before they were basketed for the great day.

Miss Possible was bred from two pigeons that Rutger bought from the internet. The sire is a cock from De Heijde (NL02-2320343) from the lines of Perpignan x Diamantje. The dam is Vicky (NL07-1546053), a granddaughter of the first national St. Vincent 2005 and a Witstaart inbred. The winner of the first international Agen is a kind and quiet hen of average size with a solid skeleton. Her full sister NL11-4705469 won a 6th national Ruffec in Sector 4 (921km) against 3,654 pigeons in 2012. This proves that Miss Possible belongs to a very talented family.

Her partner No Mercy was bred from Rutger’s first marathon pigeon De Oude Van der Wegen (NL95-1123240) x an inbred Ohran hen (NL03-2168088) and he already won six prizes in seven one day long distance races. Click here for the full pedigree of No Mercy, the third international from Agen.

The pigeon family of Rutger consists of about twenty breeding pairs, 19 of which are old birds. His breeding loft also houses 21 yearlings. In addition he has nine breeding pairs and a young racing team that consists of 40 young and talented racing birds. “That’s about it. The talent of my pigeons is what makes the difference”, Rutger explains.

A relatively young and modest fancier won the international first prize last weekend. He is a former marine and he is born a winner, just like his pigeons. He never gives up. Many congratulations to Rutger and his family!