Of course pigeon racing is not a team sport; we fanciers tend to focus primarily on the achievements of the individual athletes. However, many people are not as familiar with the racing birds themselves as they are with the fanciers themselves, the men behind the pigeon families. These fanciers need to be highly motivated and highly proficient, just like a professional football coach. The big difference with football is that a pigeon fancier has a closer connection with his team.
Two fanciers have really managed to perform at the highest level this season: Tjeerd and Jouke Elzinga from Harkema (Friesland, NL). In 1999 father and son Tjeerd and Jouke joined forces and they have been winning top prizes ever since. They fancy a sprint or middle distance race every once in a while but their main objective has always been the one day long distance. This is the competition where the strongest breeds face each other, and this is where they wanted to excel as well. They have been doing great, having won the following prizes so far:
1st & 4th NPO Morlincourt 6,633 p. 1st NPO Chalons en Champagne 4,296 p. 2nd NPO Sens 5,984 p. 4th NPO Orleans 4,502 p. 9th NPO Sens 5,984 p. 9th NPO Chateauroux 3,534 p. 10th NPO Tours 1,502 p.
These are only their top 10 prizes. They won an impressive 34 top 100 prizes between 2012 and 2014, and they were in great form in 2015 as well: they won a top ten prize in 4 out of 5 one day long distance races last season:
3rd Chateauroux (780 km) against 2,809 pigeons 8th Sens (590 km) against 8,211 pigeons 9th Argenton (805 km) against 793 pigeons 10th and 11th Souppes-sur-Loing (607 km) against 6,982 pigeons
We will take a closer look at the pigeons which fanciers from across the world are enthousiastic about.
Blue Hope (NL07-1128113)
We begin with the captain of the team, the pigeon which this team is built around: Blue Hope, winner of a 4th NPO La Ferte 13,304 pigeons. Blue Hope aims for victory in every single race, just like the rest of the team. He does not originate from brothers or sisters of renowned breeders; his pedigree shows that he is a direct descendant of a 1st Ace Pigeon Allround (his sire), 1st Arnhem-1st Gennep-1st St-Ghislain (his grandfather from his father's side), the dam of a 1st/7,423 Boxtel (his grandmother from his father's side), and the winner of a 2nd Boxtel 614 p.-2nd Hoensbroek 380 p. (his dam). In addition, his grandfather from his mother's side won a 1st/2,303 pigeons Hank and a 1st/3,240 pigeons Minderhout, and his grandmother from his mother's side won a 1st/1,313 Charleville. The full pedigree of Blue Hope can be found here. It is no surprise that his descendants are proving to be equally talented and capable of winning top prizes on a weekly basis.
She is the former striker of the team of Tjeerd & Jouke. She won a 1st NPO Chalons sur Champagne 11,319 p., a 4th NPO St. Truiden 20,435 p. and a 7th NPO Sittard 21,493 p., which resulted in the title of 1st Ace Pigeon Old Birds 2014 in the WHZB competition. The pedigree of Esmee shows that she is related to some of the best Pieter Veenstra pigeons from her father's side (Rolex, Golden Wing, Mr Blue, Special Blue), and to a number of German bloodlines from her mother's side. Click here for the full pedigree of Esmee. One of the best racing birds of 2015 in the team of Tjeerd and Jouke is in fact a son of Esmee. Mr Sky (NL13-4242338) won a 1st Quievrain 20,469 p., a 1st Hapert 567 p., a 4th Tilburg 6,429 p., and a 10th NPO Souppes 6,888 p. The sire of Mr. Sky is Sensation Blue (NL 12-4245284), a great racing bird and winner of a 1st Nijvel 361 p. and a 15th NPO Morlincourt 8,834 p. This Sensation Blue is one of many highly successful sons of Blue Hope. Click here for the full pedigree of Mr. Sky.
Ariane is a great team player and a pigeon with an excellent reputation. She won 33 prizes as a racing bird, including a 4th NPO Orleans 4,502 p., a 5th NPO St.-Quentin 7,710 p., an 11th NPO Sens 5,984 p., a 12th Prov. St.-Truiden 20,435 p., a 15th Prov. Den Bosch 15,390 p., and a 20th NPO Orleans 5,972 p. A full overview can be found here. Ariane is a daughter of Blue Hope x Sybillya (NL05-1857443), an indispensable pigeon in the breeding loft of Tjeerd & Jouke. Click here for the full pedigree of Airane.
This is one of the new stars in the Elzinga family. She won a 1st NPO Morlincourt 6,663 p. and she became 6th Nat. Olympiad Pigeon. Silvana is a daughter of New Hope (NL13-4242346), which is a grandson (from his father's side) and a great-grandson (from his mother's side) of Blue Hope. Click here for the pedigree of this Blue hope descendant.
Pigeons get transferred from one loft to another in between seasons, just like in football, cycling, basket or any other sport. Some transfers are more newsworthy than others, and Tjeerd & Jouke know that it is crucial to reinforce your existing breed with new bloodlines. This can be quite a challenge, especially for a loft that is already performing at the highest level. The two fanciers obtained Lady Gaga (NL09-1597218), and this was quite a top transfer. She is a granddaughter of Mister Emmerveen (Nat. Pigeon Champion Middle Distance 2000) of C. & G. Koopman. Tjeerd and Jouke did not want to take any risk and they decided to place her in the breeding loft right away. It was a great success from day one: one of her first sons is Sven (NL10-1031410), winner of a 4th Int. Chateauroux 2,906 p., a 6th Int. Sens 6,036 p., an a 9th NPO Chateauroux 3,534 p.
Tjeerd and Jouke not only obtain top class pigeons. Fanciers from across the world have noticed the achievements of Tjeerd and Jouke, which is why the two fanciers have been selling pigeons as well. These transfers have proven to be very successful:
1st district Zutpen 8,280 p. for comb. Geerstma (Veenwouden, NL): the dam is a direct Tj & J Elzinga 1st district Reims 4,561 p. for comb. Broos (Drogeham, NL): the sire is a direct Tj & J Elzinga 2nd NPO Reims 4,913 p. for Faber (Tolbert, NL): the two parents are direct Tj & J Elzinga
The highest level
Tjeerd and Jouke are two top class pigeon fanciers running a team of racing birds has as bright future. We expect this combination of old and young pigeons to give many more great results in the future. Anyone fancy a t shirt of Mr. Sky of Silvana?