Theofiel Ingels (Laarne, BE) awarded as First National Champion Small Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012

Theofiel basketed a team of young birds for the middle distance for the first time in his career and he managed to win the title of National Champion Short Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB right away. That is quite something. This article is about the success story of Theofiel Ingels!

Theofiel Ingels (central) on top of the podium as Provincial Champion Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012 (1st + 2nd nom.)

This is almost too good to be true. Theofiel put the town of Laarne in the spotlight. This town is located in East Flanders, in between the three cities of Ghent, Wetteren and Lokeren. This region is particularly popular among sports enthusiasts and especially cycling fans: it is the home of Etienne Dewilde, the famous blonde cyclist from Laarne. He was Belgian National Champion in road cycling but he was mainly known as an excellent track cyclist. He used to excel during the six days of Ghent, where he used to chase bonus points, crouched over the handlebars. Those were unforgettable moments. He has also been track world champion and European champion a few times, often in combination with Matthew Gilmore.

Albert ‘Berten’ Van Damme is another cycling legend from Laarne. He used to be called the Lion of Flanders. As a cyclo-cross racer he was always competing against Erik De Vlaeminck, who lives in the same area. Albert was six times Belgian national champion and won the title of world champion cyclo-cross in 1974! His father Gusten Van Damme was one of the leading pigeon fanciers in the region for several years and he was in fact one of the biggest opponents of Theofiel Ingels.

We think the fresh Belgian Champion Theofiel Ingels (79) is clearly one of the few that has put his town on the map. He was fascinated with pigeons at an early age. Theofiel started taking care of his own team of pigeons at the age of 12. It was his neighbour who introduced him to the sport. He comes from a family of sports enthusiasts and he has been a football player until the age of 57. He was also an excellent runner. At the moment his granddaughter is a successful athlete and she goes to a sports college. His grandson is a very talented football player and many top level football teams would love to have him in the team. It seems his pigeons are just as athletic as his family.

Results are the only thing that matters

Throughout the years Theofiel has created his own pigeon breed, using pigeons from just about anyone. He has never attached any value to names or pedigrees. The only thing that matters to him are the results that are published on Sunday: he wants to know how they perform. The old breed was strengthened with pigeons of the Van de Voorde-Verlinden duo from Baaigem and Freddy Vertriest from Oudenaarde, who is a colleague of his son Erwin at Volvo. The two fanciers exchanged three pigeons two years ago. The stock pigeons of the old breed are the two excellent racing pigeons Blauwen 243/03 and Blauwwitpen 508/02, these two champions form the basis of his stock pair of today. Nearly 90% of his small family of pigeons is now based on the stock pair Bonte 36 BE07-4196036 (a top class racer first and now a stock breeder; a son of Blauwwitpen 508/02) x Bleke 40 BE07-4196040 (a daughter of Blauwen 243/03 paired to the line of Nationaal Bourges 2006 of Van de Voorde- Verlinden). The pigeon family of Theofiel Ingels has a total of six breeding pairs, 11 widowers and 42 young birds for 2013. So this is really a small team that managed to beat the greatest national champions in the short middle distance in 2012! This is quite a feat, especially when you consider that this was his first season at that discipline.

Theofiel Ingels (central) as First National Champion Small Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB in Casino Kursaal (Ostend)

Middle Distance for the first time in 2012

Theofiel had always been fond of the sprint competition. For 60 years his favourite races were Quiévrain and especially Noyon. That changed last year. He was a bit too strong for his opponents and he was excluded from the Union of Noyon in his region. He was allowed to basket his pigeons in his favourite discipline only in the clubs of Kalken or Heusden. Theofiel was deeply disappointed but he did not sit back. He made a bold move and he took his young birds to his old club (in the LEE union), where he was allowed to race in the middle distance. He reserved eight of his remaining 20 young birds for the middle distance and these pigeons did a splendid effort!  This was a serious challenge with a happy ending. Theofiel had never imagined that it would turn out to be such an overwhelming success. He deserved it more than anyone else!

His pigeons were basketed for ten races in the middle distance in 2012 with a total of 72 nominated pigeons. 63 prizes were won with 42 prizes per ten. This was a dream start in the middle distance for the 79 year old fancier. He won the title of national champion with the following results:

1st National Champion Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012

Angerville 476 p :  7 - 21
Angerville 467 p :  5 - 15  
Angerville 410 p :  1 - 16
Angerville 435 p :  1 -  4
Angerville 361 p :  3 -  4

It was thanks to these results that he was awarded as First Provincial Champion Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012 in the Salons Montovani in Oudenaarde. It was mainly thanks to two of his hens that he won both the provincial and national title: Asduifje and Het 882. Let's have a look at their achievements:

-Asduifje BE12-4009880

2nd Prov Ace Pigeon Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012
Noyon      301 p. 4
Noyon      663 p. 31
Angerville 476 p. 7
Angerville 764 p. 14
Angerville 467 p. 5
Angerville 378 p. 83
Angerville 410 p. 1
Angerville 435 p. 1
Angerville 361 p. 3
Angerville 277 p. 6
Angerville 103 p. 28

The Asduifje is a daughter of Crack van 09 (a son of the stock dam Bonte 36). This pigeon was once the fastest pigeon from Noyon in East Flanders and Antwerp (interprov. release).

-Het 882 BE12-4009882

Noyon      301 p. 38
Angerville 476 p. 47
Angerville 764 p. 15
Angerville 378 p. 4
Angerville 410 p. 16
Angerville 435 p. 4
Angerville 361 p. 4
Angerville 277 p. 13
Angerville 103 p. 29

She stems from the old stock pair as well, in a crossing with a hen of Freddy Vertriest. These two talented pigeons were to be raced as yearlings this season. Theofiel wanted to put them to the test in the longer middle distance so he will probably basket pigeons for the national from Bourges for the first time. In the meantime he changed his plans and he moved the 882 to the breeding loft for good. This means only Asduifke will be basketed this season! We are curious about his results in 2013.

Theofiel Ingels holding his Asduifke, 2nd Prov. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012

A strict approach leads to success

It seems he started to like the middle distance competition: Theofiel has now composed a team of eight yearlings for the middle distance for 2013; his three old birds will be basketed for Noyon! All pigeons are paired in early December and the racing pigeons will raise a round of youngsters as well. The hen is taken away in time, usually when the youngsters are about 18 days old, which means they will be ready for the second round! Meanwhile the cocks will spend some additional time with their youngsters. At the beginning of March they are usually paired a second time and after five days of brooding the pigeons are placed on widowhood. Since a lot of fanciers were asking for eggs of his racing pigeons he coupled them again in early February, like in the old days. They are placed on widowhood around the 20th of February. The cocks can see their hen for a short while before being basketed; sometimes one hen is used for the entire loft to add variation. When they arrive home from a race they can see their hen for a short moment: fifteen minutes or sometimes half an hour. By the end of the season however, the partners can stay together for nearly two hours. The young birds are raced with the sliding door as well. The cocks and hens sit together until after Quiévrain but they are separated when they are about to be basketed for Noyon. Before the race they can be together for 30 to 60 minutes and after the race they can see each other until the afternoon. The young cocks are trained twice a day, just like the old widowers. The hens usually train once a day, usually around 10 o’clock or 10h30, when the widowers are already back insde. Theofiel is not fond of too many training flights and he says that has nothing to do with his age. He has never taken his pigeons any further than 15 km (in Oombergen). The old birds are taken away approximately three times and the young birds about five times, just to make them accustomed to the basket. After that the youngsters go to Quiévrain and the old racing birds are basketed for Noyon. They are usually no longer taken away during the week once they have done a big race.

We noticed that Theofiel has pigeons that are very calm in the hand. This makes for a close bond between pigeon and fancier. This is something that begins when they are young, says Theofiel. This is manageable with a smaller team of birds. However, pigeons that do not seem to fit in the team are often left out, just like the pigeons that do not feel well in the hand. In that case they will not make it to the second season in Laarne. The remaining group has to watch out as well. If you cannot manage to win a few prizes you will be removed as well! We wonder if this is the reason why he has achieved such high prize percentages in the races, season after season.

A smaller team of birds means that the fancier has better control over them and it is easier to monitor their health. Theofiel has his own health elixir that is made from nettles, garlic, onion and brown sugar. He adds some of his elixir to the drinking water regularly and sometimes throughout the week. He told us it benefits their health. He pays a visit to the vet before the beginning of the season, who checks their respiratory system and who treats them against the head diseases. During the season they receive a Flagyl treatment as well. This should usually be enough…

The key to success for Theofiel Ingels is to keep only the best pigeons in his loft. The more you select, the better your remaining pigeons will be! That is how the fancier from Laarne managed to become very successful in the sprint. It also enabled him to win the title of National Champion Short Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB in the first season below Paris! This is the wonderful story of Theofiel Ingels. Congratulations!

Some of the highlights of 2012

Noyon 103 young birds: 1-2-3-4-7-11-12-13-19 (9/11)
Noyon 110 young birds: 2-6-8-10-20-21-25 (7/13)
Noyon 82 young birds: 1-2-3-5-6-13-17-... (9/11)
Noyon 80 young birds: 1-5-12-13-16-23 (6/11)
Angerville 476 young birds: 7-18-21-23-47-53-67-81 (8/8)
Angerville 764 young birds: 11-14-15-57-115 (5/8)
Angerville 467 young birds: 5-15-28-31-39-41-91 (7/8)
Angerville 410 young birds: 1-3-8-10-12-16-31-100 (8/8)
Angerville 378 young birds: 4-5-66-81-83-102... (7/8)
Ecouen 379 young birds: 2-4-26-29-32-117-132 (7/8)
Angerville 435 young birds: 1-4-7-15-58-128 (6/6)
Angerville 361 young birds: 3-4-9-20-68 (5/6)
Angerville 277 young birds: 6-13-19-20-36-63 (6/6)
Angerville 106 young birds: 6-28-29-33 (4/6)

The small but well ventilated lofts with the young birds on the left,
the old racing hens in the middle and the loft for later young birds to the right