It was September 1985 when I first met Silvere Toye - at the time he and his good lady Rita lived and worked in Kortrik, owning one of the best butcher's shops in the area. They made everything themselves and worked long hard days, rising at 4.30am and finishing up in the early evening.
It was the year before my first visit, 1984, when the famous "Peter Pau" won 1st National and 1st International from Pau, 550 miles. His full brother arrived home to win 8th International in the same race. Both of these cocks were sons of "De Kleinen", the super breeder that was to make the Toye strain famous the world over. In fact, a grandson of this breeder, "Jonge Dikkop" had won 1st National Limoges 10,999 birds in 1983 and two other
grandchildren, "Jonge Tarzan" and "Dikkop 205" won 2nd and 5th National Ace pigeons long-distance KBDB (Belgian National organisation) in 1982.
This was a golden period for Silvere and he seemed to graduate from competing in the Club and Provincial races to the National and International races with relative ease. He was 2nd National Champion of Belgium long distance KBDB in 1982 and 3rd in 1983.
Good years followed and in 1988 the outstanding "Tarzan Boy" finished a glorious career winning 1st National Ace pigeon long distance KBDB. That same year Silvere and Rita retired from the butcher business and retired to their current home in Otegem, 18 km south-east of Kortrijk. Success followed quickly and in 1991 they won 1st National Champion of Belgium Extreme long distance and in 1992 1st National Champion of Belgium long distance.
In 1991 and 1992 Silvere purchased the 1st and 2nd Ace long distance pigeons of Belgium from Erik Limbourg and the 1st National Montauban ("Invincible Montauban") from Maurice Casaert. These three cocks were to strengthen the Toye loft no end.
In 1992 a grandson of "Peter Pau" called "Dali" won 3rd National Brive 21,012 birds and in 1994 he won 4th National 7th International Barcelona 27,330 birds.
Also in 1994 "Romulus" a grandson of "Tarzan Boy" won 1st International Ace pigeon ZLU and in 1995 "Black Devil" won that very same prize, 1st International Ace pigeon.
In 1996 "Mephisto", a son of "Invincible Montauban" was 6th National Ace Pigeon long distance KBDB and unbelievably the same cock won 3rd National Ace Pigeon the very next year.
1997 was a great year and Silvere won 2nd National Argenton 15,443 birds and 2nd National Perigeuex from 5,594 birds.
In 1998 Silvere began to race hens beyond their young bird years and success came in abundance. From the Bourges National competing against 3,397 birds Silvere won 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 26th, 27th, 36th, and 37th National. The winner was "Libelle" and both parents were bred by Gaby Vandenabeele; the father being "Majoor", direct from "Wittenbuik" and "Moriska". The blood of "Libelle" flows through many of the stars of the Toye loft today and for others who have been fortunate enough to obtain this line.
In 1999 Silvere won 5 x1st Provincial; 2 x 2nd National and had 66 positions in the top 100 National positions.
In 2000 Silvere won 14 x 1st and in 2001 he was 1st Champion of West Flanders, 1st Old Bird Champion West Flanders and 1st YB Champion of West Flanders.
In 2002 he won 14 x 1st and 5 x 1st Provincial.
In 2003 he cleared up with Ace Pigeons winning 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th Ace Pigeons YB West Flanders.
In 2004 again the Toye loft won 5 x 1st Provincial.
In 2005 Silvere was 9th National Champion KBDB long distance.
Silvere had some great results at the distance in 2006 such as:
Souillac 6,475 birds: 6th, 11th, 21st, 22nd, 38th, 150th, and 175th National. Limoges 9,545 birds: 19th, 30th, 58th, 111th and 159th National. So that brings us right up to date and in 2007 the star of the Toye loft is the excellent racing cock, "Zatopek". Born in 2003, "Zatopek" began his winning ways immediately as a young bird. He was raced on the darkness system and won 158th National Vichy from 11,510 birds.
In 2005 as a 2 year old he won 3 National prizes including 215th National Limoges 12,266 birds and contributed to Silvere winning 9th Long distance champion of Belgium KBDB.
In 2006 he won 159th National Limoges 9,545 birds.
In 2007 as a 4 year old "Zatopek came to the fore and performed really well from Brive (403 miles) in June right up to Perpignan (562 miles) in August. His prizes were 83rd National Brive 16,007 birds; 30th National 5,846 birds 50th International Irun 15,842 birds; 8th National 5,547 birds 16th International Perpignan 15,087 birds. Fantastic!
So what did "Zatopek" win for his efforts? Well, he had the best co-efficient (1.16%) in the whole of Belgium over 3 National races and for this he won 1st National Ace Pigeon Entente Belge. Irun and Perpignan are classified as extreme long distance races and the National Ace Pigeon extreme long distance award goes to the pigeon with the best co-efficient over two races in this category. "Zatopek" was 2nd Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme long distance with a co-efficient of 0.65%; being pipped by "U2" of Martin Ravelingen.
So was "Zatopek" the best pigeon in Belgium at the distance - well in my opinion, yes. Not only did he beat all the coefficients of the long distance pigeons over 3 races he had the 2nd best co-efficient in Belgium over 2 extreme distance races.
Now consider the breeding of this cock. His father is a 1997 blue cock which was selected by Silvere in 2001 from the loft of Georges Carteus. Many of you will know the name Carteus as "Mister Perpignan" and for his super racer and breeder from 1988, "Limoges" who won 1st National Limoges 10,110 birds in 1991 and 46th National Tulle 3,834 birds in 1990. Carteus continued to race this National winner and wow - he won 3rd, 12th and 27th National on the trot from Perpignan. Some of you will know that the world famous results of Dr H&P Brockamp from Germany were based on the blood of George Carteus. Their super racer "Eurodiamond" is bred from two direct Carteus pigeons and is a great grandson of "Limoges". "Eurodiamond" won 1st National 2,717 birds 2nd International Carcassonne 10,448 birds 2006; 3rd National 1,452 birds 5th International Perpignan 14,900 birds 2006; 4th National 5th International Bergerac 3,180 birds 2005; 5th National 2,019 birds 12th International Perpignan 17,653 birds 2005; 9th National 3,575 birds 21st International Marseille 2005. Unbelievable! The Brockamp partnership have a grandson of "Limoges" called "Armstrong" and he won 1st National 1st International Perpignan in 1999 from 17,584 birds. Readers should note that the 1st International Barcelona 25,716 birds in 2007 for Menne & daughter is a grandson of "Armstrong". However, back to the "Zatopek" story - his sire is called "Caraat" and is a direct son of "Cartier" 1st National 4,694 2nd International Perpignan, 12,367 birds 1997 and 43rd National Perigueux 5,594 birds also in 1997. "Cartier" is a nephew of the famous "Limoges" of Carteus being bred from his full brother.
The mother of "Zatopek" is called "Honey" and was direct from the loft of Simon Moreels. "Honey" is the nestsister of "Vechter" of Moreels who won 1st National Ace Pigeon of Belgium in 2002 and 1st Olympiade Pigeon 2003. His results to win this were 13th National Brive 25,352 birds, 33rd National Limoges 16,945 birds and 74th National Souillac 7,358 birds.
But let's not stop there, what about the other top racers of Silvere. Well, there is "Darwin" a 2004 blue cock which is a grandson of that top Carteus breeder, "Caraat" and "Libelle" 1st National Bourges 1998.
In 2007 he scored in 3 long distance races with a co-efficient of 1.42%. Normally, this would be enough to win the National Ace Pigeon award, however due to the bird flu and subsequent ban on racing one of the 3 results making up this co-efficient was obtained not in a National race but in a West-Flanders provincial race so it didn't count for the National Ace Pigeon award. Nevertheless, "Darwin" won 3rd Provincial Souillac 1,291 birds, 4th Prov Tulle 1,638 birds and 22nd Prov Limoges 2,260 birds. This cock in the previous year, 2006 had also won 11th National Souillac from 6,611 birds when the Toye loft won 6th, 11th, 21st, 22nd and 38th National - fantastic!
Any more - well yes there is! "Pronto" a 2003 blue cock and another grandson of "Caraat" won the following in 2007 - 39th National Brive 16,007 birds; 63rd National Cahors 5,894 birds and 38th Prov Souillac 1,291 birds. Like "Darwin" he was a sure candidate for the National Ace Pigeon award except the result from Souillac did not count as the National race was cancelled and only the West Flanders Provincial flew from the race point. However, the Provincial races counted and "Pronto" was 2nd Provincial Ace Pigeon West Flanders.
In 2006 as a 3 year old "Pronto" also won 48th National Limoges 12,266 birds and many other top prizes.
Another top racer for Silvere is "General Junior".
In 2006 this cock won 1st Club 2nd Provincial Poitiers 1,917 birds; 161st National Perpignan 6,785 birds and 185th National Cahors 6,654 birds. In 2007 he won 77th National Brive 16,007 birds; 119th National Tarbes 5,252 birds. His full brother, "Misty" was bred by Silvere and was given as a youngster to Martyn Mitchell who flies from his Belgian home in Hulste. "Misty" won 1st Provincial 1,479 birds 2nd National Brive 9,468 birds in 2006 as well as 7th Prov Bourges 2,043 birds; 8th Prov Tours 3,152 birds and 11th Prov Angouleme 2,637 birds. They are both bred from "GDS General" (a direct son of "Libelle" 1st National Bourges 1998) when paired with a Carteus hen, "Perle". She is a direct daughter of "Millennium Perpignan" 1st National 6,246 birds 2nd International Perpignan 18,426 birds in 2000.
Note that "Millennium Perpignan" and his full brother "De 700" are direct sons of that famous Carteus National winner "Limoges" when paired with a hen from Dobbelaere.
There is a trend here - these cocks are all a result of Silvere's breeding technique which is to cross in outstanding children of National winners and Ace pigeons (which come from excellent lines) into his own family of National winners and Ace pigeons. The offspring from these pairings are tested thoroughly in the National events and only the best are retained and bred from.
Note that in 2008 Silvere's entry into the Belgian Masters won the 1st Ace Pigeon prize winning €8,000.
This winner, named "Amigo" was bred from a yearling son of "Paris" 1st Prov Limoges 2,222 birds (and brother of "Libelle") x daughter "Caraat". The dam of "Amigo" is another direct Carteus hen; a daughter of "Fantast" who won 4th Nat 7,537 birds 12th International Perpignan 16,803 birds, 3rd Semi-Nat 5,079 birds, 37th Nat Limoges 8,616 birds and 65th Nat Limoges 16,504 birds.
Having gone through the stock loft it is clear that this technique is continuing and with 20 direct children of Zatopek in the breeding loft for 2009 I am sure that Silvere will continue his winning ways. I wish Silvere and Rita all the very best for the coming season and future years at the top.