Gommaar Van OPSTAL - Turnhout
1st provincial Antwerp on Vierzon 1120 yearlings
1st provincial Antwerp on Vierzon 504 hens
Turnhout : This town Turnhout is not far from the Netherlands, in the North of the province Antwerp and in the North of Belgium. This means that the fanciers race on a long distance. The season of fond starts traditional with this Vierzon-race. The fanciers that specialize on these races (500-600km) start on this race, fanciers that race longer distances also compete in this race because it's a good race for preparing the birds. Usually there are many birds on this race. In 2002 we had 4370 yearlings and 12.520 old birds competing. Four different provinces enter this race. The man I visit today has won the overall race with yearlings. Gommaar Van Opstal is a famous writer in Belgium for pigeon magazines. He writes articles for 'De Duif' (Belgium) and 'Brieftaubensport' (Germany). His racing-hens proved to be in good form for 2002. On the provincial race against 504 hens he won: 1-23-28-31-38-76 (7 birds in race); 2266 old birds: 34-46-63-157 (4 in race); 1102 yearlings: 1-19 (3 in race). But the preparation of the race was not ideal. The hens were tossed by car a few times and than raced 1x Quievrain (130 km), 1x Noyon (237 km) and a bad race Dourdan (400 km). In spite of this a very good result for this 'ladies'. Gommaar does not have many pigeons. He races 7 widow hens, 12 widow cocks and 40 youngsters. On his breeding loft only 15 pair. But he is already famous in Belgium. In 1986 he became 4th Champion youngsters KBDB, in 1988 1st Champion youngsters KBDB, in 1996 7th Champion youngsters KBDB. He won 1st national La Souterraine 1992 and also 1st national hens on La Souterraine. In 2002 he became General Champion fond in the club Turnhout. In this club he has to compete with some famous fanciers like Herman Van Sande, Peeters Alfons and Broeckx- Van Hees.
Beginning and strain : Gommaar, most be around 75 years old, started racing in 1960 in Hasselt. He was a good friend of the world famous Jan Grondelaers. He usually went to the house of Grondelaers when his birds arrived home from the races. In 1960 Gommaar became a few youngsters of Grondelaers and started racing by himself. This birds immediate proved to be good. The first year he won 9 races and won the general championship in the club for 9 years in a row. Amazing results! Gommaar worked as a policeman and had to move from Hasselt to Turnhout. In 1974 he started racing again in partnership with a neighbour. When this neighbour died in 1979, Gommaar raced on his own name again. In 1981 he had bad luck. His birds went to the field on got poisoned. He only had one bird on his. All other died! His friend Jan Grondelaers helpt him to start again. On this moment still 90% of the birds have blood Grondelaers. Other good birds come from Van Reet, Karel Schellens, Meulemans, Rik Custers, Vervoort, Van Beirendonck, Menten, Verheyen, and Houbenstrain via Louis Van Den Brande. The basic strain is Grondelaers. The basic cock is a direct Grondelaers. It is Zwarten Ijzeren 842/82. For 3 years he had the best results on middle distance in the area of Turnhout. The hen that he was matched to was 5315361/82; direct Grondelaers with some Van Reet blood. The offspring of this pair was always small birds. The best racers were bred in second and third generation. The 'Zwarten Ijzeren x 361 became parents of 6142879/88, a hen that did not race but is the mother of 'Nationaaltje' 055/92, 1st national La Souterraine. They also were parents of 'Ijzeren Vleugel 003/94. A cock that won as youngster Dourdan 1115p: 7th, Orleans 1153p: 202nd, Dourdan 1069p: 102nd, Dourdan 1179p: 112th, Argenton 16.361p: 30th and La Souterraine 13.724p: 2nd! The year 1994 was very successful with also provincial victory on Cognac youngsters. The 'Ijzeren Vleugel' became a basic cock himself with very good offspring in USA and Germany.
The black 02 : This beautiful hen 6295302/01 won the Vierzon race. She rarely misses a prize but on the shorter distances she does not want to come in the loft after a race. She sits on the roof for many minutes. When she enters longer distances, she does not do this. After this result, she will be called Vierzonneke 2. The father is from L. Van Den Brande from Kapelle op den Bos. He is 100% blood of the famous Houben. In the pedigree I see the most famous Houben pigeons like Rocky, Porky, Jonge Artiest and Hiro. The mother of Vierzonneke 2 is 6636557/95, full sister of Nationaaltje; strain Verheyen, Van Reet and most Grondelaers. She is a grandchild of Zwarten Ijzeren. The week after Vierzon, this hen raced on Bourges. She won in the club against 172 yearlings: 24th. Gommaar won against old birds on Bourges 252p: 12-13-18-20-24 (same 7 hens as Vierzon)
Method : The small pavilion in the small garden is used as pigeon loft. In this pavilion are only 6 widow hens. They are locked up during the day and during the night. The train at 6.00 AM and 19.00 PM. They eat and drink in their box. They were matched in the winter with the best widow cocks on the loft of the widowers. On April 1st they are matched for the second time, now in the pavilion. This time only 6-8 days breeding and than widowhood starts. The hens are raced every week on a race of 500 km.
Gommaar also has 12 cocks that he races on the -traditional widowhood system.
The youngsters must race 2 or 3 times on a big national race for youngsters. In 2002 Gommaar changed to another mixture. He gives his birds Premium of Beyers and Vandenabeele mixture of Beyers. Before racing he gives Altabactine for 8 days. I want to congratulate Gommaar for his victory. He is a true sportsman.