Right Raf Den Haese, left close friend Eric Hofman!
Their winning pigeon was clocked at 14h11’ 08” from a distance of 512,896 Km, which gives an average speed of 1176,01 m/min… good enough for national victory by the 10.962 o.b., and also the 2nd fastest pigeon of the entire convoy of 30.690 pigeons.
With Raf Den Haese… now racing under the name of son Willy Den Haese… a very well-known fancier has won this nice classic from Argenton by the old birds. Raf (72 now and retired potato dealer) inherited the pigeon bug from his father and has been an active fancier for 55 years. All his life he earned his wages from the ‘spuds’. To give you an idea… every year he grew about 1,5 million kilo’s of potatoes on his 30 hectares of land… which he then sold to the factories!
His pigeon stock is built up for almost 80% with pigeons from Erik Limbourg from Brussegem (wherefrom 30 direct, usually bought as eggs), supplemented with pigeons from old own stock, built up with pigeons from Martin Dhondt from Vurste… now supplemented with the pigeons from close friend Eric Hofman from Scheldewindeke… and pigeons from Raf Vantemsche. I to have had to reach deep into my pocket to buy my good pigeons. If I buy something then it has to be directly out something ‘good’ which has already proven itself… you stand a chance with such pigeons. That’s how one day I approached Erik Limbourg… to ask if he would sell me something out of his ‘best pigeons’, out his 1° prize winners, out his ‘Ace pigeons’… no, not out brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces… but out the ‘toppers’ self! The results prove I was right… says Raf! No arguing with that!
As pigeon fancier we can describe Raf as someone who is ‘directly to the point’… pigeon sport without any frills, where only the pigeon counts! After all, you race with ‘pigeons’, not with pedigrees… says Raf. ‘Good sort’ is necessary, in addition to optimal health, and most importantly… a ‘strict selection’. And that selection is based on the achievements of the pigeons in their own district, in their own club… for Raf it is the club in Zottegem… provincial and national results are hardly ever or never looked at. Bookkeeping or making up pedigree cards for his pigeons is not for him. Knowing the parents of a certain pigeon is more than enough for him… once again, you race with the ‘pigeon’, not with the ‘pedigree’… Raf adds again!
The fact that there are very good pigeons in the lofts in the Rollebaan in Moortsele has been made more than clear over the last few seasons, as in addition to the 2 national victories (in 2009 and now in 2011) last season they also won 2 x 1st provincial in the grand middle distance!
2 half-sisters win national
The brand new national winner ‘De 030-duivin’ is not just any old pigeon. This is evident in her sublime honours list. Every racing season she was basketted almost weekly for the grand middle distanced… and achieved one top performance after another. It was only last season, when Raf saw that she looked tired after being basketted for many weeks in a row in the scorching ‘heat’ during the month June, and by the homecoming from Orleans she wasn’t very ‘fresh’… that he stopped racing her earlier than usual… out fear of ‘breaking’ her. Probably the right decision… as this season she has, up until now, fought hard, and achieved the national victory from Argenton as crowning on her work!
-‘De 030 duivin’ B08- 4061030
It was not the first time this ‘crack hen’ has performed magnificently, as proven by the powerful honours list she has flown together :
In 2009: 09/5 Blois Prov 1.944 p. 242 30/5 Chateauroux Prov 4.601 p. 383 07/6 Chateauroux Prov 4.559 p. 365 13/6 Chateauroux Club 819 p. 1 Prov 6.143 p. 29 20/6 Poitiers Prov 2.652 p. 103 27/6 Argenton Prov 5.627 p. 191 04/7 Blois Club 108 p. 1 Prov 1.735 p. 10 25/7 Bourges Nat 15.508 p. 3117 01/8 Vierzon Prov 1.049 p. 20 08/8 Argenton Prov 845 p. 64 22/8 L.Souterraine Nat 4.459 p. 14 In 2010: 08/5 Blois Prov 2.295 p. 20 15/5 Vierzon Prov 7.030 p. 28 22/5 Bourges Prov 3.771 p. 69 Zone 6.154 p. 93 Nat 22.476 p. 585 29/5 Chateauroux Prov 4.815 p. 77 Zone 6.937 p. 140 Nat 20.330 p. 177 05/6 Chateauroux Prov 4.157 p. 32 13/6 Chateauroux Prov 3.903 p. 110 Zone 6.254 p. 269 Nat 17.109 p. 475 04/7 Orleans Prov 1.029 p. 120 In 2011: 14/5 Blois Club 259 p. 43 21/5 Vierzon Club 962 p. 11 28/5 Bourges Club 555 p. 12 04/6 Chateauroux Club 416 p. 1 Prov 4.571 p. 11 Nat 20.517 p. 59 11/6 Chateauroux Prov 3.172 p. 29 18/6 La Châtre Club 297 p. 42 25/6 Montrichard Club 328 p. 10 02/7 Argenton Nat 10.962 p. 1
Her lineage is also one to be framed… as she is not only a 100% Erik Limbourg pigeon… she is also a half-sister of the 1° National La Souterraine 4.460 o.b. in 2009, as they both have the same mother, namely ‘Blue Erika ’ B05-4402403… a direct Limbourg and 100% De Rauw-Sablon pigeon, self daughter of the 2° Nat Ace bird Long Distance KBDB ’07: the ‘Blue Ace 095/03’ (coming out the ‘Lucky 848/00’ x ‘Daughter Dromer 665/01) x ‘Sister Dromer 083/03’ De Rauw-Sablon (and so daughter of ‘Superkweker Freddy 032/94 x ‘Lieve 712/98’, a daughter of the ‘Limoges’)… let us put it this way: the best of De Rauw-Sablon combined in one and the same pigeon! The father of the national winner Argenton ‘De 30’, is also a direct Limbourg cock, namely the ‘Slappe’ B05-4033597 (out ‘Son Superkweker Joost 638/04’ x ‘Daughter Dubbele 554/03’).
Raf also put down a marvelous performance from Argenton, with, in the club:
Argenton 239 o.b.: 1-4-17-21-34-40 (6/6) Nat 10.962 o.b.: 1… (here also probably 6/6) Argenton 562 YL: 1-2-24-25-33-36-40-67-73-78-91… (13/16)
Raf will also end up in about 10th place with the yearlings against 19.728 yearlings .
Not with the mass
Here it is a case of performing or disappearing… Raf told us, no mercy. I don’t want my pigeons to be a burden, and with my 72 summers I can’t keep a lot of pigeons. In all, 8 breeding couples, 17 racing cocks and 12 racing hens which are raced in classic widowhood (read: stay at home partners)… and at the moment I have another 25 youngsters, says Raf. Last week the youngsters sat in Angerville, and Raf didn’t escape the devastation inflicted by this race… 15 youngsters were lost. And seeing as how Raf doesn’t breed a round of summer youngsters anymore as, so as he says, it would cost him too much time and patience… there are now just 25 remaining. Although Raf also views this philosophically… these pigeons now have plenty of room and oxygen in the loft, and it will be easier for them to retain good health and condition.
All the racing pigeons took part in winter breeding and were coupled of the 15th of December and raised a nest of youngsters. On the 25th of March they were all coupled again and after 3 or 4 days of brooding all the racing pigeons went into widowhood. The cocks are never shown their hens before they leave, only the dish… the hens however are shown their cock, but only for 2-3 minutes, then they are basketted. Last week Raf visited sport friend Erik Limbourg… and it was Erik who advised Raf to let the hens stay with the cocks for 20 minutes before leaving, especially when it is later in the season! A change is as good as a rest… as the saying goes… but if this was the extra motivation which resulted in ‘national victory’… Raf will not say so in so many words. The 2 super yearling cocks which are showing what their worth at the moment… also won the 1st + 2nd club against 562 yearlings (the first ‘top 10’ national), and they weren’t given any extra motivation before they left!
Every fortnight Raf visits a sport friend who examines the pigeons for possible infection of ‘tricho’ and ‘cocci’… and twice per season he visits the vet Vandercruyssen in Oosterzele. But usually there is hardly anything or nothing wrong. Raf thinks this is due to a very old, but very effective remedy which he has used since the days with his father, and it is… letting the pigeons drink water with sugar (so as cane sugar, sugar candy, glucose) by the homecoming. This ‘cleans’ them well inside says Raf, and the meat is red again straight away, a sign that the blood has been purified of waste products! The rest of the week they are given the same mix of sugars in the water on Tuesday and Wednesday… this year there weren’t even given any vitamins, adds Raf. As long as everything is going well, top prizes are being achieved weekly… why should one change things?
As stated earlier… pigeon sport without frills. According to Raf most people are looking in the wrong direction… successes aren’t in jars, bottles or other supplements… they can do it or they can’t, it is the ‘class’ that speaks. There is not a single (wonder) remedy that can make a donkey into a thoroughbred… end of story! Definitely wise words from a man who has the right to speak… Raf Den Haese… 2 x 1° National winner within 2 years! Congratulations Raf !