Helle and Jens Pedersen (Holstebro, DK) are one loft race enthusiasts

There are many skilled fanciers in Denmark but not so many who take an interest in one loft racing. Helle and Jens Pedersen from Holstebro are the exception, having participated for many years in the South Africa Million Dollar Pigeon Race.

Helle & Jens Pedersen

Husband and wife, Jens and Helle have participated in many one loft races around the world and have sent pigeons to the South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race since 2009. It is one of their favourite one loft races as it is always evolving. For instance, this year new lofts were constructed which benefits the birds, Moreover they have an excellent website and it is easy to follow the bird's progress online.

The loft

Since his childhood, Jens has been interested in birds and poultry of many kinds and in 1984 he started with racing pigeons. He flew with much success until in 2009 he had a complete clearance sale. After a break for a few years Helle and Jens started up again in 2011 with a few pigeons that had been borrowed to breed youngsters for one loft races. Their interest and the numbers of pigeons grew quickly and the couple now have twenty-four pairs of old birds for racing and a breeding section, together allowing for a large young bird team. The Pedersens are passionate about the pigeon sport and send many birds to the races in Denmark. Primarily they are interested in youngsters and yearlings for distances of up to 400km. Lately they are trying to breed pigeons to compete up to 700km and in the two days races.

Furthermore, they have a great interest in one loft racing and had an impressive result in the South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race in the 2016 - 2017 season. Last May the couple sent three pigeons to South Africa and all three made the trip, quarantine, the move from loft to loft in South Africa and completed the entire comprehensive training programme, twenty-one races in total, before making it to the final race. These three pigeons were, Miss PePe, Moon Shadow and Elias P and all three were the result of extensive years of breeding, selection, feeding, improvement and specialised knowledge gained in the pigeon loft in the back yard of the couple's home. Helle and Jens like to focuss on the innovation and improvement of the loft environment and particularly, the health of the pigeons.

Helle & Jens outside their loft

Every year when the final race is held in South Africa, Helle and Jens throw a party at their home. The dining room is converted into a show room with two large computer monitors following the progress of the race. They enjoy a good lunch, with beer and Danish schnapps whilst waiting for the first pigeons to arrive. This year they were ready to do the same, but unfortunately the weather was bad in South Africa and the race was postponed by several days. It finally took place on Wednesday the eighth of February so the couple took a half day off work to get home and follow the race online.

Miss PePe

Take a look at the pedigree of Miss PePe here.

Sire and dam of Miss PePe

There was tension in the air when the first arrivals were expected and at 12.56 Danish time the first birds arrived at the loft in South Africa. Unfortunately, none of the Danish pigeons were among them. At 14.18 two pigeons appeared above the loft, a cock and a hen that spent a while in the air before they landed and the cock went in to the loft. Helle and Jens looked closely at the hen and their hearts skipped a beat as it looked very like Miss PePe with her white flighted feathers. At 14.21 then hen trapped back and after a tense few seconds the African commentator updated the result and declared that the fifteenth pigeon back to the loft was indeed Miss PePe, bred by Helle and Jens Pedersen from Denmark. The couple were over the moon.

Moon Shadow

Take a look at the pedigree of Moon Shadow here.

Sire & dam of Moon Shadow & Elias P

Helle and Jens said it was a unique experience to see it live online and watch their pigeon come home to be the best Scandinavian bird and 121st in the hot spot averages. To have worked so hard for so many years and to see that work succeed was a remarkable achievement. Four and a half hours later, their second pigeon, Moon Shadow, came in at 261st amd the following morning Elias P was clocked at 647th. All three pigeons had made the final race and made it home again. Moon Shadow was 32nd in the grand averages and 329th in the hot spot averages. Elias P was 162nd in both the grand averages and the hot spot averages. Even more impressively in the two and three pigeon competitions, Helle and Jens were 4th international for three pigeons and seventh international with two pigeons. Considering they only sent the three pigeons, this was a fantastic result for the Danish couple against top fanciers from around the world.

Elias P

Take a look at the pedigree of Elias P here.

Helle and Jens spend many hours each week in their pigeon loft and are constantly attempting to improve their stock. This year they invested in a new pigeon for their breeding loft from the auction in South Africa and they are looking forward to seeing it, as it is the first time they have bought online. The couple have already sent new teams of pigeons to various one loft races around Europe and the world and of course they are in the process of breeding some new youngsters to go to South Africa later this year.

Blue Donna, dam of Super Star and grand-dam of Miss PePe - also dam of three section winners in Denmark with three different cocks, one being Eder

Racing in Denmark

Beside entering one loft races, Helle and Jens also race in Denmark and each year they try hard to win the Danish championships. In Denmark, races are from the middle of May until the middle of August. Jutland and Fyn fly from the south, whereas Sjaelland flies from both the south and Sweden. There are about 1,220 pigeon fanciers in Denmark and the country is divided into sections and regions. Each week Helle and Jens try to win the section and the region.

Helle and Jens live in Jutland and fly in association 076 under section 62 in the western part of the northern region. This often results in a strong westerly head wind, so their pigeons must have really strong wings, be well built and have great stamina. As previously mentioned, the couple are particularly interested in young bird racing up to 300km and the yearling competitions of the middle distance. They are now trying to build a team to fly the longer races up to 700km. They anticipate that it will take a few years to achieve this objective.

In 2012, just one year after starting racing again, Helle and Jens won the young bird championship in their section and in 2014 they won the section yearling championship. In 2015 and 2016 they were section middle distance champions as well. In 2016 they had their first section winner in a long distance race. In a very tough west wind their two year old pigeon, Eder, flew 654km from Dresden at a speed of 1,063mpm and was fourth from 1,045 pigeons sent in the region.

The new racing season starts shortly in Denmark and the winter youngsters are ready to be trained when the weather improves. We wish Helle and Jens all the very best for the coming season and the years ahead.