Ivan and Willy Baetens (St.-Niklaas, BE) overwhelm their opponents with a first and third provincial from Montluçon

We saw an impressive achievement from Willy and Ivan Baetens last weekend. It looked as if they wanted to knock their opponents out of the ring.

Ivan in a good mood after his impressive achievement

A grand race

This victory was not a walk in the park for Messi (4123229/10). He had to make every effort to hold off Luc De Maesschalk’s first nominated (Zele, BE) and Messi’s loft mate and full brother Hazard (4123284/10). The first nominated of Hugo Vlaeminck (Rupelmonde, BE) arrived at his loft shortly after. This should give you an idea of the fierce competition in this race, which makes Messi’s victory even more impressive. In the flight from Montluçon pigeons had to successfully combine speed and strong orientation skills. Pigeons that failed to do this were left behind.


Messi is yet another big star in the collection of the two highly passionate pigeon fanciers. He had showed his potential in the past few weeks, as the winner of two first prizes:

1st Vierzon 490 p.
1st Châteauroux 364 d; 6th prov. 4,287 p.

These impressive achievements are less surprising when we consider the origins of Messi. His sire is Blitz (4240350/03), a champion that has won for instance a first. Nat Zone A Argenton and a 94th nat. Limoges against 6,617 birds. He is related to a third nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB of Geerinckx LBJ and a ninth nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB of Dirk and Louis Van Dyck on his mother’s side.

Less is more

An average fancier usually has at least eight breeding pairs, some have a collection of up to 30 to 50 breeding pairs. Ivan And Willy need only four breeding pairs in their loft for the middle distance. The reason is simple: they would rather have one proven breeding cock in the loft than ten sons or brothers of that same cock. On the other hand they would make much more effort to obtain a high value pigeon compared to other fanciers. Just think of the way they obtained the pigeon Blitz. This excellent racing cock was housed in the lofts of Urbain De Maere. When Urbain died Willy and Ivan took over his entire collection just to get their hands on Blitz. It underpins their great ambition. Three other pigeons in their collection are equally strong as Blitz:

Cobra: 1st nat. zone Limoges, 5th nat. zone Cahors, 
sire of 30th nat. Tulle, 27th nat. Brive and 87th nat. Tulle
Houdini(Baertsoen): sire of 1st nat. zone Châteauroux, 
3rd PIPA ranking yearlings long distance 2010
Chipo (Baertsoen): sire of Lady Bourges, 28th nat. 17,136 p. 
and 70th nat. 20,582 p. Bourges

To satisfy the needs of these pigeons Ivan & Willy have gathered a group of seven top quality breeding hens from LB&J Geerinckx (Wommelgem, BE).

Racing loft

We noticed the same less is more philosophy in the racing loft: they started the season with a team of 12 hens and 35 cocks but only 6 hens and 20 cocks were good enough to stay in the team. All other pigeons were removed because they did not meet the requirements. Keep in mind however that Willy and Ivan are a lot more demanding compared to most other fanciers. It was not a surprise to see their fourth basketed pigeon arrive from Montluçon when there were 2,896 of a total of 3,550 pigeons in the province still under way to their loft. The race from Montluçon was not the first race in which these pigeons showed their full potential. One of them achieved a ninth prize in the Nat. Championship KBDB Extreme Middle Distance old birds. In addition they took a first nat. in zone B from Châteauroux old birds against 5,670 pigeons in the same season. They have won several prizes in 2013 as well:

Vierzon: 490 p.: 1-3-5-35-83 (11 pigeons basketed)
Chateauroux: 364 p.: 1-4-17-29-51 (5)
Chateauroux prov.: 4,287 p.: 6-28-159-303-596 (5)
Poitiers: 294 p.: 11-42 (3)
Poitiers nat. B1: 2488 d.: 67-287 (3)
Montluçon: 274 p.: 1-2-15-80 (4)
Montluçon prov.: 3,550 p.: 1-4-45-654 (4)

A new focus

Willy and Ivan have decided to switch their focus to the longer distances. They would love to play a role in the extreme long distance. With this goal in mind they have purchased a few additional racing cocks, as well as a few strong middle distance pigeons:

  • 't Fenomeen: 5th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Long Distance (Etienne Meirlaen)
  • 370: 9th int. Narbonne, 47th nat. Bordeaux and an uncle of 't Fenomeen
  • Speed Ace: 7th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Short middle distance
  • Broer Peggy: 38th nat. Souillac and a brother of Peggy, 1st Ace Pigeon KBDB Grand Distance 2011
  • Contador (Marc De Cock): 6th nat. St. Vincent and 21st nat. St. Vincent and the sire of the 53rd nat. Poitiers 2013 for Marc De Cock
  • National King (Raf Den Haese): a grandson of the first int. Perpignan (Eric Limbourg), which was the winner of a ninth nat. Bourges and the sire of the first nat. Argenton and several provinical winners
  • Wittekop: 1st prov. Bourges and outstanding racing pigeon of Willy and Ivan (a 50% Aelbrecht x 50% Geerinckx)

To top things off they have also obtained the excellent hen Peggy (First Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Grand Distance 2011) in a joint purchase with other fanciers. They have also purchased a few great hens in the auction of De Clercq-Vervaeren (Joost Desmeyter). We think the Baetens combination will be a name to reckon with in the near future. We wonder if Willy & Ivan can bring a national victory or podium spot to Ostend.