Trio Vollebregt (Poeldijk, NL) takes the national win from Barcelona in The Netherlands against 6,909 pigeons

The three fanciers Wil (49), Geert (76) and the student Tonie (15) from Poeldijk have really set their minds on the more demanding distances on the calendar. They are especially fond of the Barcelona classic, the most important race of the season. Last weekend a dream came true for the three fanciers: they won a first national prize in one of the toughest Barcelona races in years.

Wil and his Danique (a full sister of Der Jan)

The pigeons were released Friday morning at 9:30 for a tough but fair race from Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. This will be remembered as a race in which only the strongest and most talented pigeons could fight for victory. Father Geert, his son Wil and his grandson Tonie were well aware of that. “I picked up one of my pigeons before I basketed them and I could sense that this was going to be a special day. This is the first time I had such a feeling when basketing my pigeons. Tough weather conditions were to be expected and it would turn out to be a fair battle, which really pleased me”, Wil explains.

On Saturday the three generations of Vollebregt fanciers were waiting for their 20 pigeons to arrive home from Barcelona. Their expectations were high. Wil and Tonie had climbed the flat roof of the garage behind their lovely house. Father Geert was sitting in front of the loft. At 1 o’clock in the afternoon a pigeon appeared from behind the trees and he landed directly on the board. “We had to wait ten seconds to be sure if the pigeon came from Cahors or Barcelona and those were the most exciting ten seconds in our career as a fancier”, the three men told us. Wil explained to us that he was too excited to take the ladder. Instead he jumped off the three metre high roof to check which pigeon had just landed. He noticed it was their widower’ cock Der Jan (NL10-1606426), which was released from Barcelona one day earlier, together with 25,832 other birds. He had landed at 13h02’26” and he covered 1,190km with a velocity of 927 m/min; it was a thrilling afternoon for the fanciers from Westland. At the end of the day they celebrated their First National for The Netherlands from Barcelona 2013 against 6,909 pigeons.

Wil about to repeat his jump to a first National Barcelona 2013

Der Jan

Today the winning pigeon Der Jan is no longer housed in their loft in Poeldijk. He was bred from two pigeons from their friends De Lupino’s, who currently race under the name of Loek Gardien RBB (Maasdijk, NL). This pigeon is also related to the very best birds of the old lines of their father Geert. Der Jan is named after Jan Bronswijk from the partnership from Maasdijk. His dam is De Kogel (NL97-1398805), which was a successful Barcelona racer as well with 6 excellent results, especially in 2002 and 2003. De Kogel is in turn a grandson of the world-famous Witbuik of Batenburg (Klaaswaal, NL) and he originates from  Pierre Daenen (Tongeren, BE) from his father’s side.  Wil thinks Pierre Daenen currently has the most valuable collection of Barcelona pigeons.

In 2003 Wil came to the conclusion that his pigeon family was not strong enough for the marathon races. He closely studied the results from previous seasons and he came to the conclusion that the pigeons of the Lupino’s seemed to perform exceptionally well in these types of races. He decided to take the plunge and he went on a visit to the lofts of the Lupino’s. Both partnerships have been breeding pigeons together since 2003 and everybody is satisfied with the results, especially the first national Barcelona 2013 of course. Click here for the pedigree of Der Jan, first national in The Netherlands Barcelona 2013.

Der Jan was not the only pigeon that performed well in these conditions. The fanciers from Poeldijk are working to create a really strong pigeon breed. Jan’s full sister Danique NL11-1663775 landed only 90 minutes later at 14:32’38”, which gave her an impressive 32nd national prize and a 14th national against 2,182 hens.

Danique, 32nd national against 6,909 opponents

They had a good feeling about their pigeons during basketing and their feeling was right: they also had two pigeons in the loft at 14:48 and 15:20 respectively and they took the 49th and 96th national prize respectively. This is an excellent performance, because no other fancier has ever had a third or fourth pigeon on the result of this demanding but fair classic from Spain. “This makes our victory even better, I’m really proud of it”, Wil says.


Wil and Tonie take care of the pigeons most of the time. Tonie is in charge of the yearlings and he helps his father Wil whenever he can, because Wil spends a lot of time running his own company “Sproeibedrijf Van Zijl & Vollebregt B.V.” The pigeons are maintained for a short while in the early morning and in the late afternoon they can spend more time in the loft. In addition the strong pigeons of Vollebregt can eat and drink as much as they want. They do not use any complicated schemes that makes things more complicated than necessary. They started the season fairly late (only in mid-May), partly due to the cold temperatures. In fact the loft was not ready yet. They had rearranged the lofts in February and the pigeons could enter the lofts only in April. They were prepared for the Spanish races in four training flights with releases from Ghent. Wil really takes his time to do this, as he releases his pigeons one by one.

To conclude

We took a place at the bar behind the loft of the fresh national winners from Barcelona. Wil was celebrating his birthday when he told us he was planning to quit the sport as soon as he had won a first national from Barcelona in The Netherlands. Fortunately enough his son Tonie was able to make him change his mind. He told him there is another prize that is even more prestigious than a first national Barcelona: a first international Barcelona. The three fanciers put it this way: if they can win a first prize this season they might just as well win one next season."

The Vollebrecht trio has a very talented group of pigeons and we are convinced that they can fight for victory in 2014 as well. Now it is time for Wil, Geert and Tonie to cherish their national win from Barcelona and to enjoy the celebrations that will follow this winter. Many congratulations.