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Patrick Rubbens - Tielt-Winge (BE) - 1° National Argenton 9.912 Old birds

The first edition of the ‘new’ national Argenton for old birds and yearlings, set up by the FVOV, was a hit at all levels. With nearly 31.000 participating pigeons, and beautiful summer weather, this race couldn’t have wished for a better ‘overture’.

Once again proof that there is a ‘necessity’ for such classics for the fanciers in the ‘grand middle distance’… an issue which we have personally raised for a few years in various articles and reports. Especially for the yearlings, 2 weeks before ‘their’ Limoges… an ideal moment to get them used to ‘national’ racing (learning to split from the mass)!
Due to the local mist and morning greyness in the North of France, caused by the local thunderstorms Friday evening and night… it was a question of waiting until 9h30 for the launching of this national Argenton at the end of June. In sunny and even quite warm weather with a wind from the NNW-sector the first pigeons achieved a velocity in the region of 1250 metres/min. The fastest pigeon in the race was the yearling from Deno-Herbots…whilst by the old birds the victory went in the direction of Tielt-Winge to the colony of Patrick Rubbens. Patrick clocked his winning pigeon at 16h48’57” from a distance of 546,605 Km, good enough for the highest velocity by the old birds with 1245,26 m/min. In second place we find the revelation of 2009, the colony Verreckt-Ariën from Tessenderlo, at 3 Loft Jos Vercammen from Vremde and at 4 Deno-Herbots, who are also ‘national top’ here! As you can see, the ‘toppers’ sat in the middle and east of the country, which was perfectly normal seeing the weather conditions and the wind… the Flanders didn’t get much of a look in, because only a few pigeons there achieved a velocity of 1200 meter! Yes, mass and wind… they always determine the ‘top prizes’ at national level, there’s no denying it, well-known in races of 400 to 700 Km, even further… although the ‘proportionality factor ‘ increases with the distance!

Patrick Rubbens destroyed established values
So as you can read… Pulsating names at the top of the national result, that are preceded, you could say… destroyed, by a man ‘with the small basket’, say a pure hobby racer, namely Patrick Rubbens… who here once again provides the proof that it ‘can’ be done, who has floored the ‘masters’ in our sport in their own chosen field, who came and gave them pigeon lessons… the pigeon sport is sometimes so beautiful, says Patrick. This is double enjoyment, because I might only experience this once in a lifetime… believe me, this does me good… according to a very happy Patrick Rubbens. Patrick (59 y.) is a representative in baking materials, and is then away from home nearly the whole day. He has been a pigeon fancier since he was 14 years old, apart from a few short breaks… his last ‘pigeon stop’ was in 1987, when he took a break for 4 years, but once bitten by ‘the bug’… it never let’s go of you. He doesn’t have much free time due to his job, so he adapts his sport to his possibilities. There are 5 breeding couples, 22 widowers and he breeds 40 youngsters, wherefrom there are still 30 at the moment… these raced Pithiviers over the weekend, a difficult to extremely difficult race for youngsters. He usually races the young cocks up to 1 grand middle distance race, then they are stopped, with an eye to the future… the hens are then further tested, with the aim of finding out what the breeding results are. Although the ‘nationals’ for the youngsters don’t form a goal in themselves… because August is a holiday month and Patrick and his wife Gaby like to go away!

This year, for the first time, Patrick had a 22 head team of widowers, which have been divided into two lofts and are generally raced every 2 weeks. Patrick had read in various reports that some top lofts dare enter their cocks in 400 to 500 Km-races every week… an extra race also offers a better chance of  ‘Ace pigeons’! Last weekend Patrick had a beautiful result from Montluçon with 6 of his 10 basketted pigeons in the provincial  ‘top 100’. A team that was clearly ‘top’… and then also quickly recuperated and trained hard during the week…so that Patrick decided not to give them a weeks rest, but to enter them for Argenton…with ‘national victory’ as result! Yet the result was not as good as the previous week, so Patrick doubted as to whether he would repeat this experiment… despite his ‘national victory’! Nevertheless the pigeon game has gone smoothly for the whole season….It began excellently from Vierzon with 4/ 4 per 10 by the old birds and 3/6 (all per 10 by the yearlings). Last week he had a magnificent result from Montluçon… and now from Argenton the national flag can be raised by the old birds. For those who like figures, these are the results:

Vierzon  Prov 2.539 old 20… and 4/4 per 10
  Prov  1.541 yearlings 43… and 3/6 per 10
Montluçon Prov 1.464 old 29,34,80,86,93,97,273 (10)
  Prov 2.067 yearlings 59,246,268,380,598 (9)
Argenton Nat 9.912 old 1… and 4/6
  Prov 1.302 old 1… and 4/6
  Prov 2.411 yearlings 42… and 2/4
Before the season the racing pigeons participated in the winter breed, and were coupled at the beginning of December and raised a pair of youngsters. Then they were put into widowhood… although sometimes the cocks are given their hens in between. To keep the calm and tranquillity in the lofts a white sheet is hung in front of the windows… not for darkening the pigeons…although this did have the effect that the pigeons for Argenton hadn’t shed a feather. Before the pigeons leave for their journey they are not allowed to see their hens, they are only given a nest dish. However, when the pigeons arrive home from a race, the pigeons that had remained home also get to see their hens. Where the feeding is concerned they are given the same menu every day, a mixture that Patrick puts together himself, and is prepared and mixed by the firm Vanrobaeys in Rekkem. The pigeons are fed 3x per day, with the intention of giving them less this way, but making sure that they eat more daily (than by feeding them 2x per day) of his own mixture. He can depend on his wife Gaby to help with the letting out (of the youngsters) and feeding of the pigeons. He mainly built up his colony with pigeons from fellow villager Robert Verheyden, Ad Scharlaekens, Vic Houtmeyers… and the pigeons from his own old sort with which he started and had obtained  via Pelsmaeckers and Albert Suys… in which famous names so as Jef De Ridder (Motta-line), Raoul & Xavier Verstraete etc… are incorporated.

The winner 1° Nat Argenton 9.912 old birds, is a blue 2-year old cock ring B07-2123319, and has now been christened ‘Den Argenton’! He comes out ‘Den 953’ B04-2197953 (who is a 100% Robert Verheyden on his father’s side… mother is the ‘Breeding mother 710/96’ out the old sort, this being the ‘Motta-line Deridder’ via Albert Suys x ‘Pluimpoot Verbruggen’ 683/94 via Deno) x ‘Daughter Vicky’ B06-2103506, coming out the ‘AD 534/05’, an Ad Scharlaekens (out the grandfather 1° Vichy Michel Van Lint: the ‘super breeder 130’ 130/97 and son of ‘Ace Four’ x Daughter Petra 023/03 from Loft Jos Vercammen) x ‘Vicky 610/05’ from Vick Houtmeyers (line ‘Dikke’ x Vos-Jennes).
‘Den Argenton’ had already won a cartload of prizes, including these main prizes:
In 2008:
Momignies     112 p.  6
Pithiviers  1.255 p. 30
Chateauroux CF 4.362 p. 465
  S/Nat 9.030 p. 940
Montluçon S/Nat 8.619 p. 575
Argenton S/Nat 5.871 p. 386
Bourges N.Zone 6.628 p. 94
  Nat 16.771 p. 278
In 2009:
Pithiviers HD    351 p.  8
Bourges Nat 27.506 p. 4426
Montluçon BU 1.464 p. 80
  CF 4.425 p. 196
Argenton Nat 9.912 p. 1

A beautiful performance from a small fancier who had the ‘highlight’ of his career last weekend! Hopefully there will be more of these memorable moments so that Patrick and his wife, with retirement in sight, can enjoy their chosen hobby, the pigeon sport, for a long time to come! Congratulations!