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PIPA visits Denmark: MVL Cup 2011

In September 2011, PIPA was invited to the MVL Cup, the biggest “One loft Race” in Scandinavia situated in Aabenraa in southern Denmark hosted by Henrik Meldgaard. The event took place on Saturday September 3rd.

Henrik Meldgaard, the 44-year old organizer of the event, runs a large family-owned company together with his brother and sister employing over 500 people. A small part of the company (Meldgaard ENGROS A/S) sells animal products (a.o. animal feed, pigeon products, cages, aquariums).

But the main business of the company is in distribution and logistics, having to do with anything truck and transport related such as moving vans and waste disposal pickups and recycling. The pet business at Meldgaard (Meldgaard ENGROS  A/S) has come quite a long way when you imagine it started out 16 years ago with a small shop in the city of Aabenraa with only 2 employees. The business kept growing in size every year and currently distributes its goods all across Scandinavia, i.e. Denmark, Norway and Sweden.


Outside view of the Meldgaard office complex

Finn Kornbeck, close associate of Henrik’s and responsible for importing/buying goods of the company Meldgaard ENGROS A/S, gave us a tour around the large building complex. Instantly one wonders how a young successful business entrepreneur like Henrik got interested in pigeon sports. How does one link the Meldgaard company and Henrik’s fascination with racing pigeons? To find out more we visited Henrik’s home, not far from the company domain, just a few kilometers away. When turning over on Henrik’s driveway we immediately noticed the large pigeon loft in front of which Henrik was awaiting our arrival.


Henrik Meldgaard (44), Anja (38) and children
Mads Peder (4), Didde Sofie (4), Anne Line (5)

We asked Henrik to introduce us to Denmark’s pigeon sports and explain his own involvement in Denmark’s current pigeon racing. “Denmark has less than 1500 active pigeon fanciers”, Henrik tells us. Not as many as Belgium, but still a firm base of fanciers. Henrik himself has held pigeons since he was about 11 years old even though breeding pigeons doesn’t run in the family. It turns out one of Henrik’s father’s employees had pigeons and got him interested in having some of his own. Wanting to learn more about pigeons Henrik even stayed in Belgium during 1986, living in Mechelen (St.Katelijne-Wawer at Jozef de Wilder).

 
Henrik with a picture of himself and one of his first pigeons in 1983

Henrik and his father-in-law (Meldgaard/Jeppesen) currently participate in all local flights that are held in Denmark, about 55 flights per season, mostly on short distances of about 150 – 500 km using primarily the total widowhood system playing with both cocks and hens.

Eager to show us more of his loft Henrik takes us in for a guided tour.


Henrik Meldgaard and Finn Kornbeck

For years Henrik has been trying to make his own special breed of pigeons all descending from one basic hen (the “1686”) with which Henrik won many prizes in the past. The pigeons he owns are mainly Belgian pigeons, although he has some German ones too, purchased directly from Jozef De Wilder, Jos & Jules  Engels, Klaus Stieneker, Dirk van Dyck, Gaston van de Wouwer, …


The basic hen "the 1686"

Thanks to the pedigree of these pigeons Henrik has been able to win a lot of the local and national flights and many championships during the past 15 years, last 10 years champion in a row, on the short flights in section 32 among other.

Next to breeding his own race of pigeons and participating in as many local races as possible, Henrik also endeavors to introduce excellent birds to Danish fanciers by hosting auctions together with PIPA’s Danish agent Paul Staerkaer, in which birds of Belgian fanciers are put up for sale. As it stands, Danes can’t buy birds directly from PIPA due to legal restrictions.

Henrik’s ambition to help local Danish clubs and fuel the Danish pigeon sport isn’t limited to hosting live auctions. Every year Henrik organizes what is called the MVL Cup, the biggest “One Loft Race” in  Scandinavia held in Aabenraa that draws about 600 visitors every year. As in any one loft race, contenders participate by sending in young birds that are kept at the central loft and trained until the day of the race. PIPA was invited to come visit the race which was held on September 3rd.

  

The MVL Cup itself is hosted on the site of the Meldgaard company. The birds are released at 9h00 in the morning and around 10h00 – 11h00 the first visitors are warmly welcomed to have breakfast and participate in a lottery. Prizes are won, drinks and hot dogs are served continuously while most fanciers await the speedy return of their pigeons.

In the crowd we stumble upon Bent Thomson Petersen and his wife, a good friend of Jos Thoné, who plays mainly with Jos Thoné birds. He was the 2nd champion of Scandinavia and still plays very well with his pigeons, even receiving honors at the MVL Cup for the past season. Bent tells us he thinks Henrik is the most hospitable pigeon fancier we’ll ever meet in Denmark, good-hearted and a great talent for bringing Danish fanciers together.


Bent Thomson and his wife

On the day of the event, the sky turned blue and a soft wind blew from the East. Pigeons came in from the South and had to make a turn when descending. Around 15h00 the first pigeons landed making everyone run towards the big screen to see who had won the contest.


High up in the sky some of the first pigeons returning to the loft

The top three contenders of the contest were:

(1) Jens P. Pedersen (DK)

(2) Egon Klitgaard (DK)

(3) Walter Thun - Thorsten Daum (GER)


Top three MVL Cup 2011

The first twenty pigeons were auctioned off right after the announcement of the winners. With the close of the auction came an ending to the MVL Cup, which had lasted until 18h00.

For more information about the one loft race you are welcome to visit www.mvlcup.dk

We would very much like to thank Henrik and Finn again for inviting us to Denmark and hope to see them in Belgium sometime soon!

Comments

Looks like a fantastic one loft race! Congrats!

Kenji

It is indeed a fantastic One Loft Race Wink

Yours in the sport
M&C Hansen