Kris (left), Lieselotte (central) and grandfather Marc (right)
Kris got involved in pigeon racing in his childhood, aged 9 or 10. His godfather Marc was himself a passionate fancier but maintaining his pigeon breed became increasingly difficult due to illness, and so Kris decided to help him out. His godfather came him all the advice he needed to become a good fancier himself one day. Kris got more and more interested in the sport, and eventually his parents helped him build his own pigeon loft, where he would keep pigeons together with his father. His daughter Lieselotte was 2.5 years old when she made her first appearance in the loft, where she helped with feeding and caretaking. She has always been fond of animals in general, and she became increasingly interested in keeping pigeons as well. Eventually, in 2015, she started keeping pigeons in a loft of her own. Kris and his daughter Lieselotte are now racing independently, whereas godfather Marc is no longer keeping pigeons himself, although he does help with the caretaking of Kris and Lieselotte's pigeon breed.
The pigeon breed of Kris and Lieselotte
Initially, their pigeon family consisted mainly of pigeons of Kris's godfather and grandfather Marc. In 2010 Kris attended a sale of Martin De Roover (Asse, BE), where they got their hands on stock breeder Robbeke. This investment proved a big hit, with this newly added breeding bird giving numerous talented descendants here in Affligem.
Stock breeder Robbeke
Another very important investment besides Robbeke was a group of pigeons of Team Noël-Willockx, which are known to have a unique breeding team. Both Kris and Lieselotte have been getting some spectacular results with descendants of Noël-Willockx. In fact, Kris's breeding loft now consists almost entirely of descendants of stock breeder Robbeke and pigeons of Team Noël-Willockx. As a result, almost every prize winner in this team is related to these two bloodlines. In 2015 Kris went to a public auction, just out of curiosity, and he went home with a hen called Steffi. She turned out to be quite a talented hen, and today she is the dam of Den Hubert, 4th National Ace Pigeon shorter middle distance YBs. He also obtained a pair of eggs of Louis Cooreman (Moorsel, BE), and one of these eggs would eventually grow to become an important breeding hen as well.
Eddy Noël (Team Noël-Willockx) with stock breeder Den 118
Kris and Lieselotte now have about 25 to 30 breeding pairs in their collection, and they breed three rounds every season (150 youngsters), which are mainly raced by Kris. Lieselotte runs a team of ± 20 yearlings and approximately 4 old birds that are raced in widowhood.
Last year's results
Like we said, the one year olds are raced by Lieselotte. The yearlings were raced from Noyon (sprint) from 2015 to 2017 but in 2018 the team will be focusing on the shorter middle distance. Lieselotte has had some great results in Noyon, as you can tell from her palmares of 2017:
Noyon 363 p.: 1-3-5-7-18-19-27-etc. (10/12) Noyon 512 p.: 1-4-6-12-16-17-32-34-44-50-etc. (12/13) Noyon 747 p.: 1-2-7-11-38-44-54-60-67-etc. (13/17) Noyon 500 p.: 2-3-11-13-26-27-48-etc. (13/17) Noyon 436 p.: 3-8-13-14-15-26-29-32-39-40-etc. (14/16)
The team of young birds raced by Kris have had quite a few successful races in 2017 as well:
Toury 593 p.: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-12-13-14-17-19-29-30-35-36-38-39-44-48-etc. (35/69) Noyon 1295 p.: 3-4-5-14-15-20-22-28-29-33-34-44-45-56-62-64-88-93-etc. (25/43) Toury 976 p.: 1-2-4-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-20-21-22-24-25-etc. (54/79) Noyon 2721 p.: 3-6-7-8-10-11-13-14-15-16-18-19-20-23-25-26-28-etc. (94/135) Chevrainvillers 2349 p.: 2-6-7-8-20-21-24-25-32-34-35-37-etc. (55/84) Chevrainvillers 2147 p.: 3-5-6-7-8-9-11-12-16-17-22-25-26-etc. (68/93)
It goes without saying that their achievements have resulted in several championship prizes as well; Kris and Lieselotte have added the following national championship titles to their palmares in 2016 and 2017:
Kris: 8th Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint YBs 2016 (BE16-2047048) 2nd Nat. Champion shorter middle distance YBs 2017 4th Nat. Ace Pigeon shorter middle distance YBs 2017 (BE17-2001196) Lieselotte: 4th Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint Yearlings 2017 (BE16-2047114 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon 2017 (Criterium Youth Clubs (6-20 years old) (BE16-2047114)
Here is a brief introduction to the three pigeons with a national ace pigeon title to their name.
BE16-2047048 Den 048, 8th Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint Young Birds KBDB 2016
The 048 won the following consecutive prizes from Noyon in 2016: 4th (1,362 p.), 5th (1,804 p.), 5th (1,547 p.), 5th (1,458 p.), 9th (1,636 p.), 41st (1,808 p.) and 72nd (976 p.)., based on which he won two ace pigeon titles:
8th Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint YBs KBDB 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Sprint YBs KBDB Flemish Brabant
His pedigree gives us a clear view of the most important bloodlines of Kris and Lieselotte: we have quite a number of pigeons of Team Noël-Willock in the pedigree of Den 048, and stock breeder Robbeke makes an appearance as well. Click here for his full pedigree. The 048 will no longer be raced in 2018, instead getting a chance to show his worth in the breeding loft.
BE17-2001196 Den Hubert, 4th Nat. Ace Pigeon Shorter Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2017
Den Hubert is a son of Steffi, which Kris obtained in a public auction. He is named after a good friend of Kris. Steffi is a granddaughter of Odile (of Kurt and Raf Platteeuw, Rumbeke, BE). The sire of Den Hubert is again related to pigeons of Team Noël-Willockx and to stock breeder Robbeke. Judging from his pedigree, we were not really surprised that his sire was put in the breeding loft right away. Den Hubert claimed a title of 4th Nat. Ace Pigeon shorter middle distance, and he won the following prizes as a young bird:
1st Toury 593 p. 2nd Toury 976 p. 2nd Toury 1,718 p. 26th Chevrainvillers 2,147 p. 181st Chevrainvillers 2,349 p. 41st Noyon 2,721 p.
BE16-2047114 Den 114, 4th Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint Yearlings KBDB 2017
The third and final national ace pigeon that deserves a mention is Den 114. This one year old cock was raced by Lieselotte, and he did quite well, judging from the national ace pigeon titles on his palmares:
1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Criterium Youth Clubs KBDB (6-20 years old) 2017 4th Nat. Ace Pigeon Sprint Yearlings KBDB 2017 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Sprint Yearlings KBDB VL. Brabant 2017
This sprint pigeon claimed a consecutive 4th (1,701 p.), 2nd (747 p.), 16th (512 p.), 1st (234 p.), 7th (2,053 p.), 4th (652 p.), 7th (383 p.) and 9th (698 p.) from Noyon. And again, this racing bird originates from some of Kris and Lieselotte's most fundamental bloodlines, including of course stock breeder Robbeke. The hen that was obtained from Louis Coreman in the form of an egg plays an important role in this pedigree as well, just like BE06-207 of Team Noël-Willockx, which also happens to be the great-grandfather of Den Hubert (4th Nat. Ace Pigeon Shorter Middle Distance YBs), which we talked about earlier. Click here for the pedigree of Den 114.
The pillars for success
Top level pigeon racing would not be possible without the help of family and friends
Kris works as a gardener and a tree worker, which can be a demanding job. Sometimes he simply does not have enough time to look after his pigeons. This is why he is particularly happy to get a helping hand from his father Marc, his wife Ann and his daughter Lieselotte. Marc is mainly responsible for administration, which includes drawing up pedigrees and a palmares for each pigeon. If needed, he will also bring the clocks back to the club, and he helps with releasing or training the pigeons. Kris and Lieselotte are both responsible for maintaining their breed, and that includes feeding, training, motivating, etc. Kris's wife Ann offers a helping hand when needed; she has a versatile role in the team.
Kris is also very grateful towards Team Noël-Willockx for providing him with such outstanding pigeons, and towards Eddy Noël for his invaluable advice. Kris explains: "It is a combination of different factors that have contributed to our provincial and national successes. We can only hope to continue like this in the next few years, and to continue to enjoy ourselves along the journey. Because that is what matters the most."