The team from Herk-de-Stad has been winning top prizes one after another in recent years, with most notably a 1st Nat. Bourges 2015 and a 1st Nat. Narbonne 2017. We saw the same pattern in 2018, with the team now claiming 17 clear first prizes, as well as their 26th and 27th provincial first prize since starting out in 2004. These were won in Gien and Châteauroux III. Their many top results eventually led to a prestigious title as well: 6th National Champion Longer Middle Distance Olds 2018. It has been a fabulous season for Stefan, who also launched his very own mixtures this season, with Steenbergen I and Steenbergen Boost. "These are fairly simple mixtures really, without peanuts or candy seeds", Stefan explains. Click here for the best results of the Steenbergen pigeons in 2018.
Stefan will soon be adding another national trophy to his already impressive collection
Breeding pair attracts Chinese interest
Both provincial winners, including the pigeon that claimed a national championship title, were bred from top class breeding pair BE09-5043111 De Beer x DV2730-14-1225 Bluesette. "I had a good friend from China coming over, and he immediately saw that this was a talented combination. On the Thursday before Bourges II we showed him the sister of my 1st Provincial Gien and he promptly asked if he could purchase either her, her brother or their parents. I declined. We were awaiting my pigeons together a few days later, and he went wild when my 420, a nest sister of the 419, came home winning a 3th National Bourges II. One week later I claimed a 1st Provinical Châteauroux III with the 873, which is another full sister of both the 419 and the 420. Other sisters and brothers have won a 4th Soissons 3,434 p. and a 4th Sourdun 994 p. earlier on. This is quite a talented pair", he says proudly.
The racing loft of the olds and the yearlings that have excelled week after week
Top pair from old bloodlines x national ace pigeons
The cock in Stefan's world class pair, BE09-5043111 De Beer, was a pigeon that Stefan bred himself. He is the sire of several first prize winners, including a 1st Orleans of more than 9,000 pigeons. He comes from De Steegmans (sire of a 7th Nat. Narbonne) x Dam De Beer, a half sister of Iron Man (1st Nat. Zone Montauban 2,179 p. and 4th & 5th Prov. Brive) and Den Albert (1st and 8th Prov. Limoges). Her parents are Top Breeder (Irmer & Sohn) x Daughter 126 (Van Camp-Govaerts).
The hen in this pair is DV2730-14-1225 Bluesette of Franz Revermann, a good friend of Stefan. He also provided the dam of Stefan's 1st Nat. Argenton 2006. Bluesette comes from Grote Blauwe (a 100% Janssen Brothers) x Granddaughter Winner (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance for Rinus Van Gastel). Granddaughter Winner is also a granddaughter of Mr. Blue (1st and 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon WHZB and a top breeder for Pieter Veenstra). This is a combination of top class breeds and renowned bird.
BE16-2182419 Eden: 1st Prov. Gien 1,811 p. (fastest of 4,817 p.)
The provincial winner from Gien is a descendant of the aforementioned top pair De Beer x Bluesette, and he was raced in classic widowhood. He had already won a 198th Nat. Bourges 28,078 p. and a 65th Prov. Châteauroux 2,943 p. earlier on, but Eden really started to deliver this season:
1st Prov. Gien 1,811 p. 9th Sourdun 1,888 p. 32nd Sourdun 1,386 p. 56th Prov. Chevrainvilliers 1,981 p.
He claimed two prizes per 100 and four prizes per 10 in total. Click here for Eden's full list of achievements.
Stefan showing Eden, 1st Prov. Gien 1,811 p.
BE16-2182420 Leena: co-winner of a 6th Nat. Champion Longer Middle Distance
Leena is the nest sister of Eden (1st Prov. Gien) and she too stems from that same world class pair De Beer x Bluesette. She wins 3 x per 100 and 6 x per 10 this season. Here is a look at her prizes per 100:
5th Sourdun 1,386 p. 13th Nat. Bourges 5,831 p. 25th Prov. Chevrainvilliers 6,430 p.
In addition, she is the co-winner of a title of 6th National Champion Longer Middle Distance Old Birds with five out of ten submitted prizes, each time as second nominated. Click here for Leena's full palmares, including a 3rd and 20th Provincial and 57th National.
BE17-5056873 Maxie: 1st Prov. Châteauroux 589 p.
Maxie is a full sister of both Eden and Leena, with De Beer x Bluesette being her parents. Last year she was basketed only once as a yearling, after which she won 2 x per 100 and 5 x per 100 in her first proper racing season, raced in classic widowhood. Here are her best results of 2018, including of course her provincial first prize:
1st Prov. Châteauroux 589 p. 2nd Sourdun 1.888 p. 7th Sourdun 667 p. 6th Fay-aux-Loges 194 p.
Stefan met Maxie, 1e Prov. Châteauroux 589 d.
BE15-2206643 Oostende: co-winner of 6th Nat. Champion Longer Middle Distance (bis)
Oostende is the other pigeon with which Stefan won the title of 6th National Champion Longer Middle Distance Old Birds, winning five prizes. She is clearly a very gifted racing bird, and she had quite a few top results to her name up until 2017: a 2nd and 3rd Provincial, a 9th and 49th Interprovincial and a 35th, 52nd and 61st National. "One week after winning that 2nd Provincial from Argenton 2017 she went missing for a few days. I suddenly got a call from someone telling me she had been found on the beach in Ostend (a coastal city in Belgium), sheltering under the parasol of a sunbather, who had given her part of her sandwich, because she was starving apparently. He could easily pick her up, and I sent a good friend to Ostend to go get her. And that explains her unusual name. I decided not to basket her again this season, and I was not too confident about this season", Stefan remembers. But it all went really well: 2018 was perhaps her best season yet, with 3 prizes per 100 and 7 prizes per 10 to her name. Here are the three prizes per 100:
9th Prov. Chevrainvilliers 6,430 p. 6th Prov. Argenton 1,166 p. 9th Sourdun 1,386 p.
Contrary to Eden, Leena and Maxie, Oostende does not originate from Stefan's current top pair. Although she does come from some renowned bloodlines and breeders as well, mainly from Gaby Vandenabeele.
Sire: BE12-2038101 Bliksemschicht (Deno-Herbots)
Bliksemschicht is both a grandchild (through her dam) and a great-grandchild (through her sire) of the iconic Vandenabeele breeder Bliksem. Bliksem really left his mark on pigeon racing in Belgium, by winning 5 provincial top 8 prizes and by breeding countless highly successful descendants across the globe. He passed on his breeding qualities to his son Blauwe Bliksem, the other grandfather of Bliksemschicht. He is in fact the sire of Beckham (stock breeder for Deno-Herbots), Geisha (4th Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance) and Graffiti (4th Prov. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance). Beckham is the sire of a 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance and 3rd Prov. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance, and the grandfather of a 1st Olympiad Pigeon Budapest and a 1st Nat. Limoges.
Dam: BE13-5030556 Niki (Stefan Steenbergen)
Niki comes from the aforementioned Bliksemschicht (the sire of Oostende) x Inbred Bliksem (Kristiaan Hennes). This makes her a great-grandchild and great-great-grandchild of Bliksem from her father's side. Her dam Inbred Bliksem comes from an (inbred) grandson of Bliksem x Granddaughter Neptunus. Neptunus wins 5 provincial top 20 prizes and he is a grandfather of a 1st Nat. Blois, a 1st Nat. Guéret, and a 1st Nat. Agen.
No means no
Despite a lot of interest from his Chinese pigeon racing friend, Stefan decided not to sell his renowned breeding pair or their descendant. "I refused, simply because you can only win races with your best birds", Stefan said. "I even reinforced my breeding team with Maxie, the provincial winner from Châteauroux. Eden on the other hand continues to race even after his provincial first prize." These choices show that Stefan still wants to aim for the top next season and in the years to come. And it takes top quality pigeons to win races.
The large aviaries in which Maxie can try and extend her parents' breeding successes