The middle distance specialist
Rik knows how to win races. He has been one of the leading middle distance fanciers since the 1990s, relying mostly on pigeons that he obtained from grandmaster Gaby Vandenabeele from Dentergem, which is not too far from Ruiselede. The Cools pigeon breed is particularly suited for the longer middle distance competition, hence the countless victories at provincial level from Argenton, Gueret, Chateauroux, etc. This breed thrives in races of between 400 and 600 km.
Marieke, a genuine stock dam
Everything falls into place for this team, and this is the result of a talented fancier and a top class pigeon collection. Creating your own luck is a phrase that is often used to refer to a great champions in any sport who appears to have everything going for him. One of the pivotal moments in Rik Cools's career was breeding a stock dam that has been in a league of its own. Rik has some top class bloodlines in his collection, and his elaborate breeding strategy eventually led to the birth of Marieke (3037512-08). This fantastic hen is related to such noble bloodlines as Wittenbuik and Bliksem of Vandenabeele. Marieke's full pedigree can be seen here.
Marieke, the number one breeding dam for Team Cools
This hen won quite a number of top results in the nationals as a young bird, claiming most notably a provincial and zonal victory in the closing race from Gueret, where she beat 5,166 pigeons in Zone A. She had already won a top prize from Ablis earlier in the season, as well as a first prize from Blois of 362 pigeons. She went on to win a prize per 100 in the important races from Bourges and La Souterraine, and Marieke understandably claimed a well deserved title of 1st Provincial Ace Pigeon KBDB as well. You have to have all the characteristics of a modern-day racing bird to be able to win this title. Every fancier knows that it takes a combination of speed and consistency to win an ace pigeon title at the highest level. What makes Marieke even more special, is her ability to pass on these qualities to her youngsters, her grandchildren, etc.
A fundamental part of this breed
The lofts in Ruiselede have been home to quite a number of descendants of Marieke, and it would be almost impossible to talk you through all of this bloodline's major successes for Rik Cools and other players. We selected a handful of prize winners, just to illustrate their abilities. Carla (3109577-15) is a good example of the potential of this bloodline: she is a granddaughter of Marieke, and she lived up to her potential indeed (Click here for Carla's pedigree). Marieke's granddaughter Carla claimed a 1st Interprovincial of 2,714 pigeons from Chateauroux this season, as well as a first prize in the club from Clermont (twice) and Compiègne. She also won a 30th National from Chateauroux in 2016 of almost 30,000 pigeons.
Here is a look at some of Carla's best results:
2015 : Clermont : 4 / 391 p. club Tours : 76 / 6,083 p. prov. 2016 : Chateauroux : 30 / 29,591 p. nat. 1 / 519 p. club Fontenay : 5 / 447 p. club Fontenay : 7 / 828 p. club Compiegne : 1 / 18 p. club Montlucon : 48 / 1,206 p. prov. Bourges : 74 / 2,227 p. prov. Argenton : 591 / 12,449 p. nat. 2017 : Clermont : 1 / 94 p. club Chateauroux : 74 / 20,473 p. nat. Chateaudun : 71 / 2,177 p. prov. 2018 : Clermont : 1 / 162 p. club Chateauroux : 1 / 450 p. club 1 / 2,714 p. interpr.
Carla after her interprovincial first prize from Chateauroux
Another fantastic bird that put the Rik Cools pigeon family in the spotlight is Christa (3073298-11); her extensive palmares can be seen here. This outstanding racing hen wins a first from Chateauroux, as well as a first from Argenton, a first from Poitiers, a first from Montluçon, and several other top results. This descendant of the renowned Bliksem (click here for Christa's pedigree) eventually became 1st Provincial Ace Pigeon KBDB 2012. She was also the best Belgian pigeon across four nationals in 2012. And on top of that, she was the best Belgian pigeon across six national races the following season, and she finished in the top three in the provincial ace pigeon championships KBDB in 2013. This is without doubt one of the best racing birds ever to have lived; can you think of many other pigeons that have won so many championship titles and provincial first prizes? The loft from Ruiselede appears to be delivering ace pigeons with ease.
Christa: a super class hen for Cools
The many top results in the longer middle distance, combined with the top quality pigeon collection of Rik Cools, has led to quite a number of pigeon fanciers investing in this pigeon breed. And it is fair to say that many of them have been able to raise the bar after they invested in the Rik Cools bloodlines. This clearly illustrates the level of quality in this team, which has bred a long list of successful racing birds: Tarzan of G & L Dockx became 1st National Ace Pigeon (a 100% Rik Cools), Rudi De Saer won a 1st National Limoges, Freddy De Jaegher won a title of 1st National Ace Pigeon, Benny Steveninck won a 1st National Ace Pigeon title as well, Bert Vandenberghe claimed a 2nd Nat. Ace Pgieon title, M. De Neve has a 3rd + 5th Natonal Ace Pigeon in his collection, N & F Norman win a 4th National Ace Pigeon and a 3rd National Cahors, Chris Debacker has several Cools based prize winners in his loft, including a 4th National Ace Pigeon, and the renowned stock breeder Chateauke of Gevaert-Lannoo is a 100% Rik Cools as well. And the origins of 'Super Cools', with which P & D Houfflijn have had some outstanding results, are fairly obvious as well. The team of champions of Rik Cools has an extensive number of references and this was of course just a brief selection. Lastly, there was of course the national victory from Gueret 2018 by Chris Debacker (Beveren-Leie) with a 100% Rik Cools.
Rex & Femke: the parents of a 1st National Gueret 2018 for Chris Debacker
With so many fanciers getting excellent results with the help of the Cools pigeons, it is obvious that team Cools set a high bar when it came to putting together this pigeon breed. A highly ambitious and determined fancier, Rik has an elaborate breeding strategy, in which he uses descendants of ace pigeons and race winners almost exclusively. As a result, he surrounded himself with a group of pigeons that can compete with any loft in the longer middle distance. And Rik is experienced enough to let his team continue to evolve over the years.
2018 : outstanding at home once again
The racing lofts in Ruiselede
Top quality breeders in abundance
The Cools breeding lofts are home to some of the best pigeons that you can find today. The descendants of Marieke have won some fantastic results in this loft and in other lofts, and so did the youngsters and grandchildren of Lady Messi, Bolleke, Florence, Super Pou Pou, and others. On top of that, Rik Cools has been fortunate enough to let the Schone Bliksem bloodline further develop in his pigeon family. And fellow fancier Chris Debacker, who has had quite a bit of success with Rik's pigeons, returned the favour by providing him with the invaluable bloodline of the famous Amigo (2 x prov. winner and a descendant of Marieke). It is clear that the champion from Ruiselede has everything he needs to continue to deliver in the future (if you would like to know more about the Cools pigeon breed, click here).
Oxygen-rich breeding lofts