1st National Champion, Extreme Middle Distance 2009 Salens F.-De Boelpaep G. - Nederokkerzeel (BE) or a tale of “Together we are strong”

When, in that blessed year 2003, the combination Salens-De Boelpaep was held over the christening font neither Fred or Georges, with at the back of their mind “together we are strong”, could imagine in their wildest dreams where it would lead to.

Couldn’t be more Belgian.
A leap in the dark for both of them. A few months later, by the closing of the season, when the results booked were laid out next to each other, it emerged that they had to get themselves ready for the highest scaffold of the national podium. Indeed, our duo made a hellish start and crowned the Blue 264 (2090264/02) to winner of the KBDB-Ace pigeon competition “sprint”.

Dear reader, we would have liked to have published a photo of this super fast pigeon which in 2003 raced through the pigeon sport landscape of the Witloof. Yet Fred let himself be taken by surprise and before he knew it his Ace pigeon ha left for the Far East. The results are really “super” as they say, and just to be absolutely clear we have an impressive list of top performances for you:

Soissons 14 / 363 p.
Bouillon 54 / 212 p.
Bouillon 76 / 303 p.
Bouillon 1 / 184 p.
Soissons 1 / 849 p.
Soissons 9 / 724 p.
Soissons 9 / 525 p.
Soissons 1 / 371 p.
Soissons 7 / 296 p.
Noyon 1 / 188 p.
Soissons 1 / 197 p.
Nanteuilles 33 / 219 p.
Noyon 8 / 150 p.
Soissons 5 / 206 p.

In 2002 as a youngster he had already clearly shown his cards with the following results.
Soissons 66 /1.750 p.
Soissons 85 /1.734 p.
Soissons 265 /1.621 p.
Soissons 64 /873 p.
Soissons 106 / 778 p.
Quévrain 37 / 312 p.
Quiévrain 9 / 398 p.
Laon 3 / 575 p.
Laon 88 / 374 p.

To use the words of the late Jef Houben “Good things come quickly”. Seeing that we are busy trawling our Flemish language, we can safely say that “the Apple never falls far from the tree”. In the case of the first national Ace pigeon 2003 sprint this is no false term because his father –the  2191604/00 was not one of the slowest and won consecutively the
Soissons 5 / 663 p.
Soissons 5 / 445 p.
Soissons 2 / 513 p.
Soissons 20 / 372 p.
Soissons 62 / 342 p.
Soissons 16 / 322 p.
Soissons 20 / 223 p.
Soissons 5 / 268 p.
Soissons 19 / 242 p.
We are now six years further on and the combination Salens-De Boelpaep have performed magnificently. Their honours list shines with so many regional and a number of provincial victories, and this a.o. from Le Mans (old birds-2007); Minden (youngsters 2007). Last season the plotted collision course was kept to with the following impressive performance card:

16/5 Vierzon       535 ob    5, 31, 41 (3/6)
        Prov.        2564 ob    6, 67, 93, 713, 876
23/5 Bourges      664 ob    36, 41, 90, 157 (4/10)
    Prov.            3144 ob    134, 153, 409, 705
30/5 Issoudun     342 ob    3, 13, 14, 17 (4/6)
    Int. Prov.      4478 ob    27, 167, 170 179
7/6 Chateauroux 409 ob     1, 2, 3, 10, 35, 47, 77 (7/10)
    Int. Prov.    10198 ob     7, 12,14, 54, etc.
                           578 yl     1, 10, 25, 84, 81, 86 (6/11)
    Int. Prov.      10719 yl     79, 86, 200, 661, 757
13/6 Chateauroux 15 ob      2, 7, 19 (3/6)
    Prov.            1467 ob     16, 51, 99, 432, 445
20/6 Montlucon   297 ob     8, 9, 19, 39,70, 75, 92 (7/10)
    Int. Prov.      7516 ob    177, 181, 343, 772, 1224, 1661
27/6 Argenton    288 ob     1 (1/6)
          Nat.       9901 ob     5                 
11/7 Blois           590 yb     2, 5, 17, 20, 65, 69, 138, 153, 155, 162.
    Prov.            2799 yb     2, 11, 61, 65, 263, 276, 304, 584, etc.
18/7 Vierzon       182 yb     3, 10, 21, 22, 23, 37, 47, 48, 51, 61.
    Prov.              739 yb     11, 20, 40, 43, 49, 87, 108, 114, 125,

Yet the highlight is without doubt the achievement of the national title Extreme Middle Distance 2009. Achieving National titles, you never get used to it and they can’t be compared to each other. The sprint title was an exploit of an individual pigeon, the highest scaffold of the KBDB –podium Extreme Middle Distance was a collective performance, the work of four tenors.
Always clocking the first nominated pigeons at the head of the race, it is clearly not for everybody. Fred and Georges managed this with brio:

16.5 -Vierzon 2564 p. 67 (1st nom.) 93 (2nd nom.)
30.5 -Issoudun  1398 p. 7 (1st nom.) 52 (2nd nom.)
06.6 -Chateauroux 10.198 p. 7 (1st nom.) 301 (2nd nom.)
13.6 -Chateauroux 315 p.  7 (1st nom.) 2 (2nd nom.)
20.6 -Montlucon 7531 p. 343 (1st nom.) 181 (2nd nom.)

When, late on Sunday afternoon the 14th of February I called on Fredje Salens, I immediately noticed a conical aviary where a few hens were showing off in the cold winter sun and eagerly consuming the last rays of sunshine.
Further along I was confronted with an unorthodox spectacle. A few youngsters were picking at the snow in the middle of a frozen ornamental pond. Both winter pictures perfectly fit in with the pigeon philosophy of the Nederokkerzeels duo, namely “pigeon sport as close as possible to nature or…..

Back to the very basics of the game “ Healthy strong pigeons”.
Maybe a few readers will comment on this vision. The results really prove that this road also leads to Rome. Their experiences clearly show that keeping to a few simple rules helps you well on the way to success. Both Fred and Georges have been involved in the pigeon sport for a few decades. Fred, who has already worked for more than thirty years as a mechanic by the main distributor of Scania lorries in Neder-Over-Heembeek, used to race together with father Marcel. In 1984 he became an independent pigeon fancier and very soon he belonged to the feared top of the local “Noyon-men”. A period that Fred looks back at with nostalgia because not only did he experience numerous glory years in the sprint races, but more importantly he learned the game in all its finesse. Its not for nothing that the real “pointers” are regarded as the best fanciers.

Georges De Boelpaep on the other hand practised the sport as chairman of the pigeon Union “De Kampioenen” in Nederokkerzeel. When his house was auctioned off after the death of his mother in 2003, the end of his years long pigeon sport career beckoned. Freddy asked his “mate” if he wanted to race in combination. You learn who your friends are in times of trouble. It made a lot of difference that they didn’t have to start from nothing. Freddy provided pigeons from his late father whilst the best of George’s colony moved to the lofts of Freddy Salens.

A Foreign Legion
or as was often stated “ pigeons from Pierke and Paul. Whoever visits Salens de Boelpaep will definitely leave devoid of rhetoric pedigrees. They do however have a high sporting level. The pigeons from father Salens in combination with the best examples of so-called local small fanciers who had stopped with active pigeon fancying form the success basis. In a later stadium a few examples came from Lawyer Jan Dons (Kapelle o/d Bos); René and Patrick Draye (St. Joris-Weert ) and René Van den Broeck (Tremelo),introduced successfully step by step. Our hosts take care that the old stock plays first violin. This vision is best illustrated by taking a closer look at the pedigree cards of two of the four tenors that won the national title:

2038474/2007 or a son out het brother of the national Ace pigeon sprint 2003 X a hen from Rene Van den Broeck (Tremelo). The “Blauwe” has an honours list to be looked up to:
-as a youngster he showed what he was worth, as they say in pigeon terms;
-as a yearling 1ste Noyon (441p);-36ste Melun (669p);-79ste Pithiviers (606p);-11th Bourges Demer & Dijle (379p) and 474th national (9030p);-7th D&D (411p)-18th provincial (2044p) and 28th semi-national from Montlucon; 49th Club (298p) and 194th provincial from Argenton; 1st club (203p) and 68th interprovincial Châteauroux; 265th provincial (990p) from Le Mans. It was no coincidence that he was 2nd Ace pigeon yearlings Centre & Est Brabantse Union.
As an old bird (2009) it was bingo once again with a.o.:
-the 1st (288p) Demer & Dijle;-3rd provincial (1312p) and 5th national (9901p) from Bourges;
-2nd Châteauroux D&D (315p) ;
-9th D&D (74p)-52nd provincial (543p) -Vierzon
-17th D&D (342p)-52nd provincial (1398p)-179th interprovincial from Issoudun;
-28th (387p)-18th (504p)-6pe (587p) from Soissons;
-40th (240p) and 180th interprovincial (1312p).
-41st D&D (535p)-93rd provincial (2564p)-353rd interprovincial (8421p) from Vierzon;
-48th D&D (203p)-308th provincial (1419p) from Blois;
-101st Pithiviers (778p);

Den Geschelpte 96 (2038496/2007).
As a youngster his performances clearly opened perspectives:
114th national (31.024p)-49th B. U (4655p)-16th D&D (824p) from Bourges;
2nd Soissons (694p);
150th Toury ((538p) ;
28th Noyon (174p) ;
9th (152p) and 16th (194p) from Quievrain.
5th national (9030p)-2nd B.U (1922p) and 2nd D&D from Châteauroux;
4th Pithiviers (606p);
127th Melun (669p) ;
18th (411p)-69th provincial (2044p) and 123rd national (8619p) from Montluçon ;
416th (1491p)-B.U. from Argenton.;
2009 :
1st Soissons (587p)-60th (387p) from Soissons ;
3rd D&D (342p)-7th B.U. (1398p) and 27th semi-national Issoudun ;
7th (315p)-51st B.U. Châteauroux.
31st Vierzon D&D (535p) ;
27th Pithiviers (778p) ;
372nd provincial (1302p) and 1471st (9901p)-interprovincial.
On father’s side there is the “blauwe uit 13 “ from the lines of lawyer Dons X butcher Maes R. while the mother is a direct hen from L. Geens.

A high level of natural resistance
You don’t have to travel to Nederokkerzeel for the secrets behind the success story. Everything begins with pigeons that have a high level of natural resistance or the resultant of an:

-As small a medicine assortment as possible;

Before the first coupling the trichomonasis scourge is tackled with Trichoplus (5 d) -Spartrix. or ¼ pill Flagyl. Just before the start of the sport season they are cured again for tricho and then switched over to a monthly cure.
We can be brief about the rest of the medical picture, because there is no “but”. That’s it. There is no separate chapter for paratyphus - coccidiosis and head sickness in the entire story.

-A well equipped loft
with grids which ensure that a coccidiosis-epidemic is for a great deal excluded and namely the “known head sicknesses” are called to a halt by keeping the youngsters close to nature from a young age. This was  accomplished by erecting a large, open aviary in front of the chirper’s loft. They can even choose whether they stay inside or outside and it is usually the latter.
The lofts for the old birds are housed beneath the “Boom slates” of the large shed, an oasis of oxygen. The well-known old principle of a loft in a loft is celebrated here. In the back wall and under the boxes there is an adjustable valve to regulate the  supply of oxygen according to the weather conditions. During the winter months the valve is closed more. There are no pernicious temperature fluctuations here, although Fred indicates that even during the warm summer months the lofts can feel somewhat cool.
It has to be added that the lofts face east. How higher the temperature rises, the better and quicker the pigeons conjugate the lofts.
Let’s hope for a nice summer.