Ghion Roger wins International St-Vincent against 7520 pigeons! (2007)


Ghion Roger, Sauvagemont-Lasne

Sauvagemont is a small, out-of-the-way settlement in the borough of Lasne. We find ourselves in Waals-Brabant, not far from Waterloo with its famous Lion. The Brussels Capital Region is also nearby. In Lasne and the surrounding municipalities live 14.000 people. It is in this district of Nijvel that Ghion Roger on Tuesday the 31st of July experienced one of the best days of his life. 

St-Vincent = difficult race
The second St-Vincent for yearlings (the first was replaced with Irún) should have been liberated on the afternoon of Friday the 27th of July. A Pipa-newsletter from that day announced that there could be a delay in liberating, possibly for a few days. The weather in the South-West of France was too unpredictable to guarantee a good race for the yearlings. In the end they were liberated on Monday the 30th of July at 15h00. The 6.596 Belgian pigeons took to the air, internationally this convoy contained 7.520 pigeons.
Nobody in St-Vincent or in Belgium anticipated that the toughest race of the season was in progress. No night flyers this day. No nightly landings. There were no arrivals the following morning. Nowadays everything can be followed on the internet. And when there are no reports from Pipa, then there is a large chance that no pigeons have arrived home and the clock ticked towards the afternoon. 

Story of the winner
It was the same in Lasne by Ghion Roger (73) and his wife Madeleine: “I expected the pigeons sometime between 9 and 10 o’clock in the morning. It was nearly afternoon and none of my basketted pigeons had reported home. I thought everything was lost. I always take a nap after lunch and this day was no different. Still, I wasn’t relaxed, I had so much faith in my pigeons and I should have had at least one pigeon home! I got up earlier than usual, walked around nervously and in order to relax I decided to eat an ice cream with my wife. All of a sudden the electronic system sounded. A pigeon at last!”, says the sympathetic Roger.

He tells further: “I wrote down the necessary information, including the stamp, and telephoned the club. I got through straight away and asked if there were any prizes left from St-Vincent. On the other side of the telephone they told me that I was the first to call! I couldn’t believe it and once again asked if there were any prizes left! Once again I was told that there weren’t any pigeons home and that I was the first to call!”

A verification was paired with a lot of emotion. Later his friend Eric Huart telephoned. A man who followed the race on the internet. He confirmed that there were not many pigeons reported. At that moment there were French pigeons home and also a pigeon from the Sioen family (title defenders from this race) had been clocked at 12h43 from 871km. Ghion had clocked at 12h32 and from 22km further. The afternoon dragged on until it became clear that he had won both national and international against 7.520 pigeons! The Sioen-pigeon ended third!

History of the fancier
Ghion Roger has been a fancier for more than 30 years. He became involved in the sport by coincidence. A colleague asked his wife if Roger found pigeons tasty. They were given 4 beautifully coloured pigeons. Roger was impressed by the colours and couldn’t find it in him to kill the pigeons. He asked his former neighbour and friend, who also kept canaries, if he would construct a hut for the pigeons. He did! There was a short race and they asked Roger to enter a few pigeons. He did, and won 1st prize. Through circumstance, the career from Roger was launched. By his former address in Braine-l’Alleud, Ghion was champion nine times in the sprint!
When he moved to his current address ten years ago he decided to enter the Long Distance races. That will say, distances above 400km up to and including Barcelona. At the moment Roger is local champion in Nijvel four times in a row in the Long Distance races with his first and second nominated pigeon. Roger is a real Long Distance player. Someone who wants to enjoy his hobby week in, week out, and always tries to basket between two and five or six pigeons. He’s not a specialist , he comes with a trailer to enter his pigeons. And still Roger is always early!

The St-Vincent-winner
It was the super athlete 1501515/06 who brought fame for his owner. The winner was christened  “Le St-Vincent”! He was bred from a half brother and half sister. The pigeon that is seen twice in the pedigree is grandfather “de Montauban”. The blood lines from the winning pigeon are: Tossens (Warsage), Collaert, Imbrecht (Bornival), Borgers (Schulen), Matterne, Kuypers, Deroubaix, Henry Leon (Nandrin). The ancestors include a 27th Nat Pau, 1st INT Perpignan 1992 (By Henry) and 10th INT Barcelona 1989 (by Borgers). Once again, a top pedigree! This handsome pigeon looks just like his father! The father was so promising as a youngster that Roger decided to keep him for breeding: a good move!

Pedigree national winner : Click here

Wing winner + race stamp

Father winner

Mother winner

Pedigree and system
The current pedigrees are: Goulem (Roossens), Imbrecht, Tossens, J.L. Van Roy, Aarden, Delveaux, Florizoone, Van Neste, Van Bruaene and Cobut, a good friend of Roger. 12 breeding couples look after 100 youngsters. Roger races the classic widowhood with 20 old pigeons and 12 yearlings. The hens are raced on the nest, preferably in the large races such as Barcelona and Perpignan or in the autumn classics.

The world of pigeon racing is a way of life for Ghion Roger and Madeleine. Roger, a former teacher, has managed to turn a collection of beautiful pedigree pigeons into a colony that knows how to achieve good results with a minimum of  “manpower”. The fact that pigeons are his favourite meal means that they have to perform well in order to stay alive. This hard approach makes this small colony a feared opponent. It’s more than likely we’ll being hearing more from mister Ghion!