The long distance club of Eeklo (still Belgium’s biggest long distance club) had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Friday, with no less than three first prizes at international level won by members of the club. Yvan Eeckhout, secretary of the club who organises the Belgian Entente, calls this an unprecedented occurrence, something that has never happened before, as far as he knows. Camiel Verdonck took first prize, August Mouton from Ursel took the second place and Olga Dhave-Van den Abeele from Adegem finished third with a hen, which resulted in an international first prize for hens, so the international top three were all won by members of the long distance club of Eeklo!
Camiel Verdonck triumphant
The pigeons were released on Friday morning at 6 h 55 for the final international classic of the 2012 season, which took place in favourable weather conditions. There was some light rain in the final kilometres but that did not influence the race result. As we said the international winner comes from the loft of Camiel Verdonck in Nazareth (situated between Deinze and Ghent). Camiel clocked his prize winner at 18 h 55 min 33 sec after a race of 908.645km, which made it the fastest bird in the race with a velocity of 1264.04 m/min. About 1 h 10 mins later Camiel clocked another three of his birds within ten minutes : at 20 h 05 min 59 sec, at 20 h 10 min 20 sec (his first nom.) and at 20 h 15 min 02 sec. One hour later, at 21 h 15 min 02 sec he clocked his second nom, so he had already clocked five out of eight pigeons in the race! This is quite an impressive performance! These were the results at local level in Eeklo:
Perpignan locally 173 old birds:
Prov. 1,150 olds: 1-23-28-30… etc (provisional top 50)
Nat. 6,724 olds: 1
Intnat. 16,921 olds: 1
Camiel is once again the living proof that a small fancier with a small team of pigeons can still compete with the big champions of our sport. It comes down to having a team of strong and talented pigeons in good fitness at the right moment: that is what it takes to win races and that is what makes our sport so interesting.
Small but tough
Camiel has six breeding pairs, 25 racing birds (10 old birds and 15 yearlings) and about 30 youngsters in the loft: which is not what you would call a big loft. He is a small fancier but that does not prevent him from being very successful. He knows his game! He has built his stock with pigeons from some of the best lofts of the region, such as the late Robert Buysse-Ertvelde, Danny Colpaert- Kruishoutem, John Meurysse- Oeselgem, Walter De Ruyck- Nazareth, Eddy & Maarten Leutenez- Kruishoutem. “I might have forgotten a few, so sorry for that”, says Camiel, who feels a bit emotional after his victory. Usually he starts the season with only about 12 racing birds, but last year the youngsters had two bad races in a row. That is why he decided to keep them at home earlier than usual and to use one of the youngsters’ lofts for the yearlings, this explains why he has bred less youngsters this season as he did not have enough room for them. That is also why the racing birds did not breed any youngsters before the start of the season, unlike last year. The youngsters were trained until the races from Angerville and Orleans and he competes in the national races with a few youngsters in the nest. As we said earlier this was not the case last season and he will not be able to do it this season either as he does not have enough youngsters and most of them have already started to moult.
The old birds start their season in the middle distance races. They are basketed for the first time for Angerville, but Camiel considers this a training race. He focuses on the national long distance and the greater long distance, with his old birds taking part in about four national races per season. Last year most of his yearlings raced Libourne and Narbonne, but this season they did Libourne and Tulle instead. Before basketing the widowers cannot see their hen. Once in a while Camiel gives a bird a nest bowl, which makes it easier to basket them. When the pigeons come home they can see their hen for quite some time, sometimes until 2 or 3 o’clock. Later in the season the hen can sometimes stay until the next morning (in case of a late arrival).
Camiel has a simple approach when it comes to feeding: he purchases two different sport mixtures (of two different brands) which he mixes. He feeds this mix to his pigeons throughout the year. The widowers are fed separately in their box and they are given one spoonful of this mix, but if Camiel sees that they are still hungry he will give them an extra portion. In the last three days bfore the race they get a double portion and they can eat as much as they want. He always adds some nutria power (Natural) to the feed as well. When the pigeons arrive home there is some fresh water and the next day he adds some electrolytes as well. The youngsters eat a moulting mixture. This is a good feed because it contains barley, says Camiel. If they do not eat all the feed it means they have had enough, so you can stop feeding them. If he notices that something is wrong with his pigeons he calls his vet (Dr. Norbert Ally) for advice.
The international winner
He is a wonderful blue cock, not big but full of life, with a beautiful eye and a head full of character. He has a light grey-white eye with a wide circle around the pupil. Last year, as a yearling, he had four successful races up until Narbonne. This season he did very well in the races from Limoges and Cahors and he took a first prize from Perpignan. Let’s have a look at his results:
-The 1st Internat Perpignan BE10-4007974
’12 Perpignan Nat 6,724 p. 1 I.Nat 16,921 p. 1 ’12 Cahors Nat 8,348 p. 552 ’12 Limoges Nat 13,781 p. 991 ’11 Narbonne Nat 7,027 p. 271 I.Nat 9,966 p. 368 ’11 Argenton Nat 19,782 p. 1961 ’11 La Chatre 5,481 p. 1199 ’11 Chateauroux Nat 25,263 p. 1499 ’11 Clermont Loc 81 p. 15 ’10 Argenton Loc 436 p. 110 ’10 Clermont Loc 350 p. 105
Sire: Blauw Leutenez BE08-4072000. A direct Eddy & Maarten Leutenez, stems from Elrio 89/06 (a direct Marc Decock) x Frauke 267/06 (a granddaughter Wittenbuik Gaby Vandenabeele).
Dam: Blauw 310 BE09-4331310. A crossing of Walter De Ruyck x Daniel Colpaert.
Quite a while ago Camiel had won the Derby of Orleans and the second Derby Orleans and in recent seasons he has won top results in provincial and national races, but the first prize from Orleans is without a doubt the greatest victory in his career. Perpignan counts as one of the most prestigious races in our sport. This is a victory to remember so congratulations Camiel!