Thjeu Cox (Stein, NL) wins PIPA ranking for best extreme long distance pigeon in The Netherlands (2 prizes) with Kleine Barcelona

With a 6th National Barcelona (4,504 p.) and an 8th National Narbonne (4,568 p.) to his name, Kleine Barcelona wins the PIPA ranking for best extreme long distance pigeon in The Netherlands (2 prizes).

This fantastic racing cock also claimed the title of Best European old bird in all international races (2 prizes) after winning an 11th International Barcelona of 17,094 pigeons and an 8th International Narbonne of 10,421 pigeons.

Thjeu Cox, fond of the long distance

The now 75 year old Thjeu got involved in pigeon racing at age 14 through his father. Shortly after his father's retirement from the sport, Thjeu decided to keep pigeons on his own in his father's loft; that was in 1956. It encouraged his father to make a comeback as well, and the two raced together for a few years. One of their highlights at the time was a 1st National Dax in 1967. He got married to Jeanne, and they went on to live in their parents' home, which is where his current lofts were built in 1975. For the past 60 years Thjeu has been a member of the local De Luchtbode Union, which recently merged with Union and Zwaluw from Stein; the union is now called "PDV LUZ". Unfortunately Thjeu had been diagnosed with bird fancier's lung, forcing him to wear a mask whenever he spends time with his pigeons. Like we said, Thjeu is really fond of the long distance, and he has been a top contender for quite a few years. In 1995 he won a 1st National Pau, and in 2002 he won a first prize in the national marathon. Barcelona is his favourite race by far, and he has won several top results there as well.

The top floor of his stone built loft consists of three sections for a maximum of 32 old widowers, and two sections for no more than 24 yearlings. The ground floor is home to 10 breeding pairs and three sections for widower hens. He re-opened two sections on the ground floor this season (on the right), where he is now keeping 9 additional pairs of which both the cocks and the hens will be raced. Each section has a corridor over the entire length. ​The young birds are kept in a section that consists of two parts, just in front of the main loft. The front side is opened, and there is a grid on the floor. At the front there are two baskets to which two drinking bowls are attached, to teach the young birds to drink from the baskets. 
​We have already mentioned this team's national first prizes, but they have won quite a few other top results over the years as well:

ZLU 2016
 3rd National Marathon Champion
 1st National Marathon 8 nominated
 1st Long Distance Champion
 1st Champion Euregio 1st and 2nd nominated
 2nd Fastest first 3 nominated Barcelona
 3rd Fastest first 3 nominated Marseille
Stichting Fondclub Midden Limburg
 1st International Bony Barcelona Cup 2016
 1st Bony Barcelona Champions League 2016
 1st International Bony Omega Cup 2016
Cureghem Centre
 1st 2 nominated International Barcelona
10th Europamarathon

ZLU 2017
 9th Pyreneeën Cup
14th Ace Pigeon Pau (3 years) and 6th Ace Pigeon Pau (4 years)
17th Ace Pigeon St. Vincent (3 years)
23rd Ace Pigeon Narbonne (3 years)
Stichting Fondclub Midden-Limburg 2017:
 1st Pigeon Champion morning release
 1st International Bony Barcelona Cup 2017
 9th Europamarathon
Whzb Tbotb:
 Best ZLU pigeon (ZLU races) (extreme long distance The Netherlands 2 prizes)
PIPA Ranking:
 Best Extreme Long Distance Pigeon in The Netherlands (2 prizes)
 Best European old bird across all international races (2 prizes)

Two of his most important achievements are without doubt the PIPA rankings for 'best extreme long pigeon in The Netherlands' and 'best European old bird across all international races', which he won with Kleine Barcelona, a super class racing bird. We will discuss the team's highlights in detail in a minute but we will first take a closer look at the best racing birds of today.

Thjeu's pigeon breed

We now take a look at how Thjeu's pigeon breed has been constructed. It is remarkable how this pigeon breed is mainly centered around some nationally and internationally renowned players. This is one of the reasons why we we wanted to discuss Thjeu's pigeon breed in closer detail. His first investment took place in a club in the town of Buggenum, where a group of youngsters of Toon Schouteren from De Heen (a town in Zeeland) were offered for sale. Thjeu obtained the 415 from '82, which was a son of David x Keetje Tippel. This 415 features in the pedigrees of most of his champions. Toon Schouteren is generally considered to be the founder of a renowned Dutch long distance breed based around the world famous breedindg pair Mozes and Saar. 
Huub Smeets, a renowned long distance fancier from Mechelen, sold a group of late youngsters in Heerlen, and it was then that Thjeu obtained a daughter of Huub's famous Prins of '67, a son of The Barcelona of '60 (winner of a 4th and 11th Nat. Barcelona). He continued to obtain several youngsters and eggs from the bloodline of Prins later on as well, and these Huub Smeets descendants went on to breed several talented youngsters. Thieu also purchased a son of grandmaster Jan Theelen's top class bird 508, and he did really well with this bloodline. He also looked after his own breed, paying particular attention to the bloodline of his own Kleine Blauwe, winner of a 1st National Dax in 1967. This line has given him plenty of renowned birds as well. 
​He purchased a son of Marathon and a son of Diplomat from grandmaster André Vanbruane (Lauwe, BE), and he also got his hands on a red hen of Piet Hermens (Geleen, NL), the 880 of 2006. She stems from Kleine Rode 614 of '2004 (Theelen x Hoedemakers). This Kleine Rode won a 3rd Prov. Cahors, a 5th Prov. Bergerac, a 40th Prov. St. Vincent, a 5th Prov. St. Vincent, a 10th Prov. St. Vincent and a 31st Prov. Tarbes. 
​Thjeu also exchanged pigeons with nearby fancier Jos Martens from Stein, receiving two sisters of Jos's 1st Nat. Marseille. He also got a talented pigeon from Hubert & Riet Jongen from Kerkrade, bred from Lord x Tessa. It was from this pigeon that he bred his racing bird Pierre. 
After reading a report in the Fondkrant pigeon magazine, he visited the loft of Raf Luyckx (Belsele, BE), to obtain a son of Tomba. This Tomba was the best international pigeon from Barcelona between 1995 and 2003, and among his descendants are Blauwe Jo and Blauwe. And his most recent investments come from Ko Van Dommelen, a renowned fancier from Zeeland (St. Philippsland, NL). 

As you can tell, Thjeu has developed a pigeon breed around some of the very best long distance lofts in Belgium and The Netherlands. He explains: "If I am looking to improve my pigeon family, I tend to prefer late youngsters from a fancier's best bloodlines at the moment. Late youngsters are generally easier to get, and they are often quite affordable as well."

NL14-1350772 Kleine Barcelona, Best extreme long distance pigeon in The Netherlands (2 prizes) PIPA ranking

Racing bird Kleine Barcelona had a wonderful season in 2017, winning the following ace pigeon titles:

Best extreme long distance pigeon in The Netherlands (2 prizes) PIPA ranking
Best European old bird in all international races (2 prizes) PIPA ranking
Best ZLU pigeon Whzb/Tboth

He won these championship prizes based on the following results:

6th Nat. Barcelona (4,504 p.) 11th Int. (17,094 p.)
8th Nat. Narbonne  (4,568 p.)  8th Int. (10,421 p.)

He had also won a 369th Prov. Cahors (3,173 p.) earlier on, as well as a 535th Prov. Valence (2,316 p.), a 103th Prov. Limoges, a 1346th Nat. Agen, and a 151st Nat. Marseille (3,320 p.. The sire of Kleine Barcelona is 681 of ’02, and he is a son of De Marseille.

NL92-1880042 De Marseille

De Marseille was an outstanding racing bird, winning a 4th Nat. Marseille, a 16th Nat. Marseille, a 34th Nat. Barcelona, a 61st Nat. Pau etc. De Marseille comes from a son x granddaughter of '415, a breeding cock of Toon Schouteren combined with the bloodlines of Huub Smeets and André Vanbruane. The grandmother is the 702, and she is a granddaughter of that same '415. Click here for the full pedigree of Kleine Barcelona.

A loft with different champions

Kleine Barcelona is obviously the number one eye-catcher of last season but Thjeu has several other very successful racing birds in his collection. Here are a few examples:

NL11-1064673 De Pierre: there is an interesting story to this racing cock. At the age of one, racing bird De Pierre came home from a race and he mistakenly entered the loft of fellow fancier Pierre Paulssun from Roosteren, where he spent some time amid the hens. When the fancier discovered the intruder, Thjeu came to pick him up, after which he won some great prizes at the age of two, including:

101st Nat. Tarbes      8,707 p.
 32nd Nat. Narbonne    4,515 p.
510th Nat. Pau         3,020 p.
557th Nat. Pau         3,433 p.
104th Nat. St. Vincent 3,714 p.
838th Nat. Narbonne    5,338 p.
 51st Nat. Narbonne    5,042 p.

The sire of De Pierre comes from Hubert and Riet Jongen from Kerkrade, and the dam originates from the line of De Marseille through both her parents.

The two brothers NL12-1936640 De Blauwe Jo and NL12-1936539 De Blauwe were both bred by Thjeu. They come from Jonge Tomba, a son of De Tomba of Raf Luyckx paired to a hen ob Huub Jongen.

De Blauwe Jo has an excellent palmares, including:

 3rd Nat. Agen      5,910 p.
44th Nat. Marseille 3,610 p.
39th Nat. Barcelona 5,239 p.
32nd Nat. Perpignan 4,027 p.

His brother De Blauwe did equally well:

996th Nat. Barcelona 5,183 p.
 24th Nat. Narbonne  5,338 p.
 14th Nat. Barcelona 5,239 p.
155th Nat. Narbonne  5,042 p. 

Ace bird bought by Belgian top fanciers

Judging from this list of achievements, it is fair to say that the PIPA ranking for best extreme long distance pigeon in The Netherlands (2 prizes) has been a well deserved title for a fancier who has really excelled in his favourite competition, the long distance. In this case the impact of ace racer Kleine Barcelona is big of course since his coefficient is even smaller than his Belgian counterpart. That's why Joost De Smeyter, Ivan Baetens and Dirk Deroose recently visited Cox to buy this bird. Dirk: "The pigeon is already breeding in our loft. We are proud to have succeeded in bringing such a good bird to Belgium. It's nice that such an ace stays in the Low Lands."