From left to right: good friend Mathieu, Eddy, Inge and Lars. His daughter Jade is holding the national winner, which is named after her
Eddy Eerens, the fresh winner of a national first prize, is a rather unfamiliar name. Still, we think fanciers from the province of Limburg have heard this name before, as he won the title of 1st Champion Young Birds in the Limburg long distance club last year, as well as the title of 1st Prov. Champion Young Birds long distance KBDB Limburg. His pigeons had showed to be in great form earlier this season:
Bourges: 2,403 olds: 3e (1/2) Chateauroux: 2,066 olds: 74-110 (2/2) Chateauroux: 1,896 yearlings: 29-136-206 (7/7) Gueret: 1,175 yearlings: 13-73-94-96-114 (6/10)
The national winner was named after Eddy's daughter Jade, which is a great way to honour her. As is often the case, motivation played a crucial role in this national victory. Eddy found that his racing birds were not on top of their game when they arrived home from the last race before Montélimar (Montargis, +/- 400km). That is why Jade was paired to a different partner. She was given a cardboard box which she could share with her new partner, just like when she was a young bird. However, the previous partner of Jade's new loverboy was also kept in this loft, and she was not particularly fond of this new pairing. It came to a fight between the two, and it motivated Jane to get home with a velocity of 1,117.64 m/min. This is 10 m/min faster than the second pigeon from Montélimar, which won a 1st nat. old birds. The fifth national prize was alwo won by Eddy Eerens, who wins a total of 3 prizes with 4 pigeons. This is quite a debut.
Jade: 1st nat. Montélimar - fastest of 5,124 pigeons
Jade does not have an impressive pedigree; she is mainly based on the bloodlines of fairly unkown but strong fanciers. The sire is BE09-5144401, which was purchased at the total auction of Martin Schrijvers (Zutendaal, BE). This cock originates from the lines of William Geerts (Schilde, BE) from his father's side, and from the Janssen brothers (Arendonk, BE) via his dam. She won a 9th prov. Orleans against 9,383 pigeons. The dam of Jane is BE07-5164325, obtained at the total auction of the late Jos Willen (Maaseik, BE).
Eddy found the motivation to give the one day long distance a try in the closing race of the 2014 season from Gueret. This heavily debated race led to the loss of many valuable pigeons in several lofts. Gueret could only be closed the day after the release, by noon. Eddy had already clocked 5 of his 6 pigeons in the evening, when the race was neutralised. "It appears that they have quite some potential", he realised. This would eventually lead to a national victory from Montélimar.
Pigeon racing = a family affair
Many pigeon sport enthusiasts support the idea of pigeon racing being a family affair. Eddy uses this slogan as well but he gives it a different interpretation. He believes that pigeon racing should not be more important than spending time with your family. This means you will not find him in his pigeon loft these days; he is spending time with his family in the French Vendée region, where he enjoys a well deserved holiday. His approach differs a lot from the oft stressful situations in other lofts. That does not mean he does not look after hispigeons. The young birs are darkened until the longest day, after which they are lightened up until the race from Gueret. They are basketed every week, and the best birds complete six national races. The winner of a 5th Montélimar won 6 prizes in 6 races last year, and finished in 36th place in the PIPA ranking for best young bird in the national races, thanks to the six prizes. The old and one year old birds are raced in total widowhood and are basketed every week. Only the strongest pigeons will get a place in this pigeon loft in Maasmechelen.
A true champion
Eddy tries to put his victory in perpective, saying that the conditions worked to his advantage. Modesty is one of the characteristics of a true champion.