Jespers-Vanderwegen (Holsbeek, BE) evolves from young birds' champions to a thoroughbred team of old birds and yearlings

It is fair to say that the pigeons of Jaspers-Vanderwegen would at times overwhelm their opponents in the young birds' races. The combination has now managed to achieve an excellent reputation in the old birds' and yearlings' competition as well.

Johny and Herman Jespers-Vanderwegen claimed four provincial first prizes this season: one with the young birds, one with the yearlings and two with the old birds. This shows once again that you can only achieve long-term success with a high quality pigeon breed, not with some old tricks, which we admit might be useful in a young birds' race or two. The success story began in 2014, with the national victory from La Souterraine against 9,814 yearlings with Nadetta, with which Johny and Herman showed to be much more than just a successful young birds' loft.

Most of the team's successes can be attributed to two pigeons whose descendants have played a defining role in the most renowned pigeon lofts worldwide: the first one is Dirk Van Dyck's Kleine Dirk, a grandson of the renowned Bourges (brother of Kannibaal). The second one is perhaps even more renowned: Gaby Vandenabeele's Bliksem.

Kleine Dirk gave many talented youngsters, especially when paired to a hen that was obtained from Dutch champion Ad Scharlaeckens. Many fanciers that tried to compete against the descendants of this exceptional breeding pair knew they had to settle for second place even before the race had started. Johny and Herman's continuous search for an equally talented pigeon breed eventually led them to Gaby Vandenabeele, who bred some of Belgium's most talented pigeons: Kleinen (BE81-3238253), Wittenbuik (BE88-3206112) and Bliksem (BE98-3158062). The introduction of their descendants has enabled Jespers-Vanderwegen to become even more successful.

1st Provincial Argenton

The introduction of the Vandenabeele breed proved such a success for the Jespers-Vanderwegen combination that they decided to introduce another round of pigeons. Several other descendants of Bliksem, Neptunus, Lord and other invaluable pigeons were moved from Holsbeek to Dentergem, either directly or indirectly. Breeding bird BE15-2000232 is an exponent of all the bloodlines which Herman and Johny have been so successful with. The sire of this 232/15 is Arthur (BE12-2035722), which features the line of Kleine Dirk both through his sire and dam. Arthur won a 1st Nat. Zone Argenton 6,630 pigeons and he is already the sire of an 8th Nat. Argenton 19,309 pigeons, a 37th Nat. Guéret 9,815 p. and a 96th Nat. Châteauroux 25,710 pigeons.
The dam of the 232/15 is Minerva (BE12-2038172), a great looking hen that they obtained from pigeon fancier Kristiaan Hennes. Her pedigree features some of the best bloodlines of Vandenabeele, including Neptunus, Lord an Bliksem. Minerva is a good example of a high quality pigeon with a proven record. She is now the dam of the 481/13 (8th Nat. Argenton 19,309 p.), the 482/13 (37th Nat. Guéret 9,815 p.), the 019/14 (96th Nat. Châteauroux 25,710 p.) and the 232/15, winner of a provincial first prize and a 3rd Nat. 4,582 p. from Argenton, as well as a 92nd Bourges 19,899 pigeons. Click here for the full pedigree of the 232/15.

1st Provincial Châteauroux

The national race from Châteauroux was particularly suited for the descendants of Dirk: a long sprint of 508km, with a velocity of just over 1,500 m/min for the winning pigeon. The provincial race was a major success for team Jespers-Vanderwegen, with their BE16-2049173 winning a first prize in the young birds' race. The rest of the team followed in quick succession, which gave the following result:

Châteauroux prov.:  1,708 p.: 1-11-20-30-32-37-61-64-65 (19/41)
            nat.:  14,762 p.: 24-93-130-196-201-218-338-345-346 455-520 (19/41)

Dirk Dirksen would be a perfect name for the provincial winner, since he is related to to Dirk both through his sire and his dam. The grandfather from his father's side is New Dirk, which is related to Rambo, another important pigeon in the Van Dyck pigeon family. His grandmother from his mother's side is Misterie, a daughter of Kleine Dirk. These two pigeons are the parents of Mirage, which is perhaps the best racing bird ever for Johny and Herman. And that same Mirage is now developing into one of the leading names in their breeding loft. She won a third national twice in just two weeks' time, claming a 3rd National Bourges 30,748 p. and a 3rd National Argenton 22,442 p.

Mirage, the sire of the 173/16

Maggie, the dam of Dirk Dirksen, is related to the legendary Dirk as well: the sire of Maggie is Den 30, a grandson of Kleine Dirk. Maggie is a pigeon with quite a palmares as well, having won a 3rd National Guéret 2,429 p. and a 4th National La Souterraine 3,184 p. as a racing bird. Click here for the full pedigree of Dirk Dirksen.

1st Provincial Nevers

The impact of Kleine Dirk on this pigeon breed shows in the pedigree of BE14-2170044 as well, the provincial winner from Nevers. The dam is Little Sister, a daughter of the nest sister of Kleine Dirk, paired to her own son, which was bred by her nest brother, none other than Kleine dirk. You can take a closer look at the pedigree to get a better understanding of how they managed to ingrain the invaluable genes of their stock sire, allowing them to continue to perform at the highest level. They have clearly managed to reach that objective.

Alicia BE16-2049101

Alicia is a clear example of how they managed to bring together the lines of Van Dyck and Vandenabeele. Alicia excelled in four national races, eventually winning the title of 9th Best Young Bird of Belgium in the national races of 2016 (PIPA rankings):

 46th Nat. Argenton 19,592 p.
264th Nat. Bourges 28,078 p.
196th Nat. Châteauroux 14,762 p.
392nd Nat. La Souterraine p.

The grandfather from his father's side is a 100% Van Dyck, and the grandmother from her father's side is a granddaughter of Vandenabeele's Wittenbuik. And she has similar origins from her mother's side: her grandfather is a grandson of Kleine Dirk, her grandmother is a daughter of Gaby's Rudy, and thus a half sister of New Bliksem and Super Romeo. Click here for the full pedigree of Alicia.

Raising the bar every season

Johny and Herman have had another brilliant season with four provincial first prizes. But make no mistake: the two fanciers will not be resting on their laurels any time soon. Every season again they set new goals, trying to match or perhaps exceed their results of last season. This is what keeps the fanciers and the pigeons on top of their game. Perhaps their four provincial first prizes of 2016 can be substituted for one national victory in 2017?