HUYSKENS - VAN RIEL, Ekeren-Donk (BE)
Cois Huyskens and Jef Van Riel established their lofts in the spacious garden of Frank Huyskens, in the Kapelse Steenweg in Ekeren-Donk. From 1945, up to and including 1956, they practically broke up the Union of Antwerp, with the tremendous successes that they had in the National and the International races! Their lofts were started with pigeons from different lofts, and of different strains. In fact. Huyskens-Van Riel have never set forth a complete history of their birds. They were the owners of a strong team of stock birds, all of whose descendants received a name. For some reason or other,the origin of their birds was kept secret. For many years, Joseph Van Den Bosch of Berlaar-Lier, carried a letter around with him all the time, in which was plainly stated, in black and white, that Huyskens-Van Riel had their foundation from Berlaar!
It is not our purpose here, to repeat old fairy tales, but it is a fact that Huyskens-Van Riel's famous stock birds and racers descended from crossings of different strains. One was the "Oude Bleke van 1951" (Old Light One) of the late Henri Verwimp of Ekere and also the "Blauwe Grijsoog" (The Bleu Grey Eye) of Georges De Jaegher of Melden. On January 13, 1957, and on January 20, 1957, the entire colony of 285 pigeons of Huyskens-Van Riel was sold in Brussels and in Antwerp. One single bird, however, was not sold. By the year 1957, their pigeons were disseminated all over the world. To this very day, fanciers owe their successes to the birds of Huyskens-Van Riel.
We submit a list of some of the foundation pigeons of the Huyskens-Van Riel collection. Many famous basis-pigeons are not included such as "Het Zotteke," "De Jonge Zot," "De Zwarte," "De Grote Yearling," "De Blauwe Kweker," "De Goede Blauwe," "De Slaper," " Donkere," " De Oorlogsblauwe,"...etc...
From L.to R. : Col.Van Damme - çois Huyskens - Jef Van Riel - Leon Petit winners of the Belgian Championship - "De Belgische Duivensport" and "La Colombophilie Belge"
Who was . . . Jef Van Riel?
Jef Van Riel inherited the pigeon fever naturally, from his father, who at the time was a formidable and successful pigeon fancier. The year was 1921 ; at the outset, he was a specialist in the Quiévrain races. Shortly after this, because of the success he showed in these races, in 1936 he was brought outside the radius of the Mariaburg and the Ekeren clubs. As a result, he dicided to measure his strength against the big masters of the Province, who flew against each other regularly in the well-known Union of Antwerp. However, as soon as he showed his prowess there, they closed their boundairies to him. Discouraged by this state of affairs, in the winter of 1937-1938 he disposed of sixty of his pigeons to the De Scheemaker Brothers of Schoten. Some pigeons were also sold to Huyskens of Ekeren, who had already purchased some youngsters from Van Riels's best pairs. The remainder of the birds were consigned to the kitchen.
After a period of time, Van Riel discovered that live without his pigeons was practically impossible; greatly disappointed, he did manage to find some concolation from his friend, çois Huyskens, who assisted him in word and deed. At the suggestion of Huyskens, he bought an entire round of youngsters from Frans Nuyens of Mariaburg, in 1939. That same year, Huyskens himself was corwned with the whole series of exceptionally results. Unfortunately, the start of World War 2 put a temporary end to the proceedings, at this time.
çois Huyskens :
Huyskens, who was in the pigeon gamein 1929, was fortunate enough to be able to hold on to some of his birds during the occupation. Finally, the long-expected liberation came, and the partnership of Huyskens-Van Riel was formed at once. Truly, this was a combination of two master-brains - second to none! Those fanciers who were lucky enough to visit them, saw this at once. Nothing was ever left to chance, and everything was most carefully planned. Their pigeons were of the very best quality, and their worth was conclusively proved, by the results they obtained. The old strain of the Van Riels was bred down from the birds of the great Vincent Mariën, through Van Wetteren of Antwerp; some were bred from the birds he obtained from Fierens of Deurne; later on, were added birds of the Nuyens strain, and from this mixture, he evolved his own strain.
What did those pigeons look like?
They were of a medium build, very solid; when handled, one discovered that they were well-muscled birds, with no fat or heaviness. In proportion to the body, the wings were never too long. The eyes were shining, and appeared to be varnished! The keels were perfect - pigeons with weak keels were not tolerated. In a word, they had all of the qualities required of a really highclass bird. All loft installments were perfect, and we can truthfully say that we have never seen better. Ventilation was perfect, with absolutely no drafts, because all lofts were provided with push-up windows, all facing the East. During the daytime, and in good weather, these were left open, so that the birds always had plenty of fresh air.
The famous team of Huyskens-Van Riel pigeons who won top prizes from Limoges, Libourne and Barcelona.