Before Louw van den Berg and Pieter Woord joined forces to specialize in the ZLU races, they both had already a history as pigeon fanciers. Louw was introduced to the pigeon sport at a very early age by his father, a pigeon enthusiast who had started playing first in the races and then continued in the extreme long distance. Louw's father passed away in 2014, and partly due to Louw’s busy job, co-owner of Zeevishandel Van Slooten en Partners, his passion, the pigeon sport, came under pressure. Pieter’s father, with whom he played in combination, died at the end of 2013, and in this case, too, Pieter was left on his own. On top of that, Pieter works at the Netherlands Aerospace Center in Marknesse. So, for both of them, this collaboration was the solution in order to continue their beloved hobby. During the first years, they played at the program races and they achieved good results, such as the young pigeons championship of the Friesland Department in 2016 and 2017. At the end of 2017, they decided to stop with the pigeons for program races and therefore they sold all their birds. After that, they focused entirely on the International ZLU races. Despite the longer distance they were dealing with, they were convinced that they could still achieve top performances. Now, within only a few years’ time, Louw and Pieter have accomplished this goal to the fullest.
They own about 30 breeding couples and 130 racing pigeons. Pieter prepares the old pigeons for the international races by training them very early in the morning and very late in the evening. All pigeons participate twice at the International races in a normal season. Louw keeps at his loft the breeders and he also plays with the youngsters. These birds join in as many races as possible, Natour, and all the other autumn classics. After the last race, they all move to Pieter’s loft where they are coupled, relocated, and raced in the spring. The bar is set very high for all pigeons, both in terms of performance and health. The performance on the international races is all that matters.
Given Pieter and Louw’s objective to shine at the ZLU races, and especially in Barcelona, they made all the necessary investments. They turned to Willem van de Velden (Boskoop, NL), who is known for his fantastic Barcelona pigeons. They took ten youngsters, inbred to phenomenal Mylene (4th Int. Barcelona '99, 28,095 pigeons), from Boskoop to Urk, including the father (NL13-1253715, Mooi Willem) of Leontine.
They bought, as well, a voucher from good old Jan Ernest (Steenbergen, NL) and they went on to select a youngster from Jan’s loft, which became the mother (NL13-1349331, Kleine Ernest) of Leontine.
They bought from Jos Pepping (Egmond aan den Hoef, NL) a number of eggs from his good racers and breeders, and later, during his total sale, they purchased as well the mother of Daan (1st Int. Agen '13, 11,246 pigeons). At a sale at PIPA, they got Vera, and later on they got Vera's father, De Geeloog Diamant, from Ad Fortuin (Strijen, NL). This amazing Vera flew a 9th National Perpignan at a temperature of 35 degrees. Louw and Pieter came in contact with Hugo Batenburg through Ad, and from this top-fancier they got, among others, pigeons from New Laureaat, Special One, and Sumerian Fighter. They obtained pigeons from various other fanciers, too, being always on the lookout for the best Barcelona lines. Last but not least, they did joint breeding together with Jan Hooymans (Kerkdriel, NL). Since 2018, they have been trying to work more on the speed of the marathon pigeons. The first results of this joint breeding are hopeful for both parties.
The absolute highlights of the last years
NL15-1872166 Leontine, 1st International Perpignan 14.851 pigeons.
Leontine was only basketed 3 times for the marathon flights and won 3 top prizes. She won the 1st International Perpignan arriving at night, at 1:27 am. Leontine is a daughter of Mooi Willem x Kleine Ernest, both of which you have had the chance to admire above. She won the following prizes in the 3 marathon flights:
NL16-1124556 Powerboy, 1st International Pau 11.714 pigeons.
Powerboy was only basketed for 1 marathon race, which was immediately a big succes with a 1st International Pau against 11.714 pigeons. Powerboy's father is 100% a Jos Pepping pigeon and is a half-brother of Daan (1st Int. Agen). The dam is a daughter of the Jonge Hulk x Het Beste Paarsborstje (full sister of the legendary Paarsborst) of Ko van Dommelen.
NL16-1508442 Miss Urk Laureate, 5th National Barcelona 4.129 pigeons.
Pieter and Louw make no secret of the fact that they really want to win the 1st International Barcelona. In the season of 2019 they send a number of pigeons to Barcelona, with success. The NL16-1508442 managed to win the 5th National Barcelona for a distance of no less than 1285 km! This blue-white hen was bought directly from Ad Fortuin and comes from a direct son of New Laureaat. That was the pigeon that won the 1st International Barcelona of 2013. At that time he was paired to a daughter of the 2nd best Barcelona pigeon of 2006-2010. And if this still isn’t enough, on the mother's side there is the bird New Witbuik that won the 1st National Barcelona. It’s a great pedigree with long distance winners. The best performances of Miss Urk Laureate are:
Top in Barcelona
After being the only ones to have won 2 international victories in a row, Pieter and Louw have only one goal ..... to become a serious player at Barcelona! Leontine has become the most important breeding pigeon after her victory from Perpignan. The pigeons of 2018 and also of the following years have a lot of Leontine’s blood in them. In 2019, they hit 5th National Barcelona, and in 2020, they scored with 6 out of 12 (all 6 prizes per 10!) National and International. These are already top quality results. However, this year, the expectations are even higher, partly because of the promising descendants of Leontine.