Nico has certainly been a familiar face in the Dutch pigeon sport for years. Multiple NPO victories, National Loft Champion Middle Distance and Best Middle Distance Pigeon in the Netherlands are just a few examples of his very active presence. This year, however, he is in possession of a truly phenomenal bird: Amazing 818. What this cock has achieved this year literally borders on the unbelievable:
Below we let Nico speak for himself. He tells us all about Amazing 818 and also how he has experienced the past few weeks.
NL18-5130818, Amazing 818
"Amazing 818 is a great pigeon to deal with, and he is very attentive. When I clean the floor of the loft, he is already in his breeding box cooing. When I have to clean his breeding box, he quickly flies out and waits until I’m done. Then he flies right back in and continues his cooing. But he doesn't like it if I want to play with him as I do with some of the other pigeons. He keeps cooing until I make eye contact with him and it’s as if he wants to show that he’s having such a great time..., which is also evident from his performances.
Until this year Amazing 818 had won several top prizes but not any 1st prizes yet. Little did I know! Two weeks ago (April 24) he arrived from Quievrain together with a loft-mate and won 1st and 2nd in a combination of South Holland East (5 minutes ahead). They were the only early pigeons on the east side of the release (South Holland East, Drechtsteden and Gouwe & IJssel). This loft-mate of Amazing 818 comes from Amazing 873, so from his sister. Last week (May 1) Amazing 818 arrived alone and came from a very different direction than the one of the previous weeks, but he got again 1st prize in the teamwork.
And then came Nanteuil .......
The whole week I’ve been checking the weather forecast for the racing weekend. It wasn’t good at all and not knowing what to do I consulted several times with my father. He suggested not to basket at all or else make sure I keep Amazing 818 at home. After much thinking and doubting I decided to basket all 32 widowers, despite his advice. My father said: "Don’t complain on Saturday when 818 is gone because you could have kept it at home". I hoped that the weather forecasters would be wrong and that the weather would turn out to be okay, but that was not the case and the pigeons were released at 2.05 pm. It was already clear on the internet that it was a risky race. The weather conditions were pretty far from ideal. I wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of those responsible for release in such weather.
At 4 pm I was already at the loft to check if I could see any pigeons flying by from other departments and to see how hard and in which direction the wind was blowing. I couldn’t make out any pigeons anywhere. The wind kept blowing even harder and from a southern direction, which normally makes it impossible for pigeons from this department to be anywhere among the first 1000 prizes. My pigeons perform best in sunny weather with blue skies and a headwind. This was the exact opposite – dark weather with rain showers and stormy tailwind. I had calculated that around 4.35 pm the pigeons would be about 130 km far in the race, and it was just a bit after 4.35 pm when a pigeon came in my view. He flew very low, coming from the direction of Sliedrecht. My uncle who lives nearby was also waiting for his pigeons and he saw this pigeon, too, flying over and coming down at my place. The pigeon landed on the sputnik with such enormous speed that it almost fell off. I saw the green ring from a distance and knew that it was a 2018 pigeon, and then I thought to myself, ”this can’t be true…”
I ran into the loft and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw 818 in his breeding loft. He looked at me as if he were saying, “well, here I am again”. I got emotional. I couldn't believe what had happened. How is such a thing possible? My father was waiting inside because of the bad weather and had in the meanwhile walked to the electronic system to see which pigeon it was. He had no words for it, either. We were both completely stunned.
My other pigeons arrived much later, but all I could think of was 818. I was so glad he was back home. Even if we were super late, it didn't matter to me anymore because he was back and that was the most important thing. After a while, I went to check on the internet at Compuclub Live how the rest of the department was doing. I saw the results of the earliest reports and I didn’t quite get it because the speed of 818 was higher. So I looked at the system again, but it was indeed correct. I didn't understand anything anymore. How can it be with such a wind? When the last club had sent its results to Compuclub at about 11 pm it turned out that Amazing 818 wins the 1st prize Prov. Nanteuil against no less than 35017 pigeons!
The zenith of a brilliant career.
Sunday morning I went to the loft, removed his chip ring and placed him in the breeding loft. The rest of the Sunday all day I was answering emails - really great all those congratulations. But I also got questions whether he was for sale, and that’s one thing I can be clear about: he’s not for sale. It’s my hobby and my pigeon. Nobody will take that away from me. Having such a pigeon in your loft is a dream come true. In the early nineties I also had such a super pigeon, my Bergkamp. That bird was the best middle distance pigeon from the Netherlands, but I kept playing him, until a disaster race came and now... I only have his photo left. I don't want to experience that horrible scenario again, which is why I am now incredibly happy that 818 is in my breeding loft.
So much for the experience of Nico.
Here is the pedigree of Amazing 818.
Amazing 818's sire is Amazing Prince and comes from a joint breeding with Sky Chen (Xian, China).
The sire of Amazing Prince is Amazing 402 who has won, among other titles, 5th National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO 2014 and 5th Ace Pigeon Middle Distance WHZB / TBOTB 2014. The dam of Amazing Prince is Princess Charlotte, a child of Sky Chen (from the Pieter Veenstra birds: son Dolce Vita x Chanel no. 5).
Amazing 402, in turn, comes from Mr. Prima (son of Mr. Blue, a Pieter Veenstra pigeon) x Amazing Surprise, who has won, among other prizes, 1st NPO Tours against 10,490 pigeons.
Amazing 818's dam is Mark's 155, who comes directly from Nico's good friend, Mark van den Berg (IJsselmuiden, NL). She comes from the nest brother of the 2nd National Ace Pigeon Sprint KBDB 2011, a bird of Guido Verheijen. The dam of Mark's 155 comes from son Gigi (Alwin Petrie) x daughter Olympic Miss Magic (Jelger Klinkenberg).
And more top-pigeons from the same family
Amazing 818 has been one of the best racing pigeons in Nico's lofts for years. As you have read above, he has won several top prizes in the short/middle distance and sprint, which are the categories he has played so far. Nico realized that he was dealing with a special family here, so, in December some sisters of Amazing 818 moved to the breeding loft. Another sister, Amazing 873, had performed exceptionally as a youngster. Nico had already taken her to the breeding loft as a yearling since his strategy does not include racing hens. As a youngster she won the following prizes on 4 consecutive races:
Also in the total results of this year we often see children from brothers and sisters of Amazing 818 at the top:
Nico’s hard work is paying off
In addition to his demanding office job, Nico keeps himself busy with his pigeons every day for about 4 to 5 hours. Everything, such as 2x cleaning, is done punctually, both during the week and in the weekend. He never fails to take care of his pigeons. Nico puts it this way: "It’s a lot of work, but with such fantastic racing experiences you realize again what you do it all for".