Interestingly enough I do know that Canadians will soon have the opportunity of meeting both Gerard and Bas in Canada for the 2011 Canadian Racing Pigeon Union Convention to be held December 2nd through 4th at the world famous “Niagara Falls”. The Verkerk’s are confirmed speakers and Canadian as well as our American neighbours will have a unique opportunity to learn the latest techniques from this world class team. It should be very interesting indeed.
The team has developed a philosophy that helps to keep them on the top. Simply put they believe that “you need the best to stay the best”. Certainly easier said than done yet to their credit they have been able to resist the pressure to monetize on their incredible sports class performances. They have steadfastly refused to sell any of their Nine Olympiad Sports Class pigeons, National Ace Pigeons or important winners. This winning “performance genetic pool” has indeed served them exceedingly well over the past decade! These winning performance genes have enabled them to dominate their weekly competitions as well as ensuring success in National races leading to the much coveted National titles. In 2009 alone Bas and his father won 22 -1st prizes against on average 1,600 pigeons per race. Gerard , who was born in 1946 started working at the age of 14 as a cobbler (he eventually owned two shoe repair shops) is currently retired and in his 65th year and his son Bas is only 34, attended school until he was twenty two and studied to become a real estate agent. Bas is highly motivated and ambitious and he and others of a new younger generation of racing pigeon fanciers are literally changing the face of the racing pigeon sport .To this end it is interesting to note that Bas was born under the astrological sign of Aries and as such Wikipedia informs us as follows:
“Being the first sign of the tropical zodiac, Aries is seasonally associated with spring and represents a strong creative thrust and powerful expression of energy. The sign is governed by Mars, the planet of activity and assertiveness, which adds the traits of competitiveness, impulsiveness, and the instinct to act spontaneously. The Sun is also strongly associated with this sign, which it governs by exaltation. The
solar-association adds to the expression of the ego and the desire to make a mark as an individual. Joanna Watters (2003) defined a keyphrase for this sign as "I am". Martin Seymour-Smith (1981) suggested "Initiative is expressed aggressively, impulsively and probably very emotively". Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aries_(astrology)
So, from the above referenced Wiki entry it would certainly seem that young Bas comes by his competitiveness and spontaneity naturally and if this is indeed the case then both of these attributes clearly serve him well. Bas has two siblings Rosalie and Desiree and he advised, during our correspondence that he was certainly much to “busy with pigeons” to get married. The full time occupation of Bas Verkerk is that of a Professional Racing Pigeon Fancier so there is every incentive to be the very best he can be because his lively hood depends on him winning races! And this father and son certainly do in spades!
Bas became involved with racing pigeons at the age of eight inspired by his grandfather, Willem. When his grandfather, due to advancing age, gave up his racing pigeons Gerard assumed the care of the colony on his own. Bas never missed an opportunity to accompany his father to the loft to care for and feed the birds. In those early years Gerard did not have the time to cultivate the pigeons on a serious basis even so in 1984 the partnership of G. Verkerk ( which later became G & S Verkerk) began. It was not too long after that Gerard began investing in superior pigeons and results began to change dramatically. By 1986 the partnership had a super young bird season. By 1988 they won two races and in 1989-1990-1991 the partners won 7th, 9th and 15th respectively from St.Vincent/Bergerac which is a two day long distance race station.
The decision to pursue the sport very seriously really began in 1992 which was the year that Bas obtained the videotape of Jos Thoné. The video inspired Bas so profoundly that he was inspired to dedicate himself to learning all that he could as regards the care, racing, maintenance and proper breeding of racing pigeons. Well in hindsight I think it would be safe to say that the wonderboy Jos Thone inspired the next generation wonderboy Bas Verkerk.
To insure their future success Bas decided that he must always keep the best in order to stay the best! In future years this served the partnership exceedingly well.
It was explained to me that the foundation pigeons of the Verkerk colony originated from De Wit Brothers (these pigeons being mainly those of Klak), additionally the Jan Ouwerkerk Verbart 46 line and finally the line of the Vroomen Brothers namely the famous “Lange Nek”. In later years, to these, were added youngsters from National Ace and Olympiad pigeons. They were also inspired to purchase the National Ace pigeon <500km 2005 and National Ace pigeon All Round 2009.
I think it safe to say that the greatest achievement of this father son duo is without a doubt their nine sports class Olympiad pigeons none of which has ever been sold and one can only imagine how great the pressure to do so would have been. The Verkerks have indeed developed a pre-potent line, essentially based upon the judicious crossing of winners to winners. Bas is not shy about expressing his belief as regards the proper method to be followed in breeding a solid colony of successful racing pigeons:
“We like to cross our pigeons .Sometimes in the 4th or 5th generations they are related, but I think that you get weak pigeons when you inbreed to much. We prefer to breed from winners x winners.”
The modern day Verkerk winners are in fact either grandchildren or great grandchildren of Olympiad or Ace pigeons from over a decade ago. These are pigeons that are never coddled judged by performance alone, pigeons exploding with both vigor and vitality, pigeons that feel like “ticking bombs” all round hard working racing pigeons with soft plumage capable of racing week after week and winning from 60 to 700 km and at speeds of 60 km/h to 120km/h. These are special pigeons with a unique ability to quickly orient, pigeons that are expected to race up to 24 races per year logging almost 8000 km per year. When one realizes this one fact alone ( which clearly demonstrates their incredible recuperative abilities) then it is not hard to understand why so many top North American and Asian fanciers have been making use of these racing dynamos in their pursuit of wins at the exclusive one loft races! The Verkerk specimens are ideal candidates to terrorize the one loft race scene vital , energetic pigeons , pigeons that are willing to win!
I was very interested to learn that Bas that in order to succeed long term your pigeons must be naturally very healthy and resistant to stress and disease as he said so clearly to me:
“We need pigeons with a natural basic condition. When you have to keep your pigeons in shape with medicines, you are on your way backwards”
How successful is the Verkerk partnership? Well as an example one might refer to the 203 - 1st prizes that were won from 1997 through 2006 against an average of 2,218 pigeons per race or one could refer to the 17 - 1st prizes that were won in 2006 alone against an average of 3,010 birds per race. Certainly results that are exceptional! Actually I have no way of being totally sure but I truly doubt that anyone else in the world has bred as many Ace pigeons or Olympiad pigeons as the Verkerk’s. Remember that there are pigeons that are actually bred by the partnership As I researched this Dutch partnership I was indeed impressed by the number of professional , highly successful fanciers from around the world that are visiting and making exceptional use of this unique group of performance pigeons. Legends like “Great Wall” now known worldwide as having one of the most exceptional racing facilities in the world and exceptional collection to match.
Others include that American superstar “Mike Ganus” who had such tremendous success with his famous “969”
Or that other famous American Rick Mardis who is also universally known and acknowledged throughout the USA and Canada.
And one of my all time great friends from Japan, Kenechi Yoshihara for whom I published his “World Champions 1994” in 1994.Ken was one of the most important buyers of racing pigeons in the world during the decade of the 1990’s!
And also interesting to note that American Barry Yu is no stranger to the Verkerk lofts. I could certainly go on with a litany of other top notch fanciers from all over Europe and Asia but I think you get the picture. Hard to believe that Bas viewed a video in 1986 that subsequently inspired, within him, an enormous passion to succeed. But you might ask did the fanciers who visited the Verker’s have success with these performance pigeons? Good question and the answer is most resoundingly yes!
Many fanciers have excelled including Marcel Sangers of Holland and Danny Hutchins of the USA
And lets not forget the exceptional results of “Esmee” in 2004 for Eijerkamp . Or the results of American
Jim Norton in the world famous Snowbird classic in 2007. Or for that matter the results of Rick Mardis
in the Texas Shootout Futurity in 2007.
Bert Oostlander of Savannah Georgia , USA was not going to be left behind either and he walked away as the winner of the Jackpot at the Las Vegas Classic.All of these birds were either direct from Verkerk or bred from Verkerk pigeons.Just a sampling but I guess you get the point.
Bas and Gerard have incredible results as the following Teletext demonstrates. Exceptional results against huge birdages in some cases up to 75,000 birds. Actually its incredible to contemplate such a release.
Look carefully at this screen shot 8th National Blois in 2006 against 75,000 pigeons! This result is only one of many with these huge numbers! I could illustrate this entire article with these teletext screen shots.
What follows is the visual proof of the genetic superiority of this Verkerk line.How many people worldwide do you think could display a list of birds bred directly by them that is the performance equal to these birds herein illustrated?
In conclusion there is an old American saying that goes something like this, “You can’t have your cake and eat it to” Well I guess in the case of Bas and Gerard Verkerk they most certainly can and in fact did! Well done my friends you have earned it all.