The man from West-Vlaamse who became world famous for the success of his own loft and many others in the Barcelona races. He is now undoubtedly a true legend in our sport. He was born 4 April 1910 and died 08 March 1999.
His victories included:
- 1° San Sebastian International 1953
- 1° Barcelona International 1966
- 1° Barcelona International 1984
- 12 times 1° prize in national races!!!
- 1° National Marathon 1982 and 1986
The Vanbruaene pigeons have won six international victories on the annual classic race from Barcelona Spain for André and others. André always dreamed of winning the Golden Wing trophy for the first nominated pigeon in the Barcelona National. Unfortunately, he was never lucky enough to win this award. Nevertheless, the Vanbruaene pigeons did win the coveted Golden Wing award twice for others; in 1995, (R. Gyselbrecht) and 1999, (TJolyn). The national victories and top pigeons around the world with Vanbruaene blood in their veins are uncountable.
The Vanbruaene loft was founded on pigeons from Catrysse Moere, Buysse Remy, Stichelbaut, Gebr. Willequet, Labeeuw, Prof.Vangrembergen, DeBaere, etc. André was scarcely 17 years old when he began with sprint races. After only a few years he was excluded because he was so successful. He quickly changed to the long distance races where he soon won national victories. His early aces included “Stier”, (1° Pau National and the only pigeon home on the day of release), “Angoulemé” and “Libourne”. Then, in 1953, his “Tarzan” was 1° International from San Sebastian Spain to Belgium and was the only pigeon home on the day of release. He was found at full darkness in its nest box. Such a performance has never been equalled.
In 1966 André was crowned the winner of the Barcelona International for his first time with “Barcelona 1”. He always regretted selling the “Barcelona 1”. Fortunately he bred some youngsters from “Barcelona 1” before shipping him to Japan. One of them was the famous “Elektriek” who became one of his best breeders ever. His descendents included four winners from Barcelona and two “Golden Wing” trophy winners. Also, the 1° national Saint Vincent (Vanlerberghe) was a grandson of “Elektriek”. In the United Kingdom the 1°nationaal Pau was won by a 100% Vanbruaene.
Then in 1984 the “Vechter” gave André his second victory in the Barcelona International. He was then rightly renamed the “Barcelona 2”. The winner was bred from a son of the “Elektriek” with a hen from Prof. Vangrembergen. After winning the national marathon in 1982 and 1986, the toreador of Barcelona would again shine with his performance in the difficult Barcelona race of 1987. The hot head wind conditions were what the Vanbruaene pigeons were bred for. André sent 8 pigeons and scored 8/8 with his last pigeon taking 1847° prize international. André had timed 8 of 8 whereas many famous participants still had no pigeons home.
In 1991 André was advised by his doctor to stop working so hard with the pigeons and he was forced to give up racing. That year he took part in Barcelona for the last time with a couple of pigeons and again it was “bingo”. It was a highlight which ensured a beautiful end of his racing career with 91° internationally on the marathon of the airspace. Although he no longer raced, André continued to keep his pigeons and, if you went on a visit, he could still talk for hours about his famous pigeons. He deserved being called the king of the pigeon sport. With the passing of André the last of a generation great pigeon breeders, known around the world, was lost. He won everything there was to win but, in spite of that, he remained humble about his accomplishments. André Vanbruaene will continue to be remembered for his great achievements for as long as the pigeon sport exists!