Luc De Roeck is 52 and works as a butcher for a supermarket chain: “the one which says it is the cheapest or otherwise you get a refund…”
His grandfather was a fine pigeonfancier, famous for being a specialist in sprint racing. His parents come from Flanders.
Both Luc and his brother have always been attracted to pigeons they saw in the neighbourhood and which they had a chance to feed from time to time. After some pleading, gave their father in and gave Luc and his brother a blessing to bild a pigeon loft. And what more, even he got infected with the virus. The company of Father & Sons was established.
In the late 60’s had the young De Roeck brothers a fortunate opportunity to make friends with one of the best pigeonfanciers in the region – Mr. Meunier. At the time, he owned the most famous strains in the country, for ex.: De Jaegher from Melden, Hector Desmet from Geraardsbergen, Camille Durant and even several Gorin's from Ramegnies-Chin.
When Mr. Meunier grew old, the brother helped him with the hard work. Luc remebers that they have lerned a lot thanks to their close relationship with their teacher Mr. Meunier. Of course, some of the best Meunier pigeons helped populate their loft and coupled with good advice they made dreams come true.
The foundation was built and this fantastic strain still runs like a vein throughout the loft.
In 1972, when the loft experienced a real “boom”, could a national 1st prize become reality.
Luc’s brother was self-employed and his business was located in Jumet. Luc had more and more irregular working hours and very often had to work also on Saturday. Thus it was the father who had to clock the pigeons. Unfortunatelly, whe came a bit later to the loft and was beaten very closely for the 1st place.
At the De Roecks', mostly pushed by Luc, were the ambitions very high. They were constantly searching for elements of improvement. The base made of Meunier blood was the key. New blood was also searched for but with great care and expertise.
In 1977, they became the proud owners of "Bordeaux" from Richard Mersch from Strée. One year later they acquired a halfbrother "Bourges" from Henry Van Neste. This pigeons crossed with the older base was the source of their further succes.
In the early 80’s, was the pigeon sport put somewhat aside, due to the building of a new house. He raced together with his father and only since 1985 he had his own lotfs.
Everything that stood for succes within the tandem with his father, was moved to "la rue du Vivier au Pont". Luc’s father gave up racing and later on was followed the Luc’s brother, who also threw his towel into the ring.
The powerful base of the " Meuniers", crossed with forementioned purchases got some more fortification from Van Neste. In the early 90’s, several Raymond Cobut’s champion pigeons helped the loft achieve a substantial improvement of results.
Recently, with the attepmts to prolong the distances, a new blood injection was brought in by long distance pigeons such as Van Eenoo, Imbrecht, Deneufbourg.
A loft that keeps going forward
The fact that the De Roeck loft has in the last years kept up a steadily growing trend, in national as wel international races, cannot be contradicted. Luc has an unbelievable ability to adjust to all circumstances, it is a true pigeon racers, an expert with a heart and soul. The times when this loft would be used as reference only in local competitions, is long gone. But managing to remain on the top and not losing the pace means hard work every single day…
The sprint still brings Luc great succes, but he began to race also middle and middle-long distance. Today, he is more orientated on longer distances and international competitions. And the results from the last years can prove that he is on a good way. Their determination to keep up their level of quality guarantees them a place among the best racers in Vallony.
Roosens, Englebienne, Cobut and several others champions from Vallony have an excellent follower.
The loft consists of 12 couples who provide for approximately 60 to 80 youngsters yearly. There are 48 widowers plus 12 couples, which are played on the nest, on the system of “jealousy” as well as “widowhood”.
Due to the restructuring of the company and mandatory relocation of his workplace, Luc doesn’t have that much free time in the weekend as he would wish. It is not an exception that he has to work on Saturday or that he knows his work schedule only relatively quite late. This requires a lot of adjusting on his side.
The season of 2004 also brings up many question in relation to Luc’s absence according to available free time. Fortunatelly, he can count on the help of his friend Jean Dethaye, who gives him a hand, especially with basketing. He arranged his vacation according to the race calender and in case of emergency he can relay on his spouse to replace him.
What cannot seize to impress with De Roeck, is the precision. When it is the time, then it’s the time. There is no mention of moving the time of feeding under no circumstances.
Luc considers it a big shame that the number of pigeon racers is going down. In the past, during the daily tranings the pigeons would form enormous flocks and keep each other up in the sky. Nowadays, the pigeons leave for about 10 minutes and since they don’t come across any other group of pigeons, they quickly land on their spot on the roof. It is not an exception that once or twice a week some flights around the loft get cancelled. The duty calls…
The medical supervision is, to a great portion, a matter of feeling. Here comes one to appreciate the art of the perfect manager, which Luc De Roek definitely is. Morning droppings are examined and if needed, the decisions is made over necessary treatment. Luc strikes us as someone who knows what he is talking about, who can do his job right, an epitome of a great champion.
The usage of medication is very rational and they are given only when it really seems to be necessary. Simplicity is the keyword here. A good example is the use of pecking stone à la Manage. To avoid unnecessary costs, Luc takes some clay, allows it to dry and places in the loft. The pigeons are crazy about it and the costs are minimal in comparisson with commercial pecking stone.
It is the same intuition that is used also when it comes to feeding. The sports blend consists of three sorts of "sport", but is also administered based on the condition of the pigeon. Luc determines whether or not is it necessary to add supplements for a pigeon to build up the much needed stocks of energy.
The lofts are built from secondhand material and everything is dedicated to maintaining perfect health and shape of the pigeons. The width of the loft is determined with keeping in mind, that wind cannot blow directly onto the back of the loft. Good airing is necessary, but exposure to draft has to be avoided. The beauty of the lofts is not the priority, it is important that the pigeons feel well and comfortable.
But what kind of quality can you find in the lofts of De Roeck?
Years of practise and mastering of the expertise stand for an excellent quality.
Young pigeons are not forced, they get their time to develop and to show what they can do. But for Luc it doesn’t take too long to know which one has the potential to become a champion – that is also a skill of a great master.
Finally a national victory that Luc De Roeck was aiming for for 30!!
Luc achieved one if his highest dreams. The headline of this article let’s everybody know that Luc finally has it. A very deserved victory, the cherry on the cake of 30 years of top sportsmanship.
But which one is the superpigeon???
The father is a pigeon bought in the Daems’ auction and the mother is a hen from Julien Van Eenoo. The father flew 15th national Dax.
Collégien: 17/195.- Nanteuil: 59/225. -
Nanteuil: 15/239. - Nanteuil: 50/177. - Toury: 30/1565. - Orléans: 173/1467. - Bourges: 9/831 et 478/16945.
Châteauroux: 950/9308. - Argenton: 318/1012. - Limoges: 116/5757 et 891/24479. - Bourges: 971/4535.
L'Escallière : 15/1098. - Momignies: 17/480. - Toury: 23/4391. - Châteauroux: 9/3371 et 95/8538.
Argenton : 39/676 en 306/4047. - Marseille: 13/152 en 1510/20786.
based on his last years result from Marseille, he was to race Barcelona. His trip from the home region of nougat was supposed to his last one.
This season has been just wonderful for De Roeck loft and with its pigeons in "supershape" the second week was to be the topper.
Luc wins also the local race from Toury, he kicks everybody’s butt on the flight from Châteuroux by taking the first four places and than in the evening the efforts were crowned by the national victory. Champagne should be popping for even less than that…Congratulations Luc.
When Luc was at his post expecting the pigeons from Montélimar at 17.30 he was not yet overwhelmed by enthousiasm. One hour later he started to feel desperate. According to the wind direction the pigeons should have already been there, or at least in the vicinity of Luxembourg, where Luc expected the winner to be from.
He had already closed the lofts of middle distance pigeons who were already back, so that they wouldn’t have to stand out in the cold to prevent corysa.
Twelve minutes later the pigeon was about to jump into the loft just as Luc was opening in and some valuable time was lost in fight with the ownrs hand.
One minute was lost but the national victory was a reality!