Thei DEGENS - Heerlerheide (NL) International winner Perpignan 2009 against 18.390 pigeons. - 2009

The liberation place Perpignan is the capital of the department Pyrénées Orientales and has her historic roots in the county of Barcelona, in the Kingdom Aragon and in the Kingdom Majorca.

The liberation
No wonder that the city, and by expansion the entire Roussillon, often seems more Spanish than French. Perpignan is proud of its explicit French-Catalans identity: the red and yellow  Catalans flag flies everywhere.
The pigeons were liberated in Perpignan on Saturday the 1st of August at 07h00.
This Saturday morning, there was a thin cloud band on the Mediterranean between Perpignan and Narbonne, which was a few kilometres inland as well.
After this the sun shined.
There was a weak Easterly wind during the first game hours.
Further along the flight line and during the course of the morning there was a weak south-easterly to southerly wind.
In the north of France and in the Benelux there was a slight southerly wind.
In the afternoon the temperatures in the south and middle of France were about 30 to 35 degrees.
At about 16h30 there was an unexpected disturbance over the North western half of France.
From Bourges to the region Paris it was very cloudy with local rain and thunderstorms.
On the eastern racing line from Perpignan it was still good weather.
This disturbance very slowly went eastwards.

The fancier
The international winner lives in Heerlerheide in south Limburg, a village in the north of the borough Heerlen.
Heerlerheide lay on the old trade route from Maastricht to Geilenkirchen, a road that  travelled over Ten Esschen, Rennemig, Cauvelens, Pappersjans along the Heksenberg to Nieuwenhagerheide. The former inhabitants of Heerlerheide, traditionally farmers, lived spread out across modest settlements. Because they couldn’t live off the proceeds from their farms they made long journeys as peddlers. They left for the nearby markets with a basket on their backs containing butter, eggs, vegetables, chickens and ducks.
Thei Degens, seventy-two years old and wholesaler/exporter of eggs, may have inherited the interest for eggs from these distant ancestors.
He has inherited pigeon fancying from his father.
For the last year Thei has left the care of the pigeons in the hands of loft carer Dieter Gimbott. Thei laughingly says: “Dieter is a slave to the pigeons because I don’t have enough time.”
Over the years Thei has built up his stock with pigeons from his “St. Vincent 1997”, from Jef Carlens from Zepperen, Frits Rennenberg (via exchanging pigeons), Fons van Ophuizen and from Ton van Laan from Swalmen . These are the pigeons for the races with afternoon liberation. In addition there were also top pigeons from various fanciers.
He now wants to specialise in the ZLU-races.
For his racing team he has a 20 metre loft and there is a garden loft for the youngsters.
Thei has 20 breeding couples.

The arrival
Thei had taken his clock to the club for the race from Bordeaux, which had been liberated Friday afternoon. He had drunk a few beers with his pigeon friends. When he came home he saw a pigeon land at a different loft to where the Bordeaux-pigeons lived. Thei called to Dieter:”A latecomer from Bordeaux has gone into the wrong loft.” Dieter got hold of the pigeon and shouted excitedly:”It’s one from Perpignan!” It was the “413” from 2006, who was clocked at 17h35.41. The ”413” had travelled a distance of 931,604 kilometres with an average velocity of more than 1465 metres per minute.
When he reported the pigeon it turned out that it was the first pigeon to be reported. According to the reporting office it had to be a very early pigeon. Thei cautiously began to consider a nice top prize in the national competition.
It would later become clear, that Thei would not only win the 1st national, but also the 1st international against 18.390 pigeons.
The “413” had a lead of more than 61 metres  per minute on number two in the international result!

The winner
The winner is the “413” from 2006. It is a cock, which is raced in widowhood. Thei only races widowhood with his cocks.
Thei has given the “413” the name “Kamikaze”, because according to him he must have flown “like a madman” whilst staring into infinity.
Thei still has the parents of the international winner amongst his breeding pigeons!

The care
Thei enters his pigeons for the overnight races in the trainings races on Tuesdays (from April) and they also race Marche, Rethel, Reims and Bourges or Pithiviers. Then the pigeons are divided into teams for the various long distance races.
Thei uses pigeon mixtures from Beyers and Simons from Ransdaal. Once the long distance races are approaching, he buys another ten kilo’s of Badischer corn and on the advice of Fons van Ophuizen, a mixture from Spinne.
The pigeons train once a day, usually in the morning at  07h00, but if it is bad weather then they are let out to train later.
To keep the pigeons healthy he visits the veterinary surgeon Peeters in the Belgian As twice a year. He prefers to give his pigeons as little medication as possible. When the pigeons are sitting on eggs they are given a cure for tricho. Before basketting they are sometimes given Belga Tai from De Weerd and something for ornithosis.
Fancier who have done well with pigeons from Thei include:
Chris van de Velde, who in the nineties won a 1st national Mont de Marsan with a grandson of the “St. Vincent” and also Hub Vrösch performed excellently with his pigeons.
Thei has been racing successfully for years: he achieved national victories from
1965 St. Vincent and also the car prize
1965 international Dax
1971 Dax
1997 St. Vincent and also the car prize

During our talk, I have got to know Thei as a man with humour: “I understand more about chicken eggs than pigeon eggs!” A man, who has an easy nature, but not where his company is concerned. A man, who values the good life a great deal. A man, who knows how to enjoy life and still has the wish to win national Barcelona. He was close with a 7th and a 10th in this classic, but he would oh so like to win it. In the same breath he says: “But health is the most important thing!”  And he is definitely right about that!
Thei, congratulations on the international victory, also on behalf of the workers of PiPa and the visitors to our site.


6-1-2014 Dhr Degens is me net persoonlijk de stamkaart van een steenrood duivinneke komen brengen dat al een tijdje als aanvliegster bij me zit. Het is een kleindochter uit deze Kamikaze 1e Int.Perpignan 2009.
Heer Degens hartelijk dank !