This is obviously not the first success for Hugo Vlaeminck (55); just take a look at his impressive list of achievements below, most of which were won in the short middle distance. He switched to the extreme middle distance and the national races in 2012 and Hugo seems to be just as successful in these categories. He won a provincial first prize in the national race from Montluçon last year and he took a magnificent national first prize from Chateauroux only in his second national season!
This is not surprising. Hugo has been involved in pigeon racing since he was 10. He raced together with his father but in the middle of the 1980s he decided to start a pigeon loft on his own as well. Hugo started collecting top class pigeons and he looked for the best pigeons he could find. He paid a visit to Jos Soontjes from Wommelgem, where he purchased descendants of De Late Tom, De Geschifte and De Advocaat. He also purchased a few Soontjens pigeons from Geerinckx, including De Gestekene. This pigeon has won five first prizes, mainly in the Noyon races. After a while Hugo developed an interest in the short middle distance and he purchased new pigeons from Pros Roosen, Karel & Tom Hufkens, a son of 155 from Herbots, Leo Heremans, Romain Legiest and others. He has also been successful with pigeons of Stijn Van Laere, Robby Wilms-Vermeerbergen, Luc, Bart and Jurgen Geerinckx. He achieved impressive results in the races from Dourdan and Angerville:
1st prov. Ace Pigeon KBDB Middle Distance 2004 1st General prov. Champion KBDB East Flanders 2001 3rd nat. Champion KBDB Middle Distance Old birds 1999 3rd nat. Chmapion KBDB Middle Distance Young birds 2011 3rd prov. Ace Pigeon KBDB East Flanders Middle Distance 2007 4th prov. Ace Pigeon KBDB East Flanders Middle Distance 2007 4th prov. Ace Pigeon KBDB East Flanders Long Distance 2012 7th nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Middle Distance Young Birds 2011 8th nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Middle Distance Young Birds 2011 9th nat. Champion KBDB Middle Distance Old Birds 2000 9th nat. Champion KBDB Middle Distance Young Birds 2008
Provincial releases pushed him towards nationals
A lot of these prizes were won in the races from Angerville in the Central Middle Distance Union, which is an interesting entente in the Waasland region. Unsurprisingly, other fanciers started to get annoyed and jealous at the strong pigeon team of Vlaeminck. In the winter of 2011-2012 it was decided to abandon the interprovincial release (East Flanders, Antwerp and Brabant) and the committee decided to switch to a provincial release. Hugo felt he was being targeted: a provincial release in Rupelmonde, all the way in the easternmost point of the province, was not quite an advantageous location for him. This has been the reason for him to change course and to start focusing on the national races. He used the same collection of pigeons and he was just as successful. Last year he won a first prov. Montluçon against 5,335 yearlings and this season of course, the first Nat. Chateauroux yearlings.
De Nationaal, BE12-4038406
It did not take him long to come up with a name for his national winner. This blue coloured cock covered 516km with a velocity of 1217.88 m/min. This was another demanding race in which apparently only the strongest birds could achieve a good result. Let’s have a look at the list of achievements of Nationaal:
Chateauroux nat 1/19,663 Noyon 1/451 Noyon 3/337 Vierzon 3/332 prov. 30/2,982 La Souterraine 6/486 nat. 713/19,155 Angerville 9/989 Angerville 9/728 Gueret 14/354 nat. 1,136/16,988 Angerville 18/1,234 Blois 20/347 Bourges 23/482 Angerville 28/487 Angerville 37/708
De Nationaal won a fourth Ace Pigeon Short Distance as a young bird in the Waasland Golden Rings, a prestigious championship in the entire Waasland region.
Over the years Hugo has purchased some direct pigeons of Leo Heremans which he was very successful with. The sire of Nationaal is one of these direct Heremans pigeons, the Super Leo, BE06-6148021. Super Leo, where does that name come from? He is the sire of no less than six different first prize winners so he is without doubt a super pigeon. Super Leo is a half brother of 444-00, the sire of Jan, which is one of the best pigeons of Leo Heremans. Super Leo is also a grandson of the world famous Olympiade 003 of Leo Heremans. The dam of Nationaal is Blauwe Witpen 523-09. She is a daughter of Favoriet, BE03-4266564, an excellent racing pigeon of Vlaeminck.
Favoriet was bred from a son of 155 of the Herbots brothers that was paired to a daughter of Vlaeminck's James Bond, winner of no less than eleven first prizes. Favoriet was paired to a daughter of the first prov. Blois of Romain Legiest. Click here for the pedigree of Nationaal.
Hugo is a rather small scale fancier. He races pigeons on widowhood only with 13 yearlings and 11 old birds. He bred 70 young birds, only 40 of which are still alive. He has lost quite a few birds during flights and due to the electricity wires near his loft. The breeding loft houses 15 breeding pairs; the widowers are raced on classic widowhood. There is a winter breed first, followed by a second pairing in mid-March. His friend André Roodhooft once advised him not to pair his pigeons again after winter. Hugo followed his advice but it turned out to be the worst season ever for his widowers. Understandingly he decided not to try this again. The widowers have been on a strict schedule up to now. They have had 2 flights from Quiévrain, 2 from Noyon, 2 from Angerville, Vierzon, Bourges and now there is Chateauroux. The pigeons will be skipping next week’s race from Poitiers so the fancier and his pigeons will have some time to recover before the race from Montluçon. After that they will be basketed every two weeks.
For the feed Hugo relies completely on the products of Van Camp from Boeckhout. He gives them a diet of 50% Super Diet and 50% Sport when the pigeons arrive home and in the beginning of the week. In the last few days before basketing he switches to 100% Sport. The joint feeding tray is always completely filled but it is removed from the loft after 30 minutes. Hugo adds two handfuls of corn to the mixtures every day, as well as 5 to 6 peanuts which he gives to the pigeons individually. This helps to make the pigeons calm in the hand. He makes regular use of additional products as apple cider, naturalin, garlic oil, sedochol etc. His pigeons receive two to three medical checkups per year. The pigeons are given a six day Soludox cure in March, after which they are given clean water for two days, followed by a five day cure with Tricho-plus.
A great weekend
The pigeons of Hugo are in the form of their life, they really outclassed their opponents from Chateauroux. Some figures:
Chateauroux 1 July:
Lokaal 557 yearlings: 1-2-3-4-6-9-13-14-19-24-64-78 (12/13) 364 old birds: 5-6-7-12-18 (5/8) Provinciaal 4657 yearlings: 1-2-6-10-22-35-125-135-185-... (12/13) 4287 old birds: 42-46-63-100-167 (5/8)
Hugo, his wife Winny (who returns the clock to the club and who helps with the training of the pigeons) and his daughter Valerie (who performs administrative tasks) were really pleased with this national victory. It was quite a hectic weekend for them because of the national win but they did not mind!