The first signs of spring are starting to appear this month, and fanciers are getting excited about the coming racing season as well. It is time for their pigeons to show their true potential, to try and meet the expectations of their mentor. In just a few months' time, no one will remember the pre season predictions. By the end of this month there is only one thing that matters: good results.
Those that failed to meet last year's expectations will have a chance of stepping up their game. By contrast, the great champions have a lot more at stake in the beginning of the season: they will have hard time trying to match last year's results, let alone to exceed them.
One of the fancier that faces a serious challenge this season is Hugo Vlaeminck from the East Flemish town of Rupelmonde, place of birth of the important cartographer Gerardus Mercator. As the name suggests, this town sits at the mouth of the Rupel river (where it flows into the river Schelde), on the border of East Flanders and Antwerp.
A few years ago Hugo's pigeon family became an internationally renowned loft in the sprint and especially the shorter middle distance, with a collection of pigeons heavily based on the phenomenal Soontjens breed. Hugo did not have a large team of racing birds; he preferred to work with a small team of 24 widowers. This team managed to dominate the competition in the Central Middle Distance Union for years. This union decided to cancel the interprovincial release from Angerville in 2012 and to opt for a provincial release instead, partly due to the overwhelming achievements of the Hugo Vlaeminck pigeons. Hugo felt that he was being targeted and he decided to change his game. He could not be bothered with the envy and jealousy of some of his oppoents, and took a gamble by focusing on the national races.
A winning streak
The pigeons of Hugo Vlaeminck continued to perform at an exceptional level in the provincial and national races of the longer middle distance. Hugo managed to collect an impressive number of prizes in just three seasons (2012-2014) of racing in the national longer middle distance. His palmares includes the title of 1st Nat. Champion KBDB, a national victory (and two national 2nd prizes), 8 provincial first prizes (4 of which won in 2014) and 6 victories in the zone (5 of which won in 2014). These results illustrate the talent, the strength and the potential of his racing loft. We take a look at his best results:
1st Nat. Champion Longer Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2013
1st Nat. Chateauroux 19,691 yearlings in 2013
2nd Nat. Poitiers 14,094 yearlings in 2014
2nd Nat. Bourges 8,008 old birds in 2014
In the zone:
1st Zone B1 Chateauroux 3,553 yearlings in 2013
1st Zone B1 Poitiers 2,628 yearlings in 2014
1st Zone B1 Gueret 1,101 old birds in 2014
1st Zone B1 Gueret 1,719 yearlings in 2014
1st Zone B1 Bourges 1,193 old birds in 2014
1st Zone B1 La Souterraine 2,705 young birds in 2014
1st Prov Montluçon 5,335 yearlings in 2012
1st Prov Chateauroux 4,657 yearlings in 2013
1st Prov Montluçon 4,817 yearlings in 2013
1st Prov Argenton 3,161 old birds in 2013
1st Prov Poitiers 4,093 yearlings in 2014
1st Prov La Souterraine 1,873 yearlings in 2014
1st Prov Bourges 1,150 old birds in 2014
1st Prov La Souterraine 4,250 young birds in 2014
Super Leo en Ronaldo are leading the way
Two key players in this successful team are without doubt Super Leo and Ronaldo. Super Leo BE06-6148021 was a direct Leo Heremans, being a son of 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Regina (his sire) and grandson of Olympiade (from his mother's side). This outstanding breeding bird has bred no less than seven different first prize winners for Hugo Vlaeminck, including:
- Nationaal BE12-4038406: winner of 1st Nat. Chateauroux 19,691 yearlings in 2013
- Nestbroer Nationaal BE12-4038405: 7th Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance YL KBDB 2013, 1st club and 4th Prov. Chateauroux 1,130 p., 6th Prov. Bourges 2,635 p., 8th Prov Bourges 3,811 p., 8th Zone Gueret 1,101 p. and co winner of the title of 1st Nat. Champion Longer Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2013
- Leonardo BE10-4259630: 1st Ace Pigeon Middle Distance ‘Gouden Ringen Waasland’ 2011, 7th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB 2013, 8th Prov. Bourges 1,418 p., 47th Nat. Chateauroux 16,477 p.
- 308/08: 1st Ace Pigeon Middle Distance YL Waasland 2009
Super Leo is grandfather of the 1st Prov. Prov La Souterraine 4,250 p. and 1st Zone B1 La Souterraine 2,705 pigeons. He is also the great-grandfather of Queeny, 7th Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance Young Birds KBDB 2011.
Ronaldo, first a successful racing bird, now a world class breeding pigeon
Another important name in this loft is Ronaldo BE11-4049957 (a son of super class breeding pair Favoriet BE03-4266564 x Legiestje BE07-4152001). This outstanding pigeon was an exceptional racing bird before developing into one of the key breeders in Hugo's collection. He has won four first prizes, including:
1st prov. Argenton 3,161 p. 1st prov 1,150 p., 1st Zone B1 1,193 p. and 2nd Nat. Bourges 8,005 p. 1st club 261 p. and 5th prov. Bourges 2,473 p. 4th prov. Montluçon 3,550 p.
He is for instance the sire of the successful Zoon Ronaldo BE12-4038428, winner of:
1st Prov. Montluçon 4,817 p. 1st Zone B1 Gueret 1,101 p. 2nd Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance Gouden Ringen Waasland 2013 4th Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance Gouden Ringen Waasland 2014
This Zoon Ronaldo finished in 17th place in 2013 and in 23rd place in 2014 in the national ace pigeon championships longer middle distance KBDB.
Hugo Vlaeminck proves that pigeon racing is more about quality than quantity. He successfully switched to the longer middle distance competition, winning an impressive number of top results in just three seasons' time, all with a limited group of racing birds (24 widowers). The secret to his success is strict selection criteria, a healthy breed, a motivated fancier, and most of all top quality pigeons. It is your team of pigeons that determines your success as a fancier. Pigeon racing is all about being first to cross the finish line, which is why Hugo based his pigeon breed around outstanding first prize winners and ace pigeons. This was the foundation of his success!