The middle of June, on the same day as the national classic from Limoges for the yearlings, the international race from Tarbes stands traditionally on the calendar. In the early years this race was from the place of pilgrimage 'Lourdes', later to be transformed to a race from 'Dax'.
In 2007 one left once again for the primordial region of Lourdes, but finally choosing 'Tarbes' as the place of liberation, but the bird flu forced a diversion to the Spanish 'Irun'. This international race from Tarbes is without doubt one of the most beautiful of the contingent 'international races', because the race over the more or less smooth track, slightly reduces the risk of losses. Ideal then for letting 'younger pigeons' acquire skills and experience. A typical characteristic for the 2008 racing season is the almost weekly postponement of races due to 'severe weather'! A fact that didn't escape this 'international Tarbes' either.
The forecast for the weekend was anything but promising, Monday seemed to be perfect but the French would be celebrating their '14 Juillet', which meant it was forbidden to liberate pigeons in France! Due to the abundant rain in the south of France the organisers rightly decided to postpone the liberation on the Saturday.
There was also rain on the menu for Sunday yet there were good clear patches in the morning, as a result of which the baskets could be opened early (at 6h45). There was a variable wind on the route varying between north and west. In the end it was the loft of Valere Lizoen that signed for national and international victory; They clocked their winning pigeon at 19h26 from 869,846 Km, meaning a velocity of 1143,03 m/min. They were a hair's-breadth in front of Long Distance celebrity Etienne Meirlaen from the East-Flemish Sint-Martens-Latem in 2nd place, and the German duo 'Hodel & Daughter' who are classified as 3° international. The rest of the pigeon platoon followed in the tracks of these 'international top-3' in this very smooth running Tarbes-race.
Mother Dina and son Aldo
The international winner from Tarbes landed then in the 'tabaks region', on the border of the provinces West-Flanders, Henegouwen and the border with France, between Wervik and Ploegsteert or the region of the cycling family Vandenbroucke, from Comines-Warneton (Komen-Waasten) where the Museum of the 'ribbon manufacture' is housed. The colony of the Tarbes winner Valere Lizoen is run by wife Dina Wybon and son Aldo.
Valere himself passed away in 1999 but as a tribute they still race under his name. Son Aldo never looked at the pigeons up until 1999, but after his late father died his mother wanted him to carry on the tradition. Aldo, 43 years young and builder by trade, learned the first tricks of the pigeon trade from his brother (who did race pigeons), and from his neighbour.
The pigeon sport is pure hobby, and is practised according to time and space. There is only room for 12 racing pigeons for Long Distance and Extreme Long Distance, including yearlings that are raced in classic widowhood. There is also a loft for 7 widowers who are entered for the shorter distances. There just isn't any more room available, so that when measured by 'Long Distance standards' we are actually speaking about a real mini-colony. It is therefore even more a case of a 'little one' giving the 'great Long Distance tenors' flying lessons from Tarbes.
Aldo doesn't really have a 'racing system'. He simply feeds them out the bag Mariman-mixture! Normally he 'never' goes to the vet last year he made an exception, when his youngsters were troubled with 'adeno coli'. The pigeons aren't given antibiotics or any other medicine, unless it is absolutely necessary. They are regularly given fresh grit, vitamins and other natural products.
The winner of this Tarbes race with ring B06-9104713 is a 2-year old pigeon who has had as training this season Clermont, Ablis, Blois and Chateauroux. He just managed to win a prize from Brive. 3 weeks later he was the first pigeon from Montauban for the Lizoen family, and he won the 261° Nat Montauban 5.438 p., and now 1° Internat. Tarbes 12.549 p.
It is a pigeon of medium build, well-muscled and with a very soft red plumage qualities that are extremely similar to those of his father. Aldo obtained his
"Father 1° Intnat Tarbes" ring B01-3139513, from sport friends Desmarets-Castelein from Wervik as a 3-year old pigeon.
He has raced him with some success because last season he won:
380° National Brive 16.007 p.
102° National Perpignan 5.547 p.
He even went to Montauban this year but he will now be kept home.
The "Mother 1° Intnat Tarbes" ring B03-9031921 is of the own old sort from father Valere. Before leaving for a race the cocks are allowed to see their hens 'very shortly', for motivation. When they return from a Long Distance race they are allowed to stay with their hens longer, sometimes for the whole day. The colour of the plumage, eyes or muscles it doesn't interest Aldo, for him the pigeon sport is pure hobby the results are the only criteria that he takes into account.
He had basketted 4 pigeons for Tarbes, 2 of which he clocked on the Sunday evening his 3° pigeon returned home Monday morning, but probably won't make it into the national results. But mother Dina and son Aldo don't ponder on it because with their 'international victory' from Tarbes they have enjoyed the best triumph in their pigeon career.
A moment of glory that will be imprinted in their memory eternally! We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Lizoen family with this magnificent victory!