Jelle Van Sterthem during one of his visits to his mentor Gaston Van de Wouwer.
Jelle began his pigeon racing career in 2013: "My parents would not let me race bikes at the age of 13; they told me I had to look for a different hobby. As a result, my dad built me my first pigeon loft in the summer of 2013. My grandfather from my father's side happened to keep pigeons as well, but he died young so I never knew him. Call it an indirectly inherited passion for pigeon racing." And that is how Jelle took his first steps as a fancier.
"The next step was to try and find good quality pigeons. After a long search, I came across the pigeon family of Gaston Van De Wouwer. I talked to him over the phone and it turned out we were immediately on the same page. Gaston asked me to come over and he taught me everything there is to know! Breeding, racing, medical guidance, motivation and nutrition. I also obtained a few direct pigeons from him in Berlaar. Gaston and I call each other pretty much every week", Jelle says.
The big moment came in the winter of 2013, when a first group of direct pigeons of Gaston moved to the breeding loft in Maarkedal. These were then put together, following Gaston's guidelines. And then came the summer of 2014, and the start of the national young birds' competition. The team's first major highlight was the national race from Tours: "Racing bird Stonne BE14-4238183 arrived home with incredible speed, eventually claiming a 2nd Nat. Tours of 28,311 pigeons. And Stonne took the win at zonal level of 6,327 pigeons.
Stonne originates from the line of Sandy from his father's side, and from Barbara from his mother's side. "Gaston called me the moment Stonne arrived home", Jelle remembers vividly. "He had already spotted his arrival. And Stonne is a 100% Van de Wouwer."
The sire is Rik Junior BE13-4196618. This Gaston Van de Wouwer cock is a grandson of Torre from his father's side, a son of Kaasboer of Gaston and of BE02-6183084, a sister of a 1st Nat. La Souterraine of Johan De Belser. The grandmother is Sandy BE11-6119143, a granddaughter of Kaasboer.
The dam of Stonne is Babs BE12-6023211. Babs is also the dam of Silke, a 46th Nat. Chateauroux III of 4,389 p. The grandfather is a summer youngster of Dirk Van Dyck, namely BE10-6297742. And the grandmother is a renowned hen of Gaston: Barbara BE09-2035886. Barbara is a triple (!) provincial winner in Montluçon, Vierzon and Argenton.
"Thanks to Gaston I also got to meet some other successful fanciers, such as Van Eynde-Goovaerts (Putte) and Johan De Belser (Berlaar). And they provided me with some top quality pigeons as well."
"That brings us to the year 2019, where we claim another national second place with Amina BE19-4021335", Jelle continues. Amina took a 2nd Nat. Argenton of 23,260 young birds. "She is a direct Van de Wouwer from her father's side; her grandfather is 'Jan' (105/07), which is also the grandfather of 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon 'New Kim'. Amina is also a direct Johan De Belser from her mother's side, related to the line of Super 083/02 (a son of Johan's Goldwin)", Jelle explains.
Jelle showing Amina right after her impressive performance in Argenton last summer.
The sire of Amina is Thunderstruck BE16-4143025. This chequered cock claimed for instance a 1st Souppes sur Loing of 485 pigeons. Jelle had already pointed out that her grandfather is Jan BE07-6033105, a super class breeder and a grandson of Gaston's Kaasboer. And the grandmother is a full sister of none other than Stonne: Sara BE14-4238970.
The dam of Amina is Lana BE16-6021570. She is a crossing of the bloodlines of Johan De Belser and Gaston Van de Wouwer. Her grandfather BE14-6070977 is a grandson of Johan's Super 083/02. Grandmother Leyla BE15-6285666 stems directly from the Johan De Belser breed and she is a crossing of De Belser x Van de Wouwer, just like the grandfather.
For Amina's full pedigree, click here.
"I think I can honestly say I have become one of the most successful satellite lofts of Gaston Van de Wouwer in a short period of time", Jelle said. And we tend to agree with him. Jelle has only been racing pigeons for about six years, and he already has an impressive list of achievements:
Stonne: 2. Nat. Tours 28,311 pigeons 2014 Amina: 2. Nat. Argenton 23,258 pigeons 2019 Katrinka: 49. Nat. Chateauroux 17,250 pigeons Lotte, sister of Stonne and the dam of Katrinka
Youth and ambition combined with the knowledge and the bloodlines of a world class fancier like Gaston Van de Wouwer. This has put Jelle Van Sterthem on the right track in his first couple of seasons. The results speak for themselves, and we are eager to see what's to come in the next several years.