Patrick (67) and Dimitri (43) Houfflijn have been among the most renowned long distance fanciers in Belgium. They have won numerous provincial and national victories, and their number one objective has always been the one day long distance, with races of between 600 and 800km. They also compete in all the international races but it is not their first priority. All other races, including the longer middle distance, are used mainly to get their pigeons in good form. Dimitri believes it has become impossible for a fancier to excel in every single competition these days. And this is why he decided to focus entirely on the one day long distance competition.
The fanciers from Wortegem-Petegem have a team of about 50 widowers, along with a group of 25 breeders that provide them with talented new youngsters. Patrick is responsible for the daily caretaking, while Dimitri takes care of administration and PR. Dimitri lives with his wife and his three kids a few kilometres from the loft in the town of Anzegem. Despite having a fulltime job, Dimitri still found the time to build himself a loft in Anzegem as well, which he runs himself. Every season the second round of youngsters from their breeders is moved to this loft, to be raced as youngsters. Only the cocks of this group of youngsters will be raced as yearlings later on. This loft proved very successful as well, as the youngsters were able to win several top 10 prizes in the national races, including a 4th Nat. Limoges, a 7th Int. Bordeaux and an 8th Nat. Agen. The second best pigeon from Montauban across 3 seasons (PIPA ranking) comes from Anzegem as well - the first prize was in fact won by Patrick and Dimitri in their loft in Wortegem. We will be discussing the structure of the Houfflijn pigeon breed in a moment but first here is a look at some of their best results of 2017:
Limoges Nat. 14,937 olds: 6-49-1019-1255-etc. (8/22) Brive Nat. 9,132 olds: 104-235-444-486-678-etc. (7/11) Limoges Nat. 9,162 olds: 92-107-288-648-677 (5/6) Jarnac Nat. 5,117 YLs: 166-412-484-etc. (5/6) Tulle Nat. 7,447 olds: 59-450-660 (3/5) Tulle Nat. 9,578 YLs: 5-130-344-449-482-538-etc. (9/13) Perpignan Nat. 4,620 olds: 94-182-etc. (3/4) Bourges Nat.Z. 10,761 YLs: 48-74-185-225-266-etc. (12/19)
The lofts in Wortegem-Petegem
The leading names in the current generation of Houfflijn pigeons
It was in the 1980s when Patrick obtained breeding bird Oude Willequet from his then neighbour. Despite his age, this pigeon gave birth to Limoges BE86-871 (1st Prov. Limoges 2,236 p. and 7th Nat. Limoges 7,776 p. in 1988) in Patrick's loft. It had been Patrick's dream to create a successful team of long distance pigeons, and so he started to look for reinforcements, which he found in the loft of Gaby Vandenabeele (Dentergem, BE). He obtained youngsters of several champions, including Blauwe Fideel, Ronker and Asduif Turbo. It proved a very useful investment, and it would mark the start of his successful extreme long distance career. He added some more pigeons later on, mainly from the line of Bliksem. He also obtained pigeons from Rik Cools (Ruiselede, BE), with breeding bird De Cools proving particularly valuable to Patrick and Dimitri. Their team for the extreme long distance consists mainly of pigeons from the line of Gullit (Desmet-Matthijs), combined with other pigeons. They have also been working closely together with renowned fancier and good friend Roger Debusschere (Lokeren, BE), a successful collaboration that led to a 1st Provincial Tulle yearlings in 2017. The two fanciers were able to breed talented youngsters from each of these bloodlines, and their racing birds Geronimo, Star Geronimo and Super Cools are the stars of the team in recent years. We will now take a closer look at each of them.
Geronimo is without doubt the number one breeder in the lofts of Patrick and Dimitri. He was quite a successful racing bird already but he really stood out as a breeder. We will look at his origins in a minute, but first we take you through his most important achievements as a racing bird at national level:
10th Nat Carcassonne 3,511 p. ’06 35th Nat Marseille 4,738 p. ’04 44th Nat Marseille 5,196 p. ’05 87th Nat Orange 6,751 p. ’05 89th Nat Marseille 4,398 p. ’05
His pedigree shows that his sire is Son Barcelona. This cock comes from the team's own Houfflijn bloodlines. The dam is Blauw Grietje, a direct Gaby Vandenabeele from the line of the legendary Wittenbuik. Geronimo is definitely not the only talented youngster of Son Barcelona x Blauw Grietje. This very pair also bred Nieuwe Geronimo (BE07-4084430), a great racing bird and now the grandfather of Super Cools (8th Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2017). The most renowned and most valuable son of Geronimo is Star Geronimo, which we discuss below. But first we present to you some other successful youngsters of Geronimo:
BE06-4142726 As Geronimo : 85th Nat. Narbonne 6,330 p. : 98th Nat Cahors 8,651 p. BE08-4234037 Zoon Geronimo : 40th Nat. Brive 16,815 p. (full palmares here) 10th Nat. Perpignan 6,661 p. 72nd Nat. Montauban 6,654 p. BE11-4196606 Geschulpten Geronimo : 30th Nat. Brive 9,331 p. (full palmares here) BE10-4147256 The Fifty Six : 7th Int. Bordeaux 11,444 p. BE12-4240810 (grandson) : 30th Nat. Perpignan 5,254 p. (full palmares here) BE16-4152223 (grandson) : 46th Nat. Jarnac 5,053 p. BE11-4196633 (grandson) : 7th Nat. Narbonne 6,933 p. (full palmares here)
BE11-4196616 Star Geronimo
As we said, Star Gernomino is by far the most talented son of Geronimo. The dam of Star Geronimo is Nationaaltje, and she is also the dam of Geschulpte Geronimo (72nd Nat. Limoges and 30th Nat. Brive) and of Son Geronimo (13th Int. Perpignan). Nationaaltje is also the grandmother of a 1st Nat. Tulle 2013 for Ivan van Vuchelen. Nationaaltje is a great-grandchild of Blauwe Fideel (1st Nat. Brive for Gaby Vandenabeele). Click here for the full pedigree of Star Geronimo. Star Geronimo won a national top 50 place on four occasions:
2nd Nat. Tulle 5,976 olds 2nd Nat. Montauban 5,935 olds 28th Nat. Bourges 16,859 yls 43rd Nat. Brive 8,331 yls
BE14-4235034 Super Cools
Super Cools was the most successful pigeon this year for Patrick and Dimitri. He won the following prizes in four national one day long distance races:
49th Nat. Limoges 14,937 p. 59th Nat. Tulle 7,447 p. 92nd Nat. Limoges 9,162 p. 104th Nat. Brive 9,132 p.
These four top prizes at national level resulted in a few titles in 2017 as well:
8th National Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2nd Provincial Ace Pigeon Long Distance East Flanders KBDB 2nd National Ace pigeon One Day Long Distance PIPA ranking (4 prizes)
The sire of Super Cools is De Cools, a super class breeder that comes directly from Rik Cools (Ruiselede, BE). His dam is breeding hen Zoromino, and she is a daughter of Nieuwe Geronimo, a full brother of the aforementioned Geronimo. Click here for the full pedigree of Super Cools.
De Cools and Zoromino are not just the parents of Super Cools but of many other talented racing birds as well, including:
BE13-4185515 De Blauwen Bourges : 32nd Nat. Tulle 5,731 p. (full palmares here) 32nd Nat. Zone Bourges 4,055 p. 28th Prov. Vierzon 3,848 p. BE13-4185741 Zorro : 19th Nat. Brive 3,850 p. (full palmares here) 27th Nat. Zone Bourges 4,055 p. BE16-4152005 Cools 005 : 4th Club Orleans 393 p. 90th Nat. Zone Jarnac 1,342 p. 83rd Prov. Tulle 1,729 p.
National champions in the long distance, and not just for Patrick and Dimitri
Patrick and Dimitri have shown repeatedly over the years to have a top quality pigeon collection. Their pigeons have achieved great results on a yearly basis not just in their own loft; many other fanciers have been enjoying the quality of the Houfflijn bloodlines as well. Here is a brief overview of some top results that were achieved with the help of the Houfflijn pigeon breed:
-Dobbelaere Debuck: 6x top 100 Nat., including a 22nd Nat. Limoges, 22nd Nat. Tulle and 34th Nat. Limoges. -Ludo and Richie Saelens (Maldigem): 1st National Cahors 2016 -Vincent Schroeder (Bilzen): 1st Provincial Cahors and 89th National Libourne 2016 -Norbert Ally (Tielt): 1st Provincial and 2nd National Libourne of 8,269 pigeons -Declercq Blancke (Tielt): 3rd Prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance YBs KBDB West Flanders -Joël Verschoot: 2nd Nat. La Souterraine 2013 (Annelies) and 1st Zone La Souterraine (Tina) -Ivan Van Vuchelen: 1st Nat. Tulle 7,350 p. in 2013 -Gevaert-Lannoo: they have a world class breeder in their collection with Bleke Fideel (a grandson of stock breeder Son Blauwe Fideel). He is the sire of a 1st Ace Pigeon Two Flanders Middle Distance ’12, 2nd Best Young Bird of Belgium over 3 nationals in 2012, and grandfather of a 1st Prov. and 5th Nat. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance KBDB in 2015 -Houfflijn-Goemaere: son Dimitri started racing on his own in Anzegem a few years ago, and he has been doing great with a few pigeons from a second round in Woretegem. He has already won a few top prizes at national level.