Vereecke Roger, "Ever lasting... Generaal Champion ‘Belgische Verstandhouding’ 2004"

Mr. Johan Kempen Roger Vereecke and Mr. Bodson from Deerlijk (BE)
6th Champion Very long Distance KBDB 2004


The years go by and all look the same for the ‘Chevalier du Tastevin’. Roger Vereecke is for many years a member of these elite-group with only special fanciers. I went to Roger Vereecke in May 2004, in company of Mr. Bodson. Mr. Bodson is a good friend of Roger Vereecke since many years. We went to have lunch in a fine restaurant in Kortrijk. Roger had his 83rd birthday and we had a reason to celibrate. The wine was excellent but Roger knows all about wins. He told me to wait with this article until the racing 2004 had finished. The season 2003 was very good but 2004 was even better. Fifty years of racing pigeons. Mr. Bodson helped me with this article and I would like to thank him for this.

He won it all
I won’t have to introduce Roger Vereecke anymore. The success-story trough the years is enormous. The name Vereecke can be found in the top international and national results for over 50 years. Roger does not want to be compared with other sport personalities but I think he is one of the most famous sportsmen in Belgium. Already in 1934 and 1935 in the ‘Collège Espicopal St Joseph’ from Moeskroen he was the best student. As a 14 old boy from the Flamish Kortrijk, Roger had better results on mathematics, Latin and even the French language! His results gave him the best result on the whole school in 1935. He could follow the famous ‘Tour de Belgium’ for 5 days. Roger stayed in the same hotel than the cyclists. This is the reason that Roger has another passion, cycling! He knows everything about famous races like Tour de France, Giro, Vuelta and all the classic races.

France and Mitterrand
Roger is excellent in speaking and writing the French language. He does it without mistakes. He loves speaking and visiting France. He knows this country better than most French people. When he made his nomination for ‘Chevalier du Tastevin’ he wrote: ‘When wine had wings, I should tell you that it were the wings that brought me to the wine. The passion I have for France, made it that I have crossed all over France.’
This is the truth. Roger knows all the best places in France:
- through the wines: his wine-cellar has all the best French wines for over 30 years
- through the restaurants: the Michelin-guide is his bible. Roger Vereecke had lunch in the best restaurants in France.
- Through the shipment company for pigeons ‘Columbia’ founded in 1962; Roger is responsible for the release in the area West-Flanders!
- Through his friendship with the late Philippe Mitterrand, brother of the late French president Mitterrand . Mr. Philippe Mitterrand was Mayor of the French town Saint-Simon (Jarnac). Mr.Mitterrand and his wife were close friends with Mr. Vereecke and his wife. They visited Deerlijk many times from 1985-1995.
I could go on with telling you stories like the time that Roger drove in France with the bike of Gaston Rebry (3 times winner of famous cycling race Paris –Roubaix). Roger started this when he visited his sister who lived in Lourdes.

Roger travelled all over the world. He wanted to visit many things:
- From Paris to London over Hongkong, Tokyo, Bangkok and Singapore. Roger stayed in the most beautiful hotels
- There are 49 restaurants in Europe who have 3 Michelin stars. Roger has been in 41 of these and wants to visit even more. He has had lunch with 613 Michelin stars : 305 in France, 163 in Belgium and 145 in other countries.
- He visited 217 Relais and Chateaux-members
- He travelled from Paris to Venice with the most famous and romantic ‘Orient Express’
Roger is still a quiet and simple person, very modest but a big personality. His wife (Roger married in 1956), his daughter (lawyer for profession and mother of two daughters) will not contradict me. Roger has always known what he wants: with the pigeons and in the business with his father. He took over the business from his father in 1949. Father and son Vereecke raced on middle distance with very much success. This racing on middle distance stopped in 1960, the year of the only public auction in the history.

Star birds
The year 1962 is the turning point. Roger really wanted to race on the long distance races. He went to buy 4 basic birds:
The ‘90’: 1st national Angoulème 1960 Cattrysse
The ‘Figaro’: Cattrysse, 1ste national Bordeaux 1960
The ‘Rode Tanghe’: 1st Angoulème Cup of King 1962
The ‘Ijzeren Stichelbout’: 1st national Libourne 1960

The descendants of these basic birds won General Championship Fond Flanders in 1966. The victories multiplied and Roger won many championships in 1970. He wins on Barcelona international: 4-20-102-232-656-862 and 252.420 Belgium Francs prize money. In the same year the pigeons ‘Witpenneke’ and ‘Schonen’ (both sons of ’90 Cattrysse’) win:
-Both pigeons are clocked in 40 second on Brive national and win 23 and 24 + 87.010 Belgium Francs in prize money
-Both pigeons are clocked in 22 minutes on San Sebastian international and win 20 and 37 + 122.360 BF in prize money
Roger wins many championships in 1970: 1st Marathon, 1st Championship West-Flanders and Inter-provincial, 1st Belgische Verstandhouding, 1st Kriterium Der Azen…more than 20 1st prizes in Championship + a record of 200.000 BF money on this championships. One could read that Vereecke was the world champion in pigeon racing. He won the biggest prize money on Barcelona international in 1970-1971-1972 and many top prizes:

1970: 4th international
1971: 56th international
1972: 5th international

Father Jeroom Vereecke was 80 years old and not fit enough to be loft-manager. Roger decided to hire Richard Schatteman in 1975. Richard Schatteman was loft manager for 19 years and had the biggest success. Roger won in de national Fondclub Blaugnies against the best fanciers with his famous birds: ‘Quick Star’, ‘Pur-Sang’, ‘Witoog’, ‘Champion’, ‘Lange Pau’ en andere ‘’Grote Geschelpten’(1st Ace Pigeon Belgische Duivensport 1979):

In 1978: 1ste before R. Lernout, G. Imbrecht, M. Englebienne and M. Roossens
In 1979: 1ste before R. Cobut, Y. Deneufbourg, M. Roossens and M. Regnier
In 1980: 1ste before G. Imbrecht, M. Roossens, R. Dejonckheere and E. Pochet
The unique ‘Felix’ record
‘Felix’ (father): 1ste national Tulle 1978
‘Jonge Felix’ (son): 1ste national Pau 1985
‘Kleine Felix’ (grandson): 1ste national Tulle 1990

This are 3 generations of national winners. Two son of ‘Felix’, ‘Jonge Felix’ and ‘Para’ do very good in the beginning of the 80’s. They form with Saar, Sultan, Diepen, Petrus and Panter the new generation of pigeons in Deerlijk:

In 1975: 1ste General Champion Belgische Verstandhouding
In 1975: 1ste National Limoges with ‘Limoges’
In 1976: 5de national Cahors with ‘Ijskop’
7de national Limoges with ‘Jonge Bandiet’
In 1977: 5de national Tulle old and 1ste national Tulle 2-year with ‘Tulle’
In 1978: 7de national Cahors, 5de national Limoges YL, 3de and 4de intern. Pau, 3de national Tulle, 6de international Perpignan
In 1979: 3de national Cahors, 8ste national Montauban, 5de national Argenton youngsters
In 1980: 3de national Pau, 2de en 14de national Tulle
In 1981: 4de and 7de national Pau
In 1982: 1ste Brive Belgium and France with ‘Quick Star’
In 1983: 6de Royan Belgium and France with ‘Jonge Felix’ .Winner car for 1st series 3 pigeons, 5th international Perpignan with ‘Para’
In 1985: excellent on Barcelona with 22 international prizes out of 33: 16 (Tsaar)- 72-102-117-217…17.060 pigeons.
1ste national Pau with ‘Jonge Felix’
1ste national Dax with ‘Dax’
142ste nat Brive, 64ste nat. Lourdes and 101st nat. Perpignan with ‘Valk’, 52ste nat. Montauban with ‘King’ and 11de nat. Pau with ‘Auto’
Let me not forget the legend ‘Lange Pau’ from 1976:
1979: Narbonne intern. 1986p-68
1980: Pau intern. 2478p-158 - Lourdes intern. 6637p-148
1981: Pau intern. 2253p-17 - Lourdes intern. 3828p-70
1982: Pau intern. 3036p-20
Won 3 x first prize in Flying Club

The famous reporter Jules Gallez wrote: ‘Roger Vereecke was in 1978 and 1979 the best fond racer in Belgium’. The Japanese television came to Vereecke. They organized a charity race NIPPON Television Network Corporation. Several fanciers from Europe and Japan participated. The release of the birds was on 3rd november 1979. Their were 778 pigeons from 575 different fanciers. Roger Vereecke wins first 4 prizes out of his 5 birds. The fifth bird was from André Vanbruaene. The birds of Vereecke were: Champion, Jap, Pursang and Goed Geschelpt. A helicopter from the Japanese television followed the birds while racing. The success-story in Japan began.

The ‘Kleine Barcelona’
‘ Petrus’ wins 8th national and 13th international Pau in 1989. He is the full brother of ‘Zwarte Vereecke’, basic bird in the loft Chris Hebberecht. The 90’s begin good with 1ste national on Tulle with ‘Kleine Felix’. In 1991: on Barcelona 15 prizes out of 19 birds.’Condor’ wins 82nd international Barcelona and 107de international Perpignan; ‘Rode Mig’ (7de nat. Pau), ‘Poot’(16de nat. Marseille), ‘Duivel’ (44ste nat. Montauban), ‘Albatros’ (16de nat. Dax), ‘Tornado’( 2nd nat. Limoges YL), ‘Invalied’ (14th nat. Pau en 21st nat. Narbonne). Than comes one of the best birds in the history of Barcelona. ‘Kleine Barcelona’ wins in 1996-1997-1998:
1996 national 36 international 79
1997 national 27 international 51
1998 national 7 international 16
The millenium is coming closer. Some think that Roger Vereecke is beginning to think about stopping with pigeon races but…no way. In 2000 his cock ‘Baron’ wins: 29th nat. Brive 27.081 p, 1144th nat. Cahors 11.838p, 1102nd intern. Dax 11.807p en 94th intern. Perpignan 18.426p.
Roger keeps on writing history:
3de General Champion Belgische Verstandhouding 2002
1ste Belgium Ace Pigeon Barcelona San Sebastian 2003 with ‘Bask’
1ste General Champion Belgische Verstandhouding 2004
The championships 2004 are amazing
1ste General Champion Belgische Verstandhouding : The most important championship in Belgium (behind the KBDB championship). Roger wins for the 3rd time!
1ste Champion ‘Royal Belgian Flying Club’ (founded in 1885); Roger wins for the 7th time
1ste Champion Very long distance Fond Kortrijkse Club
1ste Champion Very long distance Fond ‘De Vlaamse Fondvrienden’
1ste Champion Team (Barcelona en Perpignan) with Etienne Devos, Deerlijk
1ste Free Fond West-Henegouwen
1ste General Fond West-Henegouwen
2de MillenniumChampionship (24 op 24 met 12 races)
2de Fond Belgische Verstandhouding
2de General Les Amis du Grand Fond Luik
2de National Very Long distance Belgische Verstandhouding en La vie Colombophile
2de General Club des Vingt
2de Fond Club des Vingt
2de Fond International Fondvereniging
2de Jan Breydel Marathon
Winner Tierce Very Long distance Belgische Verstandhouding
Winner Quart Fond Belgische Verstandhouding
3de Superprestige (6 fondraces)
4de Decathlon (10 fondraces)
4de champions League Old (7 fondraces)
5de Very Long distance Cureghem Centre
6de Champion Very long distance KBDB
7de Criteria der Azen Interwestvlaamse
7de Europe-ranking IATP PIPA 3349 participaters (with 1st signed on intern. Races)
8ste Marathon National (4 fondraces)
11de Criteria der Azen Belgische Verstandhouding

Roger crossed his old strain of basic birds (Ijzeren, Figaro, 90, Roste Tanghe) with some excellent birds form his many pigeonfriends all over the world. Most successful is Roger with the crossbreeding of his late friend Jozef Vandenbroecke from Wielsbeke. He became the cock ‘Zieken 32082705/82’ for breeding. He became father of ‘Zieken I’ en ‘Zieken II’, two basic cocks in the loft Vereecke. De ‘Zieken 705/82’ is the grandfather of the famous bird ‘DE KLEINE DIDI’ of Etienne Devos, Deerlijk. Also the famous ‘Médaille d’or’ of Léon Henry (Nandrin) is blood J. Vandenbroecke. This cock won 1st intern. Perpignan with 30 min ahead 17.331 pigeons and national 1 hour ahead against 5865p.
Several fanciers have success with birds from Vereecke. Many fanciers have visited the lofts in Deerlijk. Roger has started a ‘Golden Book’ 26 years ago in 1979. Fanciers have written some words in this book for Roger. This ‘Golden Book’ now has 2837 different names of fanciers coming from 47 different countries. A world record also?
The General Champion Belgische Verstandhouding 2004 is a legend at 83 years; Roger Vereecke, like Mohammed Ali should say, HE IS THE GREATIST.

Top racers 2004
‘Cahors 3010177/99

2000: Narbonne nat. 6929p-391
2001: Cahors nat.6689p-81
2002: Brive nat. 25.352p-1918 - Pau intern. 7867p-25 - Dax intern. 14.473p-167
2003: Castres nat. 4104p-502 - Dax intern. 5.026p-52
2004: Brive nat. 19447p-658 - Pau intern. 8270p-210 - Dax intern. 17526p-1411
The sire of this cock is ‘Cresus 3150374/94’. He is a son of ‘Zieken II 404/91’ (from ‘Zieken’ Vandenbroecke X Amazone Vereecke) X ‘Flora 370/91). The dame is ‘Roste hen 3235313/95’. She is from ‘Rode Tsaar 347/86’ (from Tsaar which won 16th intern. Barcelona in 1985) x ‘Dalida 602/94’ (from Dali 3rd nat. Brive and 4th nat. Barcelona).

'Bask 3001049/00’
2003: Barcelona nat. 11.806p-473 - San Sebastian intern. 2891p-36
1ste Asduif Copa Espagnola Cureghem Centre
2004: Biarritz intern. 2902p-29
The sire is ‘3235366/95’, son of ‘Kleine Felix’ (1st nat. Tulle) X ‘Flora 370/91’( 236/82 x 316/83). The dame is ‘3010176/99’ , sister of the cock ‘Cahors 177/99’.

‘ Derby 3001327/00’
2002: Limoges nat. 8869p-39
2003: Dax intern. 19.420p-29
This cock is bred from ‘336/99’ (grandson of ‘Kleine Barcelona 083/94’ x blood ‘Vital 798/88’ from Noel Lippens) X ‘282/98’ (direct daughter of ‘Kleine Barcelona 083/94).

Baron 3251173/97
1998: Limoges nat. 9.104p-101
1999: Narbonne nat. 6.228p-413
2000:Brive nat. 27.081p-29 - Cahors 11.838p-1144 - Dax intern. 11.807-1802 - Perpignan intern. 18.426p-94
Baron is on the breeding loft since 2001. He is from ‘Cresus 374/94’ (same as ‘Cahors’). The mother is ‘490/91’, a daughter of ‘Condor 602/88’ (82nd intern. Barcelona and 107th intern. Perpignan) x ‘Blew sister of ‘Kleine Gentleman’ (12th nat. Dax and 13th nat. Pau)

By the Mystery Writer
This is a part of the ‘Golden Book’ of Roger Vereecke. It is written in the Book by Philippe Mitterrand on December 6th in 1985:
Thank you for your excellent reception.
The weather in your country is usually grey.
But the sun is in the hearts.
The result of this is friendship.
May the providence take care that it stays like this
Philippe Mitterrand

The old loft