Jelle Van Sterthem (Maarkedal, BE): following in the footsteps of his teacher, Gaston Van de Wouwer

Jelle Van Sterthem
Jelle Van Sterthem is definitely one of the new talents making his way to the national top of the Belgian pigeon sport. With a win of 2x 2nd National, and 2nd and 3rd Provincial, Jelle has already come quite close to a first National/Provincial success.

Gaston Van de Wouwer as a mentor

Jelle was only 13 years old when he went to Berlaar for the first time. There was an instant friendship between the great champion Gaston Van de Wouwer and Jelle, who was at the time just beginning to take his first steps at the pigeon sport. Jelle took some pigeons back home to Maarkedal, but the good advice Gaston gave to the very young Jelle was even more important. And it certainly didn’t end there. Over the years, the bond of their friendship grew stronger and stronger and Gaston gave Jelle tips about medical aspects, breeding, racing, nutrition and, last but not least: motivation.

It should therefore come as no surprise to us that Jelle's way of playing is 100% based on the style of the great champion from Berlaar. Even now, the two of them are very regularly in touch and Gaston keeps giving Jelle his masterly advice.

Jelle and Gaston

De Jan as a breeding-pigeon

As already mentioned, big investments have been made in the Van de Wouwer pigeons in recent years. De Jan, a real top-bird, was one of the amazing pigeons that ended up in Maarkedal. De Jan has won for Gaston a 15th provincial Chateauroux against 2,179 pigeons and a 32nd provincial Montluçon against 2,152 pigeons. Later on, he turned into a real super-breeder. He is the grandfather of the Gaston Van de Wouwer record hen, New Kim, the super hen who won 1st National Ace Pigeon Great Middle Distance KBDB in 2018, and a 2nd, 12th and 21st National. This hen was sold on PIPA in 2020 for the astronomical amount of 1,600,000.00 EUR, making her the most expensive hen of all time.

Palme Kim, another super hen, is also a granddaughter of De Jan. She has won, among other prizes, the 1st National Zone Chateauroux against 5,465 pigeons.

De Jan has done his stock-breeding magic in no time for Jelle, as well. Amina, who won the 2nd National Argenton against 23,260 youngsters in 2019, is a granddaughter of De Jan.

The amazing breeding-pigeon De Jan

Jelle Van Sterthem’s top-pigeons

Stonne and Amina, 2 absolute quality birds at Jelle’s loft, are impossible to miss.

Amina won, as mentioned earlier, in 2020 the 2nd National Argenton against 23,260 youngsters.

Amina's sire is Thunderstruck BE16-4143025. This scalloped cock has won, among other prizes, 1st Souppes Sur Loing against 485 pigeons. Her grandfather as we have already seen, is De Jan, BE07-6033105: a super-breeder and grandson of Gaston’s Kaasboer. Her grandmother is a full sister of the other amazing pigeon, Stonne: Sara, BE14-4238970.

Amina's dam is Lana, BE16-6021570: a cross 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. Granddam Leyla BE15-6285666 comes directly from Johan De Belser and just like her grandfather, Leyla is a cross of De Belser x Van de Wouwer.

Amina, 2nd NAT. Argenton 2019

Video of Jan

Stonne was the pigeon that ensured Jelle's first big success: victory in the 2nd National Tours against 28,311 youngsters.

Her sire is Rik Junior, BE13-4196618. This Gaston Van de Wouwer cock is a grandson of Torre on his father's side, a son of Gaston's Kaasboer and BE02-6183084, a sister of the 1st Nat. La Souteraine – a Johan De Belser bird. Her grandmother is Sandy, BE11-6119143 – a granddaughter of the Kaasboer.

Stonne’s mother is Babs, BE12-6023211. Babs is also the mother of Silke, 46th Nat. Chateauroux III 4,389 p. Her grandfather is a Dirk Van Dyck summer youngster, BE10-6297742. Her grandmother, Barbara, BE09-2035886, is one of Gaston’s top hens. This hen is a triple (!) Provincial winner from Montluçon, Vierzon and Argenton respectively.

Stonne, 2nd NAT. Tours 2014

Other top-pigeons in the loft are:

Bella Donna, winner of the 3rd provincial Chateauroux against 4,708 youngsters. Her full sister, the 256/18, won the 2nd provincial Orleans against 1,480 youngsters, but unfortunately was later lost.

Her sire is Boris, BE15-4074377. This Gaston Van de Wouwer cock is a half-brother of Maria, 4th National Ace Pigeon Great Middle Distance KBDB 2018 and winner 1st National Chateauroux and 4th National La Souterraine (sold for 700,000 EUR on PIPA in 2020).

Her dam is a daughter of Babs, BE12-6023211, also dam of Silke, 46th Nat. Chateauroux III 4,389 pigeons.

Bella Donna, 3rd PROV. Chateauroux
Top kweekduivin Babs

Video of Babs

To conclude:  BE20-4202618, won 38th best Belgian pigeon in 4 national races (PIPA ranking) with the following prizes:

• 45th Nat. Zone Bourges - 6,626 pigeons

• 61st Nat. Zone Argenton - 7,245 pigeons

• 215th Nat. Zone Chateauroux - 4,458 pigeons

• 764th Nat. Zone Chateauroux - 7,117 pigeons


The future looks bright

The future looks indeed very bright for Jelle, having at his loft the offspring of super-breeder Jan, and with priceless advice at hand from his mentor, Gaston Van de Wouwer. A superb pigeon line, valuable lessons from a champion-master, and Jelle's pigeon fancier talent are powerful ingredients to make it in the pigeon sport. Are you, too, feeling curious to see what the upcoming 2021 season will bring? And whether Jelle's young pigeon team will win again top-prizes and maybe even take that first national golden palm back home to his lofts in Maarkedal?

One person who definitely has an eye for young talents in the pigeon sport is the Irish filmmaker Gavin Fitzgerald currently making a documentary called Million Dollar Pigeon Racing. Jelle has already been interviewed twice and, if circumstances allow it, the intention is for the crew to come and film in Maarkedal in May. Most likely, Fitzgerald will also follow via zoom the end of the online auction, which is currently running on PIPA, and maybe even film it.

Stay tuned! To be continued... for sure!