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Hilferink Cees, "win with Lady Lolitha in div. 8 GOU against 9175 pigeons the very tough Freiburg (2007)"

Comb. HILFERINK, Zutphen, NL

This father-son combination expected the pigeons, which had been liberated at 10.45am in Freiburg for a 470 kilometre race, between 4pm and 4.30pm. It took much longer than expected and at about half past five Cees asked his brother-in-law if a pigeon had been registered on the electronic system, because the whole family stood behind the pigeon loft waiting for the first arrival and the electronic system was at the house under the lean-to. The brother-in-law replied that he had just checked and there was nothing registered. A short time later Cees went himself to check and much to his amazement the 06-NL-1844434 had been registered at 17.25.47. Cees went directly to his loft to check if there really was a pigeon home and oh yes the blue white speckled hen was back. There were four men waiting behind the loft for a pigeon to arrive home and the hen had slipped inside without anybody noticing. The "434" had the name Lady Lolitha, and had a velocity of more than 1174 metres per minute and won against 9175 pigeons in division 8 GOU. Mother Geertje's prediction had come true: "It's my birthday Saturday, maybe it will bring us luck!"

The winner
Lady Lolitha's mother is a daughter of the "Didi" x "Dana" (a direct Gaby Vandenabeele) and her father is the "Bonte Gerard" (02-NL-2005287), from the sort Broeckx - Hees from Turnhout (Belgium). "Bonte Gerard" was given to them by Gerard Boesveld from Vorden, who had got him via J. de Graaf from Weert.

Victories of Lady Lolitha in 2007
Orleans 27-05 412th against 3043 pigeons
Orleans 10-06 361st against 2512 pigeons
Offenburg 07-07 97th against 1781 pigeons
Freiburg 21-07 1st against 9175 pigeons

The fanciers The combination Hilferink consists of father Aart (66) and son Cees (41). Aart had kept pigeons since 1946, but the combination wasn't formed until 1983. They are members of P.V. De Valk in Brummen. The care of the pigeons rests for 80% on the shoulders of mother Geertje, because Aart has had an operation on his right hand and is unable to do very much. On top of this, Aart also has asthma and can only enter the lofts wearing a protective mask. Son Cees is often at his girlfriend's house in Deventer and therefore can't always help with the pigeons.

Lofts and stock building
The combination has a 10 metre garden loft and there is another 35 square metre loft for breeders and racers above the house. The front of the racing loft faces south-west. The loft for the one-day Long Distance is built up with pigeons from the sort Gebr. Janssen A., Louis van Loon, Gaby Vandenabeele and the own sort ( Tournier and Hermans ). Some of the pigeons were bought directly and some via H. Eijerkamp en znn., Gerard Boesveld and the Comb. Schrijvers from Wageningen.
Pigeons for the overnight Long Distance are from Menne und Töchter from Hamminkeln-Brünen (G.), Jansen from Groesbeek, Gerard Boesveld and H. Eijerkamp en znn. Aart and Cees prefer to race one-day Long Distance, overnight Long Distance and the youngsters. Aart especially likes the NPO-races for youngsters and everything possible is done in order to get as many reports on ceefax as possible.

Aart and Cees have 20 breeding couples and a few foster couples. There is not really a stock couple yet. They apply line breeding. In this way they have the line from the "Gabyele", pure Vandenabeele. "Gabyele" is a hen, and won 53 prizes in 5 years:
" 1999 as youngster 4 prizes
" 2000 14 prizes from 18 x entered
" 2001 14 prizes from 17 x entered
" 2002 15 prizes from 19 x entered
" 2003 6 prizes from 7 x entered

This means a prize percentage of 79,1%! "Gabyele" has as father the 97-BE-4336627 and is a half-brother of the "Havik " from Gaby Vandenabeele and as mother the 97-BE-3305860, who is a daughter of the "Adonis" from Gaby Vandenabeele. In their lofts they also have pigeons from the best of the lofts of H. Eijerkamp en znn. Hans Eijerkamp en znn. are very good sport friends of Aart and Cees. The pigeons are coupled in the first week of January, with the exception of the pigeons for the overnight Long Distance, who are not coupled until March. The racing pigeons are also used for breeding. They breed about 100 youngsters for their own use and these have to go through a very strict selection.

System one-day Long Distance pigeons
The season opens with 16 couples, from which 20 pigeons are raced. The pigeons are trained well before the beginning of the season. One of the partners always remains home. In the evening before basketting the pigeons are let loose, but only if it is good weather. As preparation for the one-day Long Distance, the racers are entered for nearly all the sprint and middle distance races. They are even entered for a middle distance race between two one-day Long Distance races. The only exception was this year after the 2nd Orleans, because this was quite a tough race. There is no use made of lighting or darkening by the old racing pigeons.
The order in which the pigeons are nominated is dependant on previous performances and how the pigeons behave during the days before basketting. The pigeons are regularly given a bath (at least once a week). Aart and Cees feed their pigeons feed from the firm OVATOR.
At the beginning of the week they are only fed lightly and are given more/fattier food leading up to the day of basketting. The pigeons are fed in small pots, as this is the easiest for mother Geertje. They use peanuts to call the pigeons inside. The pigeons like the peanuts so much that they try to pinch them out of the jacket pockets.
The hens compulsorily train twice daily for an hour (with the flag) starting at the beginning of June.
The cocks also train twice daily but without the flag. The pigeons are not taken any distance away during the week due to lack of time.

Medical guidance
The medical guidance is in the hands of dr. Hans van de Sluis. Aart and Cees give their pigeons as little medicine as possible. The pigeons are given a cure for trichomoniasis whilst they are sitting on eggs. During the season the droppings are occasionally inspected and a few pigeons have a throat smear. After every race and also on Wednesdays the pigeons are given Vlietabo (this is a sort of glucose with vitamins).

Nowadays other fanciers perform well both at home and abroad with pigeons from the West-side Homestead, especially in their own country:
" M. Spanjaard in Zeeland
" Comb. Nijboer - Kalter in Kampen

The favourite pigeons from Aart and Cees are: "Dolce Vita" (05-NL-2185038) and "Collin" (04-1644801). "Dolce Vita" is a granddaughter of "de Flits" from H. Eijerkamp en znn. and is one of the best pigeons in the racing loft on the West-side Homestead. She was in the top 20 of the regional results three times. "Collin" is also out the line of "de Flits" and he is named after Cees's son. "Collin" was also in the top 20 of the regional results four times.

Pigeon sport miscellaneous
Aart and Cees are of the opinion that a pigeon has to lie stable in the hand, has to have good muscles, has to have a soft pluimage and has to have a certain magic (they like to see a hawk's eye). Cees, who is also a member of the Dutch group of inspectors, doesn't apply the so called "eye theory", but looks t the eye of course when he is inspecting a pigeon. According to Cees breeding value can be determined by taking a good look at what the pigeon's eye has to tell us.

Goals for the future
Aart and Cees want to try to retain their current novae and then extending their participation in the overnight races. Their ultimate goal is achieving a national victory.

This time I was a guest by a real "pigeon family", where the pigeon sport a real hobby is for all the family. A family that would be unable to practise the sport at the moment without the help of mother Geertje. What could be then nicer than achieving this great victory on her birthday? Family Hilferink, I congratulate you on your victory and wish you feel success for the future, but the future looks rosy with such fantastic material in your lofts.