Tant Johan, "Winner of Souillac against 6.612 pigeons"

Johan Tant flanked by his mother and father, Olsene (BE)

At the Tant’s, the passion for pigeon sport runs in the family. Johan’s grandfather is none other than the late Valère Desmet and Johan’s mother is the eldest sister of Roger Desmet-Matthys. When we arrive, Johan is still working on the farm so his mother starts to bring back memories about the good old days. Memories about the days of the world famous ‘Klaren’ and the low points such as the pigeon theft in the late fifties and the premature death of her dad Valère


Johan has never (directly) used strains of his grandfather or uncle. He acquired 3 pigeons of Lefevre-Dhaenens at the age of 18. These three were Johan’s very first pigeons and he regularly returned to these fanciers later-on to get some reinforcement for his colony. By the way, the pedigree of the national winner shows that the father is 100% Dhaenens-Lefevre; he was raised in his own loft. The mother was raised in his loft as well and descends on her father’s side of ‘De Marcel’ who comes from the late Marcel Vandewalle in Zwalm. The grandmother on mother’s side is a direct pigeon of Alfons Vervaecke. Further on in the pedigree there are strains of Deseyn-Vandemeulebroeke and of, sure enough, Desmet-Matthys (via Alfons Vervaecke).

Johan’s principal purpose is -and will continue to be- 500-700 km racing. The pigeons are made for this kind of races. But Johan also likes to sent 2 or 3 pigeons to every extreme long distance race. He only baskets strains that are able to deal with greater distances. Johan has obtained a couple of pigeons of Emiel Denys and Van de Walle Marc & Franky during the last few years with the intention to participate in extreme long distance racing.

Johan is having a more than good season this year, better than 2005 and possibly as good as 2004: the year in which he became 5th Nat. Champion KBDB Long Distance and won a.o. 1st Prov. Poitiers and 6th Nat. Brive. During this season, he won the 31st national prize in the Albi race and 4, 5 & 7 at the club in Waregem with 3 pigeons. By the way, not just anyone is basketing pigeons in Waregem: De Meulemeester Gaby & Johan, Desmet-Matthys and Marc Verschelde are putting their pigeons into the basket at the very same club. Johan was 25 minutes in advance as far as this national victory of Souillac is concerned, he beat a.o. all of the toppers mentioned above.

As we mentioned earlier, Johan is managing a farm in every day life which implies that he is on the road regularly to buy or sell cattle. He is taking care of his pigeons on his own nevertheless, it’s all just a matter of running the organisation in a smooth way. As a final resort, Johan’s mother can lend a helping hand but he prefers to do it all on his own. Despite his busy life, Johan is taking enough time to arrange everything right down to the last detail. For example: he feeds all of his 45 widowers (yearlings + old pigeons) with a soupspoon twice every day. In between two races all the pigeons receive light feed (diet + purification) and breeding mixture. 4 tot 5 days prior to basketing Johan gradually switches to 100% pure racing mixture.

The hens are shown briefly (3 tot 4 minutes) before a national race. When the ‘Souillac’ saw his hen, he crawled deep into the nest dish straight away which gave Johan a good felling...

"De Souillac" 1st National 2006 : Pedigree : Click here
to enlarge the pedigree: click on the square that appears at the bottom on the right


On the day of the race, the weather charts showed a light west wind but since there were early pigeons all over the country, the influence of the wind during that weekend might be negligible. Once again, the mercury rose to 30°C which meant that the pigeons had the fly in high temperatures for yet another weekend. The winner of Souillac is a 2-year-old scalloped cock of medium size, ring number 4240768/04, he was the 2nd nominated in the Souillac race. He was noticed before as a yearling in the Limoges Yearlings race where he obtained a 501st national prize against 17.456 pigeons (8th in the club) and approx. 270th Prov. Chateauroux. Johan allows every yearling that attracted his attention at least once to stay as a 2-year-old. This year, the national winner also achieved the 18th prize at the club in Waregem in the Limoges Derby. The programme of ‘Souillac’ and of all the 2-year-old pigeons in Johan’s lofts was: Clermont, Ablis, Angoulème, Limoges Derby and Souillac. And that’s that for the season of the 2-year-olds.