The rural village has 750 inhabitants and belongs to the borough of Brummen. This village was first written about in the year 1046, just under 1000 years ago. This small village houses a number of well-known pigeon sport fanciers so as the Gebr. Bierhof. In the earlier days Gerrit and the late Jan Plant made furore here. In 1963 they were crowned amongst the best fanciers in the country. The national winner of Mantes la Jolie, Erik Plant, is a son of Gerrit Plant. Gerrit doesn’t keep pigeons any more, but is still passionate about the hobby of his son. He looks after the pigeons, together with Bert Teunissen when Erik is on holiday towards the end of the season for youngsters. It was proved that they do a good job in the magnificent result last Saturday. Fourteen prizes from twenty pigeons entered, with the first prize and the first four pigeons in the top one hundred nationally is not nothing. It was already a special day for P.V. ‘De Valk’ in Brummen, the club of which Erik is a member. The entire national podium was occupied by members of this club for this race ( Erik Plant, his almost neighbour Eef Haandrikman and Hans Eijerkamp and Sons) and also five pigeons which had been basketted in this national basketting centre placed themselves in the top ten on Teletext. You can guess why it was an enjoyable Saturday evening in Brummen by ‘De Valk’!
A passionate pigeon fancier
The 44 year old Erik Plant grew up with the pigeon sport. Up until 2002 he raced together with father Gerrit. In 2004 he started under his own name from his current address. Erik has a busy job as Chief Calculator by a building firm in Apeldoorn. The little time that he has over is spent with the pigeons. Because he wants to attain the highest achievable and nowadays you have to give a lot, if not everything for this. His wife Bea helps in the mornings when necessary by calling in and feeding the youngsters. Erik is a small fancier. He prefers quality to quantity. He races with 12 racing couples old birds, has seven breeding couples and breeds 40 youngsters for his own use. His basis pigeons are: the old Gebr. Janssen and Meulemans line from his father – Heremans-Ceusters via Arie and Jos van Roon and further pigeons from Hans Eijerkamp and Sons, Alwin Petrie and Gert Jan Beute. All these lines are crossed with each other, which gives the best results. In 2006 he won a place on Teletext with the 4th NPO Bourges Province 8 North. But the national victory last Saturday is a different thing altogether!
The game with the youngsters
The pigeons are coupled around Christmas. After weaning, the youngsters are not let of because of the danger of birds from prey. They are put in the aviary during the day so that they can familiarize themselves with the area. Darkening is used from the 1st of April to the beginning of June. The darkening is phased out over the first two weeks of June. No use is made of extra light. All the youngsters are together in one loft. There is simply no time for racing the pigeons in widowhood. This year is the first year that no medicine has been given. A Paramyxo and a smallpox vaccination were the only contribution from the man in the white coat. Three times a week Forte Vita from Travipharma and on the day of basketting Belgasol. The feed consists of Teurlings A.S. Junior, supplemented with H.E. 4000 from Garvo and nibbling seeds when the distance becomes further. Before the start of the races the pigeons are put into the baskets at home several times. A lot of work is put into training the pigeons. They are taken away eight to ten times. The furthest station is Ravenstein. The first time they go with the container is by the first clock flight from Boxtel. In the beginning the pigeons train once a day. The last four weeks the training is increased to twice a day. The pigeons are often coupled, but not allowed a nest. This year the youngsters performed very well. Of the 39 youngsters at the start, 26 remained. On average more than 50% prize was won. It was a close competition with almost neighbour and member of the same club, Eef Haandrikman. From Breuil the week before Erik had a magnificent result, starting with the 2nd in the club and district Zutphen after Eef Haandrikman. The roles were reversed from Mantes la Jolie.
A beautiful winner
The winning pigeon is the NL 09-1831815, a truly beautiful blue hen. This season she achieved five prizes from the seven baskettings. The blood of this pigeon is entirely from Club members. The father is the NL 05-2110684 ‘Blue Garfield’ a direct Hans Eijerkamp and Sons. He comes out ‘Son Garfield’ x ‘Daughter Porsche Bond’. The mother is the NL 07-1367948, a direct Arie and Jos van Roon. She is a pure Heremans-Ceusters. The ‘815’ was paired with the ‘823’ which was the 4th pigeon of the loft from Mantes la Jolie. This ‘823’ was paired with no less than three hens and jealously probably played a large role in this success. On Saturday Erik sat waiting in the large garden together with his family and sport friend Alwin Petrie. If he was to be early he would have to clock at around 13h25. At 13.23 Alwin Petrie was first to see the first pigeon arrive. It fell out of the sky like a stone, no time was lost. It was a good thing too, because Eef Haandrikman was only 40 seconds behind. The ‘815’ was clocked at 13h23.36 from a distance of 464.088 metres, which gave a velocity of 1.434,133 m/m. It was the earliest pigeon in the national basketting centre Brummen, but had Erik won more? Via Teletext Erik saw that he had actually won 1st National. An indescribable good feeling came over Erik Plant. The circus started that evening. At around 24h00 someone from China telephoned to make an offer for the pigeon. (at the time of writing the pigeon has not yet been sold. It will probably be placed in the breeding loft). On Sunday morning the guys from the club came to party in the garden. Cees Donker came to take shots for his famous films. Erik is surprised that there has not (yet) been any official control or doping control. On Sunday evening he is happy that it is all over. Because Monday is a busy work day! Once again, congratulations. Your family name will be spoken of with respect over the coming decades in pigeon sport circles!