National Champion Long Distance KBDB - 2007
Baerts Henri and Guy from Grazen

The national championship Long Distance was raced in 2007 with the first two nominated pigeons (1+2), list of rankings per 5, in 3 races of choice between the national races Brive, Montelimar, Cahors, Montauban and Orange. This year the duo Baerts Henri and Guy from Grazen were the ones who had the place of honour on the podium in Oostende. They won by a large margin with a coefficient of 23,43. Grazen is the smallest municipality of Geetbets and lies in Flemish-Brabant, a stones throw away from Limburg. It was here that the duo Baerts Henri and Guy enjoyed a fantastic year in the Long Distance and Grand Distance in 2007. Apart from the National title, they were also General Champion Long Distance in the Brabant Union, where they also won the Oscar for the Long Distance (raced in all the programmed races). In addition they had the best old pigeon in the club with "King Rhone" and ended 2nd in the Route du Rhone, and this with the three first nominated in three races. Father Henri is still active in the pigeon sport and then mainly in the short distance. Guy was fascinated by pigeons from an early age and had his own loft when he was 12 years old, with a little help from his father of course. At the moment the colony is completely run by Guy, but father Henri jumps in when necessary. In addition, he is always present when the pigeons are due to return from the Long Distance races.

The National title
The National title was achieved with 4 different pigeons.
From Brive it was “D’artagnan” who was basketted as first nominated and didn’t let them down, achieving the 259th place from 6535 pigeons Zone C. “D’Artagnan” also proved himself in 2002 with, amongst other things, three top 100 quotes semi-national from Jarnac and a whole list of other top prizes in the Long Distance races such as Cahors, Brive, Narbonne. D’Artagnan is a son of Falco who in turn excelled in the Long Distance races with a 36th Nat. Bordeaux, 85th Nat. Dax, 165th Nat. Dax, 292nd Nat. Beziers,… Falco is also a son of the Molnar, one of the stock pigeons in the lofts in Grazen. As 2nd nominated from Brive, "Silver Shadow" was basketted as a son from D’artagnan, but also as a half-brother from Little Joe (the same mother). We are talking about a two-year old pigeon that had performed well as a yearling. He was clocked first from Brive and attained the 65th place from 6535 pigeons Zone C.
From Montelimar and Orange “Darius” was basketted as first nominated. He is a direct son of Pocasso who was coupled with a full sister of Olympic Euro, who was the 2nd Olympiade pigeon Long Distance in Blackpool and this from the lofts of Jos Thoné. Darius achieved the 96th prize from Montelimar against 4.499 pigeons Zone C and from Orange the 291st against 3.350 pigeons. For the second nominated the trust was placed in “Napoleon”, a three-year old pigeon with a father who is a direct son of the Kleine Molenaar, and a mother who is a daughter of Pocasso. From Montelimar this athlete attained a 135th place against 4.499 pigeons Zone C and from Orange he achieved 156th against 3.350 pigeons Zone C. From Marseille (Irun III) he also achieved the 400th international against 15.627 pigeons and scored in his still young Long Distance career 7 from the 7 in the Long Distance races. What is remarkable is that by these six prizes not one of them is for the best pigeon in the loft, namely King Rhone. This topper achieved from Montelimar the 28th National against 7.873 pigeons, 20th Zone C 4.499 pigeons, from Orange the 94th National Zone C 3.350 pigeons and from Marseille (Irun III) the 362nd International against 15.627 pigeons. With this he was crowned the best old pigeon in the Long Distance Club in Wallonie and was second ace pigeon in the Route du Rhone. King Rhone’s father is a son of half-brother Poco and his mother is a direct daughter of the Kleine Molenaar who was coupled with a daughter of Pocasso so that we can rightly speak of an inbreed product to the miraculous “Poco” from Jos Thoné.

Stock building – Annex loft Jos Thoné
When it was decided in the 90’s to change over to the Long Distance, there was a certain Dirk Leekens from the Limburgs As who had impressively beat the Long Distance world with his fantastic performances. Seeing that Guy was convinced that success in the Long Distance could only be achieved with reliable material, he contacted with the now famous hairdresser from As. Because Dirk had just moved house this year and the loft for the youngsters was not yet ready, possession was taken of ten youngsters out of his best couples and the start with the Long Distance was made. These pigeons all descended from the pigeons from Jos Thoné. Guy also came in contact with the wonder boy from As, as he was sometimes called, via Dirk and the passion for the Thoné-pigeon was born. The following purchase was a real bulls-eye. It concerns the de Molnar, a 100% Thoné- pigeon, but bred in the lofts of friend Dirk. In this way the Molnar became father of the 1st National Brive Zone C, 1st Nat. Brive, 4th Nat. Brive 19.487 p., 28th National Bordeaux, 36e National Bordeaux, 85th National Dax, 165th National Dax, 292nd National Beziers, 23rd Provincial Jarnac, 24th Provincial Montauban, … Because vouchers had been bought, more pigeons moved from Jos’s loft to Grazen and also a close friendship began.

The purchase of Pocasso in the Gouden Duifviering from the newspaper De Duif in 2000 was also a bulls-eye. It concerns a pigeon with a unique descent. The mother is no-one less than the Poco 1st Nat. Barcelona hen in ’95 while she had already flown 1st intern. Barcelona yearlings in ‘93. The grandfather of Pocasso is then again the Arnold, 1st International Barcelona ’97 and the grandmother is the Gerda, 1st International Barcelona ’96. Also the Poco and the Arnold are closely related, seeing that Arnold’s father is a half-brother of Poco. And the saying that good blood doesn’t lie is proven here, so is Pocasso the father of Darius, grandfather of Napoleon and great grand-father of King Rhone. The winner of the 75th International St-Vincent 2007 with more than 7500 pigeons is also a grandson of Pocasso. Another grandson raced for Ralf Funk in Germany as a yearling won the 7th International Marseille against more than 19.000 pigeons. When the Kleine Molenaar crowned the Thoné household in 2000 with the 7th National ace pigeon in the Long Distance with amongst other things a 37th Nat. Marseille 4.093 p., 51st Nat. Montauban 7.220 p., 76th Nat. Perpignan 6.246 p.,… artificial insemination was used on this pigeon through the firm Bifs and a few excellent pigeons were inseminated. Some of these breeding products were also moved to Grazen. This is how King Rhone and Napoleon came to be two grandchildren of the Kleine Molenaar. Another very special pigeon in the breeding loft is the Little Joe. After he won the 9th International from Marseille in very heavy conditions against 20.786 pigeons in 2003 (the second pigeon in the club Obrafo Tienen was more than two hours later), he was immediately given a place in the breeding loft. They still don’t regret it here in Grazen. A daughter of Little Joe in the loft of friend Jos has this year won the 1st Prov. Montauban and the 8th National. Another son raced in Obrafo Tienen the 1st from St-Vincent (28th Semi-National) last year, and this year the 1st from Bordeaux (86th National). Yet another son has this year won a 1st from Tulle by the yearlings (30th semi-National). Little Joe is of course a 100% Thoné-pigeon and is a half-brother of the Godiva (1st Prov. Bordeaux, 1st Prov. Perpignan, 27th Nat. Barcelona….).
Everything is speeding up, and the world of pigeon racing hasn’t been able to avoid this fact. When friend Jos won the 1st and 2nd International from Narbonne in 2005, it was with two granddaughters of the Sumo, one of the stock pigeons in the middle distance. Knowing that also the 1st and 2nd International Dax in England (was by the way the first international victory ever won in England) were also two grandchildren of the Sumo, Guy was there in a flash to cross these pigeons with his Long Distance pigeons. At the moment there are also 4 direct daughters of the Sumo who are only being used for breeding. The results of these crossings have in 2007 as yearlings already performed really well. In contrast to the Long Distance pigeons, these pigeons have also performed well from 300 km. In the last race from Tulle it was in Obrafo Tienen a 1st, 3rd, 7th,… and 4 from the 5. There is every confidence that these pigeons will also do well as two-year olds from Brive, Limoges, Souillac, ….
For the sake of completeness we have to mention that the input from a few pigeons from the duo Harinck-Poelmans from Genk was also a windfall. Because the Long Distance pigeons from Jos Thoné have been heavily inbred to the lines of the Poco and the Kleine Molenaar, it was decided together with Jos to go looking for high class pigeons to crossbreed with.
They visited Wijnands & sons in Maastricht and bought three sons from the Blauwe Vanoppen and a sister of the Bonte Marseille. The first results with these pigeons, inbred with own stock, are encouraging. After the power explosion from Peter and Dr Hans-Peter Brockamp in 2007, they also called here for the best of this colony. Two children of the Euro-Diamond (1st Olympiade pigeon marathon in Oostende), two children of the Mistral (2nd Olympiade pigeon for German marathon in Oostende), two children of the George (father Euro-Diamond and Mistral) and a daughter of the Armstrong (1st Int. Perpignan and now grandfather of the 1st Int. Barcelona 2007) moved to Grazen. These new purchases will be used for breeding in 2008.

Racing system
So as earlier mentioned, in the Baerts household only the Long Distance and Extreme Long Distance are raced. The 2007 season was begun with 14 old widowers, twenty yearlings, 5 old hens and ten yearling hens. The cocks are raced in classic widowhood. Prior to the season the pigeons are allowed to brood twice for 5 days. In order to prevent moulting they don’t let them raise their young. They make sure that the eggs of the most important widowers are placed under feeding couples. The second pairing in the spring starts at the beginning of May. As soon as the weather permits, the pigeons are trained and a lot of effort is put into the training. Before the pigeons are entered for the races they are trained as much as possible. This begins with a distance of ten kilometres. The pigeons never get to see their hen, even when they return home, except when the pigeons are paired of course. In this way they want to let their pigeons begin the new season peacefully.
The first programmed race is usually Fleurus, roughly 60 km, after this follows Momignies 120 km, Soissons 210 km, Toury 380 km and then it is Orleans, Vierzon or Bourges. Starting with Toury the pigeons are usually clocked, but it goes without saying that with pure Long Distance pigeons one doesn’t have to expect too much from these distances. There is also the fact that the pigeons are not really trained to perform well from these races. The goals in the Baerts household are in the longer races. As son as the pigeons are basketted in the club, the hens are sitting waiting for them to come home.
By basketting, the pigeons are just taken from the loft. As soon as Brive approaches the weapon changes shoulders and the care and training of the pigeons is stepped up. It is now a case of performing well. When basketting for Brive the cocks are given their hens for one to one and a half hours and this is done by each basketting for a Long Distance race. By showing the hens for longer periods the cocks are at peace before they are basketted, which is important for the Long Distance races, seeing that they have to stay in the basket for a long time. From the first week of June the pigeons are entered every week for a Long Distance and/or Extreme Long Distance race. In 2007 the hens were raced with a nest for the first time and not without success. The old hens were basketted twice with a youngster from +/- 5 days and in total they achieved 7/9 with in Obrafo Tienen a 2nd from Bordeaux, 2nd from Tulle etc… The yearling hens only race once and this with the same nest position. From Irun they achieved 3/3 in Obrafo Tienen and from St-Vincent 2/2. The yearling cock’s last race is usually Jarnac 700 km, but because of the bird flu this wasn’t possible in 2007.
Some of the yearling cocks were entered for St-Vincent and some (Sumo-line) Tulle. They are used to win points. According to Guy the overnight races introduced over the last few years are not the ideal training for the yearling cocks for a lengthy Long Distance career, especially not for small lofts. The youngsters in the Baerts household are only trained, and if possible only up to 300 km.

Medical matters, by-products, feeding….
The colony is under the supervision of the vet Ferdi Vandersanden from Veldwezelt. There are regular visits to the man of knowledge. There is usually nothing wrong, but nowadays one can’t afford to start with anything but completely fit athletes. When basketting for each Long Distance race the pigeons are also studied with their own microscope for a tricho contamination. Medical support doesn’t automatically mean giving a lot of medicine in the Baerts household. Outside the season, from after Perpignan until the beginning of April, there is usually no medicine given. The lengthy paratyphoid cure, which is used in so many lofts, is also taboo here and is never used. Neither are the pigeons vaccinated against this disease. This medication free period is certainly beneficial to the resistance of the pigeons. At the start of the season a cure is given against trichomoniasis. When necessary they are treated for the airways during the season, but there is usually a bacterial investigation first with a “swab-test”, so that the right antibiotics can be given. Because the pigeons stand on grids there is no problem with coccidiosis or worms. Although there is only a very limited amount of medicine given, there are a lot of by-products given from the firm Bifs from Dr. Ferdi Vandersanden, such as Vior (for acid in the throat and intestine), Enterocure (for improving the intestinal flora), T-Cure (tea), Vigoramine (Vitamins), Perform-Oil, Oligo-Fertil (breeding vitamins) … There is also use made of other products from the firm Probac from Dr. Hans-Peter Brockamp, Germany. We are referring to Probac 1000 (probiotics), Lecithine Oil, Grune Heilerde (for the intestinal flora), Aerosol (based on plants to prevent respiratory problems), APF 90 (proteins)….

The feeding is very simple, with Thoné-special from the firm Beyers being given all year round. During the racing season this mixture is given every day and the pigeons are given more than enough to eat with the remnants being removed after half an hour. It is so as the name suggest, a mixture made up by his friend Jos Thoné, and where only the best grains are used seeing that it is a premium-mixture. This mixture includes paddy rice so that it can also be given to the youngsters. According to Guy this is one of the reasons, along with giving the above mentioned nature products and the limited use of medication, that up until now the youngsters haven’t been troubled by the adenovirus. It is a matter of consequence. As the day of basketting approaches the pigeons to be basketted are given something extra in the form of Super Energy, also from the firm Beyers. This is a fatty mixture. It goes without saying that they can still consult Jos Thoné, which is of course a great advantage.

National Champion KBDB Long Distance
General Champion Long Distance Brabant union
Winner Oscar of the Long Distance Brabant union (1st nominated. Prize at least per 10 in all races)
1st Champion Long Distance old 1st and 2nd nominated Brabant Union
4th Champion super Long Distance 1st and 2nd nominated Brabant Union
7th Champion Long Distance yearlings 1st and 2nd nominated Brabant Union
1st ace pigeon old Long Distance Club in Wallonie
2nd National ace pigeon CFW Route Du Rhone
2nd National Champion CFW Route du Rhone (3 first nominated in 3 races)

Results 2007
Brive 690 km 2,7,9,26,34 (5/6) Obrafo 199 p. 65, 259,343,1020,1233 (5/6) National Zone C 6.535 p.
Montelimar 704 km 3,7,9,18,38 (5/6) Obrafo 187 p. 28, 187,259,586,1408 (5/6) National 7.873 p. (5/6)
Bordeaux 795 km 1,2,4,6,9,10 (6/6) Obrafo 48 p.
Orange 750 km 6,11,18 (3/3) Obrafo 131 p.
Irun 992 km 38,101,141 (3/3) yearlings 477 p. 99,273,478 (3/3) yearlings 1.989 p.
Irun 992 km 2,3 (2/6) Obrafo 205, 221 (2/6) National 5.856 p. 362,400 (2/6) International 15.627 p.
Narbonne 874 km 7, 18 (2/2) Obrafo 95 p. 430,842 (2/2) National 5.051 p.
St-Vincent 938 km 3,15,20,22,26 (5/8) 100 p. 72,... National 7.520 p.
Tulle 642 km 1,4,7,... (4/6) yearlings Obrafo 103 p. 30, ... Semi-nat. 2160 p. 2, 20 (2/2) Old Obrafo 61 p. 39,247 (2/2) 1082 p.
Perpignan 923 km 18,41 (2/3) Obrafo 298 p. 400,973 (2/3) National 5.547 p.
St-Vincent 938 km 29, 44 (2/2) Old 317 p. 13,29 (2/2) Yearlings 141 p.