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1st National Sint Vincent 2005

Information supplied by Nikolaas Gyselbrecht of www.pipa.be in conjunction with Elimar Pigeon Services



It is always a pleasure to visit National winner,s and yet again Nikolaas Gyselbrecht was on the ball in gathering and send the latest information of the top Belgium National winners. Nikolaas was saying that he had a great afternoon at Bottelare, the place of the 2005 Sint Vincent winner André Colbrandt. This was not just a quick visit but because of the discussions that took place the whole evening was taken up. André Colbrandt isn't just a regular pigeon fancier; he is a very good one with fantastic pigeons that have a proven track record over a period of time. This was not just a case of talking about the latest National victory for the whole evening, but about a lot of other aspects of pigeon racing and the passing away of his good friend and one of Belgium's all time greats the late Roger Florizoone who had an incredible record especially in the long distance events.

André is now 65 years old and has therefore now retired so will have time to spend with the pigeons. He first took an interest in pigeons because of his grandfather, however his father also was a pigeon fancier so the generations keep rolling on in the sport. Just like everybody of that era his father and grandfather were short/middle distance racers. But always wanting to talk about pigeons and meet the winners Andre got in touch with big names such as Deraedt - Van Grembergen, Jules Rijckaert, etc this led to his present interest in racing his pigeons in the longer distance events. When he became 18 years old, he started racing on his own and immediately started with the long middle distance race points such as Angoulème etc. In the sixties he decided to get married and moved to Gavere where he set up his loft and started racing the pigeons from Orleans, Bourges and Angoulème. He lived in Gavere for 4 years before moving to his current home in Bottelare where the stability of being settled to one spot has enabled him to build a very good team of pigeons. At this time in his pigeon racing career he decided to start racing the long distance, thanks to his good relationship with professor Van Grembergen he could immediately purchase some high quality pigeons. Also Prof. Van Grembergen introduced André to the legendary André Vanbruaene so there was no shortage of quality distance pigeons in his lofts. As any fancier will tell you in those days it was very difficult to get in touch with André Vanbruaene, but luckily he knew the professor. André Vanbruaene was a super pigeon racer but he wouldn't tell you any secrets but if you were lucky you could take a look into his lofts.


Because of his job André Colbrandt also got in touch with one of the real legends of long distance racing none other than the late Roger Florizoone. They became very good friends and André could get anything he wanted from Roger, which was a great asset to his stock loft. Roger was a real special person one who you had to take as you found him; many fanciers have tried in vain to visit Roger so those who did manage have been very fortunate. You couldn't just ask him to see his pigeons unless Roger suggested it himself he was a man that you had to be very patient with. It was also the same if you wanted to purchase them, as it was always wise to wait until roger offered rather than ask for them. Then and only when Roger offered some pigeons himself, you could have some. Sometimes André received 4 to 5 pigeons during one visit, just for free, because Roger didn't have too much space or because he just wanted to help his friends. If you are lucky to breed from these Florizoone pigeons, it makes things easier to get good results. Later André also became close friends with Etienne Devos and now they still exchange pigeons and breed together.


The total auction of Roger Florizoone took place in May 2005. As a good friend of Roger, André helped a lot by working for two months in a row both day and night to find out everything about the pedigrees on the boards where Roger used to write down his pigeons (see picture). It was a though job because Roger didn't write down a great deal, everything was done in a simple fashion and not extensively. When he bred youngsters e.g. and he wanted to say this is the father and this is the mother, he just referred to a place in the loft number 1 coupled with hen from place number 3.but those hens changed from one place to another from time to time, so it was not easy to find out the real pedigrees for the auction.

The represented strains at the loft of André are mainly Florizoone (90%), Meremans, Etienne Devos and Vanbruaene for the other 10%. In the breeding loft he only has about 12 breeding couples, but not just regular couples! André has 3 children of Witneus, 2 children of famous Primus I of Florizoone (according to André, the best breeder ever in the loft of Roger Florizoone), a son of Dax I, a son of Dax II, he also has the grandfather of the 1 st Nat. Acepigeon of Michel Denys., a son of oude Molenaar, 2 brothers of Rivaldo and Ronaldo of Etienne Devos, also the famous 'Vlaamse Leeuw' which won the 2 nd International Dax in 2000. When asked what result gave him the most pleasure in his racing career André refers to the winning of the 2 nd International Dax against almost 12.000 pigeons. This pigeon called 'Vlaamse Leeuw' is a 100% Florizoone. Another highlight in his career was in 2004 when 10 yearlings where basketed for the Beziers race where he won at National Level the following prizes: 17, 54, 66, 184, 400, 435, 1122, 1368 against 5.934 yearlings!


On the hard race of St. Vincent this year, André basketed 18 pigeons that were made up of 13 cocks and 5 hens that won 50% prizes with 9 pigeons. In his club in Zottegem he wins 1 st , 4 th , 7 th , 14 th .... St. Vincent is about 900 KM for André so no easy task. The winning pigeon, which is named "Blue St. Vincent" is really an extraordinary pigeon, a very strong blue cock of medium size and when he was handled you would not have thought that he had covered such a distance the previous day. The preparation races in 2005 before he won 1 st national Sint Vincent were 2 x Noyon (175KM), 2 x Dourdan (2 x 310KM), 2 x Chateauroux (485KM). On the both Chateauroux race he won a prize. As a young pigeon he raced through to Dourdan before being stopped for the future. André has about 21 widowers and 30 yearlings with a team of about 85 youngsters, which on his standards is a lot but the season is early and he has not lost any youngster yet. He starts breeding around February, which is rather late so that's why he can only race his youngsters to a maximum 310 KM. Because of the limited number of pigeons, André has a good overview about his pigeons.


The pedigree of the winning pigeon is fantastic; the father is a full brother of Rivaldo (Etienne Devos). Rivaldo, who is also brother of Ronaldo who wins this year for the 6 th time at Barcelona and this is not just a regular prize as he is well up in the National so once again a good prize won at this much favoured race point. Rivaldo also races every year through to Perpignan or Beziers after he has raced at Barcelona. Ronaldo, who won 1 st Acepigeon BDS in 2000, is also a super pigeon. The mother of the St Vincent winner is direct Florizoone. Guess what yes a daughter of the famous Witneus.


When asked what is the best advice that he can give Andre says: Stay close to the nature and give your pigeons a lot of maize, maize and again maize! Every year he buys about 1.000 kilo of maize for his pigeons so you see it is a preferred feed. His young birds do not eat anything else, because young birds have to grow and maize serves this purpose very well indeed! This also applies to the old birds who also get lots of maize. Here also old pigeons can eat on the day they are basketed as much as they want. Concerning the medical supervision, André only threats them against trichomonas regularly. Thanks Nikolaas for this up to date information that keeps the UK fanciers informed of who is winning what on the continent.



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