1st National Sint Vincent 2005
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
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.
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
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.
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.