Writes about winning fanciers past and present
Hans Eijerkamp & sons of the Ponderosa (Part 2)
In September 1996 Tony Hayne and Mary Bartlett, the management duo of the Ponderosa UK Stud at Weymouth, invited me to make a video of the English Breeding Centre. After two days filming at the Chickerell Lofts, a trip to Brummen in Holland was planned to film the two mother studs and the founders of the Ponderosa Dynasty, Hans Eijerkamp and sons.
I had a brilliant few days in Holland with Tony Hayne and Gordon Johnson of Gwent. We went over in the Ponderosa van, via Harwich, and the ten-hour night sailing was very pleasant. The ferry was like a mini holiday camp with carvery, bars, disco, cinema, casino and cafes, it all really added to the trip. The Greenfield and Ponderosa Holland studs are about a 100 miles drive when you get off the ferry at the Hook of Holland, but the effort is well worth it. When you get there you will see one of the best pigeon set-ups in the world. The Ponderosa is the original of the UK Breeding Centre in Weymouth, even down to the different colored nest box fronts.
The Greenfield Stud is by far the greatest pigeon set-up I have ever seen, and can only be described as fantastic. The Eijerkamp family live and race their pigeons at Greenfield and all the ace stock birds live there. We saw all the great champions such as 'Wonderboy 05', 'General', 'Goldrush' and the latest ace to join the breeding team `Flits 85`, winner of 1st St Ghislain (3,824 birds); 1st Houdeng (2,221 birds); 1st St Ghislain (1,938 birds); 2nd Houdeng (3,288 birds) and 2nd St Ghislain (1,757 birds). Wonderful pigeons! We didn't see the great 'James Bond' as he was then 13 years old and not filling his eggs, and was abroad having fertility treatment. Hans Eijerkamp started the Greenfield and Ponderosa Studs at Brummen many years ago and can now claim to be truly international, with studs throughout the world. A breeding centre was formed in China in 1995 and this houses 100 breeding pairs, producing only for the Chinese market. 1996 saw a stud formed in Poland with 100 breeding pairs and this has proved to be highly successful and will be increased to 200 pairs in 1997. In Holland the Ponderosa houses 200 breeding pairs and all the ace stock birds live at the Greenfield Stud with 1,500 other pairs. Every year the Ponderosa Stud organized an international one-loft race, with pigeons from all over the world taking part. The UK Stud houses 27 families, with Janssens being the mainstay, and pigeons have been exported to 14 different countries in recent months. Countless winners with Eijerkamp pigeons are reported every year including 1st National Mettet Rayon (22,000 birds); 1st National Ruffec Rayon (10,992 birds); 1st National Munchen (7,500 birds); 1st National Ruffec Rayon (6,228 birds); 1st National Munchen Sector (2,500 birds); 1st National Dax (2,268 birds); 1st National Pau (1.200 birds) and 1st National Pau CSC (1,569 birds).
The Eijerkamp family owns one of the biggest furniture businesses in Holland and we visited the massive store in Zutphen. There is a pigeon room in the store where fanciers hold moots and presentations. The store covers 40,000 square metres and if a fancier purchases a suite of furniture over a certain price, they get a free Ponderosa pigeon. Once a month there is a prize of a new mountain bike for the best Dutch performance by a Ponderosa pigeon and this will start in England in 1997. The Eijerkamps are a wonderful family and their motto is 'quality', whether it's furniture or racing pigeons.
We went out to dinner one evening with Hans Eijerkamp and his son, Evert-Jan and they really are pigeon fanatics, with an overwhelming keenness for the sport. Loft managers at the two studs were all top class fanciers including the Ponderosa loft manager, Anton Koster, who won 1st Open National in his own right, in recent seasons. Marco Klein Falckenborg, the export manager, and Henk Jurriens, office manager, are both top fanciers in the Dutch sport and both started at the Ponderosa as lads scraping out the lofts.
Since the very early 1970s English pigeon fanciers have been breeding and racing with great success the pigeons of Hans Eijerkamp's Ponderosa-Greenfield Stud in Holland. These birds proved to be so popular that to make them more freely available to the UK enthusiasts, Hans Eijerkamp founded the Ponderosa UK Stud. This allowed anyone who wished to visit the stud at Weymouth to handle the stock pigeons and to select their own youngsters from the nest if they so desired. No quarantine, and no more waiting for delivery. In 1985 the first 20 stock bird pairs were moved to the breading loft in Weymouth, birds specially selected by Hans Eijerkamp, all descendants from the ace pigeons were imported to the UK. Success followed until 1989 when the brand new Ponderosa UK Breeding Centre was built. No expense was spared with this ultra-modern new breeding centre, that now houses 27 different strains.
Quality not quantity has been the motto of Hans Eijerkamp and his sons, along with Tony Hayne and Mary Bartlett of the Ponderosa UK Stud in Weymouth. Many fanciers have found success in breeding and racing Eijerkamp pigeons in such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America, Kuwait, China and all over Europe. The Ponderosa is truly an international pigeon stud!
As I’ve already stated the Greenfield Stud was the best pigeon set up that I’ve seen, with the main loft being built like a small block of luxury flats. There were several computers installed in the lofts, for instant verification of pedigrees and comfortable look out offices high in the air, where the Eijerkamp’s sit and wait for the birds to return from the races. Fantastic fanciers, with fantastic pigeons! That’s it for this week. I hope my readers have enjoyed my little insight into the Ponderosa Stud. I can be contacted on telephone: 01372 463480.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY KEITH MOTT.