Peter and Sebastiaan Verbeek, Naaldwijk
National Champions Long Distance 2007"
Naaldwijk is located in the western part of South-Holland province. This part of the countryside, consisting of several villages, is better known as the Westland. In this area we find millions of square meters of greenhouses. 33 million square feet of glass roof, under which many types of vegetables and flowers are grown throughout the year. Nowhere else in the world there is such a density of greenhouses in an area the size of Westland. Another name it has is ‘The glass city'. On this location, in the garden of Europe, the National Champions Long Distance 2007 can be found.
Peter and Sebastiaan Verbeek
For those who do not know them, the combination consists of the 48-year old Peter and his 26-year old son Sebastiaan. Peter works as maintenance mechanic of fire-ventilation-hoods, while son Sebastiaan is assistant foreman in the same branch, with the firm Ro. Pa. Tec. The character of Peter can best be described as stubborn (in a good way), perfectionist, active in sports, supportive and with a drive for accomplishments. Son Sebastiaan can be described as eager to learn, active in sports, straightforward, with a powerful drive to win but, like his father, a very social-minded person.
Update! Combination Verbeek wins the ZLU flight from Tarbes
Around 06:45 the pigeons in Tarbes were released with a north-western wind, in the middle of France there was a more unpredictable wind mainly from the north, which later changed into a west to northwestern wind. This type of weather was not very suited for allowing the pigeons in the region where the Verbeek loft is, to arrive on the day of release. When the evening fell, the first Dutch pigeons arrived on their lofts. On the ZLU website that showed the first 39 arrivals, the fact that the western and eastern arrival numbers were very close was something that stood out.
In Naaldwijk, the first pigeon arrived just before dark on 22:42. It was the widower 06-2141396 from combination Peet and Sebastiaan Verbeek and also the only pigeon in the region that arrived on the same day as the release. On a distance of 1024 km, this is a stunning result. 1st in fondclub ‘De Glazenstad', 1st in CC Rijnmond, 2nd in category 5 and 20th National ZLU. Arrival times: 22:42, 06:26, 06:58, 07:43, etc.
It's a dark cock with white feather tips, it has a beautiful eye with a very small pupil, a strong build with a matching wing.
Through his veins, Sprenkels blood flows (through C. Hulscher) with a bit of Theelen through J.C. v.d. Krogt. In his pedigree we can find many top pigeons like "La Primera", "Chris", "Shakira" and "Dreamliner".
After having started his own company but being forced to stop working because of a bad back, Peter was looking for something to invest his time in. He had been a friend to animals for his whole life, and according to himself, had always been interested in pigeons. He just never got around to it while working on his own company and raising a family. Once he returned home after the necessary surgeries, the choice for how to spend the day was quickly made and soon pigeons entered the life of the Verbeek family. In late 1994 a small loft with late youngsters was built in the garden. Currently this has expanded into a 6-meter loft from the Punt firm and a small extension that has been self built.
The first several years the entire program has been raced and this didn't change until 1999. I can clearly recall Peter telling me about the true first steps towards overnight long distance races, during my first visit in 2001. There were a few long distance pigeons by that time, but things really took off after a phone call around 23:30 in early spring regarding picking up about 10 Sprenkels couples owned by Chris Hulscher from Naaldwijk. These were mostly heavily inbred pigeons. They returned home, but seemed to miss the powerful drive to fly early, as I had been told. The choice was made to look for quality crossbreeding-material and this was found with D. Bakker and son from Poortugaal. This father and son combination had, especially for that time, impressive results with mainly a basis of Antoon and Lucie van de Wegen pigeons. This second new acquisition paid off very well. Both crossed and purebred these pigeons achieved victories in many ways. Pigeons from Saya brothers and from combination Bogaert-Hataney have been added during later years, specifically for breeding purposes, and these too brought father and son the successes they were looking for.
National Champions Long Distance 2007
When I call Peter during the evening in the second week of October and ask him if he still remembers the lyrics to the Wilhelmus (the Dutch national anthem), a silence settles over the other side of the phoneline. I do not keep him in the dark any longer and congratulate him on winning the national championship. He knew his pigeons would score rather high, especially during the Bergerac race, but after this race father and son really did not count on winning this championship. That both father and son Verbeek were very pleased with this victory goes without saying.
Multiple championships of 2007 were scored with:
1st + 2nd Aspigeon National Long Distance NPO Sector 2
12th + 14th National Aspigeon Long Distance
1st National Aspigeon Perpignan 2004 - 2007
5th International Pigeon Competition Extra Long Distance ‘07
The achieved results for the championship
St. Vincent, 4 flying, 5232 pigeons - 9th (3rd nominated) and 116th (1st nom.)
Tarbes, 10 flying, 5210 pigeons - 56th, 158th (1st nom.), 268th (2nd nom.) 408th and 593rd.
Bergerac, 12 flying, 10903 pigeons - 45th (2nd nom.), 405th (1st nom.), 1137th, 1724th, 2259th, 2429th and 2702nd.
Some more great results. Besides the results that won them the National title, the combination also did the following:
Perpignan, 7 flying, 5294 pigeons - 25th, 247th, 309th and 1192nd.
Bordeaux j.l., 13 flying, 4220 pigeons. 50th, 214th, 221st, 279th, 353rd and 546th.
St. Vincent, 6 flying, 6330 pigeons - 47th, 127th and 473rd.
Mont de Marsan, 4 flying, 3902 pigeons - 6th and 86th.
Earlier won championships from 2001 onwards;
2nd Super Champion Union North and South-Holland
5th National Champion Long Distance
5th West-Holland Marathon
5th S.N.Z.H. Championship
8th National Marathon ZLU
9th National Marathon ZLU
11th West-Holland Marathon
16th International Pigeon Competition Extra Long Distance ‘01
36th West European Super Marathon ‘01
Care and feed
When talking about the subject of care, both gentlemen tell me that their care for the pigeons in the months of may, june and july is very strict. But, they point out, this season has been more difficult for that, as work in the club and the for employed people hard to manage basketing time of 18:30 both made this hard to do strictly. But after trying out the non cleaning method last year, which turned out to be a disappointment, they have brought out the scrubber again this year. The lofts are scraped clean both in the morning as in the evening, except with the young pigeons, they would sit on their own droppings until the period where moulting started.
The feed is bought from the Patagoon and they gave this their own spin. They use 5 cans for 4 seasons, during the long distance season 2 cans are replaced with 2 cans of 4 seasons grains. 3 cans of barley is normally, during long distance season 2 cans are changed to paddy. Furthermore one can of candy-seed and one can of P40 pellets and added to this mix is about 150 peanuts 3 times a week, 4 types of Herbots oil (which includes lecithine) are used on the feed and this sometimes is dried again using Multi-Mix from the Patagoon. A whole bowl of this mixture is given, with the knowledge that some barley will always be left over. Fresh litter is available daily as is a jar of seasalt which the pigeons are pecking from regularly. Sprouted seeds are also on the menu daily. These vitamin-rich seeds, Katjang Idjoe, are being sprouted in the kitchen and fed to the pigeons every day. When I was there, I noticed how much the pigeons enjoyed these. The water is refreshed in such a way that the drinking-pan is refilled whenever it is needed. If it becomes too dirty because of dust, feathers and flakes, a brush is used to clean it again. No other substances are added to the water, apart from a finely sliced onion or some garlic.
Care after the season
The strict focus can't be maintained all year. The racing pigeons haven't been outside since Perpignan. This is mainly because the late pigeons for own use are bred in that time every year. Hens that don't fly out are coupled with the better racing cocks. The bred late younglings are of course let out of the loft every day, despite the weather-conditions. The feed in this period is a full bowl of the type described earlier and this until some barley is left over again. They also prepare tea from time to time, but they aren't sure if this has really made a difference.
In this period, a drop of Endo Ecto is used for treatment against lice, just like the mandatory shots, when the season is nearing. Sebastiaan notes that the bred late pigeons are trained by themselves. The weather does not matter to them, they are brought along when they have to go somewhere during the long winter.
As a writer, this is always a good subject to talk about. The readers are interested to know what is available to pigeon fanciers. But with the Verbeek family I came away empty handed. Just like many other champion-lofts, medication is used very carefully. This year, the combination-mix of doctor Sluis was used, which has been handed out a full week before the flightseason started, and during the season itself when it was deemed necessary. This isn't something you can easily predict, however. It is a matter of seeing it, but more of feeling it. Following the advice of Theo de Kruijk, a treatment against Salmonella is handed out. If something in the colony looks wrong, they will respond according to the advice that Theo will give. If only one pigeon seems affected, it will be placed away from the rest. If there are no signs of improvement after two or three days, this pigeon will be removed, no matter the heritage.
The racingloft faces the southeast and is a regular product from the Punt firm. It is 5.80 meters long and 1.80 meters deep. It contains two sections, one of 3.60 meters for the widowers and one of 2.20 meters for the yearlings. Apart from this basic loft, a second one has been built from the ground up, being 2.30 meters and housing the youngsters. The windows in both lofts are open day and night, unless rain falls into the lofts. Roof-coverings are roofing-tiles and a ventilation-shaft has been placed. The ventilation was needed as they used the dry manure method last year, but it has become useless because the method has been changed.
One thing that stood out was that there was no ceiling placed in the sections of the pointed roof. Both in the yearling loft as in the widowers loft, pigeons were moving or sitting on the beams where the ceiling is normally attached to. The breeders have been housed with Sebastiaan himself.
The widowersloft holds about 25 nesting-spots but 30 pigeons minimum. This is done purely to keep the atmosphere and fierceness. Therefore, yearlings or outflying breeders are put in during the season to stimulate this if needed. So if a spot on the old racing loft opens up for any reason, a prizewinning yearling is put in immediately.
About 20 widowers, 12 widows and about 55 yearlings (including late younglings) stay on the racing lofts. Everything shows that the Verbeek family is breeding pigeons all year through. But the last two seasons they race with a small number of younglings on the flights meant for them. As an addition to the young pigeons there are more than a dozen breeding couples available. They note that, with the inbred-pigeons who have grown and seem to be doing allright, they can make use of more pigeons for breeding a round of youngsters if needed.
Previous years, the Verbeek family only raced the natural system. This year, for the first time and relatively late in may, it was decided to also race the widowhood system. As the racing pigeons were never separated before, from that moment on the hens had to be relocated to Sebastiaan's house. They were kept here for the biggest part of the week and would fly one race every week. This did not go successfully. The yearling cocks have been along on all races from Meer up until National Blois, fourteen days before the release of a two days race. The older cocks have been basketed from Harchies and onwards, at the end of April, and haven't flown further than Ablis 420 km. Taken together, they will have flown about 1200 km before the first real test of strength. After the winter period, end of march, the pigeons are released daily. This isn't done regularly, but whenever there is time that day. From the start of may the training takes place on set times in the evening as much as possible. The yearlings are trained from 18:00 to 19:00 and the widowers from 20:00 for one hour, with a closed window. When they return, the feeding bowls are filled and the first pigeon will have the most peanuts. Near the end of may the morning-training is added to the program. The widowers are released at 05:30 for one hour, followed by the yearlings. The widowers that don't want to return will have to enter the loft when the yearlings do, because after 07:00 the time has come to go to work again.
The older pigeons have not been trained for the races. They've been placed on Harchies / Menen for more than 150 km. In between the two day races they've received three trainings from Steenbergen and nothing further.
Preparations before the races
There is no tight schedule regarding preparations before a race. The hens aren't shown before a race. Notably, the hen paired to "Amigo", 1st Aspigeon Sector 2 National competition had been lost during the races. But it is still a given that between pigeon fancier and pigeon there is a very good connection. They often get personal attention in having them struggle with the fancier's hand that is holding a desired peanut. When the widowers arrive in their loft after a race, they are locked in, and are given electro-forte from Herbots (a mixture of vitamins, salts, glycine and dextrose) in their water, with a bowl of feed including peanuts and a handful of grit.
Coupling and separating
The racing pigeons are never coupled. Since this year was the first one that featured racing the widowhood system, the hens have been removed from the loft and became widowers. After Perpignan they are reunited until the season is about to start again. The breeding pigeons are coupled normally. This year it happened around the middle of February.
Some great pigeons from the Verbeek loft
If you play like father and son Verbeek and manage to score that many championships, you know that their lofts are filled with a lot of quality pigeons.
NL 02-1533431 "Delgado"
This is a late youngling from 2002 that has become a well-trained yearling after several harsh winter trainings. In his first year he hadn't been played the overnight long distance races, but regarding his short period as racing pigeon he has achieved impressive results. His flight career ended with a victory on Perpignan, bringing his total achievements to:
1st National Aspigeon Perpignan age 4 classification 2004 / 2007
2nd National Aspigeon Perpignan age 3 classification 2005 / 2007
5th National Aspigeon Perpignan age 5 classification 2003 / 2007
31st National Perpignan 7.645 pigeons and 87th International 17.570 pigeons in 2004
63rd National Perpignan 6.300 pigeons and 212th International 17.653 pigeons in 2005
885th National Barcelona 6.777 pigeons and 1934th International 22.887 pigeons in 2006
344th National Perpignan 4.719 pigeons and 993rd International 14.812 pigeons in 2006
25th National Perpignan 5.294 pigeons and 420th International 15.087 pigeons in 2007
After these achievements and being grandfather of the 1st Aspigeon Sector 2, ("Amigo") it was decided to give him a regular place in the breeding loft.
NL 05-1305339 "Amigo" 1st Aspigeon Sector 2 2007
9th National St. Vincent 5.232 pigeons,
158th National tarbes 5.210 pigeons,
254th National Bordeaux J.l. 3.552 pigeons,
405th National Bergerac 10.903 pigeons,
472nd National Tours 1.965 pigeons
1st Aspigeon National Sector 2 2007 and 12th Pigeonchampion National Long Distance
NL 04-1959895 "Midnight"
45th National Bergerac 10.903 pigeons,
116th National St. Vincent 5.232 pigeons,
268th National Tarbes 5.210 pigeons,
311th National Montauban 7.440 pigeons.
This pure Saya pigeon was clocked at midnight from Bergerac.
Became 2nd Aspigeon Sector 2 2007 and 14th Pigeonchampion National Long Distance.
10th National St.Vincent 5.201 p.
2nd National Bordeaux 12.270 p.
NL 04-2247827 "Blauwe Kweker"
Son of the National Aspigeon Perpignan "Delgado"
The "Blauwe Kweker" is father of among others "Amigo"
9th National St. Vincent 5.232 pigeons
1st Aspigeon Sector 2 Long Distance NPO ‘07
12th National Aspigeon Long Distance ‘07
Co-winner National Championship Long Distance 2007
Sprenkels remains as a basis
Once you get to know Peter and Sebastiaan you'll realize that everything they do is quite focused and planned. After reading books, articles and helpful internet reports they decided to expand on their Sprenkels-colony, especially considering the excellent blood and results of the pigeons. Therefore they ended up with father and son Cor and Nico Beijer from South-Beijerland. They had the same pigeon base as father and son Verbeek. In 2004, several young pigeons were acquired who could immediately prove themselves as yearlings on Bordeaux Z.L.U. Against 4.220 pigeons, the five flying scored 214th, 221st, 279th and 353rd National. On the subsequent Montauban, a late youngling from Cor and Nico played 18th against the high number of 7.440 pigeons. These great results led to the purchasing of all breeding pigeons from Cor Beijer when he quit the pigeonsport, knowing that the Beijers pigeons were bred from the Sprenkels strains of "Barcelona 17" - "204-the" x A & L v.d. Wegen.
" 't o4 tje" and the " Barcelona 17" from the late Janus Sprenkels
Looking at the extensive amount of data that I have been given during my visit, it is clear that the colony of the National champions is built on a very solid foundation. I'd like to talk a bit more in-depth about this. It all started at the end of the 1950's when Janus and his wife Jopie Sprenkels began filling their loft with pigeons from fanciers that kept many pure Aardens. The best ones they ever had came from Antoon Stoffelen. In those days the Sprenkels had three sister hens, being "Oud Blauwtje", "58 tje" and "Oude Kweekmoedertje". Three excellent pigeons, and "Oud Blauwtje" was mother of the famous "Barcelona 17" NL 75-8030017 while "58 tje" became mother of the well-known "04 tje". If we observe the foundation of the Verbeek loft, we can trace it back to the "04 the" and the lineage of the wondrous "Barcelona 17".
Wondrous Spain-racers from the "Barcelona 17" lineage
It later turned out that this pigeon, who itself came from a brother of "De Dolle" mixed with the already mentioned "Oud Blauwtje", has left a great mark of the entire Sprenkels loft. After his impressive list of high-profile achievements like a 2nd National and 14th International Barcelona, he was discovered to be a great breeder. Years later his blood still flows through many Barcelona flyers. For examples of superior race- as well as breeding pigeons that feature him in the pedigree I only have to mention "De Klamper" from Cor van de Heijde from Made. This powerhouse that needs no further introduction is himself a grandchild from mother's side (NL 79-1491678) from the pairing of "Barcelona 17" x "04 tje". The "04 tje" was later sold to the Kuypers brothers from Neer. With them she was paired for some time with "Barcelona 1" and "Barcelona 2" and various of their champions carry the blood of this famous hen. If we observe the Verbeek pedigrees, we often find some of these pigeons, even if there are some generations in between.
Also the following
Apart from the mentioned solid foundation of Sprenkels pigeons, they also have pigeons from the Saya brothers and combination Bogaert-Hataney (100 % pigeons of the brothers). And of course I have to mention the set-up strain of the "Delgado". This full-blooded powerhouse has been built up from the grandson "Marseillaisse" line through Lupino from Maasdijk. ("Marseillaisse"1st National Marseille 1991 Lardenoye-Vogten x "Barcelona 2" brothers Kuypers) x "Dochter Fondman" Jac van Dijk, a pure inbred product after the "55" of Jan Ernest.
How and when have they passed the selection
When asked this question, father Peter starts explaining enthusiastically. A youngling whose growth stays behind the rest is removed immediately. Furthermore, when they've been weaned and one isn't 100 % fit they will be removed. When the youngsters have gotten their wings they are all judged by hand, and the ones that do not pass are taken out as well. After that, if there is time, they will be trained to be released one by one. Once the races have begun, the returns are strictly followed. The ones that return last time and again are removed as well, regardless of heritage. Those old enough, and having passed all these tests, are placed in the National flights to learn to break free of the large group. This seems like a harsh way to make a selection, but if we look at the results then it seems to be an effective procedure.
As yearling the pigeons are raced from the first flight onwards, as we've read. The ones that score the lowest are taken to the first and early Bordeaux with midday-release. The ones who score in this race are allowed to continue, the others have one retry. For the yearlings that according to their age could not perform in this race, National Blois is next. After the season, those who didn't win a prize are out. A tough, but I think honest decision, as the pigeons are given a fair chance. The aspigeons are judged in a similar way. But son Sebastiaan notes, sometimes one pigeon is spared from being taken out, because it is a favorite that they still think can score nicely later on.
The two year olds
From the end of April, the pigeons are raced on Harchies / Menen (about 150 kilometers) without any training beforehand. They keep on being trained for 14 days before an overnight long distance race. The ones that score nicely on the midday-releases stay there, the others are used in the ZLU competitions. Here, getting results is needed, else there is no place for them anymore.
Father and son Verbeek think their successes are thanks to starting with good material, which means the Sprenkels-pigeons. The stern way of making the selection also helps. But also having only prizewinners isn't the way forward, they need top racers and these can stay. This method has been used on their breeders as well, the pay-off must be decent because only one youngling in every 20 that performs is not what they need. The breeding pigeons are therefore coupled up to three times with a different partner. But the strong point is their firm way of training. They say that minding the weather too much isn't good, because the pigeons will experience different types of weather during the overnight long distance races anyway.
From all these things it is clear that father and son Verbeek are focused on winning and are always looking for ways to make their pigeons better.
Becoming big in the sport
When I mention this subject, both gentlemen are unsure of what to say. Both certainly don't want to claim that they have become big in this sport. One race everything goes smoothly, and the other one has no good results at all. They say that it is important to have a large selection of good flyers, especially for the overnight long distance. You can only play them well for two times, sometimes three times a year. In those two months everything has to be just right regarding stamina and health. If one small thing isn't right, the top racers of today can be the regular prize-flyers of tomorrow. Immediately, the words of Piet de Vogel run through my head; "The one year you're a doctor, the next you're a patient.". In these two months, but also the months before the season, a good eye is needed. You have to be able to see and want to see things that might be wrong. They also remark about he importance of listening and reading about how the other fanciers are doing. If needed they go and visit other fanciers during the long winter season and see things they might or might not use in their own system.
Why does it work with you?
Why so many others see less results might be, according to the Verbeek father and son, because these groups don't go all the way or are not focused on scoring the best results. They are already happy if the pigeons come home at all. Maybe they'd rather stay to drink a beer in the club instead of spending that time with the pigeons. They rarely read, are still focused on the old system, are more interested in gossiping about others than really asking a fancier a serious question and after a bad race are ready to give up easily. They also feel every financial investment with a better fancier is one too many, not knowing or refusing to know what energy and money it cost that fancier himself. And once a decent pigeon has been bought they instantly expect results or feel cheated when this doesn't happen. If only it were that easy...But luckily everyone experiences the sport in their own way, everyone is free to play how they like to, and manage their loft in the way they feel is best.
These are seemingly firm but experienced words from the champions of 2007. Some might not like to hear it, but it certainly has many truths.
When making a new purchase, the men pay a lot of attention to the results that the family of the pigeon has achieved, like father, grandfather and great-grandfather. This is a sign of good breeding qualities and the kind that is also currently on the lofts is very welcome. The type of pigeon they like should not be too big and be lightweight. Well built, strong back, thick front wing with a short back-wing, richly colored eyes, and soft plumes. These are the preferences that father and son have when looking for new purchases.
It may be said that father and son are busy bees apart from their work with their pigeons. Their club is a basketing centre on a national and international level. And like most centres, the work all comes down to a few people. They don't mind this, but sometimes it can be a bit too much. Peter does the work behind the pc together with Tony van Dijk, for instance. Reading the chip-rings, adding flights and making the final results, from all races. He also manages the site of ‘De Reisduif' and adds race results as soon as possible. Sebastiaan is present on every basketing-evening to help where able. He also helps getting the baskets into the trucks. He also assists with printing the clocking results. During a busy season this all comes down to four evenings of basketing and two evenings of checking clocks. Quite a task.
All in all
All in all I can only conclude that the championship has landed with a father and son combination that have a great amount of love for the sport in all assets. Completely driven and with a strong winners-mentality. Despite what others might think, these kind of championships are hard to win. It deserves more respect to know that changes in the rules gave them disadvantages on two of the three races, and that they managed to score the title on one of the shortest distances of the entire Sector 2 game. For the entire Verbeek family I would like to say; you've earned it.