*With grateful thanks to Henk Simonsz www.pigeonfever.nl
What kind of a pigeon was the NL08-1628683 from Ad Schaerlaeckens, many fanciers wonder. Was the bird just a chance product or was it something really special? Well, I can tell you that this pigeon was so extraordinary special that I for one can, and I am allowed to, write an extensive series of articles about it. The achievements and destruction that this bloodline has wrought at the large competitions defies even the wildest imagination.
The 08-683 comes out of a daughter of the ‘ACE FOUR’ (B-96-5660145), which is precisely the pigeon that will be the main character in this sensational series. Together with his brother and sister, he formed the basis of a really super inheriting bloodline, which seems literally unstoppable. But we will start at the beginning, because before the ‘ACE FOUR’ began its career, Ad Schaerlaeckens already raced at the very top with pigeons that had in those days, the eighties and nineties, mainly the famous Janssen Arendonk blood in them.
The Janssen Brothers
In the early eighties, when Ad Schaerlaeckens published his bestseller ‘Gebr. Janssen Arendonk, Beroemdste duivenliefhebbers aller tijden’ (‘The Janssen Brothers, The Greatest Pigeon Fanciers of All Time’) in several languages, he probably could never have imagined that the introduction that he wrote for the book, could be almost literally be copied by me for the introduction of these series of articles. Although the Janssen book sold out worldwide in only a short time, it is nowadays not worth publishing a book anymore, otherwise I would happily have written one about him and his pigeons. Never mind. Writing an extensive series for this magazine that is read by all champion fanciers is also an honour, just as the fact that I was allowed to write the one and only true story about Ad Schaerlaeckens, with the full cooperation of Ad himself. Extremely interesting to research and to work on. The next paragraph is what Ad Schaerlaeckens wrote in the beginning of the book about the Janssen Brothers, and I can copy this almost word for word because of what happened to me during my research of the background of the creation of the famous pigeon bloodlines from Ad Schaerlaeckens…
‘Despite the fact that we have gathered a wealth of mostly exclusive information that has never before been published, one should not expect us to have pursued the pretence of completeness. Because the more we delved into the Janssen material, the more hopeless seemed our task to offer representative data about the superior racing pigeons with a large dose of Janssen blood in their veins. We actually stumbled on pigeons of the most absolute international top class with Janssen birds in the pedigree on a daily base. Also the number of fanciers that rose up out of anonymity with the Janssen breed is endless. The pigeons and fanciers that we introduce in this book are, for that reason, not much more than a fairly random choice. And we already know that we will time and again encounter pigeons and fanciers that would have earned a mention in this book. We offer our apologies in advance for these omissions.’
This is what Ad Schaerlaeckens wrote in the Janssen book. I would of course never make direct comparisons between the Janssen Brothers and Ad Schaerlaeckens, and Ad would certainly never want this too, but what he wrote in his introduction for the book is precisely what I experienced when collecting information about Ad Schaerlaeckens and his pigeons.
I knew that there have been a great many, lead racers born with blood of his pigeons in their veins, but I had never expected it to be so ‘extreme’. I am convinced that the readers will agree with me after the end of this series, so many good pigeons have these lines produced over the years.
The ‘Den Ad’ is just a foretaste of all the wonderful things that will come along in this series of summer-articles. Just as the readable buildup and opinions of Ad Schaerlaeckens about his breed of pigeons, this is also unique in the pigeon world.
Ad Schaerlaeckens, who has been born and bred in the village of Chaam, Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands, literally grew up among the pigeons. There were pigeon lofts in practically every garden, and it was not only the competition that brought people together, but also the entire social aspect of the sport. In addition to the often heavy work that the people had to do to make a living in that time, almost everything that they did in their spare time was connected with the pigeon sport. In terms of a sporting experience this must have been a fantastic period. Just waiting together for the pigeons to return must have felt like a festival, at least, if you had ‘good ones’. Otherwise it would seem to me more a frustrating experience…
Ad had two hobbies, which was in the first place football, but pigeons also intrigued him very much. Because of his young age, he had a boundless energy which he could work off well playing football. He was quickly spotted as talented, both locally and regionally. It did not take long before he started dreaming of a career as a professional footballer, and he seemed to be well on course towards that goal. Until a scout from a professional football club came to a regional football tournament and, contrary to what Ad hoped, did not select him for a youth contract. Ouch, Ad found that difficult to handle because of his winning attitude. He felt so bad about it that he decided never to touch a ball again. This decision would have a major influence on the rest of his life and would ultimately bring him to where he is now. At about twenty years of age he definitely choose the pigeon sport as his most important hobby, he felt happy with it and tried to become as successful as possible.
(To be continued)