John Clements
Euro Pigeon

Copyright 2010-2011 John Clements.
John Clements
The Big 250 euro Barcelona Pool of 2011.
About this time last year I wrote about the big 250 euro pool in the 2010 International Barcelona. Last year the Patrick Brothers had a share, this year they have missed out but I suppose they still have money in the bank from their 2010 win. You certainly have to take the rough with the smooth at this level of competition.
In 2011, there were a total of 27 pigeons entered in the big Barcelona pool. As many readers know the pool is paid out at one pigeon for every four entered so with 27 pigeons entered there were seven winners. Six full share winners and one three quarter share winner.  

The winners this year are :-
In 173rd place Batenberg - vd Merve  from Klaaswaal in the Netherlands
In 354th place J. Steijns  from Doenrade  also in the Netherlands
In 476th place Batenberg - vd Merve again (a Hen)
In 1013rd place G. J. Timmermans  from Gefen in the Netherlands,  a Hen 
In 1080th place E. and J. Van de Weijden of Hoogkarspel in the Netherlands
In 1162nd place Henri Van Neste of Feluy the first and only Belgian bird
In 1409th place  Ruud Botterweck from Mechlen in the Netherlands, a Hen

You can see from the above that all but one of the birds was from The Netherlands and that were four cocks and three were hens. This is remarkable considering Cocks outnumber Hens by about two and a half times to one so it seems the Hens do very well at this distance proportionally to the numbers sent and to be even considered for entry in the 250 euro pool a pigeon must have some previous top form. It appears Hens therefore have form and are well suited.

A further remark on the quality of the hens - The second 250 euro pigeon of Batenberg vd Merve being a hen, was also entered in the hen’s section 250 euro pool where only 3 birds were entered. The cost for this hen was therefore 500 euro’s in this year’s International top pool.  He total cost would of course be much more.

Let us now look at the ages of these top fancied pigeons and see if we can find a pattern.  Their ages were in order: - Four year old - Seven year old - Two year old - Three year old hen  - Two year old hen  - Six year old - and finally a Five year old hen so it appears four years is about the average for this level of pooling.

You would expect all these pigeon to be the top fancied pigeon of their respective teams. This is not so - again in order they were fancied was  (2) from 13 - (1) from 7  - (1) from 13  - (3) from 8  - (1) from 57 - (1) from 6 - (1) from 2.

It is by examining this kind of thing (following the money) it is possible to find top pigeons without visiting their actual lofts. Certainly information of this kind puts the buyer in the driving seat when it comes to selecting what to buy which is entirely opposite to the usual situation where one is obliged to buy imported pigeons on the basis of what is on offer at the time which may be good birds or they may be those that cannot be sold to China.

I hope this analysis is clear enough to be easily understood by those who are not familiar with Continental pools and the Continental system of indicating preference for individual pigeons. It should be noted that famous familiar names are not automatically there which proves it is usually advertising that promotes fame not results or even, as in this case, winning the big important pools.

One thing that comes out of this analysis is that the fanciers who are prepared to pool at this level are brave men who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. It is all very well to analyse after the race but to select before the event is something entirely different.  This could not happen in the UK for our culture depends not on the kind of bravery required for prior commitment but on a kind of pretence in the belief that by  adjusting our club boundaries to suit winning positions we are actually doing more than we say we are doing. Thus we endow our clubs with names they don’t deserve such as ‘National’ when they are not National, Classic when they have restricted boundaries or Barcelona when they do not fly Barcelona.

The International Barcelona is as its title suggests. It is International and as we all know covers a huge unrestricted area over many countries.

The ‘International Barcelona’ as an annual event is hugely significant.  It is run by a Belgian Club on behalf of the rest of Northern Europe.  This year it was won not by the Belgians but by the Dutch and to top it all the big pool was also dominated by the Dutch. 

This situation would be intolerable for a British Club in a similar regulatory position but by taking a wider view it is entirely understandable. We quickly realise the Belgians have made a profoundly brave decision and it has paid off by allowing them to create long races with big birdages covering wide areas.  It has earned for them a massive worldwide influence and respect for their country.

Unfortunately by our restrictive attitude we have shot ourselves in the foot by attempting to exclude any fancier from any area where they are likely to be a threat.

As a consequence of all this we inevitably restrict ourselves to having relatively small and less important races compared to those flown on the continent.  Almost every important and influential fancier who has influence in the affairs of Specialist and National clubs has at one time or another supported restrictive practices of one kind or another. The RPRA itself does the same sort of thing by encouraging small clubs with only two or three members competing to continue operating in the hope that more winners produced regardless of quality will eventually encourage more advertising.

Invariably all this does is to further promote Belgian and Dutch strains and Belgian and Dutch interests by publicity through advertising. We appear to be not brave enough to have a 250 euro pool open to the whole of Europe. If we were we would be brave in other areas as well and any kind of restrictive radius or drawn boundary would automatically disappear overnight  but the growth of the UK to its rightful place as an important  pigeon country would take a little longer.