Breeding centre First Prize Pigeons,
"More than just quality"
When the First Prize Pigeons breeding loft was started in 2001, a dream for Evert Diepeveen and Roel van den Burg came true. Several years later, to have to introduce the owners or the breeding centre First Prize Pigeons almost seems unnecessary, since they are so well-known. From the starting moment and onwards, this loft has managed to gain an incredible reputation. This has always been a goal for this duo when they started out to fulfill their yearlong dream. For Evert Diepeveen, who focuses on quality and honesty in his very successful business life, his mentality with running the breeding loft is "If you do something and you want to succeed at it, then you need to approach it with quality in mind and careful thought". Their statement is that you can only succeed at the pigeon sport with quality.
The breeding centre First Prize Pigeons has been around since the year 2001, with the goal of focusing completely on breeding young pigeons with exceptional qualifications for both the 600 km races and the overnight long distance races. The breeding centre has been placed in two locations, both with Evert in Erp, and with Roel in De Bilt. These two men had only one goal; to breed top pigeons. To be able to give a delivery and guarantee-certificate with their pigeons, they started the nowadays well-respected foundation N.O.O.K. (Dutch All-Encompassing Breeding Centre). Evert Diepeveen is not only the chairman of this foundation, but also the one with the initial idea. Therefore we can say that First Prize Pigeons was the first breeding centre in the Netherlands that also gave out DNA guarantees. With this guarantee, the buyers will have the certainty that the bought youngsters really are the offspring from what is mentioned on the pedigree.
When Evert Diepenveen gave up his busy work as a successful businessman in the year he turned fifty, he was looking for ways to spend his time in a meaningful way. This way, his old hobby become more and more attractive, and with his year-long friend Roel van den Burg he had the idea of starting their own breeding centre. It is known that if you want to start a breeding centre, and succeed with this, there most important aspect is having nothing but quality in the loft. You have to be able and willing to offer your customers something extra. To make sure that buyers would have access to great quality pigeons on the 600 km races and overnight long distance races from the beginning, the breeding centre bought 15 National/National N.P.O. winners (of which are 3 National As-pigeons). In other words, you can say that the breeding loft is a real goldmine, with its many National winners and famous As-pigeons. Logically, this was not possible without some heavy investing, but it also made sure the following victors were able to find a place on their loft:
1st National St. Vincent 2002 against 7.370 pigeons
1st National Dac 2001 against 18.211 p.
1st National München 1998 against 3.722 p.
1st National Dax 2006 against 14.965 p.
1st National (België) /2e International Marseille 1997 against 15.740 p.
1st National Marseille Duivinnen 2002 against 1.412 p.
1st National N.P.O. Brive Afdeling 7 2002 against 7.600 p.
1st National N.P.O. Chateauroux Afdeling 7 2002 against 7.100 p.
1st National N.P.O. Orleans Afdeling 7 1999 against 13.823 p.
1st National n.P.O. Ruffec Afdeling 11 2003 against 1.565 p.
1st National N.P.O. Bordeaux Afdeling 7 2002 against 5.312 p.
1st National N.P.O. Bordeaux Afdeling 5 2002 against 5.314 p.
1st National N.P.O. Bergerac Afdeling 1 2002 against 2.881 p. Fastest of 11.508 p.
Furthermore, the loft was increased with a series of As-pigeons.
"De Donkere Barcelona" 1st National Asduif Barcelona 1996 - 1998 from Anton van Haaren
"De Leo" 1st National Asduif N.P.O. Meerdaagse Fond 2005 Comb. Steenbeek
"De Raket" Best Barcelona pigeon 2005 - 2006 Klessens de Lepper
When buying these top pigeons, several criteria had been developed to be able to following attributes that are important in long distance races: intelligence, sense of orientation, willpower, the ability to fly certain distances, their temper, instinct, muscle power, muscle volume, and their speed capabilities.
Now to highlight some of the best pigeons:
1. De Barcelona NL 91-2579212 1st National As-pigeon Barcelona '96 to '98
28th Nat. Barcelona 1998 6.290 p. 71st Nat. Barcelona 1997 7.047 p. 71st Nat. Barcelona 1996 5.229 p. 86th Nat. Perpignan 1995 4.342 p. 100th Nat. Perpignan 1996 3.815 p. 327th Nat. Barcelona 1995 5.737 p. 765th Nat. Barcelona 1994 7.767 p. 795th Nat. Marseille 1993 5.534 p.
2. Het Blokje NL 99-2178218
1st National St.Vincent 2002 Sector 2 against 7.370 pigeons
3. De Jander NL 99-4008802
1st National Dax 2001 Sector 1 against 18.211 pigeons
4. De Raket NL 00-0084308
1st Barcelona Zuiderkempen in 2005 and 2006
5. De Leo NL 01-1540276
1st National As-pigeon N.P.O. Long distance in 2005
2002 Brive 6th Nat. N.P.O. against 7.600 pigeons
2002 Bergerac 61st Nat. against 20.131 pigeons
2004 Angoulème 28th Nat. NPO against 5.235 pigeons
2005 Brive 34th Nat. N.P.O. against 8.094 pigeons
2005 Perigueux 5th Nat. N.P.O. against 4.955 pigeons
2005 Bergerac 16th Nat. against 17.160 pigeons
The men behind all this had a clear goal in mind; to breed young pigeons with specific attributes that would work really well on the 600km and the overnight long distance races. To ensure these qualities are also present in the offspring of these top pigeons, the breeding pigeons have to have the following requirements:
At minimum, being winner of a National overnight long distance race or a National N.P.O. race, with a distance of at least 650 kilometers.
The pigeon must be descended from a National winner of an overnight long distance race, or be descended from the well-known and proven long distance strains like: van Wanroy, van der Wegen, Braakhuis, Aarden, brothers Kuypers, and more, for the overnight long distance races. For the 600 km races these are mainly Janssen Arendok pigeons.
It was also a challenge to keep their star attractions like National winners and National top pigeons in the Netherlands. As everyone knows, for years on end these kind of pigeons were bought and transported across the border.
Despite their grand approach in investing, there are no hundreds of pigeons on the breeding loft. No, quality and exclusiveness is a strong focus for them. Therefore, the number of couples is only about 32. These 32 are made up of mostly the following composition:
- 15 National winners
- 43 children from 9 National winners
- 8 grandchildren of 12 National & International winners
The National winners or children from these, can be coupled with grandchildren of the following winners:
1st National Barcelona 1977, 1st National Barcelona 1994, 1st National Barcelona 1997, 1st International Barcelona 1999, 1st International As-pigeon Barcelona 1995/1999, 1st National Marseille 1999, 1st National Perpignan 1980/1st International hens, 1st National Perpignan 1990 etc. etc.
Some extra information:
There will only be sales from 1st and 2nd generation young pigeons from National or National N.P.O. winners.
Of all the 1st generation young pigeons (direct offspring) , minimally one of the parents is a National or National N.P.O. winner.
Of all the 2nd generation young pigeons (grandchildren) minimally two of the 4 grandparents are National or National N.P.O. winners.
Apart from breeding Young pigeons for their customers, throughout the years Evert and Roel have found several lofts that were willing to test some youngsters from their breeding loft on the races. These 3 lofts are assistant-lofts, and they have proven themselves more than enough in the pigeon sport, and this is also clear because they have been around for many years. These assistant-lofts are:
- Combination Steenbeek and son, De Bilt
- Combination Klessens - de Lepper, Valkenswaard
- Combination Funs and Jos Hillen, Vaesrade/Nuth
Lately, more and more references are coming in about pigeons that came from the breeding loft who got great results. Roel honestly admits that they are still waiting for a reference about a 1st National. But apart from this national victory, the following results have been achieved in several years' time.
Arjan Beens, Genemuiden
From this great achiever I got to see several results. The best ones were:
2008 Limoges 12.637 pigeons 2nd (granddaughter Blokje) en 6th national (grandson Brive).
2007 Perigueux 6.843 pigeons 2nd national (grandson Ruffec x Son Jander), 13th national (grandchild Jander) etc. etc.
Piet van de Boogaard and Marco van Buren, Amsterdam
2006 4th S.N.Z.H. (sector 2) Montauban (Donkere Barcelona x Blokje x Jander)
2007 49th S.N.Z.H. (sector 2) 7.020 pigeons Montauban (Donkere Barcelona x Jander)
Marien Orgers, Hekelingen.
Using offspring from ‘de Mof' he has multiple great youngsters that have earned top prizes (among the First 100 national) on St. Vincent, Pau en Bergerac and more.
Arie Wouterse, Varik.
"De Belofte" 2nd As-pigeon I.F.C. 4000 in 2007. With grandchildren Donkere Barcelona x Do 77 Bergerac 84th nat., Narbonne 56th nat., Perpignan 19th nat., Barcelona 67th nat., etc. etc.
Willie Houwen, Zoutkamp.
2006 Balbanik Race Romania (very tough race)
1st and 9th As-pigeon over 5 races. Two granddaughters (sisters) from Donkere Barcelona x De Mof.
Young Pigeons Morlincour 5th national (Grandchild Donkere Barcelona x De Mof)
Mark v.d. Berg, IJsselmuiden
From De Brive x daughter Jonge Sterken (De Fletcha) 12th nat. Bergerac 15.490 pigeons, clocked at 01.04 o'clock, 113th nat. Brive 6.857 pigeons and became 11th pigeonchampion World Championship Winning Long Distance 2007.
Koos Steenbeek, De Bilt. (also an assistant-loft)
Here is a quick look at just some of the prizes from this championsloft in 2007.
St. Vincent 69, 172, 363, 539 etc. national
Tarbes 164, 303, 305, 357, 362 etc. national.
Bergerac 134, 138, 155, 180 etc. national
Barcelona (2 flying) national 90 and 297.
There are also great results from 2009. Click here for the references from 2009
They do not stand still
Because this duo is so driven and they put so much importance into keeping their customers happy and scoring well, they know that standing still means falling behind. With this in their minds, Evert and Roel will keep trying to acquire National winners and Nation As-pigeons to add to their already impressive breeding loft.
For the last few years, visitors to well-organised fairs in the Netherlands will meet the breeding centre through their own stand. Apart from a cup of coffee and a friendly word, the two men are always ready to give good advice to customers, visitors and potential buyers. When talking about these things, it becomes clear that there is no real drive for profit with them. They don't have to get rich off of it, they say. No, their goal is to give everyone the chance to buy a pigeon from a proven or very strong bloodline, for a reasonable amount.
While talking to Evert and Roel it soon becomes obvious with how much passion they work on their breeding centre. Because they are so honest about their work, it would almost be believable that besides the D.N.A. certificates they give, they also hand out a guarantee for success!
As a reporter I have visited many lofts, but the amount of quality in regards to the small number of pigeons here is something I have rarely seen. The Dutch saying "it's not about many that makes it good, but about the good that is many" is very fitting for this breeding centre.
If after reading this article you would like to know more about this breeding centre, you can find a lot of information on their website www.first-prize-pigeons.nl.