We will not teach you anything, telling you that pigeon racing is a world of enthusiasts. Small or large colonies, pigeon fanciers are attached to their pigeons. Pride for their crack, want to win top prizes, they each have a lot to talk about. Portrait of one of these enthusiasts: Daniel Haezebaert, from Coudekerque-Branche, province of Dunkirk.
It was in 1970 that Daniel Haezebaert took his first pigeon racing license. But at 17 years old, he already had pigeons. His father raced pigeons before World War II, Germans occupied France and Dunkirk and ordered every french fancier to cull all racing pigeons. His father did not resume after the conflict.
Today he heads a small colony of 20 widowers at the start of the season and 15 to 20 youngsters each year. “I don’t have a lot of pigeons, that’s no use. You just need a pigeon to win the race ” explains Daniel. Daniel was initially advised by François Robert, former president of the Dunkirk combine, “ a great man this president !. He did a lot for the combine. He gave me pigeons. I still played the same breed, 50 years later, ” adds Daniel.
From my first competition on May 15, 1971, until the last of August 2019, Daniel recorded 320 first prizes and 42 Ace pigeon titles. Daniel regrets that he is no longer able to bet on his pigeons today as before when we entered a bet on a few pigeons which made it possible to cover part of the costs. He did not adopt electronic système to clock the racers, because for him it is the end of pigeon racing.
Daniel remembers two of his pigeons. From his crack on 205416/08 which won 71 prizes in 6 years including 20 first prizes and 2 ace pigeons “He was always the first at the loft” remembers Daniel. And its nest brother 205417/08 which totalled 51 prizes including 5 first prizes. “These two pigeons were stolen from me on the basketing day in Châteaudun in 2013 within our company. My crack came back to the loft in 2015 debugged. I haven’t heard from his nest brother.”
Last year Daniel had a wonderful season winning Vierzon (424 km) 1st ahead of 539 old birds, Saint-Junien (580 km) 1st ahead of 230 yearlings, Brive (630 km) the only pigeon of the combine at home the day of liberation, ahead of 187 old birds. Each victory, with a different pigeon. This year Daniel has played little. “I’m 80 years old and at risk for COVID-19 so maybe I will play next year if my health permits.”