|Louis Van Loon:
The Miracle Man from Poppel
By Tony Rossi
Thirty years ago, Albert
Vanderflaes visited Mr. Louis Van Loon. He left with a basket of
pigeons. "They were bought for The Brothers Janssens,"
said Louis Van Loon, "I am 100% sure, although I never
heard another word."
The pigeon sport in Holland and
Belgium is extremely popular. Each week, hundreds of thousands
of pigeons are liberated and awaited by thousands. It must be
understood that this is still a sport enjoyed by the working
class - just ordinary people. But it is the working class that
has to compete with the professional flyers.
This working class does not
have the money to hire managers, erect super lofts, and pay
thousands of dollars to create the "Golden Breeding
Loft". The average European loft must use good selection,
dedication, and confidence, in order to compete.
This background is what makes
the Louis Van Loon story so great. He was a hard working man all
his life. He was a truck driver in a local factory. He raised
his children with his wife, and maintained a household. We all
know what this involves, but Van Loon rose to stardom against
the most powerful, rich and arrogant lofts in Belgium. Stay with
me and I will continue.
In Belgium, certain areas became
the hotbeds for pigeon flying, worldwide. One of the most famous
is the Antwerp Union. All over the world, pigeon fanciers have
heard of the Antwerp Union, the "High School of the Pigeon
Sport", at least in the opinion of some people.
For example, the big names that
you may have heard of are: Huyskens Van Reil, Martin Van Tuyn,
Stan Raaymakers, Serge Van Elsecker, and, last but not least,
the "killer of the Union", William Geerts. These are
terrific lofts that deserve much credit, but there are many
other districts, that publicity does not follow.
One such area is an area near
the Dutch-Belgian border. This area is known around the world,
and is the home of the famous Janssen Brothers of Arendonk.
Hardly a pigeon fancier, in every country, has not in some way
been affected by their great birds. The Janssenís lived their
entire lives in the village called Arendonk, Belgium. But it was
not only the Janssen Brothers who gave Arendonk a worldwide
reputation, there were others.
Just a few hundred yards from
the Janssen Brothers home lives Mr. Karel Meuleman. (Former
Wouter-Meulemans). Mr. Meuleman and his partner were lucky to
form a once in a lifetime breeding couple, "The Golden
About five minutes by car from
Arendonk lives another man who created a family of pigeons that
made history in the sport. His name is Jos Van Limpt, alias
"Deklak". Mr. Van Limpt lives in Reusel, Holland and
was employed in a factory with Driek Janssen. Yes, it can be
said that Driek was the father of more then one brilliant
career. Other big names that lived near the border was the
Butcher from Merksplag, Mr. Gust Hofkens. He owned many super
pigeons that won many first prizes. The popularity of the
Hofkens pigeons was so great that after his death, people
traveled around his neighborhood asking to buy any bird carrying
the Hofkens band. Other names you ask? How about Albert Vander
Raes, Marcel Borgmans, Ellis Vandepol, and there are more. They
all had one thing in common, they all lived on the Belgian-Dutch
border. The brightest star also lived in this same area; a man
who rose to the top and stayed there for 40 years. This man
never wanted publicity and shunned attention. This man is none
other than Mr. Louis Van Loon. Seventy four years ago, Mr. Louis
Van Loon was born in Poppel, Belgium. This small village is
located about 2 miles from the Dutch border.
Louis, as a school boy was
already interested in pigeons. I guess this is not hard to
understand, because the whole family (father, uncles and
nephews) raced pigeons. Mr. Van Loon stated, "at a family
party, you know the subject we talked about. But Louis served
his apprenticeship under his father, and was taught many wise
lessons. These lessons he remembered well, his entire life.
Louis Van Loon in his early years married and started his own
was when the Van Loon strain was created. These were difficult
years for Louis. He worked hard as a truck driver in Ravels, and
was raising a family, a son and two daughters. He was a normal
working man with little time. Every day he had to leave for work
early and work the whole day.
So you ask how did he fly his
birds so well? Dedication, my friend. Up at daybreak. Hours
before work and late at night, 365 days a year. His results are
history. He is truly one of the greatest flyers ever in Belgium.
Mr. Van Loon created a widowhood team that could compete with
the professionals, the rich and the famous. The working man from
Poppel did what every one dreams of he wan and won and won. For
many years he was the terror of his entire area, In spite of his
success, Mr. Van Loon was very humble. He never bragged about
his performance. He said, "I made one mistake, I was too
good with too many pigeons."
Why did he say is, you ask?
They banned him! He was not allowed to fly middle distance aces
anymore until he signed a paper that said he could never pool
again. Of course Louis signed. Could you blame his opponents?
They had no chance at all. It was said that in order to beat Van
Loon, you must fly Van Loons.
Mr. Van Loon said he was too
good with too many pigeons. How many did he fly? Would you
believe just 20 widow cocks! He would ship no more than 12 per
week, every week and won everything in sight. And for Mr. Van
Loon, he always stayed as he is, humble, respectful, and honest.
man of little words worked hard for his family and his pigeons
with no selfish thought of himself. When the magazines came to
write of his success, Louis sent them away. He did not want any
publicity. He did not want to sell pigeons. He wanted to be left
alone, with his family and his pigeons. Probably this is the
reason Louis Van Loon never was as well known as the Janssen
Brothers. Karel Meuleman, Jos Van Limp, and Gust Hofkens. I dare
say that Van Loonís results were every bit as outstanding as
the people above. This is a true statement and we are prepared
to prove this, if necessary.
When I visited Mr. Van Loon
with Frank Aarts last April, I asked him, What methods do you
use to get those kinds of results? Mr. Van Loon looked at me
sternly and said, "Remember this, there is only one thing
that is important good pigeons, nothing else."
You might say to yourself, who
is he trying to kid! Well, the only thing I can say is that the
results from the Van Loon pigeons in other lofts are phenomenal!
Remember, Van Loon never looked for publicity, he never
advertised, never had articles in magazines, never organized an
auction, and never bragged about his pigeons.
The people who came to Louis
Van Loon were smart people. They came by themselves, not in
groups. They read the results and kept their purchases quiet,
because they truly knew the Van Loon pigeons would bring their
lofts to success.
Who are these lofts, you ask?
Well, to name just a few, Mr. Gys Peters, Mr. Marcel Borgmans,
Mr. Cassaet, Mr. Vieveen, Mr. Becht, Mr. Koopman and Son, Mr.
Squibb (Planet Brothers) Mr. Frank Aarts. and many more. Even
several national ace pigeons and national winners carry the Van
Loon blood in their veins.
What have the Van Loon pigeons
done in the USA? Wake up people!! Iíll give you one example.
Several years ago. Mr. Campbell Strange imported the "Super
73" from Gys Peters to the US. You can read in his
catalogue, a quote from Mr. Strange, "I paid a four figure
sum, but this was a real bargain. The Super 73 is the best bird
ever imported to the US and the blood line of Super 73? Again,
Van Loon and his Pigeons
Mr. Van Loon invited me into
his lofts; and it was a moment in my life that I will always
remember. You could just feel the pride and reverence this man
had for his pigeons. He let me handle his entire breeding loft.
They were fabulous pigeons, but more important, they were there
because of their performance. You see Mr. Van Loon, still at age
74, realizes that winners breed winners. I asked him if these
were the same birds he flew in the 70ís and he said
These are the same birds I flew
for over 40 years. He did tell me that he maintains a separate
family for long distance flying, but keeps them separate from
his basic family.
In several pigeon magazines you
read articles and advertisements in which people claim to have
purchased the best pigeons from Mr. Van Loon. When asked, Mr.
Van Loon just smiled and said, "I never did this, and I
never will sell my base pigeons, as long as I am still racing
pigeons and as long as my health allows me to race. Louis Van
Loon is 74 years old, and is still a winner, believe me. He
races widowhood cocks, and no birds on the natural system. He is
only interested in Old Bird racing. The young birds are only
given about 7 training tosses up to 150 miles.
Van Loon makes his own feeding
mix, that he gives this pigeons the whole year. When I was
there, he was emphatic about giving me his mix. He was very
proud, and I thank him for this.
Mr. Van Loon doesnít believe
in overmedicating. He treats for canker only, and for special
problems he gets advice from his vet. Mr. Van Loon doesnít
believe in the so-called wonder products. The only thing he
believes in are: good pigeons, a good loft, and perfect health.
I would like to thank Mr. Frank Aarts and Mr. Van Loon for their
taking time and effort in getting these important facts for this
- - The Racing Pigeon
Digest, October 15, 1995