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The Strain Of Andre Vanbruaene...
Author: Liam O ComainTitle: The Strain Of Andre Vanbruaene
Date: 2005-05-02 09:37:02Uploaded by: webmaster
Many fanciers in Europe carry the hope that they will win a National pigeon race and some that they will win an International. In fact, the stock purchased, the careful mating, the good management, the best of training and feeding, are all geared to accomplish their dream of glory at National and International level. Some make it and others fail despite a lifetime of trying. However, the architect of the strain being sketched won not only at National level but also at International level from various racepoints into Belgium, including being twice Barcelona international winner. His name? Andre Vanbruaene.

Andre was born on April 4th 1910 and died on March 8th 1999. He was approximately 17 years old when he has his first pigeons and participated in the short, or speed, races. In due course, because of success at that distance, he was excluded from certain clubs which prompted him to try the distance. It wasn't long before he was winning from racepoints such as Pau, Angouleme and Libourne with his famous pigeon, Stier. One of his greatest achievements, however, was his win from San Sebastian in 1952 with the great Tarzan. In fact, this bird flew from Spain to his home loft in one day winning the International classic, an astounding piece of pigeon racing ability.

Of course, these were just a few amongst many wins by this master of the sport, for in 1966 he won the International Barcelona Classic with the aptly named Barcelona 1; then to prove that this accomplishment was not a fluke he won the Barcelona International in 1984 with Barcelona 2. Surely this would have been the creme de la creme for any loft? But it wasn't for Vanbruaene who scored at other nationals during his lifetime.

In addition he produced breeders like Electriek, who bred winners at Perpignan, St.Vincent and Pau (for an English loft in 1982) and was also in the bloodlines of Barcelona 2. It is recorded that he won 12 Belgium Nationals as well as other top National positions in his career. In addition, this master of the pigeon racing sport recorded four International wins which included the two from Barcelona plus Pau 1951 and San Sebastian 1953. Even in tough flights from Barcelona, Vanbruaene timed 8 out of 8 sent and on another occasion 10 out of 10 sent. Some flying!

Upon my introduction to the sport I was shown photographs of the birds of this great master of the sport. Still, today they give the impression that they were made of steel. In fact, if I look at my own stock I feel uplifted if one of them (especially the youngsters) reflects a steel- like appearance by sight or by handling. This behaviour, I believe, descends from my past encounter many years ago with images of the Vanbruaene winners. They placed a compelling factor in my concept of the phenotype of the ideal long distance pigeon. Alas, the few that I encountered amongst my own stock lacked that which is necessary in the mind, for although they looked like tanks, in due course they dropped like flies! They were missing that which I would call 'intelligence', which, along with the necessary physique, was part and parcel of all winners, although the mind aspect, as the history of the sport records, compensated for the at times - inappropriate physical or phenotype reality.

Vanbruaene had a loft full of excellent breeders and as his record shows, fantastic racers. This was the fruit of his labours at Lauwe in Belgium- and I emphasize the term 'labours' for his making of his strain was a labour of love based upon good management, and nothing left to chance, the result being rewarded over a thousand times by the successes for himself and others.

It was a strain based upon the careful crossings of pigeons from the lofts of others and one in particular the west Flemish loft of Remi Molein of Ieper who had very good pigeons based upon the strains of Commine and Vandevelde and Andre had made a shrewd choice when he obtained the latter stock.

This was not the only input into his foundation, however, for he also purchased stock from the Stichelbaut lofts of Daniel Labeeuw and Marcel Desmet, as well as stock from the lofts of two of Alois Stichelbaut's brothers, namely Remi and Emiel. Thus the historic Stichelbaut strain made a major contribution to the evolution of the Vanbrauenes.

In conclusion, the strain of the late Andre Vanbruaene occupies the same level of historical esteem as the Aardens, the Catrysses, the Stichelbauts, the Van Hees and, in the opinion of many, are number one in the annals of long-distance pigeon racing.

Liam O Comain

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