The speedsters from Vorselaar
If there is one person who has sound instincts for pigeons, it is Leo Heremans from
the town of Vorselaar in Belgium. Starting in the 1980s and on to his record sales in
2013, Leo dominated short distance racing in the Kempen region, especially in the
highly competitive combines Zesverbond and Tienverbond, though he also had pigeons
that were very successful on the middle distance race. He became provincial champion
middle distance young pigeons together with Marcel Mols already in the beginning
of the 1990’s.
Great fame was achieved by Leo Heremans after Marcel became seriously ill and Leo formed a team
with Charel Ceusters. The combination Heremans-Ceusters achieved phenomenal results as off
the late 1990s, with their colony based on pigeons from Staf van de Bempt and the Hasendonckx
brothers, supplemented with pigeons from Maurice Hasendonckx and Jan Diels, and of course the
cobreeding with the famous OLYMPIADE BE01-6455003 from Gust Jansen in Beerse.
Leo and Charel became Overall Provincial Champion KBDB Antwerp no less than four
times (2001-2003-2004-2005). Everybody remembers top pigeons from this era, such as
WONDERASKE, GOUDKLOMPJE, JAN, WELLENS, 426, 444, FAVORIET, NATHALIA,
DEN EURO, etc.
After the theft of his pigeons and two further attempted robberies in late 2006, Leo decided
to quit pigeon racing, and his complete colony of pigeons was sold in the spring of 2007,
except two pairs in BIS. Leo gifted the final three rounds of youngsters to his assistant
Hugo Vermeerbergen and son-in-law Gert. Two weeks after the sale, Leo’s wife Chris died,
and soon enough Leo answered the call of pigeon racing again. Leo could not live without his
pigeons, and in the fall of 2007 he was already basketting pigeons for training races. His first
official race was in 2008 and he won 1st and 2nd place. And this is how the third, and perhaps
most successful, period in his career as pigeon fancier started.
Together with Hugo Vermeerbergen, Leo built another successful colony, based on his old
foundation with Hugo, Gert and a few friends who had top birds from Leo. Leo also continued
to be on the lookout for reinforcement, as he always did. Two Dutch pigeons proved to be
perfect: Daughter SPRINT from Gerard and Bas Verkerk (grandmother GEBROKEN POOT
and great-grandmother BOLT and LOUIS) and GALANTOS from Gerard Koopman (father
OLYMPIC SPERWER, grandfather NEW OLYMPIADE).
After starting over in 2008, Leo and Hugo quickly became 1st National Champion Short
Distance Young Birds KBDB 2010 and 2012, and 7th National Champion Short Distance Young
Birds KBDB 2011 and they had two Olympic pigeons (POZNAN 2011 and NITRA 2013), the
1st National Ace Pigeon Short Distance Young Birds KBDB 2012 and 4th National Ace Pigeon
Short Distance Young Birds KBDB 2011.
The sale of Leo Heremans’ pigeons in 2013 became a new cardinal point in the appreciation
of short distance pigeons. His pigeons were sold for more than 4 million euro, and at 310,000,
BOLT is the most expensive pigeon ever sold, to this day. This assessment was based not
only on results in his own loft, because the excellent fancier Leo was not bought along with
it, but also by the enormous impact his pigeons had on a national and international level. Just
think of the Olympic pigeons of Wolfgang Roeper (Germany), K. and K. Meijers (Netherlands),
Dirk van den Bulck (Belgium), Hans and Evert-Jan Eijerkamp (Netherlands), Stickers-Donckers
(Belgium), Luc van Mechelen (Belgium), Dirk van Dijck (Belgium), and many more.
Since then Leo has not been laying back. He is already adding a new chapter to his career with
top achievements such as three top-ten results in the national championships KBDB 2016, 3rd
National Champion Youngsters, 5th National Champion Short Middle Distance Young Birds,
and 8th National Ace Pigeon Short Distance Old Birds.