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 The Schelleken Strain
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Jef Schelleken, born in 1910, developed an interest for pigeons while still only a child but it was only in 1958 that he put his hands to the plough where the sport of pigeon racing was concerned. It was then at the age of 30 that he obtained his first birds from from a Noudje Horsten and a fellow villager Jac Wouters, a cock and a hen of the Horemans strain. This was the base of the Schellekens loft. Jef was joined in the fancy by his son Piet and his son Gerard .Jef Schelleken, born in 1910, developed an interest for pigeons while still only a child but it was only in 1958 that he put his hands to the plough where the sport of pigeon racing was concerned. It was then at the age of 30 that he obtained his first birds from from a Noudje Horsten and a fellow villager Jac Wouters, a cock and a hen of the Horemans strain. This was the base of the Schellekens loft. Jef was joined in the fancy by his son Piet and his son Gerard .

In time they added to the lofts pigeons of Meurice- Cannaerts and Delbar. It was in 1967 however that some birds from Andre Vanbruaene were purchased to be followed in the nineteen eighties by some Aarden's. From these bloodlines the Schellekens bred their own type of pigeon for the distance. Initially some of the best birds were 'De Bonte', 'Donkere Dax', 'Broer Sterkweker' and 'Ocana'. However Jef's son, Piet, after his marriage erected a loft separate from his father and brother in 1969 some miles away at Bavel. The other son Gerard continued with his father as a partnership. The latter partnership then experienced in 1982, 'De Zwarte Adelaar' winning the 1st Nat.St.Vincent (996 km) from a convoy of 28.536 pigeons. To be followed in 1987 by winning at Pau (1000 km) 1st – 2nd – 37th national and 5th- 11th- 111th international. Sadly in 1994 Jef the primary founder of the strain died leaving Gerard at the parental farm at Riel to carry on with the sport.With both sons excelling at the sport from different locations.

This family has done well in the race of all races- Barcelona- over the years. Indeed from 1965 without interruption the loft has excelled from the Spanish race point at a distance of 1145 km. As a result the strain has been nicknamed- 'The Eagles of the Pyrenees'. In addition and as a proof of a strain's durability numerous other fanciers have won with representatives of the Schellekens including national and international level races. The latter includes Cor Koning, Ber Roosen, Weurt Holland, Jan Josten, and Karl Meulemans amongst others.

Piet bought his grandfather's house in Bavel but most important pigeon wise when he moved there he brought with him some of the top breeders from the lofts at Riel. Today there are many descendants from the latter stock from Riel. In 1993 Piet was 1st, 3rd, 4th, & 6th in the long distance races, which earned him the title of the "Golden Crack" of the Fond Club Zuid-Nederland against 4000 other pigeon fanciers. Piet also won the Grand Prix Z.L.U. (National Races) These are the races from Barcelona, Marseille, and Perpignan.

Some noted Schelleken birds were 'Zwarte Barcelona I' NL83-8322657 a.o. 14e Nat. Barcelona 4.505 P. 33e Int. Barcelona 21.545 P; 'Zwarte Barcelona II' NL84-8486294 a.o. 30e Nat. Barcelona 4.505 P.171e Int. Barcelona 21.545 P; 'De Sproete' NL89-8955137 a.o. 107e Nat. Barcelona 10.574 P.188e Int. Barcelona 33.145 P; 'De Zachte' NL 90-9061090 a.o. 11e Int. ace pigeon Barcelona 1993-1997; 'Kleine Donkere' NL 91-9134358 a.o. 5e Int. ace pigeon Barcelona 1993-1997; 'Bontje Marseille' NL91-9134405 a.o.12e Int. Barcelona 6.591 P. 10e Int. Perpignan 3.279 P; 'Blue Black' NL96-9661090 a.o 2e Nat. Perpignan 8.627 P, 6e Int. Perpignan 25.471 P, 27e Nat. Barcelona 8.140 P,37e Int. Barcelona 28.095 P; 'Black Eagle' NL97-9732386 a.o. 843e Nat. St. Vincent 21.210 P, 1.127e Nat. Barcelona 8.140 P; 'Donkere Adelaar' NL98-9830426 a.o. 97e Nat. Mont de Marsan 13.636 P, 14e Nat. St. Vincent 17.889 P; 'Maximan' NL00-0029761 a.o.1e Golden Crack long distance flights 2002- Fondclub Zuid Nederland (4.000 fanciers) 1e ZNB Bordeaux 5.819 P, 2e Brabant 2000 Bordeaux 7.886 P.

The distances covered by this strain is as follows: St.Vincent (996 km), Dax (980 km), Souston (986 km), Pau (1000 km), Perpignan ( 995 km), Marseille (917 km), en Bordeaux (845 km). Surely the strain founded and formed by a father and his two sons the late Jef Schelleken is one of the best long distant strains at the present time for their record over the Pyrenees mountain range and other tough assignments across Europe.


Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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