By Tom De Martino

Staf Van Reet, truly one of the all time Master Breeders and Racing Champions winning over 600 times 1st prizes. The world renowned Piet DeWeerdt has said that the Van Reet pigeons are the fastest and most intelligent pigeons in the world.

Van Reet has had the fastest sprint pigeon in the province more than 22 times vs. over 100,000 pigeons.

The Van Reet pigeons have been winning worldwide. In Thailand, where they specialize in young bird racing, the weather is unbelievably hot and the Van Reet pigeons have shown they are up to the task winning multiple 1st's. In England it's the same story. Since the introduction of the Van Reet birds by Dean Pallet they have become the rage of the sport winning at all distances.

Staf has created his family based on the Old Line Janssens coming down from the "Half Fabry" of the Janssen Brothers. These are strong, tenacious pigeons that fly week after week and recuperate quickly. Champions like Daniel, 57x's 1st, Dikke Prinz, 26x's 1st, Prinz, 32x's 1st, Donkere Witpen Daniel, 17x's 1st, Bliksem, 18x's 1st, The Goode 53, 9x's 1st, Den Don, 10 x's 1st and Favorie, 8x's 1st and 37x's top 10 and their progeny have dominated the sport world wide.

When asked about his health program, Staf replied he only treats for canker. My pigeons are naturally healthy and those that are not are culled. I select by performance. They must win and fly week after week. Daniel once won three races in one week! You must have a healthy, vigorous strain to begin with. If you have to treat them with drugs, all is lost. After so many years of racing, culling, and not medicating, my pigeons are naturally healthy. They win against as many as 8,000 birds with no tricks or drugs. A well balanced mixture of sound grains and not too much protein, with plenty of clean fresh water. I change the water two or three times a day washing the fountains each time. Here is a man that has won over 600 races from 100 to 500 miles and two Nationals and he says, "There are no secrets, just good pigeons and handlers".

Over the years, Staf has introduced a few Super pigeons to his family. These new introductions would be paired to the best Van Reets and the off spring would be tested in the basket. Only the winning pigeons would be kept and bred back into the family. This is how Staf's Super racer and breeder, Favorie BELG-659426/92, was produced. After winning eight 1st's, Favorie was placed in the breeding loft. There he went on to sire generations of champion racers and breeders. With much negotiation, as Staf was reluctant to part with his Champion, I was able to purchase Favorie and bring him to the USA were he will be paired with other Van Reet imports.

Favorie's sire is Grote Tom. His sire, is bred from the Geschelpte Soontjens Cock from the famous loft of Joseph Soontjens, one of the greatest winning short distance champions in Belgium during the 1980's, and a daughter of Daniel, 57 x's 1st. His dam , Frou-Frouke, is a grand daughter of Donkere Witpen Daniel, 17x's 1st. Having access to the best Soontjens champions, Staf introduced these Janssen based pigeons into his family. Staf has said he has never had a better yearling than Favorie! "That is why you need to add a good cross once in a while". One thing Staf said was not to get caught up in the past! That is, always try to improve. That is why he adds new blood to his already successful family.

I've been racing since 1979 and over the past few years I have put together a good collection of proven breeders. Many have bred multiple 1st place winners or are winners themselves. What I can tell you is, as a family, the Staf Van Reet pigeons are very different! They have dominated all my lofts taking all the top nest boxes regardless of how long other birds have been here. They seem to be willing to fight till the death. When driving their hens, the cocks are very aggressive and intense. When released on training tosses, they make a 1/2 hook and head straight for home. Before I had these remarkable pigeons I have heard all of the wonderful things about them but being somewhat skeptical, I shrugged it off. Now that I have seen them in action, I can tell you they are for real. My complements to Staf Van Reet for developing this champion family of pigeons. The Van Reet pigeons will go down in history as one of the very best the sport has ever expereinced.