The Great Witoger 720

Witoger 720 Racing Pigeon“Witoger 720″ or “Witoger” or just plain old “720″, this racing pigeon carried band number IF 1993 GSS 720 and has become a large part of the foundation of my loft.  720′s Dam was a Daughter of  “Continental Class” and his Sire “Rino” was a “Hofkens” from the loft of Louis Van Hove in Belgium.  “Witoger 720″ passed away in October of 2010 but he has left his legacy with many racing pigeon lofts around the country.

Kenny Rhodes said, “I cannot stress the importance of the Witoger (720) cock bird.  His Children, Grandchildren, and Great Grandchildren ect… Have done it and won it all!”  That’s a pretty telling statement from a man who has some of the hottest Koopman and De Rauw Sablon racing pigeons in the country.  Sure it’s easy for Mr. Rhodes as a pigeon salesman and owner of 720 to make a statement like that, but the results prove it!

“Witoger 720″ was a raced and had a spectacular record for Fred Smelzer before Kenny Rhodes owned him.  He was 1st Combine Ace Pigeon Old Birds, 3rd American Ace Pigeon All Distance Old Birds.  He placed 1st Combine vs. 1006 birds (250 Miles), 3rd Combine vs. 686 birds (250 Miles), 5th Combine vs. 709 birds (250 Miles), 5th Combine vs 1114 birds (250 Miles), 7th Combine vs. 744 birds (200 Miles), and 17th Combine vs. 1154 birds (300 Miles).

Most pigeon racers will know the details about “Continental Class” and the Janssen side of 720′s Pedigree, so I won’t go into that.  I’d like to bring to your attention some of the details on the “Hofkens” side and the relationship to some of today’s most successful racing pigeon blood.  According to Ad Shaerlaeckens, the late Mr. Hofkens didn’t keep a or believe in a  “strain” of pigeons.  He imported and used superior pigeons from many strains in his loft.   He was sort of a pioneer to the way Mike Ganus handles Ganus Family Loft today.  Ganus birds are not really a “family” or “strain” of pigeons, but rather a vast collection of  super stars from different families (an exception to this would be his “Creator” family).  Many of the famous pigeon racing fanciers of Belgium built their lofts around “Hofkens” pigeons.  These include the lofts of Louis Van Hove, Frans Verheyen, and Flor Vervoort.

We know from my earlier ramblings that the Sire of “Witoger 720″ is a “Hofkens” from the loft of Louis Van Hove.  Let’s make note of some other big name birds in the racing pigeon world from that claim the “Hofkens” strain name.  Flor Vervoort brought us “Fieneke 5000″, “Phantom”, and “The Aske Hen”.  Mike Ganus and Barry Yu have used Flor Vervoort’s “Hofkens” with great success.  “Hofkens Best”, “Hollywood”, and “History Maker” all top birds for Ganus that can be called “Hofkens”.  After doing quite a bit of searching, I haven’t really been able to figure out exactly what a “Hofkens” pigeon is.  There are so many special birds in the racing pigeon world that have some kind of “Hofkens” relationship or lay claim to the “Hofkens” name.

What I have been able to figure out that there is something special to the strain name of “Hofkens” and if you go way back in the pedigrees many of these top names of today are likely related.  The point I would like most people would look at a “Hollywood” pigeon from Mike Ganus and a line bred or inbred “720″ pigeon and conclude that they were in the same “family” or “strain”.  Are they related?  Or could they have related pigeons, or even the same pigeons way back in their pedigrees?  The best I can understand at this point is that  “Hofkens” is simply a code word for winning genes.  Exactly the same way as if I were to say, “this is a GFL pigeon” you would know that likely that bird is from some super star genes.

“Witoger 720″ marries pedigrees from top Janssen pigeons and “Hofkens” (if there is such a thing) and it works.  So how does this relate to me?  I’m relatively new to building my family of racing pigeons and figuring out exactly which are my best producing breeders etc…  Half the fun of racing pigeons is researching pedigrees, planning breeding pairs, and trying to make each year’s young birds a little better than the last.  I haven’t yet come across any direct children of  any superior pigeons which fit my budget.  What I can do, is decide on certain pigeons that are important and try to stack the genetic odds in my favor.  I am interested in racing pigeons that were winners multiple times against many pigeons.  I look for pigeons who have many children who are winners, and these children are producing winners themselves.  For me, “Witoger 720″ is one of these pigeons.

I have several pigeons in my breeding loft down from “720″.  Most of these are crossed to birds down from other super pigeons of interest to me… “Kannibaal”, “Phantom”, “Sure Bet”, “Aske”, and “Fieneke 5000″ and others.  I have recently acquired a new hen and a new cock both of which are double bred Grandchildren of  “Witoger 720″.  I now believe I have the tools in my loft to line breed to “720″.  At least to the best that I can afford right now.  He was a winner, he has Children that were winners, Grandchildren that were winners, and Great Grandchildren that are winners and so on…

This is the best recipe I can come up with to try and stack those genetic odds in my favor.  I have set up similar breeding plans around “Clausing 410″ and I’m working on “Sure Bet”.  I don’t really care about “strains” at this point.  I am focusing on birds that meet the criteria I mentioned above.  Over time, I’ll stock my own winners and breed from them developing what works for me.  In the mean time, I’ll concentrate on what has been proven to work for others.  And who knows, maybe one day people will call my birds a “Hofkens” based family of pigeons.  I just want to win, then people can call it whatever they want.


Feel free to add your comments or experiences with “Witoger 720″ racing pigeons by using the “comments” fields below…




content from: Ashby Loft | Racing Pigeons | Pigeon Racing | © copyright 2011-2012

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