Heremans – Ceusters

Leo HeremansAs with many fanciers, Leo got involved in the sport by coincidence. When Leo was still a beginner he obtained the last two pigeons from Paul Huysmans who was getting married and who had other plans for the future. One of these birds, Teentje, bred a young bird that won 14 prizes. From 1993 he raced together with Marcel Mols. They each picked one youngster from each nest. Marcel did Quievrain; Leo raced Noyon and the middle distance. They were first prov. Champion Middle Distance and third Prov. Champion Sprint. Unfortunately Leo was diagnosed with pigeon fancier’s lung and they decided to sell most of their birds. They only kept a small loft of 8 metres long (the loft on the picture above) in which 9 breeding pairs were housed. They soon noticed that the pigeons of Leo were excellent breeders: it did not take long before they had to build an additional loft. Unfortunately tragedy hit in 1997 with the death of Marcel. Ceusters decided to give Leo helping hand and they decided to join forces under the name Heremans-Ceusters.
In the meantime many fanciers had learned that the pigeons of Leo Heremans were very useful to reinforce your existing pigeon breed. Countless fanciers had already been successful with descendants of his pigeons Jan (6113220-02) and Olympiade (6455003-01). The Heremans-Ceusters pigeons were in high demand not only in Belgium but also abroad. Unfortunately it also attracted someone with bad intentions. In 2006 several excellent pigeons were stolen from their lofts. Another attempt was made to steal his hens as well but an attentive Leo managed to avoid the theft with the help of two young men. But the damage was done: Leo lost 20kg because of the stress. He quickly decided to sell all of his birds except for two pigeons.
They took a last round of eggs from their best pigeons before they were moved to the loft of Hugo Vermeerbergen. An additional round of youngsters was moved to this loft as well, because Hugo’s son-in-law was interested in becoming a fancier as well. The total auction took place in 2007. That same year Hugo told Leo that he had too many pigeons; he wanted to give some of them back to him. Leo initially declined: “You can take them back with you. I’m enjoying a life without stress now.” Eventually Hugo promised Leo to help him with the caretaking and Leo gave in. It transpired that Hugo’s son-in-law did not enjoy pigeon fancying after all, so these birds were sent back to Vorselaar as well.
Basis of the breed
Leo thought things through when he purchased new pigeons. All the pigeons in his lofts in Vorselaar are descendants of pigeons that have been breeding several generations of excellent birds. He has a collection of pigeons from Dirk Van Dyck (Zandhoven, BE), the Hasendonckx brothers (Grobbendonk, BE), Maurice Haesendonckx (Bouwel,BE) and Jan Diels (Vosselaar,BE). After a while he started purchasing pigeons from abroad as well with reinforcements from Koopman (NL) and Verkerk (NL). The purchase of his pigeon Olympiade was something special. Gust Jansen from Beerse (BE) had an excellent yearling in 2002, which had just been awarded as second Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB. Gust turned down a generous offer; he did not want to sell the bird. Leo decided to purchase a 50% Olympiade pigeon. He would stay in his breeding loft for one month and in Gust’s loft the next month and so on. The pigeon was awarded the title of Olympiad Pigeon shortly after. Several more fanciers made an offer but they both decided not to sell the pigeon. Nearly every successful pigeon in this loft originates from that bird.
Especially in the Netherlands, the performance of Heremans–Ceusters go not unnoticed and pioneers like Willem de Bruyn and Ad Schaerlaeckens took pigeons from Vorsselaar and they could almost immediately celebrate greatest victories. Hans & Evert-Jan Eijerkamp took not much later care that the treasure of Heremans–Ceusters blood lines rehoused in the breeding lofts of Greenfield Stud.