ARTICLE 1

 

Devriendt (Moere, BE), as registered in 1951 - Part I

Oscar Devriendt from Moere is the national champion over all distances. He has been successful for over 30 years. Strangely enough people did not talk about him very often.

I guess some of you are curious to know more about a renowned pigeon fancier from West Flanders, who was expelled from races already twenty years ago. That fancier won two first, a second and a fourth national prize at the long distance in 1949. Well, in this article we discuss the career of Oscar Devriendt!

Due to a mistake in the points classification of the official championship of the BDB Oscar Devriendt only just missed the championship title. That explains why he has always been a fairly unknown fancier. In 1951 he proved that he was in fact as successful as Andre Vanbruane. Since then he has been one of the world champions of pigeon racing.

Why did this successful fancier not get the attention he deserved?

Why did he get a lot less attention compared to some of the other successful fanciers? This reminds us of the cyclist Philip Thijs: he won the Tour de France three times and yet people said he was just an ordinary cyclist who was not particularly talented. Some would even say that he was not at all a good cyclist; it had all been a matter of luck. However, insiders said that he never had a flat tyre because he always saw even the tiniest objects on the road. His attentiveness indicated that he raced not only with his legs but also with his head: he was a clever and intelligent rider. Some say he never got tired! These are very useful qualities but it does not make him a remarkable cyclist.

Oscar Devriendt is a reserved and friendly fancier from West Flanders and because of his personality, which is difficult to describe, he does not draw a lot of attention. When people are talking about Oscar they will usually only refer to his results, which usually speak for themselves. During the racing season these results appear at a weekly basis and in all pigeon magazines in Belgium. These results are simple facts. Action speaks louder than words. “It’s not my fault”, says Devriendt. “If my pigeons are ready, they will win prizes.”

This was probably the only time that Oscar ever boasted about his own achievements. Usually he only boasts about the achievements of his opponents! It seems that the journalists seem to write a lot about the results of other fanciers in Belgium but they never report about the achievements of Oscar Devriendt. In the winter of ’52 he suffered from a serious disease, of which he has not yet completely recovered.

In 1950, when I wrote my first article about him he was still healthy and strong. No one could have foreseen that he would be faced with this illness, which would eventually result in unemployment and he was forced to quit pigeon racing. On Monday 24 April 1950 I was in the railway station in Brussels and I had planned to take a train to The Netherlands. In the final instance and without a good reason I decided to take the train to Ostend instead. The train was about to leave in only a few minutes’ time; on and a half hour later I was in Ostend. It was a cold and wet day. Snow was expected that day, as well as rough winds, especially around the Strait of Dover and along the canal. With such weather conditions you can hear the ocean roar.  There was some stormy weather in this coastal town and the wind blew through the empty streets. Strangely enough it was nearly May. There was white blossom and white snow at the same time. There was a dark grey sky and low clouds. I walked along the coast for an hour with a thick coat and a scarf.

I spent the night in hotel Terminus Maritime and the next morning I was on the train to Moere. It was before 8 o’clock when I arrived at the home of Oscar Devriendt. There was a heavy wind that blew away the white clouds in the sky and soon the sun started shining. Oscar was busy cleaning the lofts but he soon came to welcome me. It had visited him before and it would not be my last visit here. Still, today was a special visit: I had planned to make a study of the pigeon breed of Devriendt and to unravel the pedigrees and origins of these amazing pigeons. I’ve always had an interest in the genealogy of pigeons...



ARTICLE 2


HISTORY OF THE LONG DISTANCE FAMILY OF DEVRIENDTS  

Most modern day fanciers pay little attention to the champions of decades ago. They are more interested in what is winning today and rightfully so, however over the last 45 years I have tried many different middle and long distance families and as of today none of them has matched up with the Devriendts especially on the tough and long distance races. With this in mind lets look back in time at the originator of the Devriendt Family "Oscar Devriendt". He was born in 1889 in the West Flanders area of Belgium. In 1909 he started with pigeons and served as an artillery-man in the first World War (1914-1918). The basic pigeons came from the loft of VanderVelt in Oudenburg. After the war the Devriendt loft as well as Cattrysse lofts were so successful they were barred from local racing or limited to sending two or four birds to the short and middle distance races. In order to compete in the long distance races they were forced to go to the Provincial and National races. It was not long before the Devriendt loft became one of the best in Belgium. Many outstanding results were recorded up to World War Two. During the war both the Devriendt and Cattrysse lofts were occupied by the German army. After the war about 50 birds were kept and the results became phenomenal. Top national results continued throughout the fifties and during the sixties and the work of running the lofts was turned over to Maurice and Marcel, the two sons of Oscar. In 1963 Oscar suffered a stroke and although he never fully recovered he continued to advise his sons in the management of the lofts. In 1966 Oscar died and the official name changed to DeVriendt Brothers. Because Marcel and Maurice's time was limited they competed more in the middle distance races to avoid the long wait of the long distance races. During this time top middle distance results continued till the end of the sixties. This was helped with a cross from an exchange of birds with Desmet-Mathys of Nokere. The exchange benefited both lofts greatly for years and the DeVriendt blood became very popular playing a big part in the success of many top fanciers. To name a few Hector Desmet, Maurice Delbar and Jos Vanden Broucke. In 1971 the Brothers again achieved top long distance results winning 13th National Cahors and 6th National Angouleme. In 1972 Vuiltje won 1st National Cahors against 4135 birds. By the late seventies young bird racing was becoming more important and in 1978 they raced better than ever before. In 1979 - 348 prizes were won, the highest number ever for the DeVriendt lofts. In 1981 -465 prizes were won with super results coming mostly from the young birds. 1987 would be the last real glory for the DeVriendt lofts, "DeSchone" a cock from 1982 with bloodlines of the old Zwarteband and Fieren would win 1st provincial Cahors, 23rd National 6448 birds, 2nd provincial Narbonne and 3rd National Luik, 4175 birds. Deschone was 2nd National Ace pigeon long distance. In 1989 Maurice DeVriendt died after a long illness and the total loft was sold at auction on March 3, 1990.

 

THE RED LINE OF DEVRIENDTS

 

The Devriendt family of birds is mainly recognized as blues but in fact there is a Red Line that has been a big influence since the original KAREL of 36. During the forties and early fifties as many as 1/3 of the birds were red check or mealy. The KAREL of 48, PRINS of 45, VALE WITOOG of 48, and TIKKELE of 63 are just a few examples of super birds in the Devriendt strain of red or mealy color. My family of Devriendts has the blood of TIKKELE and KAREL and also the red blood of George Compernolle from the village of Koekelare, very close to Moere, the home of Devriendt. George Compernolle started in pigeons in 1947, that year he bought two birds from Oscar Devriendt. Normally each year he would return to Oscar and bring back two or three more birds. In 1969 he obtained a red hen 69 BELGE 3348601 and in 1970 a blue cock 70 BELGE 3169028. These birds would prove to be exceptional breeders. In July of 1986 Maurice Devriendt informed Campbell Strange that George was now too old to properly care for the birds and he planned a total auction for the Fall. Immediately Maurice and Campbell visited the Loft and after careful evaluation decided Campbell had to have the GOEDE ROSTEN. (His Sire was son of the Blue Cock of 1970 and the Red Hen of 1969 was the Dam.) The GOEDE ROSTEN was bigger than medium but very light and buoyant; and although Campbell was no eye sign enthusiast he loved the depth and character of his almost violet eyes. George would not sell the cock because the rules forbid any bird to be sold six months prior to a total auction sale. After a couple of hours and two or three more trips to the small garden loft, Campbell bought the entire stock of old birds, 57 in total. He brought back the best 23, the rest he sold to Taiwan, so there was no need for the auction. Campbell kept very few; The GOEDE ROSTEN, his Sire OUDE PENNY, The BLEKEN, plus five or six others. The rest went to some of Campbell's friends that had Devriendts for many years. These birds have given excellent results all across the United States. Campbell's great hen Mrs. Magoo is a Great - granddaughter of the GOEDE ROSTEN, and my foundation cock WWC 5880 is a grandson of GOEDE ROSTEN on both sides. My foundation hen WWC 1969 is down from the mother of Mrs. Magoo. The information I have on the Devriendts I received from Campbell Strange when I purchased birds from him in the early nineties.

 

Charlie Lee