In 2008, at the age of 11, I came for the first time in contact with the pigeon sport. This happened through my grandfather, Arthur Machiels, who had pigeons all his life. One of my first memories is waiting for Barcelona 2008. My grandfather had a few pigeons in the race, including “Polleke” (or the “Montauban” as he was then called). This race wasn’t a success, because “Polleke” arrived just after the prizes. For me it was quite an experience to see a pigeon coming from so far away!
Later that year, a Dutch pigeon arrived at our lofts. The owner let us keep that bird. Together with my brother Mathijs a little breeding loft was built in our garden house. The goal was to start breeding with this pigeon.
Between 2009 and 2011 I was very active in the pigeon sport. Besides taking care of the pigeons in our little breeding loft, I helped my grandfather on his lofts and basketing the birds. Of course, I also was always present went the pigeons needed to arrive from a race. At that time, my grandfather had one very good pigeon, “Polleke”. In 2009 and 2010, this strong guy won 2 nice prizes on very hard Barcelona editions. In 2009, I was the first to see him coming, very high and straight from the North. An amazing moment for me! Also in 2011, on a fast Barcelona, he managed to win a nice prize. 4 weeks later he was basketed for the last race in his career, namely Perpignan. It became a race under difficult (rainy) circumstances. None of the pigeons in our province was able to reach its loft on the day. The next morning, the weather conditions where very bad. Foggy with drizzle. Because of this, my grandfather and I had to sit in the garage where we could just see the loft. We were only 15 minutes outside when a pigeon dived really low to the loft. The pigeon was soaking wet, so I did not recognize it. However, my grandfather recognized his favorite “Polleke” immediately. At the age of 7, “Polleke” won a beautiful national top prize, 15th national Perpignan.
In the years between 2011 and 2014, my interest for the pigeon sport declined, partly due to other interests, but also due to the move of “Polleke” to the breeding loft.
The restart took place in the summer of 2014. By coincidence I got involved with my grandfather's pigeons again and the interest was rekindled. Shortly after that, I decided to start buying pigeons. I bought the first two at the end of August via the internet from the Comb. Vieberink (Gendringen, NL). This included Kilo, the father of Remco (1st provincial Narbonne 2020). Many more pigeons followed later, including from Frank Zwiers (Terheijden, NL), Jelle Jellema (Nijverdal, NL), Harold Zwiers (Den Ham, NL) and Cees Nijdeken (Rijssen, NL).
As from 2015, my grandfather and I were a combination, racing under the name Roosen – Machiels. In addition, we started building a new racing loft at a different location at the end of 2015. The intention was to continue to play together with my grandfather in his lofts and to start in parallel in my own lofts.
In 2016 my grandfather's health deteriorated and I took over the complete care of the pigeons from him. Unfortunately, he passed away in October of that year.
I made my debut on the extreme long distance in 2017, still racing from the lofts of my grandfather. On the first race, Agen, I immediately clocked an early pigeon. A daughter of Polleke won 4th provincial yearlings. A couple of days later a 2 year old cock won top 200 national on Barcelona. An amazing start!
In the beginning of 2018, the remaining racing pigeons where rehomed to the new lofts. Together with the young pigeons of 2017, we raced for the first time from the new location. That year was full of bad luck. Due to an infection, which they probably got during transport, we could only participate in 2 long distance races at the end of the season. Fortunately, those races became an unexpected success! On both flights we clocked the fastest pigeon in MKFV and started with 3rd provincial.
The debut on the international races from the now location was made in 2019. With the first provincial victory on Pau, this started sublime. A week later, on a very tough Agen, our yearling hen stranded in 2nd place provincial from Agen. The best moment came from Marseille, our top hen Rita won this provincial race with a big margin and was 2nd national!