Top pigeon breeder donates 100 animals to promote sport: ‘Gratitude is worth much more than a big check’

Had he put it up for sale, the price of a hundred pigeons from Kurt Platteeuw (51 years old) would have been between 50,000 and 100,000 euros. But the best breeder of pigeons from Rumbek gave them all to their novice colleagues. “The pigeon sport has given us so much, and now I want to give back,” he says. With success, because no less than 750 emails came for one of the best birds.

The fact that a lot of money has been circulating in pigeon sports in recent years is an open secret. In March 2019, Armando – the now world-famous pigeon from Ingelmunsternen Joël and Dieter Verschoot – was sold for 1.2 million euros, in November 2020 this record was broken by New Kim, a pigeon from Gaston Van de Wouwer from Berlaar.

And now there’s Melissa, an award-winning four-year-old who flew very fast toward her loft house in Rumbek. Among other things, the animal won the Borg race, one of the classics in the world. “Compare it to Milan-San Remo in the race,” says Kurt Plateau, 51, professional manager of the famous Vanluechene shoe store in his home commune and avid pigeon breeder for twelve years.

“We read all the emails one by one to make sure our bathroom went to the right people”

Melissa was faster than nearly 42,000 competitors, and in addition to the victory at Bourges, she already had mouth-watering rests. This made pigeon fanciers’ mouths watering even in China. “Finally, I was able to sell Melissa about three months ago to the same businessman who now also owns Armando.”

He keeps to himself how much is put on the table for the best pigeon Kurt. “But it’s a record amount,” murmurs Kurt, who has literally grown up between the bathrooms. “My grandfather Odell was also a pigeon fancier, just like my dad Ruff. But only since I started focusing on her have we been able to raise our level clearly.”

Emotion as a condition

The fact that Kurt, along with his dad, have reached the heights of the pigeon sport in record time is one of the reasons why he returned the favor. Since 2020, he has been organizing an annual promotion in which he gives a series of well-performing pigeons from his own loft free and at no charge to starting (younger) pigeon breeders. “In 2020 and 2021, there were about fifty pigeons at a time, and thanks to the success with Melissa, we decided to pull all the stops this year and distribute a hundred birds.” Not written off animals, but absolute pigeons price by air Or that Kurt was growing on his own.

This Dutch girl also came down to Rumbek, a good 430km ride. © FB Court Plateau

At the beginning of September, Kurt made a plea on social media to email him the motive of novice pigeon fanciers wanting to order one of his pigeons. He described the campaign as an “unprecedented success”.

“In a short time we had 750 responses. We read them one by one, so we decided to whom we wanted to donate. Our focus was on people who were early in their careers in the bathroom. Age was not a deciding factor, it was our passion for our sport.”

Pickup day is busy

It’s just that sport that Kurt wants to give a boost to. “Seventy years ago, our country still had 200,000 pigeon keepers. Now there are about 20,000. We must try to avoid further decline, something I want to help achieve through my actions.”

We even received answers from Cuba, Senegal and Japan. And during Friday, there was a queue up the street. invisible”

Two weeks ago, Kurt and Father Ruff organized a gathering day in their bathroom in Rumbek. “There was a queue all the way to the street,” he still remembers. And they came from everywhere. Larn, Zolder, Ternate and also people from Friesland came here. A 600km trip there and the same amount back, just for one of our pigeons.”

Kurt also received emails from more exotic places like Cuba, Senegal, and Japan… “Foreign candidates also had to be present on the day of the assembly.” There was French, English, Luxembourgish, Portuguese, Romanian… Nice to see. In total, I received requests from thirty countries.”

“Do you know what I remember most? The gratitude you get from these people. This is worth a lot more than a big check. Many people also brought a gift. Regional products flew around our ears,” he laughs. “Pots of mustard, wine, or olive oil… My garage is currently full of them. Awesome, isn’t it?”

Knock on cliches

Kurt estimates the total value of the donated pigeon at 50,000 to 100,000 euros. “Good amount, but if you’re only thinking about money, you shouldn’t do anything.”

“I’m doing this to promote our sport and to heart the old godfather cliché in blue keel. You can’t believe how many young people and kids were standing at our door. That’s what we do for him,” smiles Kurt.

Kurt Plateau saw several young children picking up a pigeon.
Kurt Plateau saw several young children picking up a pigeon. © FB Court Plateau

Kurt wants to repeat his act next year. “In any order of magnitude, we’ll see,” he winks. “But I still do this. To promote our sport and give a boost to beginners.”

In the sports field, Kurt also cherishes dreams. “We already have a record of achievements to compete with, including nine national titles, the most National Ace pigeons and so on.”

Now I want to set the absolute record for the number of national victories. This is twenty now, so I still have some work to do,” he laughs. “And who knows, maybe I’ll see the descendants of my donated pigeons appear on the honor roll along the way. That would make me happy.”

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