When the name Koopman is mentioned, the village of Nieuw Amsterdam comes up directly. Indeed this village became famous for the superior performances in pigeon racing of its most famous inhabitants, the Koopman family. When Gerard decided to quit football and form a partnership in pigeons with his father, the biggest expectations of insiders were even surpassed. Performances went up unbelievably and the progression was almost scary … but Gerard wanted more.
Those days Gerard did not matter; if he had to ride his bike all the way to Poppel to spend some hours with his tutor and ride all the way back … he would do it. He knew that on his way to the top all that mattered was talking and listening to the grandmasters in sport. He moored the information in his brains and what he learned he used for his own colony. That is the great strength of exceptional racers. And Gerard wanted to be nothing less, a great fancier, the best of all!! But something else made him a great champion too. He is a guy with a great feeling for good pigeons. He does not need to buy a round of youngsters, he knows good quality directly.
When Cornelis and Gerard visited Louis van Loon from Poppel or the world famous Janssen brothers in Arendonk, it was always the youngest son who picked the pigeons and his hand seemed lucky more than anyone else.
Three exceptional breeding pairs
When the Koopman pigeon comes up nowadays, they do not mean the Janssen or the Van Loon strain anymore. No, Gerard and Cornelis created an own strain. The Koopman pigeons, pigeons with great character and the never ending will to win. They show it worldwide on the 100-800 km races. In this discipline the Koopman pigeon is almost unbeatable.
Three breeding pairs play an important role in this strain. Up to the day of today their blood runs through the veins of almost all cracks that are born in Ermerveen. Naturally Gerard kept on looking for reinforcements, pigeons that could make his legendary strain even stronger, faster and tougher. Most of the times it is wasted trouble. However the grandmaster does succeed once in a while to find suitable cross material and history seems to be repeating; his feeling for pigeons is exceptional!
‘De 48’ NL78-1342748 x ‘Gouden Duifje’ B81-6116734
These two already mentioned pigeons were paired up to each other in 1985 and it was a golden hit. The pair directly produced the famous ‘Zitter’, a fabulous racer (1. Den Bosch against 4,550 birds; 1. Strombeek against 2,788 birds; 2. Venette against 6,369 birds et cetera), who was a super breeder himself. But also ‘Beatrixdoffer’ NL88-2763998, is a son to this pair and to show the great capacities of this topper on the Koopman strain: he is father to a/o ‘Zeno’ NL92-5310364, Olympiad bird in Utrecht and ‘959’ NL94-2227959, the number 1 breeder for Günter Prange. With that ‘Beatrixdoffer’ is also grandfather to ‘Ringlose’, who created a new line of acebirds in Germany (1. Nat. acebird Germany Günter Prange, 1. Nat. acebird Germany Beumer-Sandbothe and 1. Nat. acebird Germany Tony van Ravenstein). And this is just a small selection of top classifications in National acebird competitions. Himself ‘Beatrixdoffer’ won a great deal of top prizes including 1. St. Ghislain on the ‘Beatrix-race’ against 10,828 birds and 4. against 3,717 birds, also from St. Ghislain. Besides his ring number can be found in pedigrees of many exceptional pigeons all through the world.
The ‘Zitter’ gave ‘Ons Louis’, NL88-2763913, winner of a/o 1. NPO Bourges (700 km) in 1993 against 7,688 birds. The most famous son to ‘Ons Louis’ (x sister of ‘Eric’ NL88-4024671) is the great ‘Branco’ NL94-2227820, Olympiad bird 1997 in Basel and again father to the miraculous ‘Zebran’ NL97-2252958. A daughter to ‘Zebran’ is ‘Wonder Lady’ NL99-5771339, winner of 1. NPO Orléans against 5,163 birds.
Paired to ‘Paloma’ the ‘Zitter’ produced ‘Gandor’, NL94-2227906. ‘Gandor’ is a/o the father to ‘Indira’ (a/o 1. St. Ghislain against 3,138 birds and 9. Beek against 6,168 birds) and grandfather to the 1. Nat. acebird in Germany 2002, the 5991-00-1011 of Beumer-Sandbothe partnership
‘Raket 84’ B84-6726519 x B85-6294112 (Van Loon)
Here we meet the both foundation bloodlines of the Koopman loft; Janssen x Van Loon! ‘Raket 84’ is a son to ‘Jonge Raket v. ‘76’ of Janssen brothers. His hen, the ‘112’, is a direct Louis van Loon pigeon. This unique breeding pair produced a great number of great pigeons. As example we like to introduce ‘Eric’ NL88-4024619 (1. Uden against 15,511 birds; 1. Beek against 14,881 birds, 1. St. Ghislain against 2,206 birds, etc.) ‘Eric’ is for sure one of the most important pigeons of the present Koopman strain. He is father to ‘De Sultan’ (1. Etampes against 15,750 birds with 22 minutes lead) and of the legendary and fabulous ‘Gentil’ NL92-5310320, who represented The Netherlands on the Basel Olympiad in 1997. Besides ‘Gentil’ was crowned 2. world champion 1995 and 4. world champion 1994 long distance! As breeder his value is indescribable. He is father to many World famous pigeons and the base of the new Koopman colony. The mother, almost unbeatable winners in 500-800 km racing. Who owns pigeons like these, needs to have no worries for the future.
‘Gentil’ NL92-5310320 x ‘Golden Lady’ B96-6286060 (Dirk and Louis Van Dyck)
The male part of this special pair was already introduced extendedly. This dream cock of course needed a dream hen and Gerards feeling for good pigeons did not let him down …
In the winter of 1997 the pigeon magazine ‘De Duif’ organized an auction for the annual champions honouring. Gerard only had eye for a late bred hen from 1996, a daughter to the world famous ‘Kannibaal’ (1. Nat. acebird middle distance of Belgium 1996) of Dirk and Louis van Dyck. In his mind Gerard already made the pairing and he decided to buy the hen. Of course he was not the only one who wanted to buy this hen but because Gerard was convinced of its great qualities, he decided to invest heavily. She eventually moved to the breeding lofts in Nieuw Amsterdam where she wrote history. Gerard let her develop in all rest and in 1998 she was paired to ‘Gentil’. It was the best thing to do: ‘Kleine Dirk’ NL98-5821416 was born from this pair. It meant the beginning of a new era. In the following years this pair produced one crack after another. Probably no other breeding pair had so much impact in the modern pigeon world.
World championship classifications:
Qualifying for the former World championships of Versele Laga was a great sportive goal in the late Nineties. The winners were talk of the town and became world famous. Probably no other fanciers than Cornelis and Gerard Koopman were so successful in this prestigious championship!
Overall world champion: 1994, 1st place; 1995, 2nd place; 1996, 4th place; 1997, 7th place; 1998, 2nd place and 1st, 5th and 6th with youngsters!
Twice the partnership made a top quotation in the individual rankings with their superstar ‘Gentil’. In 1994 ‘Gentil’ was third World champion and in 1995 he was second World champion Versele Laga!
The World championship team of 1994 consisted of:
‘Zeno’ NL92-5310364 1st Herenthals (220 km) against 4,448 birds; 2nd Orléans (647 km) against 10,997 birds; 2nd Bourges (698 km) against 3,781 birds; 5th Houdeng (309 km) against 3,781 birds; 5th Cambrai (380 km) against 2,175 birds.
‘Corneel’ NL93-5407419 3rd Den Bosch (153 km) against 3,210 birds; 9th Beekbergen (86 km) against 3,737 birds; 18th Reusel (192 km) against 4,545 birds; 19th Reusel against 2,140 birds.
‘Gentil’ NL92-5310320 4th Orléans (647 km) against 10,997 birds; 4th Cambrai (380 km) against 2,175 birds; 6th Reusel (192 km) against 4,545 birds; 10th Houdeng (309 km) against 3,707 birds; 10th Bourges (699 km) against 1,286 birds; 56th Etampes (580 km) against 15,750 birds.
It was a beautiful unforgettable period in Nieuw Amsterdam. A time that gave father and son Koopman the possibility to create the perfect team up to the smallest detail. But to achieve Gerard’s goal – a more professional way of homing pigeons – new conditions had to be made.