Sjaak Gerbens – Oudehaske – Friesland – The Netherlands
Sjaak first had fancy pigeons during his childhood (Oud-Hollandse Meeuw). On the way to school, he caught stray carrier pigeons and so he came into contact with carrier pigeonfanciers in the area. It wasn’t long before he started racing pigeons himself. In 1966, Sjaak became a member of De Snelvlieger in Heerenveen, the pigeonsclub of Piter’s Beerda’s brother Willem. That way Sjaak came in contact with Piter Beerda. He immediately realized that Piter was the best fancier in Friesland with the best pigeons at the time. Piter was a relaxed pigeon fancier who did not let others fool him. Something that greatly appealed to Sjaak Gerbens. And his pigeons also appealed to him.
The enormous willpower to come home under the most extreme weather conditions impressed him very much. Sjaak remembers a hen (the 077) who came home from the National flight from Hof at half past seven pm in the pouring rain. She was the only pigeon from the basketing center that reached her loft on the same day. This was a pure Beerda and from that moment on he fell in love with the strain of the Piter Beerda pigeons. The blood of the 077 from Piter Beerda still flows through various pigeons in Sjaak’s loft.
These Beerda pigeons that form the basis of famous pigeon colonies such as those of Jelle Jellema and Arie Dijkstra, are primarily known for their great natural resistance to diseases. But also because of their enormous perseverance to fly through at night or to face heavy rain showers and really bad weather conditions. A pigeon like the famous Kleine Jade from Jelle Jellema who won the 1st International Barcelona in 2014 is such an example of a typical Piter Beerda pigeon. She carries almost three-quarters of the blood from the tough go-geters of Piter Beerda with in her pedigree known Beerda’s like “De 90” and the “Late van 88” (822).
Piter Beerda has earned his spurs in the pigeon sport for more than 40 years. He won many first prizes in the big league, general championships in the Friesland department and NPO victories. But he owes his greatest fame to the fact that he has taken countless pigeonfanciers with his pigeons to a higher level. After the death of Piter Beerda in 2011, all his pigeons were sold. A round of youngsters went to his brother Willem and the rest was distributed via an auction site, mainly to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Someone who already had a whole colony of more or less pure Beerdas a long time before Piter’s death, and who still owns today, is Sjaak Gerbens from Oudehaske. From the seventies onwards, Sjaak brought pigeons to Piter. It goes without saying that he has had youngsters from every stock pigeon or top pigeon from Piter. And from all those pigeons there are still plenty of descendants in Oudehaske. That Sjaak is not afraid of very close inbreeding is clearly visible. One of the visible features of the Beerda’s is the recessive red color that regularly pops up. The fact that Sjaak Gerbens breeds dozens of these so-called Chocos annually is the result of the inbreeding that Sjaak uses. That we call Sjaak the treasurer of the Beerda’s (the founfdation birds of two great champions Jelle Jellema & Arie Dijkstra) will probably not be blamed by anyone.
Over the years, Sjaak has always focused more on breeding than flying. Sjaak’s own performance doesn’t mean much to him. He has therefore not saved anything flights related, he just does not really care. Of course he is glad that others fly well with descendants of pigeons that he breeds, because that is a crown on his work. In recent years, various appealing results have been achieved with the offspring of his pigeons. For example:
Pieter Eekhof was General Champion of the NIC Noordwolde last year and he was last year’s “Grandmaster in Het Spoor der Kampioenen” a national championship organised by a pigeons magazine “Het Spoor der Kampioenen”) at one of the toughest long distance races we had this year. His loft consists for the most part of the Beerda’s from Sjaak Gerbens.
Eelke Bosma also won a 1st and 3rd National 3 years ago with a pigeon that carries 75% of the blood of Sjaak’s pigeons. His pigeons also do well in one loft races.
Anton van Oort from Geffen purchased pigeons from Sjaak Gerbens (through Nico van Veen) and was very successful with the children of these pigeons at the OLRs in Thailand and Poland. In Bangkok, for example, he had the 2nd Ace Pigeon and 1st Hotspot in 2015 and in 2014 the 1st Dutch Ace Pigeon in the TGPR, both pigeons with Arie Dijkstra blood from Sjaak’s pigeons!
Bram Wassenaar was also very succesful with a youngster from a Choco from Sjaak Gerbens at an OLR in Moldova (the bird was clocked 3 times very early) which was good for the 6th Ace pigeon.
With Sjaak the emphasis has been on breeding for years. His wife Marijke says the following about this; “Sjaak is a breeder in heart and soul. Whether it is pigeons, horses, chickens or rabbits, he always sees the opportunity to participate at a very high level! From the outset it has been Sjaak’s intention to preserve the old strain of Piter Beerda. He still has all the lines of Piter in his loft and there are still many who are completely pure Beerda (no pigeons other than Beerda’s were added after the early 80’s!). Because these pure old Beerda pigeons are very tough and super healthy and carry an enormous strength to come home in their genes, this great material can be crossed with other (inbred) strains. Successful fanciers such as Arie Dijkstra, Jelle Jellema and Wim Wittebol have demonstrated that. Because, with a few exceptions, Sjaak does not want to have any other blood in his loft, but in the long run wanted to cross the heavily inbred Beerda’s, he has bought pigeons from Jelle Jellema and Arie Dijkstra in recent years. A number of direct Dijkstras came via Willem Beerda, of which there has been considerable offspring in recent years. And also Sjaak Gerbens knocked on the door from Ultsje Jellema (Jelle’s father). Sjaak; “The Dijkstra’s and the Jellema’s that are based on the Beerda’s are ideally suited to cross again with the old lines of the Beerda’s. I do not want pigeons other than those with a Beerda background. I do not want to dilute the great natural health and toughness of the Beerda’s. The advantage of the Beerda’s is that they tolerate close inbreeding well. I am not afraid of inbreeding, but I do select very strict on health and vitality”.
This auction is unique, it shows pure Arie Dijkstra and Jelle Jellema pigeons, two champions lofts which originate from the Piter Beerda pigeons, as are the pigeons of Sjaak Gerbens!