Gerard together with his team members Kjeld Spithoven and Andre Leideman. 


The results of the famous Dutch top loft Gerard Koopman are known more than well by them who follow up pigeon sport a bit. Getting victories, and this preferably against more than 1,000 competitors, is simply baked into the blood of the Gerard Koopman pigeon. We can name several internationally known Koopmanpigeons but the absolute topper, first on the racing loft and afterwards on the breeding loft, was without a doubt ‘Kleine Dirk’. Loads of interviews have mentioned the breeding- and racing capacities of this extra ordinary pigeon more than once.


But now we want to speak about a total different victory of Gerard and his team, namely the winning of the national championship Marathon (overnight) of the Netherlands. Being able to win this championship you need to take the results from 4 out the 5 national/sectorial Marathon races.  The price range is ¼. The points of all pigeons are being added up to each other and this total will be devided by the number of basketed pigeons  with a minimum partial of 5. In other words…in this system the ‘fanciers of the big basket’ don’t have any advantage in basketing many pigeons. Everybody starts off on equal terms.  

Gerard could send in underneath results for this championship:

St. Vincent – 1,173km:    11 prizes out of the 18 basketed pigeons
Perigueux – 953km:         9 prizes out of the 13 basketed pigeons
Albi – 1,043km:                10 prizes out of the 14 basketed pigeons
Orange – 968km :            9 prizes out of the 11 basketed pigeons
Cahors – 1,032km:          15 prizes out of the 16 basketed pigeons


Gerard and extra ordinary breeding/racing pigeons…in one way or the other they always seem to find each other…the past has proven this more than once. Also when Gerard started to focus on the marathon happening he was looking for and found the ‘white blackbird’…namely “Red Bullens”.

“Red Bullens” NL07-3704851 – was bred and raced by Bullens. His palmaris is more than impressive with as absolute headliners:

1             NPO Bergerac 2011         4,288b.
2             NPO Bordeaux 2008        5,038b.
2             NPO Bergerac 2010         4,651b.

Important to know is that this red top pigeon is born in a family of winners. His father is a full brother of the “975”. The “975” is father of “Rooie Duuk”, 2nd Olympiad pigeon Marathon Dortmund ’09. The grandfather from “Red Bullens” won 6th National St. Vincent and 69th National Barcelona.

But … and now here it is…when the “Red Bullens” moved as a 4-year old cock to Emerveen, he showed himself immediately as a true top breeder:

He is, coupled to different hens, father of several promising marathon pigeons, but two that really stand out are “Noel” and “Leonidas”.

“Noel” NL11-1185771 from “Red Bullens” x “Peiren 671” (original Noël Peiren)

Won:     1st Ace bird NFC Marathon 2013
              2          Cahors                   977b.              1,031km
            24          Limoges              1,051b.                  861km
            24          Bergerac                 929b.                  992km
          754          St. Truiden        10,715b.                 240km             
          893          Gennep              10,818b.                 130km

“Leonidas” NL12-1076994 from “Red Bullens” x “Miss Anke” (original Hermans-Hoekstra)

Won      1st National ace bird Marathon WHZB/TBOTB 2014

             1             St. Vincent            523b.              1,176km
             2             Bergerac            1,739b.                 992km
           24             Limoges             1,108b.                 861km
         980             St. Truiden       10,715b.                 240km             
         849             Chalons              6,639b.                 130km

No wonder that both “Noel” as “Leonidas” got a ticket direction breeding box. 

But also in 2nd generation the family of “Red Bullens” scores as no other ! “Noël” is already father of “De Staart” (NL14-4750653). “De Staart” won: 2nd Orange 338b. – 3rd Cahors 722b. – 44th Limoges 922b. .

Gerard…where does the love for the marathon races come from ? 

That step was made on one hand by the fact that we already used to be very successful with birds from Hermans-Hoekstra on the marathon races. This is how “Miss Waalre” won: 1st Ace bird marathon TBOTB in 2004 – 1st National St. Vincent 1,334b and also the fastest against 15,122b. – 1st NPO Ruffec 1,835b. – fastest of 3,963b.. “Miss Waalre” was coupled against “Dromer” from De Rauw-Sablon and “Milko” was born, the grandfather of “Miss Maniwan” (1st National St. Vincent 25,807b.). Despite all these wonderful results we kept the marathon happening at a low ebb, but 7 years ago, and this especially by impulse of colleague, Kjeld Spithoven, we fanned the ‘marathon flame’.

With which base was this challenge taken on ?

Overnight races ask for overnight pigeons and new investments were done at Wijnands and son.  “De Witneus” was bought, a direct son of his basebreeder “Blauwe Vannoppen”. Pigeons born out of “ De Witneus” form the fundament of our marathon colony. Nevertheless that everything was placed in rapids by “Red Bullens”. The family of “Red Bullens” brought in more hp to our marathon-motor and the true marathon-grinta came with the buy of direct Peiren Noël (Zedelgem –B) , Ko Van Dommelen, Henri Hoeks and Hermans-Hoekstra (top hen “Miss Anke”) pigeons. We got the feeling that the whole fits perfectly and with the national marathon title we now also have the prove in writing !

Gerard studying original Noël Peiren pedigrees 


Gerard…we would like to have a bit more explanation about your way of working on the marathon races.

The season 2016 was started off with 25 couples of marathon pigeons on total widowhood. This group was a mixture of many year birds and some experience overnight birds. The oldest racing pigeons have as birth year 2012.
The marathon pigeons are being coupled in a later stage to long distance racers. At the beginning of February they were on eggs and could raise their own youngsters. Then the total widowhood follows until the middle of August.
They were taught well and were at the releasing point of the 1st NPO race (3rd weekend of May). Off course we didn’t expect any top results on a long distance race from these marathon pigeons but many of them did place their ring number on the list of results.
In a matter of caring there is no difference with our long distance pigeons. Feeding occurs with the ‘All-in-one’ method and our well-known cheese-peanuts mix. More info can be found on my website.
As mentioned before we race the marathon pigeons on total widowhood. This is, according to us, the best way in making a quick selection of cocks and hens. As they can’t race each week on a marathon race they can, every fortnight, on a Tuesday, train together. This always brings in the necessary commotion into the group.

Gerard…thank you for your time…and a lot of success with the very worthful “Red Bullens” family !