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The Story of “Cajun Blue” and “Cajun Rocket”
The Best Hofkens Foundation Pigeons I Have Ever Owned!
This story is about pigeons down from Frans Verheyen and Gust Hofkens pigeons which were down from such names as Driebander, Old Pol and Old Merckx (both grandsons of Diebander), Rocket 200, and Kliene Merckx. Mike Ganus was the first in the US to recognize the quality and breeding ability of these champions and he acquired many sons and daughters of them. He was the importer of more of these pigeons than anyone else, and he imported most all of Paul Yahiku’s Hofkens pigeons. A grandson of “Old Pol” that was in the group that Mike imported for Paul and he was the sire of 2 of the best foundation pigeons I ever owned, “Cajun Blue” and “Cajun Rocket”.
I first saw “Cajun Blue” at an auction in Lafayette, LA in the Texas Center Winter Meet Auction. She was the perfect hen in my limited knowledge of pigeons at the time, in-fact I had never heard of Hofkens, but I just had to have that hen. She was about 10th in the lineup of pigeons in the sale and I had bought 1 or 2 so far and $50 was the most expensive so far, but my main focus was that hen. Not one bird went for over $80 so far, and I wanted that hen bad. The bidding started at $25 and so many wanted that hen also that I could not even get a bid in until it went over $100. At that time, there was only 4 of us bidding, when it got over $160 a friend that I didn't know at the time was the only one with me. We kept it up at $10 at a time until she got to $250. I thought to myself, "this guy is not going to stop, he must want her as bad as I do". To stop him and make sure I got the hen, I made a bid of $300 and was ready to go to $500, and I think he saw that. I had never paid more than $150 for a pigeon before that time in my life, but I never wanted a pigeon as bad as I wanted her. The room we were in had for the first time since I had been in there had gone dead silent when my competitor (at the time) contemplated whether or not to bid again. The auctioneer said going once, still quiet, going twice (I was biting my tongue so hard I was afraid I had cut it). I was so relieved when he said SOLD to the bidder in the back of the room!!! I didn't know if I had just made the biggest mistake in my life, or made history, hardly any pigeon had ever sold for more than $150 in an auction in Lafayette before that day. But soon after the auction was over about 15 guys came over while I was looking over my purchase and trying to put her in the basket I had brought with me, and saying "Man what a hen, you sure have a good eye for a pigeon, she was the best in the whole auction". I was relieved they didn't think I was a fool. then my former competitor came over and congratulated me on getting the hen, he said he liked her a whole lot, but really didn't need her, just thought she was super. We have been super good friends ever since that day, and have given each other many good pigeons since. One man at the auction told me he once bought an import hen from Belgium with 2 friends, and she turned out to be a super breeder, and he had never seen a hen look and handle so much like the import hen, he was one of the 4 that dropped out at $160. I was a new comer to the sport at the time (1998) and didn't know but a few pigeon guys in my club only, but this was a different club’s event. Everyone would call me the guy that bought the good hen at the Winter Meet for a long time until they learned my name. Most thought I was rich or something, but I don't mind spending my hard earned money on something good, and I thought this hen was special.
Like previously mentioned, Cajun Blue was a Hofkens, down from Frans Verheyen bloodlines. Frans Verheyen was what I call a “Master Breeder”, even Mike Ganus says, “This man knows something no one else knows, he knows how to breed super breeders, and super racers year in and year out!” Mr. Verheyen is still the only fancier in Europe that has bred and raced 6 Olympiad pigeons in 8 years, and the only pigeon (“Kliene Merckx of ‘80”) to be named Olympiad Champion 2 times in a row. That means that even just to be nominated, your pigeon needs to be the best of your category in your country 2 years in a row, and he did that 4 times in a row, so he was nominated twice in a row, now he is known the best racing pigeon of “Belgium” 4 years in a row! The number of Foundation Pigeons that Mr. Verheyen has bred has to be one of the most in the world by one man! The Hofkens pigeons have made me one of the top breeders of One Loft Race winners in the US, and I cannot take a single credit for any of it. Like I have heard before, “Master Breeder’s don’t make top pigeons what they are, it’s the other way around, “Top Pigeons” make “Master Breeders” Some of us breeders get the credit for things we don’t have a thing to do with, we are just the people putting water and feed for the real Master’s, the best pigeons in the world !!!
Cajun Blue went on to breed a few good racers, but it was years later that I finally realized her true value and saved some of her kids to use as breeders, but I still didn't realize what an impact she would make until I had sold her to David Scott. I had saved several of her sons and daughters, but when the word spread that her youngsters were breeding so many top racers everybody wanted them, and most were sold off.
When I first got “Cajun Blue” she produced 2 good racers her first year, and that started me looking up her breeder, Paul Yahiku. Paul donated "Cajun Blue" to the Lafayette Club auction with a couple other pigeons, but the other 3 were not in the class of “Cajun Blue”. After about 3 weeks of looking on the internet I finally located Paul in San Diego and told him how much I liked 95 SD 3294 "Cajun Blue" and I would like to purchase a brother to her. He told me her mother had died and all he had were 1/2 brothers on the sire's side, and I asked about the mother, he said the mother of the 2 brothers was a daughter of "Rocket200" purchased from Campbell Strange. I said even better! So "Cajun Rocket" came to my house. The very first mating for "Cajun Rocket" was "Cajun Blue" and 2 little skinny birds were both shipped out to Harold Lamons in a trade. I was looking for some good "969" blood to cross on my Hofkens for racers, and he was looking for some good small Hofkens to cross on his "969" and especially his "Pair One" line. Harold sent me a beautiful cock I named "Bar None" because he had very light colored bars on his wings and was a powder blue in color. Our friendship grew very much since that time, and we even became partners in several pigeons that we bought from Mike Ganus for commercial reasons.
Harold put both the babies from "Cajun Rocket" and "Cajun Blue" with direct daughters of his "Pair One" the next year, as they turned out to be both males. This was the first year Harold was not flying young birds in many years, so he sent out the youngsters to fly with other flyers he knew to test them. A pair off of CAJUN 0834 (one of the young I sent him) was sent to Tim Lucas to fly. Those 2, both hens, were 1st or equal 1st in 6 out of 8 combine races for Tim. Harold and I were both amazed at the breeding ability of that mating, but for some odd reason, I never did put them back together! Another pair was sent to another flyer and he stocked one, saying it was too nice to take a chance loosing in the races, but the other one won a combine race for him in the Michiana Combine. Another flyer who got 2 won a combine with one and the other won on the club level, but didn't get a win in the combine. So that was 5 winners out of 6 sent out, and 4 combine winners, just fantastic results!
Later after acquiring "The Golden Nugget" (“Hollywood” x “Breeder’s Best”) from Mike Ganus, I sent a hen, (Cajun 602) off “Golden Nugget” and "Cajun Blue" to Robert Bostwick of California. Bob, as we call him, told me he had been buying a couple pigeons every year to try to find something that could beat his old family of pigeons he had for many years. Nothing ever did at that point.
The first year Bob bred 3 off this hen banded 01 CAJUN 602 and a new male he had bought, ELI 1189. Bob said all 3 beat his old family of pigeons and all 3 were winners. The following year Bob bred 8 off this mating and tried this mating again, to be sure he had what he thought he had. One was sent to a friend in Washington to fly, it was Champion bird of that club! 2 others were sent out to one loft races, both were winners. The remaining 5 were flown on Bob's team, and all 5 were again winners beating his old family again! Bob has since won many one loft races, and has scored high in the Vegas Classic, and many other very prestigious races around the country. By then Bob was convinced of the abilities of "Golden Nugget" and "Cajun Blue" and bought more pigeons from me included a hen off "Blue Nugget" (Golden Nugget x Cajun Blue) on a daughter of “Golden Nugget”, which her children scored extra well for Bob also. You may have seen Bob's results before listed as 'Bostwick-Reed' in many races across America. Bob is now still breeding 3 and 4 generations down from “Cajun Blue”, and still hitting in the big ones!
"Blue Nugget" also bred very well for me and a lot of friends who have flown his youngsters, including a beginner I gave a pair off of him to fly, and he won his only win in his first season flying with one of them. I have stocked a few from "Blue Nugget" before I lost him, and they are some of my top breeders!
When realizing 602 was getting up in age, I contacted Bob and offered him if he loaned 602 back to me, I would put her with a son of “Cajun Blue” (Bayou 110) for 2 rounds, one for me, and one for him. Then I would put her with a son of “Golden Nugget” (Cajun 490) to breed 2 more rounds for us. Now Bob and I have all we need to “hold on” to this blood for many, many years! They are all still very young and I have not bred any for racing yet. My main concern was to be sure we didn’t loose this valuable bloodline for a long, long time!
When I sold 'Golden Nugget' to David Scott in 2003, I drove up to David's with my good friend and mentor, Dr. Richard Weber, to deliver 'Golden Nugget' and see his Hofkens. He was showing us all his good breeders and I fell in love with one hen, "Golden Lady" a daughter of "Hollywood" mated to "First Lady" (mother to Top Man and Flash 190). That hen stayed on my mind for months after that. I had emailed David most of my Hofkens pedigrees, as he was a "Hofkens Man", and he kept asking about "Cajun Blue". Finally I wanted something off that "Golden Lady" and "Golden Nugget" so bad, I offered him "Cajun Blue" for a son of that mating, and I wanted a daughter of "Cajun Blue" with his best Hofkens at the time, "Golden Merckx". I knew "Cajun Blue" was a super hen, but she was getting old, and I wanted a really special one off her and a super imported Verheyen cock. David jumped at the chance, and told me he would do the deal. I shipped “Cajun Blue” to him, and have regretted it since. I think David said the best pigeon he ever bred was a son of “Cajun Blue”. She got down to laying only one egg at a time (at 14 years old) and when Paul Yahiku bought the best son of “Cajun Blue” from David Scott to get that blood back, David gave “Cajun Blue” to Paul, but she never laid one egg for Paul. Paul told me she looked like a 4 year old, but just stopped laying, and he let her loose in a pen with late hatches and that allowed her the freedom she had never had. He was able to get a good eye photo for me of “Cajun Blue”, and I have included it in this story. I later gave Paul a son from 2 children of “Cajun Blue”, “Blue Nugget” and “Bayou 111” that Dr. Weber had bred for me.
Stories from others that bred out of children of “Cajun Blue” are still coming in to this day. Seems the daughters were the best, some have been the top hens most owners have ever owned and the granddaughters are almost as consistent as the daughters. I loaned “Cajun Blue” to my good friend and mentor, Dr. Richard Weber for him to breed a few from her as she was getting up in age. “Cajun Blue” would lay eggs year round, and I’d like to know how many she laid in the hen loft without a male within 50 feet. Mr. Weber told me he put her aside when he got her so she would get used to the place, but she kept laying eggs anyway, so he mated her up earlier than he was ready, just not to waste the hen. He bred 4 from his super breeding son of “Cajun Rocket” and “Miss Dynamite”, my other foundation Hofkens hen, called “Rocket’s Glory”, and sent me 2. My 2 died almost immediately from Circo Virus that had come into my loft when I had a one loft race in 2004. It was 4 years before I found what it was and it spread to all my buildings, and some were 50 feet away! Anyway, Mr. Weber had both his 2 - nestmates Bayou 110 and 111. He nevver used 110 much, but I did use him on 602 recently. Now Bayou 111 became the best breeding hen he had ever owned! She bred top racers in all the One Loft Races he sent to, including the Chandler Challenge, Espo’s East Coast Challenge, and Texas Center Convention races. After hearing how good “Bayou 111” was doing for Mr. Weber, I sent him “Blue Nugget” to breed to her, after all he was a top son of “Cajun Blue”, and we each ended up with 2 top, top pigeons!
My daughter of that mating (853) bred me (Cajun 535) the 1st Place Winner of Ken Smith’s “Cajun Race”, and the son (840) bred a 1st place winner in our club! I gave a 5th youngster to Paul Yahiku (breeder of “Cajun Blue”), because Dr. Weber and I both wanted to reward Paul for such a keen observation of quality pigeons.
I mentioned earlier about 98 SD 1565, which I named "Cajun Rocket". This is the beginning of a whole new story, as the accomplishments of “Cajun Rocket” would take another year to get all together and do a write up. One thing I do want to mention, like “Cajun Blue”, the daughters of “Cajun Rocket” were superior to most any other hen one might have in their loft. A lot of the sons have really made their place as “Foundation Pigeons” in many lofts, just not as many as the daughters. I have had 2 daughters that have bred winners with as many as 5 cocks, and some are 3 and 4 generation breeders of winners! One great granddaughter bred equal 1st at the Texas Center Convention race just last year and that hen was a club race winner for me the year before. The winner at the Convention was sent to a friend in Minnesota, and that pigeon bred 1st place Midwest Convention by 21 minutes ahead! After the word was starting to spread about “Cajun Rocket”, some offers started coming in, soon I could not hold out any longer and he was sold for a tremendous amount I cannot even mention. He is still breeding to this day at 15 years old, and he is still siring, and grand-siring many top racers and breeders. I saw him last week and cannot get over how young he still looks, but I still cannot help myself, I offered the owner to loan him my last granddaughter of “Rocket200” to put with “Cajun Rocket” and share babies from him. The results I have had from inbreeding like this has made me think I must be a smart breeder, but I know I was not the first to do this, I just copied what I read and saw over the years from such Master Breeders as “The Janssen Brothers”, Frans Verheyen, Mike Ganus, and my main 2 mentors, Dr. Weber, and Harold Lamons!!!!!
"Cajun Blue" eyesign..... "Cajun Blue".......... "Cajun Rocket"
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