The Huysken Van Reil Strain
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



The strain under consideration is one that has left its mark upon the history of pigeon racing world wide, and that is the Huyskens - Van Riel. Upon coming together as a partnership Cois Huyskens and Jef Van Riel set the pigeon racing world alight even to the extent of allegedly destroying the great Union of Antwerp. For since the end of the 2nd World War and the liberation of Belgium, for approximately 11 years their accomplishments at national and international level were phenomenal. With many great prizes from Barcelona and Limoges etc.

From lofts situated in the garden of Frank Huyskens at Kapelse Steenweg in Ekeren-Donk, Belgium, there arose a family of pigeons shrouded in mystery for the owners were considered secretive in relation to the origin of their stock. Apparently their lofts started with pigeons of different strains purchased from fanciers known only to the partnership.Of course the mangerial ability of the partners forged from pure pigeon gold the final strain of a type which they called their own.

Some sources suggest that Joseph Van den Bosch of Berlaar, Lier, had a letter which confirmed that the foundation birds of the Huyskens- Van Riel family were purchased from Van den Bosch. Others opined that there was no foundation for this claim, although there is evidence that a round of eggs were purchased from Van den Bosch in 1946 by Jef van Riel, eventually resulting in some outstanding racing successes after crosses with others. Another source supports the theory that the origins of the strain arose from birds purchased from Henri Verwimp of Ekere and Georges De Jaegher of Melden, suggesting that within their bloodlines were the 'Old Light One' of the former and the 'Blue Grey Eye' of the latter. Whatever the origins there is no doubt that the strain developed led where many others failed and that the partnership was a unique one in the history of European pigeon racing.

Jef Van Riel obtained his love of the sport from his father and from about 1920 onwards had many successes, but decided in 1936 to try his birds against the members of the Antwerp Union. Upon his successes however the union changed its boundaries and excluded Van Riel from participating. Disgusted with this non sportsmanship Van Riel sold approximately 60 of his best to De Scheemaker Brothers of Schoten and the rest went to Huyskens of Ekeren. Those left were disposed of. Thus Van Riel had got rid of the bug of pigeon racing or so he thought but it was only for a short time for he returned to the sport in 1939 through the friendship of Cois Huyskens. The war of course intervened in the meantime but it was inevitable that the
growing friendship of the eventual partners would ensure the emergence of a sporting legend.

The key element was Huyskens who was in pigeons since 1929 and who was in the position of retaining
some pigeons during the war although under occupation.

When liberation came, the new partnership was forged with their stock containing the bloodlines of Vincent Marien, via Van Wetteren, for that was the old Van Riel family as sold to Huyskens in the late 1930s. The latter also included the blood of Fierens of Deurne and the Nuyens strain. So can we assume inspite of the mystery of purchases after the war that we have some knowledge of what lay at the base of the Huyskens- Van Riel? I believe we can but it would be ill advised to ignore the above reference to the purchase of eggs from Van den Bosch. Van Riel and his friend Rene Stijnen according to an important source bought eggs from Van den Bosch. That source being Ad Schaerlaeckens, one of pigeondom's most reputable commentators. Well perhaps beyond the apparent secretive nature of the post war partnership the latter family and those referred too earlier all formed the foundation. Whatever the facts there is no doubt that
the strain has become a part of the gallery of outstanding long distance and marathon pigeon racing. The
alleged mystery surrounding its origins cannot deny this truth.

As stated, the partnership's bloodlines won at home and abroad with triumphs too numerous to record in the space available but alas in 1957 on the dates of the 13th & 20th of January this strain of outstanding pigeons were sold in Brussels and in Antwerp. Sadness for an end to a partnership but an opportunity for the harnessing of pure pigeon gold by those who purchased. For today throughout the world there are many outstanding lofts of pigeons at whose base the Huyskens- Van Riels are as strong as cement!


Cois Huyskens and Jef Van Riel were the best of the best from 1945 until 1956. They had the best racers on the national and international races. The loft was a mixture from different lofts.

They have never told or written from wich lofts their best breeders or racers came from. There was a complete silence about that. Jos Van Den Bosch from Berlaar claimed that many descendants of Huyskens - Van Riel were from his loft. Huyskens - Van Riel's racers won first places from Limoges, Libourne and Barcelona. They were long distance racers.


A História dos Huyskens-Van Riel por Speedome Loft  (Manuel Carramao)