Saturday July 19th 2003, the weather reports of the last few days seem to be right. It’ll be a tropical day with a temperature of 35° C in France. Hereby a North-East breeze and each fancier knows that this will be a hard job for the 20.786 pigeons that were put in on the classical long distance race from Marseille. We all know that Marseille usually is a difficult race because of the geographic position. The birds were released at 6.30' to start a long and difficult way home.

The tandem Baerts Henri and Guy put in 3 pigeons for this heavy classic race among which a 2-year old cock, dark chequered by the name of Little Joe. Already as a yearling, this cock had been noticed on a very heavy race from Jarnac (700 km), on which he scored well with a prize per 20, clocked the next morning around 7, again a prove that it was a very hard race.

On that same day of Marseille, there also was the race from Souillac and the first bird from this race had a speed of 1247 m/m but only 42 pigeons did more than 1200 m/m.

It was about 19.30' when Guy Baerts sat down on the stairs of the pigeon loft. The windows were still closed because they didn’t expect the pigeons yet. At the time, there wasn’t the possibility to follow the announcements on the internet. Only a few minutes later, his rest was interrupted when suddenly a pigeon fell on the roof and then tried to get inside. In a hurry, the window was opened and Little Joe was clocked.

The pigeons had to be announced in the club of Obrafo Tienen but the "operator" wasn’t really ready for the pigeons of Marseille because he still was busy with the announcements from Souillac. After the man was convinced that it really was a bird from Marseille, he wrote it all down.

Finally Little Joe won 9th International against 20.786 pigeons. The second bird in the club Obrafo Tienen was announced 2 hours later. The day of release, only 200 pigeons of 20.786 that were put in, reached their loft.

The International victory was won by the Late Robert Vaneycken with his Boris, a bird that also marked the long distance world.

Because he returned rather “fresh” after such a tough journey, his origins and his exceptional beauty, they decided to move Little Joe to the breeding loft.

Little Joe is a rather small bird but with an exceptional quality of feathers and an eye, of which an “eye-specialist” once said that he’d never seen such a breeding quality before.

About his origins, we can say that Little Joe is an inbreed product to the famous Poco Diego strain of Jos Thoné from As. (see pedigree). Hereby we have to mention that as well his father as his grandparents on mother’s side were received in loan of Jos Thoné.

It’s also a fact that one of the best long distance hens that Jos ever owned; Godiva, was a half-sister of Little Joe and so you understand well why Little Joe soon moved to the breeding loft. Godiva won prizes like 1 Prov., 9 National Bordeaux; 1 Prov. , 11 National Perpignan; 27 National Barcelona, 24 Inter-Prov. St-Vincent, etc…

Very soon they found out that they took the right decision when a daughter won 1 Prov. Montauban, 8 Nat. Montauban 6.187 pigeons. In very short time, first prizes were won by his children from Bordeaux, St-Vincent, Tulle, Nanteuil…....

But what’s even more important: his grandchildren and great grandchildren all showed their exceptional qualities on the races… it’s with those pigeons that pass on their qualities in several generations, that you can start to build a colony. That’s the reason why his children were no longer reserved for the races.

Every week we receive top references from all over the world but till now:

'Little Joe' is father to:

  • 1. Prov. / 8. Nat. Montauban - 6.187 p.
  • 1. Bordeaux, 1. St-Vincent, 1. Tulle, 1. Nanteuil
  • 19. Prov. Chateauroux - 1.038 p.
  • 28. S-Nat. St-Vincent - 1.408 p.
  • 30. S-Nat. Tulle - 2.191 p.
  • 55. Nat. Gueret - 2.608 p.
  • 86. Nat. Bordeaux - 2.648 p.
  • 126. Nat. Limoges - 16.012 p.
  • 262. Nat. Souillac - 7.315 p.
  • 375. Nat. Limoges - 11.995 p.

'Little Joe' is grandfather to:

  • 1. Prov. Pau - 249 p.
  • 1. Sourdun - 304 p.
  • 1. Prov. Aurillac - 449 p.
  • 1. Laon - 1.426 p.
  • 1. Hafr Al Batin (SAU) - 3.212 p.
  • 2. OLR Semi-Final Costa del Sol - 1.248 p.
  • 3. Nat. c. Brive - 1.058 p.
  • 3. Semi-Nat. Jarnac - 3.714 p.
  • 3. Olympiad Pigeon Cat E Brussels 2017 
  • 4. Nat. c. Jarnac - 427 p.
  • 4. Samosierra (Esp) - 2.505 p.
  • 7. Prov. Libourne - 560 p.
  • 7. Prov. Perpignan - 1.084 p.
  • 7. Nat. Acepigeon Agen/Narbonne yearlings
  • 8. Prov. Libourne - 990 p.
  • 8. Skaka (SAU)  (1.040 km) - 3.459 p.
  • 8. Nat. Catanzaro (Mt) - 3.999 p.
  • 10. Yelvertin (UK) - 1.999 p.
  • 10. Int. Agen - 6.042 p.
  • 11. Nat. Perpignan - 5.254 p.
  • 12. Prov. Bordeaux - 936 p.
  • 13. Prov. Cahors - 923 p.
  • 14. Prov. Limoges - 1.723 p.
  • 15. Prov. Melun - 8.104 p.
  • 15. Nat. c Valence - 1.693 p.
  • 18. Nat. c. Argenton - 1.714 p.
  • 20. Exceter (UK) - 5.736 p.
  • 20. Int. Narbonne - 13.527 p.
  • 22. Nat. Agen - 3.547 p.
  • 23. Prov. Chateauroux - 2.253 p.
  • 23. Nat. c. Tulle - 2.780 p.
  • 25. Arar (SAU) (1.000 km) - 1.838 p.
  • 27. Nat. Pau - 1.989 p.
  • 27. Nat. St-Vincent - 2.562 p.
  • 28. Nat. Narbonne - 3.942 p.
  • 28. Nat. Souillac - 5.282 p.
  • 30. Nanteuil (nl) - 3.112 p.
  • 34. Nat. c. Brive - 2.693 p.
  • 35. Nat. Narbonne - 5.098 p.
  • 36. Nat. Marseille (Nl) - 3.610 p.
  • 39. Nat. Limoges - 14.263 p.
  • 43. Nat. Pau - 1.980 p.
  • 43. Nat. C Tulle - 3.330 p.
  • 51. Nat. Montelimar - 2.832 p.
  • 51. Nat. Barcelona - 10.542 p.
  • 56. Nat.  Montelimar - 8.232 p.
  • 60. Nat. Aurillac - 3.004 p.
  • 60. Nat. Barcelona (Nl) - 4.132 p.
  • 63. Int. Agen - 14.799 p.
  • 73. Nat. Agen - 5.955 p.
  • 76. Nat. Libourne - 7.958 p.
  • 78. Nat. Tulle - 5.124 p.
  • 82. Int. Agen - 4.524 p.
  • 84. Nat. Perpignan - 3.966 p.
  • 86. Nat. Narbonne - 4.108 p.
  • 87. Nat. Perpignan (1 Provincial) - 3.915 p.
  • 92. Nat. Agen - 5.955 p.
  • 109. Nat. Bourges - 18.826 p.

'Little Joe' is great-grandfather to:

  • 1. Prov. Libourne - 551 p.
  • 1. Cadiz (Esp) - 600 p.
  • 1. Prov. Montauban - 722 p.
  • 2. Toury - 435 p.
  • 2. OLR Final Costa Del Sol - 749 p.
  • 2. Nat. C Argenton - 679 p.
  • 2. Nat. Montelimar - 2.832 p.
  • 3. Nat C1 Gueret - 746 p.
  • 3. Sourdun - 2.445 p.
  • 4. Prov. Brive - 785 p.
  • 4. Nat. Montauban - 6.809 p.
  • 5. Nat. c. Montluçon - 1.696 p.
  • 6. Fourges (UK) - 1.361 p.
  • 6. Nat. Nevers - 2.912 p.
  • 6. Montauban (Fr) - 8.598 p.
  • 6. Int. Bordeaux - 10.919 p.
  • 7. Laon - 1.465 p.
  • 7. Nat. Montelimar - 2.832 p.
  • 8. Nat. C1 Gueret - 746 p.
  • 10. Int. Agen - 14.799 p.
  • 10. Prov. Barcelona - 712 p.
  • 10. Bordeaux (Fr) - 1.004 p.
  • 10. Int. Perpignan - 15.937 p.
  • 11. Nat. C1 Chateauroux - 880 p.
  • 11. Nat. C Jarnac - 1.001 p.
  • 11. Fourges (UK) - 1.361 p.
  • 11. Limoges - 2.380 p.
  • 12. Bordeaux (Fr) - 753 p.
  • 17. Marsac (Fr) - 1.088 p.
  • 17. Nat. Perpignan - 3.915 p.
  • 18. Nat. Libourne - 3.925 p.
  • 18. Nat. Tulle - 8.656p.
  • 18. Marsac (Fr) - 1.089 p.
  • 19. Yelvertin (UK) - 1.999 p.
  • 20. Little Hampton (UK) - 4.731 p.
  • 25. Little Hampton (UK) - 3.026 p.
  • 29. Int. Perpignan - 12.698 p.
  • 34. Nat. C Argenton - 6.630 p.
  • 35. Bergerac (Fr) - 2.962 p.
  • 42. Nat. St-Vincent - 3.132 p.
  • 44. Nat. Marseille - 2.750 p.
  • 44. Nat. B Limoges - 3.986 p.
  • 46. Nat. St-Vincent - 3.240 p.
  • 46. Semi-Nat. Chateauroux - 10.719 p.
  • 49. Nat. Agen - 5.335 p.
  • 49. Nat. Libourne - 7.958 p.
  • 50. Argenton (Fr) - 2.500 p.
  • 50. Nat. c. Limoges - 4.076 p.
  • 61. Semi-Nat. Chalone - 5.699 p.
  • 62. Nat. Chateauroux - 18.725 p.
  • 63. Nat. B Limoges - 4.457 p.
  • 65. Nat. Orange - 4.443 p.
  • 72. Nat. Montelimar - 4.652 p.
  • 77. Nat. Montelimar - 3.778 p.
  • 85. Nat. Tulle - 6.345 p.
  • 88. Manfredonia 660 km Malta - 3.500 p.

Also in further generations, we noticed top results but this would lead us too far. No doubt that this list will grow the following years.

Until 2019, Little Joe was still full of life and fertile, which is a quality not to underestimate. 

Update: recent Top Results from (gr.)grandchildren Little Joe

In 2019 "Thoné X+M" won 2x 1. Provincial with two different gr.children of 'Little Joe'.

'Victor' (grs. from mother's side) won 1. Prov. Aurillac (718km). 
'Super Joe' (grs. from father's side) won 1. Prov. / 87. Nat. Perpignan (2019) - 3.915 pigeons (950 km), but also 5. Nat. Acebird Perpignan 2018 - 2019 (PIPA). 

Also during the 'short' 2020 season, (great)grandchildren of 'Little Joe' performed outstandingly, especially during the weekend of Agen/Montélimar:

  • 2. Nat. Montelimar gr.grdaughter LJ (735 km)
  • 7. Nat. Montelimar inbreeding gr.grchild LJ
  • 8. Nat. Agen inbreeding gr.grchild LJ (854 km)
  • 42. Nat. Agen inbred grandchild LJ
  • 51. Nat. Montelimar grandchild LJ
  • 73. Nat. Agen grandchild LJ
  • 77. Nat. Montelimar gr.grandchild LJ
  • 92. Nat. Agen grandchild LJ

So far the story of this outstanding bird. 'Little Joe' passed away on 13. November 2020 at a blessed age of almost 20 (!) years old. His legacy will definitely deliver many more outstanding results in the following years!

Guy Baerts & Thoné Pigeons