Love for animals; the base for all!
As a farmer’s child Cornelis grew up with a tremendous love for animals. Poultry however had most of his interest and pigeons in special. For hours he could watch the fancy pigeons of his neighbour. When he discovered racing pigeons for the first time at a man named Lugers at the Dommerschanal in Nieuw Amsterdam, he cherished them in his heart forever. Whenever he had the opportunity, he went to so see racing pigeons. Mister Lugers noticed that and he saw that it was little Cornelis’ biggest wish to home a couple of these pigeons. Than came the day he gave him 2 pigeons. It was in 1927, the crisis years with scarcity in Europe. Cornelis had just turned 12 and even though his father was not enthusiastic at all, a small loft was build. When the birds were about 6 months old, Cornelis took them on his bike to Zuidbarge, a village about 8 kilometres away from Nieuw Amsterdam. It took them 2 days to get home, and the small man cried many tears of disappointment.
But pigeon sport got a definite hold of the young Cornelis. Even though he also cycled and loved to play football, the thought of giving up racing pigeons never crossed his mind. So he continued and Cornelis joined the local pigeon club, with 10 members at the time. When the club quit in the Thirties, Cornelis joined a club (D.Z.O.H.) in Coevorden. He found a sportive shelter here and up to today Cornelis treasures warm feeling for this club.
Cornelis performed very well with pigeons via mister Bos from Nieuw Amsterdam. But he wanted better and therefore he bought two black cocks at mister Pabon from Coevorden in 1934. He than paid the unbelievable amount of money of 10 guilders. It was the talk of the town and many considered him mad. The new acquisitions however appeared to be a golden hit and descendants performed supreme.
Love of his life!
On January 31st 1938 Cornelis met the love of his life, Jansje Keen. She would have a big impact in the Koopman family. This day is a memorable day for both, also because it is the day of birth from Queen Beatrix.
When the Germans invaded Holland in 1940, pigeon sport was reduced to a very low level. Eventually all racing pigeons had to be eliminated. Cornelis however had hidden four. Towards the end of the war his parents believed this to be too risky and the last four were slaughtered too.
Cornelis: ‘When I returned from working on the land that day, I saw blood on the beam of the dunghill. That moment it became clear; they killed them! I was very said, because these birds I really loved.”
April 27th 1945 a great wish of Cornelis came true. He married his great love and Jansje, the future motor of the present Koopman family, became his wife. This marry marriage resulted in four sons; Jaap, Jan-Egbert, Willem-Harminus and the youngest, Gerard Koopman.
The newly weds went to live in a house at the Zijtak Oostzijde, the street where they now still live, and naturally new racing pigeons had to come. Cornelis took his bike and went to Coevorden, to the Gossen brothers, and for 60 guilders he bought a pair of pigeons.
In Nieuw Amsterdam a new club with 15 members was founded, ‘De Snelvlieger’, and Cornelis took a central position in noting a/o the arrival times. However in practise it was his wife Jansje that sat at the table to exactly write down the arrival times. The gummirings were taken to this central point where the times were noted by an alarm clock. Later they bought a real pigeon clock. Soon already Cornelis belonged to the very best fanciers in the region. Not only in the club, but also in provincial level he was always amongst the very best!
In 1965 Cornelis started – next to the existing egg-trade – a new company, a trade company for grains, fertilizer, seed potatoes and many other agrarian products. These were years of hard labour and especially because of the talent is business of Jansje the company grew and grew. Cornelis became head-importer of the products of the Mariman firm in The Netherlands … this was 1969.
The contact with the Mariman firm from Belgium was a real eye-opener. Cornelis saw the impact pigeon sport had in other countries. This was the turning point in his pigeon sport career. Also the close contact with Stan Raeymakers made him look different to pigeon sport than ever before. The Mariman firm gave out bons that could be collected when buying pigeon products. With enough points it was possible to get a top quality pigeon direct from the Mariman breeding centre.
In the meanwhile son Jaap joined the company and through him pigeons of mister Annema from Friesland – later Eefde – came to Koopman. This mister Annema owned an exclusive colony of original Janssen Arendonk pigeons. The entrance of these pigeons meant a great boost in performing. There was no stopping Cornelis Koopman, not even in big competition.
The mix of these two lines (Mariman and Janssen brothers) brought the ‘Kneet’ and the ‘Vooruit; ‘Kneet’ won 4x 1 prize in big competition and the ‘Vooruit’ was crowned 1. National acebird WHZB in 1981.
The level of performances kept on rising and Jansje and Cornelis think back with great pleasure to the champions honouring in Zwaagwesteinde, where they literally took home the entire scale of prizes to be won …