When we talk about Günter Prange, the name of his world famous pigeon Ringlose is likely to get mentioned as well. Basically every pigeon fancier in Germany and abroad is familiar with this super class breeder. In fact, fanciers from across the world have achieved great results with the descendants of Ringlose.
Klaus Kühntopp, who passed away too soon, was the former editor of the German pigeon magazine “Die Brieftaube”. In 2014 he wrote the following about Ringlose: “The very best pigeon of Germany in modern day pigeon racing is Ringlose!” Why the name Ringlose, some might ask. Well, the pigeon only carries a ring out of plastic, and the history behind it will be explained later on. We begin with an introduction to the man behind Ringlose.
Who is Günter Prange?
Günter is now 74 years old and he is a quiet and reserved man. We wonder where and when he discovered the secret behind a successful pigeon breed: hardly any season has passed without him winning a championship title, a national ace pigeon title, or a long series of first prizes. This man is without doubt one of the, if not the most successful pigeon fancier in Germany.
Günter started keeping pigeons at a very early age, and he was more successful than anyone else in Germany. We take a look at some of his most successful championships, some of which were already 20 years ago. This palmares illustrates how successful he has been across every discipline. Can you name a German fancier with an equally impressive palmares?
1987: 1st Provincial Champion in Province 8 (4,250 members) 1988: 1st Provincial Champion in Province 8 1989: 4th German Champion in the union 1990: 1st District Champion in District 166 (715 members) He did not compete in 1991 and 1992 1994: 1st Champion RV in RV Meppen (203 members) 1995: 1st German Union Champion 1st Ace Cock of Germany 1996: 3rd German Union Champion 3rd and 9th Ace Cock in Germany 1997: Pigeon theft 1998: He raced with his yearlings most of the time For instance: 732 km: 1st, 5th, 9th etc. against 970 p. (15 prizes with 17 pigeons) 1999: 1st District Champion in District 166 1st Champion RV in RV Meppen
Whenever Günter is really committed to his pigeon loft, he races at the highest level. This also means he is not always entirely committed to the sport, and he will sometimes take a break from racing altogether. For instance, in 2002 he went on vacation after just a few races. After the holidays he continued to race for the remainder of the season. He only did 9 of a total of 13 races in the union, and yet he won many points. Keep in mind it has never been his ambition to win every single prize and every single championship. For instance, he never nominates pigeons for the different medals. In other words: Günter enjoys seeing other fanciers win championship prizes as well. In fact there is only one championship that he wants to win at all costs: the title of “Goldene Taube” of the De Duif magazine.
How does a fancier manage to perform at such a high level? Is it just a matter of luck, or does it come down to the quality of your pigeon breed? Or is it perhaps the level of empathy a fancier has? Or is there a different explanation for Günter’s successful career? Some fanciers might think that any fancier with such a collection of top quality pigeons can become highly successful. Well, a top quality pigeon breed is indeed an essential requirement for a top level player. Still, playing at a top level is not the same as breeding top quality pigeons. It takes a highly skilled fancier to excel in every respect. And this is what makes Günter Prange such a renowned fancier. His level of performance is basically impossible to achieve for many of his colleagues. We would like to explain why that is.
Günter spends quite a lot of time in his lofts. He practically lives there. This is why he notices every move his widowers makes; he knows their strengths and weaknesses. He can also recognize the slightest change in form and he looks after every single pigeon in his collection. He is very close to his pigeons, and he is an excellent observer. He can see more than most other fanciers. A fancier who knows the art of observation will always be one step ahead of his opponents, but it does take time to master it. Günter has a lot of time on his hands, which he uses to become a better fancier. In addition, he keeps a fairly low number of pigeons in his loft, which makes it easier for him to keep track of every single pigeon. Günter knows every single one of his birds, and this is one of the reasons why he is so successful.
The pigeon theft
In 1997 Günter became a victim of theft. He had been in great form that season, just like he had been in the seasons before. He had two more races to go, and his nominated pigeons for the German Championships had been coming very early throughout the year. He had already won quite a number of points, and he was looking forward to a grand finale. Unfortunately the 11th of July brought an abrupt end to his dreams. Günter was basketing his pigeons that day, and he placed two baskets with 17 of his very best widowers by his garage, as he always does. He returned to his loft one more time to pick up the third and final basket, before going heading to the release site. When he was back at the garage, his two baskets were nowhere to be found. He never saw any of his 17 pigeons back. Who does something like that? Günter was really affected by the loss; in fact he considered retiring from the sport altogether. It was Gerard Koopman’s mother who convinced him to go on, by getting him motivated again.
The pigeon lofts
We take a quick look at the pigeon lofts of Günter Prange, which are quite spacious. His pigeons are kept in different smaller and bigger pigeon lofts, which meet all the modern standards. A fairly low number of pigeons is kept in the different sections; each pair has about 2 to 3 cubic metres of space. As a result, all lofts are well ventilated; there is plenty of fresh air in these lofts. Stale air, which is known to have a negative influence on your pigeons, cannot accumulate here. Every loft has been well thought out, with different motivational compartments, which can be rearranged so that the other pigeons in the loft do not get disturbed. The different compartments offer many possibilities in terms of motivation, as you can imagine.
The breeding loft
The most essential part of any pigeon loft will always be the breeding loft. One thing that sets Günter’s pigeon loft apart is the fact that his breeding pigeons have a lot more space compared to most other fanciers. His breeding pigeons are kept in large individual boxes: two of his breeding boxes are almost as big as the entire breeding loft of some others.
To conclude the first part of our series about Günter Prange, we let the fancier himself say a few words about his pigeon breed: “The breeding loft is the most important part by far. Throughout the season I am making plans for next year’s breeding strategy, to try and maintain the same level of quality on a long term basis. My strategy is based on the bloodlines that I want to use in my existing breed, and I try to find the best way of introducing new pigeons in my collection. My breeding strategy goes so far that most of my race pigeons have been crossed, and are yet related to each other in some way or other. The crossed pigeons are then reintroduced in the old breed. This gives me different possibilities.”