Gerard Houben started the race after the end of the Second World War, with pigeons that came from the grandfather of Jef Houben, his name was Edmond de Belder. He had a family of pure Fonne Ceulemans of Berbar pigeons and most of their present day stock birds can trace their origin back to these pigeons of the late 1940s. Two great pigeon families were formed from the Fonne Ceulemans, these were Janssens of Arendonk and Houben & son of Itegem.
The late Gerard Houben, with his son Jef, started to race pigeons just after the end of the war. During that early period, Houben & son only competed in short distance races, in which they were not without success, for by 1951, they had already won twelve 1st prizes. From the early sixties they started to conquer both the middle distance and later the long distance races and now, after over 40 years, the Houbens of Itegem have one of the most outstanding families of pigeons in Belgium.
Over the years very few crosses have been made. In 1964, they received the ‘Geschoten Duivin’ from Stan Raeymakers and in 1969, they were to receive also from Stan Raeymakers, the ‘Old Light Stan’. Both of these hens proved to be excellent breeders. In 1974, pigeons were exchanged between the Houben family and Frans Stoces from Winterslag, these pigeons were largely descendend from the Huyskens-Van Riel. These pigeons made a large contribution in the formation of the Houben strain. The two hens that came from Stan Raeymakers were of the Desmet-Matthys origin and they did well also, for example, the ‘Geschoten Duivin’ became the dam of ‘Young Baron’, sire of one of the best breeding hens that they have ever had, ‘Sissi’.
It was in 1982, that their ‘Golden Pair’ was born, this is ‘Young Artist’ and ‘Sissi’. ‘Young Artist’ is a son of ‘Artist’ 71.6378018 when he was paired to ‘Furst’ 78.6145268. ‘Furst’ was a daughter of ‘Young Radio’ winner of fourteen 1st prizes, she is also a sister of ‘Good Black’ winner of eleven 1st prizes. ‘Young Artist’ won seven 1st prizes in two years, and for five of them he was more than one minute ahead. ‘Sissi’ is a daughter of ‘Young Baron’ 70.6420332 when paired to the ‘Good Hen’ 76.6508375. ‘Sissie’ was never raced.