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Jo and Robert Bernaert
1st National Pau 2075 Old Birds and
11th International Pau 8527 Old Birds
by Stefan Mertens
We had to go to Middelkerke to visit the national winners from Pau. At a distance of 100m of the beach the national winner from Pau was clocked with Jo and Robert Bernaert. The cock was clocked on Friday evening at 19h12min20 sec at a distance of 905.865 km, at a speed of 1212,13 m/min. It’s almost a miracle that these fanciers won the national title.
Jo Bernaert: “This was a sad day and a happy day at the same time. A sad day because we probably will never be able to do this again because it’s almost impossible to win a national victory here. It was a happy day because, finally after 60 years in the pigeon sport we won the national title. For years now, we play the heavy long distance because it’s practical impossible to score at the top on provincial and on national level on the middle distances. It’s possible to do so on races like Dax, St. Vincent, Perpignan and Barcelona…When you visit this area, you know how hard the wind can blow here and as we all know, in pigeon sport, wind is very important. The coast is known for it’s micro climate; in summer a cold sea breeze coming from over sea and hereby the pigeons always have to fly against the wind the last 20 km. You can’t stay outside longer than half an hour to watch the pigeons. Before our birds always arrived from the South but nowadays they always come out of the North. So you know enough! Pigeons that have “passed”, always have to turn back and fly against the cold wind coming from the sea. So it’s almost a miracle that we won this national victory. But this time, all elements were in our favour; good pigeons in good condition and the wind in our favour.”
In the Bernaert family, they had 11 children, not unusual in those days. Father Wilfried had 5 sons that all were active in the pigeon sport. Wilfried was a successful fancier and for 50 years he was the President of the local club and also on provincial level he was active. In those days, Wilfried and his sons were successful on the long distance races. In 1972, they even became 2nd National champion Entente Belge.
Nowadays, the colony is run by two brothers: Jo and Robert Bernaert. In 2008, these two brothers decided to get together. Jo’s house had to be demolished and so he had to move to Oostduinkerke but here he wasn’t allowed to race the pigeons. Only 6 of 120 pigeons were left and the others were all eaten. Jo, 66 years old, is a retired dealer in bear and for 60 years now he’s active within the pigeon sport. For more than 30 years, he stood at his father’s side in the local club as the secretary. As a little boy, he and his brothers had to put in their fathers pigeons. In exchange they got some chocolate that they had to divide. In 1994, he started all by himself on the address of his parents. It all went rather well and he remembers to have won 1st Dourdan, 1st Tours and 1st Bordeaux on the same day with the youngsters. The second one of this duo is Robert Bernaert, 68 years old and he always worked in the education as a teacher and later as a director. It was 1969 when he did it all by himself. The breeders of the colony always stayed with Robert. Robert and Jo only race the pigeons for fun and they almost never put in money on their pigeons. Even with their good results on the long distance the last few years, they never wanted publicity. Their tasks are well divided: Robert is the daily care taker and sometimes assisted by Jo. Jo is responsible for the training races and the basketing.
The colony and the base
The Bernaert colony started the season 2013 with 11 old pigeons, 9 yearlings and 30 youngsters. In fact they’re fanciers with a little basket! The colony is mainly based on pigeons of: Deweerdt- Koekelare. Gerard Ghys- Koekelare, Brouckaert -Wervik. Van Lerberghe- Elverdingen, Roger Florizone via Georges Van Maele, Co Van Dommelen – Sint- Philipsland (European champion last year) , Fernand Malfait – Jabbeke, Georges Vanmaele & Vanbruaene from Lauwe.
Also other fanciers succeed with their pigeons. A few years ago, Jo and Robert were present on the National Days where they met Hervé Bauwens. He asked them on which stand he should buy pigeons. Jo advised the man not buy any pigeons on the national days and told him that he could come and get him some hens for free. A few years, Hervé scored the first 12 prizes from Bordeaux in the club in Zottegem!
1st National Pau 2075 old birds & 11th International Pau 8527 old birds: BE09-3125574 or “Simon”.
Last year, this cock already won 87st national Libourne and also other good prizes from Cahors and Narbonne.
Sire: BE05-3183294 “Jonge Dax”. Origine “ Deweerdt x Malfait”. He won 102 National Cahors and 200 National Irun.
GS: BE96-3259475 the “Cahors”. A pure Deweerdt with 7 Nat. Dax 4240 p, 9 Internat. Dax 11807 p, 20 Nat. Cahors 11090 p, 125 Nat. Cahors 11838 p.
GD: BE04-3143524 “Nijntje” breeding hen and daughter “Betinni” of Malfait. “Bettini” won 1 Nat. Dax.
Dam: BE06-3176796: breeding hen out of “Brouckaert” x “Florizoone”.
GS: BE02-3248762 “Linkaard”. Brother “Dokus 203” (67 Internat. Barcelona), “Napoleon”(86 Internat. Barcelona) and “Hydra” (112 Nat. Narbonne).
GM: BE05-3168574: Origine Florizoone.
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