John Bruneel (Merkem, BE) wins 1st National Libourne against 4,589 old birds

John's national winner is quite a talented racing bird, which has won a second national prize from Agen last year, finishing only just behind Bert Vandenberghe’s Fyther. This means he had to be satisfied with a first provincial Agen instead. This time, no one could keep him from winning a national first prize from Libourne 2014.

The national winner originates from around the Yzer region, in the town of Merkem (Houthulst). The towns of Merkem, Bikschote, Noordschote, Zuidschote and Houthulst have been the backdrop for a number of important battles in both World War I and II.

John Bruneel is quite a talkative person, and he was born with a passion for pigeon fancying, as both his father and grandfather were two pigeon enthousiast as well. He raced together with his father René from the age of 10 to 23, after which it was time for a sabbatical. It was time for John to take over the business of his father René, who worked as a roofer. Shortly before his passing in 1995, René asked his son John if he wanted to take care of his pigeons, and he agreed. At that time, John was working for the Belgian Cycling Union, as a delegate for the cycling union of West Flanders. In the most important cycling classics, he would drive around the race officials on the back of his motorcycle.
He decided to become a fancier again and to fulfill his father’s last wish, which meant he could no longer work for the cycling union. In addition, he sold his business in 2009 to start enjoying life. He had a lot of spare time now, which he invested in his pigeon collection. He also built a 22 metre loft that could accommodate both his widowers and his youngsters, each of which had a separate aviary as well. The hens spend their days in the aviaries in the back, and they have easy access to the racing loft as well. This means he does not have to carry his pigeons in baskets too often.

John is a lover of nature, and that is why he prefers using natural products in his loft. He is particularly fond of bee products, such as honey and propolis (a natural antibiotic). He adds a spoonful of liquid beer yeast (vitamin B) to the feed as well, which John thinks is one of the best products you can get. He obtains beer yeast directly from a brewery, and stocks it in his freezer. His pigeons get to drink a homemade herbal tea regularly as well. In addition, he provides some sliepzand every two weeks, because this is said to prevent pigeons from contracting tricho. If any medical issues should arise, he pays a visit to Dr. Gerard Iterbeke from Zomergem, which he usually visits before the start of the season only. John uses the feed products of Bonduelle, which he is very satisfied with. His pigeons get to eat their Super Diet and Sport mixture.

John's pigeon loft consists of pigeons from the old breed of his father René (a collection of bloodlines of Yvo Vanlerberghe, Etienne Devos, and Georges Coutteau), combined with pigeons of Ivan Callebert,  D. Monbaillieu, Luc Sioen (including the sire of his national winner), Ivan Vanhalme, and Luc & Karel Sarrazin.

1st National Libourne

As we said earlier, this national winner is quite a racing pigeon. He was just 15 seconds short of claiming a national victory from Agen-Bordeaux last season. The positive side is that John decided to keep him in the racing loft, to give him a chance to try again this season. And so he did: he took a well deserved national win from Limoges. He was clocked at 18:23'59" and he completed 706.081km with a velocity of 1071.47 m/min. This national winner has won won a few top prizes already, so we take a look at his palmares.

-1st Nat Libourne BE10-3026683

’14 Libourne  Prov    789 p. 1
              Nat   4,589 p. 1
’14 Limoges   Nat  18,390 p. 1451
’13 Agen      Prov  1,075 p. 1
              Nat   5,507 p. 2
            I.Nat  23,539 p. 6
’13 Souillac  Prov  1,069 p. 21
              Nat   5,282 p. 49
’12 Poitiers  Club    272 p. 8
’12 Montauban Club    302 p. 20
’12 Tulle     Club    219 p. 10
              Prov    965 p. 81
’11 Ablis     Club    158 p. 2
’11 Narbonne  Club    372 p. 4
’10 Tours     Club    237 p. 10

Click here for a full list of achievements
He originates from the pigeon BE06-3113193 of Luc Sioen from his father's side (from the line of the 1st Nat. and 3rd Intnat. St. Vincent, as well as a 1st Intnat. Barcelona) x a hen of Maurice Mommerency from Passendale (the hen BE01-3015736).

You can find his pedigree here

John had basketed four pigeons for the race from Libourne, and three of them have been able to win a prize at provincial and national level.

Libourne Prov   789 p.: 1-140-142 (3/4)
         Nat  4,589 p.: 1-582-587 (3/4)

This first prize from Libourne is a magnificent result, especially after his second prize from Agen in 2013, which was won by the very same pigeon. Many congratulations.