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Bert and Ernie break up. Here’s what we know.

Bert Seguin and Ernie Seguin made an iconic team, two brothers known as “Sesame Street” who competed annually at the Rainy River Walleye Tournament (RRWT).

To everyone’s surprise, following many years of partnership, Sesame Street will not be competing this year.

News of their split was first revealed by RRWT president Richard Trenchard.

“They were an interesting team every year, you know, Burt and Ernie from Sesame Street,” he said. “But this year, they've found different partners.”

Rather than a photo of the real anglers, the walleye tournament board often displayed a photo of the famous Muppet characters.

Organizers and spectators alike are puzzled over what could have happened between the brothers to spur their separation. While some may speculate a falling-out, others believe the break up may be a strategy for success.

“Maybe to double up their efforts in trying to win,” said Trenchard, who chuckled at the possibility.

The official tournament website shows that Bert Seguin has partnered with Guy Arpin as Team #8 and Ernie Seguin has partnered with Dave Buttons as Team #79.

Turns out, it’s been almost a year since the initial conversation that resulted in Sesame Street’s disbandment.

While fishing together last year, Ernie opened up to his brother about someone else who had been on his mind.

“He was telling me that his friend from Ottawa wanted to fish,” said Bert. “And I said, ‘Well, why don't you get them to fish with you? And I'll find another partner.’”

Although they now compete as rivals rather than teammates, the brothers will not be far from each other throughout the entirety of the tournament.

“We were camping about 10 feet apart at the campsite,” Bert said. “And he’ll probably be following me around to find all the good spots, eh?”

To that, Ernie replied, “I think it'll be the other way around!”

Ernie confirmed that his new fishing partner Dave Buttons currently lives in the outskirts of Ottawa, Ontario, where he moved around 4 years ago to be closer to his kids.

The two are not new acquaintances. Before Button’s move to southern Ontario, Ernie and Buttons had been teammates at the Sioux Lookout Walleye Weekend for around 12 years, infamously known as the “Knotty Buoy.”

Knotty Buoy officially coined their team name around 8 years ago.

“We've been called the Knotty Buoy team in Sioux Lookout for quite a few years. And so we got hats and shirts,” Ernie said.

When asked how he feels about this year’s tournament, Ernie says he’ll miss fishing with his brother but knows he’ll see him every day.

Without lingering long in sentimental feelings, Ernie adds that he has two other brothers competing in the RRWT too.

He became animated not only at the thought of some friendly competition, but also at the thought of meeting old high school chums.

“I went to high school in Rainy River and a lot of ‘em will participate in the derby,” he said.

To all his competitors, Ernie salutes them with two words.

“Good luck.”

Elisa Nguyen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times