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INDUCTEE 2016 - ATHLETE BUILDERS - Phyllis & Bob Cleland


Introductory Comments by Sandy Wright

Phyllis and Bob Cleland have lived and played in the Wetaskiwin community their whole lives.  They were born, grew up, attended school, married, raised their family and worked…..all in the Wetaskiwin area. Bob is a third generation farmer on his family farm in the Angus Ridge area and Phyllis was employed as a physical education teacher at Falun, Rose Brier, and Clear Vista.  Sports have always been an integral part of their essence and tonight we are honouring Phyllis and Bob for their contributions and achievements in ball and curling.

Bob comes by his skill, interest and participation in curling & ball naturally, both his grandfather Ralph and father Zene were avid Wetaskiwin curlers and his dad Zene played professional baseball in the Western Canada League.  Phyllis too comes from a family who were also involved in ball and curling. Her dad Gilbert played and organized ball and both her dad and mom Ruby were highly involved in building, curling at, and supporting the Westerose Curling club.  Also, growing up with five older brothers in a sports-minded family probably contributed to Phyllis’ competitive spirit.

Bob and Phyllis are both accomplished athletes and between them they have won many championships, medals, and awards. They have both been impressive competitors in ball, Phyllis as an outstanding softball pitcher and Bob in baseball and slo-pitch.  I’m told that at the present Bob and Phyllis aren’t involved in a slo-pitch league but if an opportunity came along tomorrow, they would both be more than capable of playing. In curling, between men’s zones, mixed zones and zones won when coaching, they have amassed a total of eleven curling zone berths and attended numerous provincial finals.  If you are a competitive curler you know how difficult it is to win even ONE zone so theirs is an amazing record. They did win zone championships in mixed curling as members of the same team even before they were married.   I guess they figured that if you could get along on the curling ice you could get along in life and that’s turned out to be so as they are celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary this year.

Both Phyllis and Bob still compete in curling, in fact just recently Bob’s curling team won the “Skins League”.  As senior curlers both Bob and Phyllis still deliver from the hack when many seniors are “stick” curlers.   Must be due to those good “knee” genes!!  As you might imagine both Phyllis and Bob are very competitive.  Bob has been known for his wicked takeout that at times has been so powerful that it has popped the handles off of unsuspecting curling rocks in the house!  Also, Bob is probably the only “dinosaur” in the Wetaskiwin Curling rink who still delivers his rocks with a corn broom.  Phyllis and Bob with your active lifestyle you are indeed role models for all seniors,….let us in on your secrets for longevity!

But, besides being a sports oriented couple Phyllis and Bob are very much family oriented.  As their children were growing up they taught and coached them in both curling and ball, passing on their love and passion for both sports to their children.  Over the years they have also competed in curling with their two daughters and son in a variety of combinations on women’s teams, men’s teams and mixed teams.  Needless to say, the Cleland name is well known and well respected among Wetaskiwin curling circles. As well, for twenty years the whole family played together on the Angus Ridge slo-pitch team. Besides their children many other youngsters have benefited from Phyllis and Bob’s volunteer efforts, whether it was building the ball diamonds and organizing and coaching ball at Angus Ridge or teaching and coaching Junior Curlers at the Wetaskiwin Curling Club.

Your friends and family describe you as a kind and caring couple who are quiet and reserved (except maybe on the curling ice). and good neighbours always willing to help out. I’ve had many comments from Wetaskiwin residents confirming how deserving you are of this recognition; you’ve been a popular choice for this award.

Phyllis and Bob, you are indeed positive examples for all in this room and everyone in our community. We salute your family values, your lifelong involvement in spor,t and the volunteer contributions you have made to young people.  Congratulations on your induction into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame. 

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