Four Central Albertans and a local college volleyball team became Alberta sports legends on Monday.
They were among 14 individuals and one team who were inducted into Alberta Sports Hall of Fame for 2016.
Local inductees included three brothers from Ponoka — Tom, Vernon (Bud) and Brian Butterfield — who received the Rodeo Pioneer Award; figure skating volunteer and former Skate Canada president Marilyn Chidlow, of Ponoka; and the 1999-2007 Red Deer College Kings Volleyball Team.
Other inductees from across Alberta included curler Cheryl Bernard; hockey player Shirley Cameron; curling builder Warren Hansen; fencer Sherraine Schalm; soccer builder Karl Weidle; Achievement Award winners Joe, John and Tom Forzani and Basil Bark; and Bell Memorial Award winner Graham Kelly.
Red Deer College Kings Volleyball Team earned Sports Hall of Fame status by making Canadian College Athletic Association history in 2007 by winning eight consecutive CCAA National Championships.
Keith Hansen, director of athletics at RDC who represented Kings Volleyball Teams at the local inductee ceremony, said it was important to concentrate on each season during the string of wins.
“I think we did a good job through the years of really focusing on what was important right at that time. It’s incredible to look back at that legacy and win streak, but in all honesty, it was very much one day at a time,” said Hansen at Monday’s ceremony held at Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.
He credited veteran players with passing on the Kings’ legacy of hard work and standards to new players through the years.
“There’s nothing as positive and there’s nothing as powerful as players holding each other accountable. I think the veterans did an incredible job of taking the young ones when they showed up at our program — this is what it is to be a King, this is what we do, this is how we handle ourselves, this is what it’s about.”
He said many players continued to excel when they left RDC.
“I think we had more players go onto the national team than almost any university in Canada. At one time we had six players on the national team. There’s only 12 there, and six of them had come through our program.”
Chidlow volunteered for over 30 years with skating groups that included Ponoka Skating Club, Skate Canada Board of Directors, and she was vice-president and president of Skate Canada.
Chidlow said she was thrilled and humbled by the recognition, and very proud of how Central Alberta skating clubs have grown and become strong forces in their communities.
She said you never know where future skating champions will come from.
“You think back to our days when we nurtured and trained the Caroline kid Kurt Browning from our area. You never know where that next little champion is going to come from. It’s important that we have that strong grassroots programming,” Chidlow said.
Blake Butterfield, who attended the ceremony to represent his father Tom who died in 2009, said his father dedicated a lot of his life to building the sport of rodeo.
“He’d be real proud of this. He wasn’t out for it for personal gain. This would be a real honour for him. I wish he was here, but maybe he’s watching us,” Butterfield said.
The Butterfield brothers excelled in steer wrestling, including earning top honours at the Calgary Stampede. Brian Butterfield also had a successful career in bareback riding. As Canadian rodeo legends, they devoted their time to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, Canadian Cowboy Protective Association, and the Ponoka Stampede Rodeo Committee.
“My two uncles, Brian and Bud, their accomplishments in the arena more than speak for themselves,” Butterfield said.