SSHoF logoBarb Phelps

Athlete (2001)


Barb Phelps Barb Phelps has enjoyed remarkable success in five-pin bowling. She is one of two Saskatchewan women ever to throw two perfect games, owns the season's record for highest average by a Saskatoon woman and has starred on two Canadian women's team champions.

Barb was born in Fielding, moved to Saskatoon with her family when she was six years old and was introduced to bowling by Ken Hunter, even in the days before the Youth Bowling Council program. She competed in high school bowling, then married and started a family, returning shortly afterwards to take the game seriously.

She started to make an impression during the 1959 season, with a 410 single and 943 triple, and was soon competing in the Western Canada trials, making her first team in 1969 and making 16 straight teams. Her first Western Canada team experience was at Thunder Bay in 1969, with Al Hong, Ann Sawatzky, Bunny Hinch and Mel Martens. The Saskatoon women took silver medals at the tournament.

She competed for Saskatchewan in the first-ever National Classified championships in 1971, joining Illa Shore, Barb Stewart, Elsie Danylchuk and Ethel Stevenson on a team, which won the gold medal at Ottawa. She rolled a total of 3,537 pins for the tournament, finishing with an average of 252.

During the 1972 season, she had an unbelievable season, averaging 280, a record which has never been matched by a Saskatoon woman. She had 21 three-game totals of better than 900 and five nights where she rolled 1,000 or better.

In 1972, the Canadian five-pin championships came to Saskatoon and Barb started the tournament on the mixed team. When another bowler went down with an injury, she was called to the women's team and provided the inspiration by throwing 887 in her first series. Barb's performance helped the Saskatchewan women shoot three big games, including 1,432 in one of them, and they defeated three prime opponents in quick order to climb from fourth place to the national championship. Jennie Irvine, Ann Sawatzky and Marion Taylor were the other Saskatoon women on the Saskatchewan team.

There was another Western Canada tournament where she rolled 403 and her team rolled an incredible 1,627, a scratch score that was never matched in the tournament's history.

During her career, Barb has rolled two perfect games - one in 1971 and another in 1974 - and she is only one of two women to throw a pair of 450s. Only three men have ever done it.