Duo hopes to continue success in Red Deer this month

Debbie and Dean Pelletier’s biggest obstacle on their path to Special Olympic glory in Red Deer might not be their competitors. Their biggest obstacle might actually be the Calgary transit system.

Both Debbie and Dean have to take three buses almost every Saturday in order to join more than 110 friends for an afternoon of fun and Special Olympics bowling at Deerfoot Mall’s Bowling Depot.

“I like it because it’s fun and you get to go out on the weekends with your friends,” said 47-year-old Dean, grinning ear-to-ear.

Sister and brother, Debbie and Dean Pelletier, at Deerfoot Mall’s Bowling Depot. The pair will be traveling to Red Deer, AB, April 19-21, to represent Calgary in Special Olympics Alberta.

Photo by Ian Esplen

Dean’s 46-year-old sister, Debbie, echoed her brother’s comments, and added that the pair often arrive early so they can talk and share a laugh with friends over lunch before bowling.

The duo originally started bowling with Special Olympics Calgary more than 20 years ago.

“Our friends were bowling, so we thought we would give it a try,” Debbie said.

Since that day, the pair hasn’t thought twice about trying another sport. Because of their athletic development over the years, they have competed in several games and brought a number of medals back home.

Debbie said that the secret to their success is staying calm and focused. “You have to relax yourself when you’re bowling. If you let others disturb you, you’re not going to do well.”

Caroline Rippe, who has coached the siblings since 1992, has aided a lot in the Pelletiers’ development in the sport.

Rippe said that she has never had any problem coaching either one of them, and would describe the experience as easy because of their positive attitudes.

You can catch Debbie and Dean — along with 88 other Calgary bowlers going for gold — in Red Deer, AB, April 19-21.

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that there were 30 bowlers attending the Special Olympics in Red Deer. Recent information has identified the correct number as 90. 

iesplen@cjournal.ca