Kelly Walburger

Kelly Walburger

Father-son duo team up on diamond

Ben and Kelly Walburger become first father-son combo to play together on PGOSA slo-pitch team

Meet Ben and Kelly Walburger, the first father/son combo to play in the PGOSA house slo-pitch league.

Ben, 84, was here before  PGOSA was formed and joined the organization when it began a softball team.

He said he is the only original player  left in the PGOSA league, and that he played in the first B.C. Senior Games as a member.

“We got skunked,” he said. “Yet many other times we brought medals home.”

Ben has 15 medals or more, with two very dear to his heart. One was winning the “gold” in Port Alberni with a grand slam win over the White Rock team. However, the sun was in the eyes of the right fielder, which helped, he added.

“The very best one, the one I treasure most, was after getting picked up by the Victoria seniors team, to play in the World Senior Games, in St. George, Utah,” he said. “We brought the gold medal home to Vancouver Island.”

Also that year as far as the senior games committee could recall, Ben said, he and his son, Kelly, were the first father and son to participate in the games.

“My dream this year was to play with my son in our own league in Parksville, and today (June 15) we did it.”​

Ben’s story, in his words:

“Kelly and I both were born and raised on a ranch in Southern Alberta. We had a good life, participating in the sports fields of basketball and softball​. Win or lose, it did not matter, as what we learned was just to play our best. We played the game, and often were winners, but other times we made others winners.

“Kelly was good at sports, especially in the game of basketball. I refereed many games in Alberta, and when it came to his games, I was a wee bit stricter on him so folks could not say I was showing favouritism. Yes, he complained a bit, but this made him a better player and to this day he has been competitive, honest and fair.

“For the past 15 years, Kelly has been in the business of  locating underground utilities, as well as teaching others the same. Kelly’s group has become Vancouver Island’s best locators, well-known and well appreciated for their fairness, and honesty.

​​— The PGOSA Profile is part of a series highlighting members of the Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association, a local association for athletes aged 55 and over. For details on the numerous sport activities sponsored by PGOSA, visit www.pgosa.org.

— Submitted by Rob Jonas