The rural area of Bardo has a lenghty history with the game of baseball. Bardo was an original member of the Powerline Baseball League which started in the spring of 1933. The baseball team would eventually become the Bardo A's (Athletics) and would partcipate in every season in the Powerline Baseball League from 1933 until 2016. Baseball would make it's first appearance in the Bardo area in 1903 as the Bardo Baseball Team would be organized and provide Bardo with organized baseball for 113 years.
General Bardo History
Located less than ten minutes south of Tofield, the Bardo Recreation Association includes a baseball field and an old school from the Anderson School Division. The Bardo district was settled in 1894 by Norwegian settlers who moved to the area from Minnesota as they sought out prosperous farm land. In May 1894 a group of twenty men travelled from the Crookston, Minnesota area to the Bardo area by travelling through Winnipeg, then Calgary and finally through Wetaskiwin. Originally the group was planning on joining the New Norway settlement, but instead travelled with Edmund Thompson towards Beaver Lake (Beaverhill Lake) due to good farming soil, praire farm land and plenty of food provided around the lake. A telegram was sent back to Crookston, Minnesota declaring that a suitable settlement area was found. Soon afterwards, the Scandinavian population in the western provinces skyrocketed as tens of thousands Scandinavian settlers, many of whom where Norweigen and Swedish but also included Danish and Icelandic families, sought perhaps the last cheap or free agriculture land in the western provinces of Canada. At first many of the settlers came to the area through Minnesota, which had been settled by groups of Norweigens dating back to 1871, but eventually Scandinavian settlers start to come directly into Canada.
Many of these Norwegien individuals traced their roots back to Bardu (Bardo), Norway for which Bardo got it’s name as orginally. The Bardo area was known as Northern between 1898 and 1904 at which point the name Bardo was given to the area. Canadian Northern Railway established a rail line through Bardo in 1911, further expanding the number of Scandinavian settlers in the area.
Bardo Baseball History
Below is the baseball section, written by Leonard 'Lefty' Stauffer', of the Bardo History Book. At the end of the information provided by Stauffer, the editors of the history book added information regarding the Pride of Bardo Trophy which was created in 1993, after the passing of Leonard, to remember Stauffer's passion and commitment to Bardo and the game of baseball.
Baseball (by Leonard Stauffer)
Baseball is still being played in Bardo, so a little history of this sport in Bardo merits a few remarks. The Bardo baseball team was first organized in 1903 and has operate every year since. It is probably the oldest team in Alberta that has been in continuous operation. It was organized by a teacher, Mr. Marr, and a local person, Mr. John A. Johnson. Some of the players were: John A. Johnson, Pete Johnson, Hilmar Johnson, Bill Mitchell, Dave Mitchell, Torval Brocke, Gunder Brocke, Pete Lerbekmo, Bill Sears, Andrew Ovelson and Ingmar Olson.
Down through the years, a great number of players have performed for the ‘Bardo Athletics’ as they are now called. Some of the families that have contributed quite a number of players to the team are: Anderson, Steen, Foshaug, Rude, Finesth, Kindley, Lerbekmo, Johnson, Lampitt, Stauffer, Erickson, Moen, Heiberg, Olson and Francis. Although they never became famous for their ability, they have most always had a competitive club, and have had their moments of triumph as well as defeat.
Bardo, along with Ketchamoot, Kingman and Round Hill were the first members of the Powerline League which was formed in 1932. (Note: both the Round Hill History Book and the Tofield Mercury refer to the start of the Powerline Baseball League happening in 1933). Bardo is the lone survivor of the original teams in the Powerline League.
Some of the highlights of sports in Bardo cam in 1951 and 1952. In 1951, a baseball team from the district of Northfield, north-west of Grande Prairie came to our area for a series of baseball games with Bardo and surrounding teams. In 1952 the Bardo Baseball Team returned to the Peace River Country and played eight games there. Most of the Northfield players were descendants of families that left Bardo in the 1910-1920 era and settled in the LaGlace district. The players of both teams were either related or well acquainted with each other. A very good time was had by all.
The ball diamond has been located on the Anderson School grounds since the property was taken over by the community for a recreation centre, and the Bardo Recreation Association was formed in 1959. The team has competed every year since it’s beginning and is the only team that can make the claim. How does a small rural community keep a team going so long and be able to be competitive against larger centres? One reason, is the fact that the Community really likes baseball. There have also been those willing to give their time to keep it going but possibly the best reason is the fact that most of the players are out for recreation and fun first. Winning, although important, is kept in its proper place. Also the fact that the players are mostly local boys, and anyone wanting to play is allowed to take part. How much longer they will be able to continue is anyone’s guess, but as long as it continues to operate fairly, they will be playing ball in Bardo!
There are a couple of incidences that have occurred with baseball in Bardo that will likely be remembered for a long time. One year at the ball tournament connect with the July 1st Sports Day in Tofield, Bardo was behind in the game 14-7 in the last inning, with Bardo having last bat. There were two out and nobody on base, but before they had the third out, eight runs were scored and the last out never occurred. Bardo won 15 to 14!
Another time in the League Semi-finals play off, Bardo was leading the game 2 to 1 with none out in the visiting team’s last bat. The visitors got the first two batters on first and second. The pitcher was changed and a new one put in. On the first pitch he threw to the batter, the ball was hit on a line drive to the short stop who caught the ball, threw to second base and caught the base runner off base. Then the throw to first base was in team to catch the runner for the third out. This is likely a record which will not happen again. That is, for a pitcher, with none out, to throw only one ball and retire the side.
Two events of importance occurred in 1977. The Bardo Team was the Powerline Baseball League Champions and the Alberta Baseball Association formed a division in Alberta for the Old Timers, namely, the Twi-light Division. Leonard Stauffer organized a team made up of the players from the Powerline Baseball League. A number of players were originally members of the Bardo Athletic Association.
As progress continues, especially with roads and communication, the small rural communities find it harder and harder to keep their teams, because facilities become more expensive.
More and more citizens are now taking part in Tofield, especially in golf, curling and hockey. With a very good paved road and better vehicles these activities have become more accessible.
Editor’s comments (from the History Book editor):
Frank Johnsrude sponsored a special trophy entitled “Pride of Bardo” which was unveiled by Evelyne Stauffer and son, Warren, at the Bardo Sports Day, June 12, 1993.
This trophy was later resented to the champion baseball team of the tournament, in memory of Leonard “Lefty” Stauffer who passed away on February 18, 1993. It was fitting that the Bardo team won the Bardo tournament.
Frank Johnsrude, an original teammate of Leonard’s from 1936, state that the purpose of the trophy is to promote the Bardo Sports Day and is dedicated to Leonard Stauffer, a man who loved the game of baseball. The trophy is to be presented annually to the champion team at the Bardo Sports Day. The name of the winning team will be inscribed on individual plaques on the trophy.
The Pride of Bardo Trophy, in memory of Leonard Stauffer
First presented on June 12, 1993 at Bardo Sports Day
The Pride of Bardo Trophy Presentation - June 1993
Frank Johnsrude, Evelyne Stauffer, Warren and Taryn Stauffer
Bardo Ball Team (early 1900s)
Back Row: Sigvert Berg, Eddy Haakstad, Hans Haakstad, Hilmar Johnson
Middle Row: John Johnson, Olaf Johnson
Front Row: Rudlof Johnson, Peter Johnson, Selmer Johnson, Marvin Johnson
1978 Bardo Athletics
Back Row: Andy Heiberg, Gordon Heiberg, Lyle Heiberg, Larry Foshaug, Ken Stauffer, Bob Foshaug, Warren Stauffer, Mervin Reist
Front Row: Ron Roshaug, Walter Riediger, Keith Finseth, Don Boettger, David Francis, Allen Reist
Bardo Ball Team (July 1952)
Back Row: Eystein Heiberg, Arnold Bailey, Ivan Foshaug, Leonard Stauffer, Eldon Moen, Harold Kindley
Front Row: Charles Rude, Philip Anderson, Bjarne Erickson, Andy Heiberg, Dale Barrows
The Bardo Ball Team travels to LaGlace, AB (1952)
Bardo Ball Team (1946)
Phillip, Leif, Ivan, Eystein, Leonard, Charles, Andy, Clifford, Eldon.
Coach: Emil Rude
Bardo Ball Team (1962)
Back Row: Lars Rude, Andy Heiberg, Larry Foshaug, Leonard Stauffer
Front Row: Lawrence Rude, Merlin Rude, Al Roth, Carl Nelson
2012 Bardo Athletics
Back Row: Ryan Olsen, Craig Neufeld, Rob Berrecloth, Joel Henricksen, Sean Melanson, Ben Heiberg, Mike LeClaire
Front Row: Sean Heiberg, Peter Neufeld, Dylan Berrecloth, _____, Ray Lehman
2012 Bardo Athletics - Bardo Sports Day Champions
Back Row: Joel Henricksen, Ryan Olsen, Sean Heiberg, Ken Braget, Ben Heiberg, Sean Melanson, Mike LeClaire, Ray Lehman
Front Row: Dylan Berrecloth, Peter Neufeld, Ryan Stauffer, Craig Neufeld, Rob Berrecloth
Bardo Baseball Team (1963)
Powerline Baseball League Champions
2006 Bardo Athletics
Powerline Baseball League Champions
Back Row: Chris Middlestat, Craig Neufeld, Ryan Muri, Ray Lehman, Marel Lesoway
Middle Row: Peter Neufeld, Rob Berrecloth, Jeremy Thom
Front Row: Jeff Van Engelen, Mike LeClaire, GaryYurkowski, Ryan Stauffer, Kent Rude
Key Dates In Bardo History:
Of note, there are some seasons of missing information in the PBL Archives between 1933 and 1967. It could mean more PBL Championships and PBL Pennants for the Bardo Athletics if those missing years can ever be accounted for.
1894 - the original settlers, who were Norwegian and came from Minnesota, began settling in the area and first calling the area Northwestern. This would eventually change to Bardo, which was from Bardu, Norway, an area in northern Norway where the original settlers immigrated to North America from.
1903 - the first organized baseball team was founded by a teacher and known as the Bardo Baseball Team.
1921 - the Bardo church is struck by lightning and burnt to the ground. The community would rebuild the church however it would once again be struck by lightning, this time in 1965.
1933 - the start of the Powerline Baseball League featured Bardo, Ketchamoot, Kingman and Round Hill. In the Bardo History Book the date given for this even was 1932, however the Tofield Mercury and the Round Hill History Book both reference 1933 as the start of the PBL.
1934 - Bardo wins their first PBL Championship. Their opponent is unknown.
1941 - The PBL stops operations during WW2. During the war the league would not operate due to a lack of ball players in the area as many would go on to serve in the Canadian military. However teams like Bardo continued to operate by playing exhibition games, Sports Days and fundraising tournaments for the Red Cross. Other teams like Tofield, Dodds and Ryley also still had teams for various events and exhibitions.
1946 - The PBL resumes league operations with a total of five teams.
1948 - Bardo wins their second PBL Championship. Their opponent is unknown.
1951 - Bardo wins their first recorded PBL Pennant.
1951 - Bardo wins their third PBL Championship, defeating Thule.
1962 - Bardo wins their fourth PBL Championship, defeating Ryley.
1963 - Bardo wins their fifth PBL Championship, by defeating Round Hill. It is also the first time that Bardo has won back to back championships.
1964 - the current field at Bardo was opened on June 12, 1964 for Bardo Sports Day. The first game on the new field appears to have been an exhibition game between the Bardo Old Timers and the Tofield Old Timers with Tofield winning 9-3. The first Bardo Sports Day on the new field was won by ______. Also on this day, the Bardo Recreation Centre was opened after the school building was donated to the organization.
1965 - the Bardo church is struck by lightning for the second time in it’s history. The community decides to move the Bardo church north to Tofield where the Bardo church still exists today (2020).
1972 - Bardo wins their sixth PBL Championship, defeating the Ryley Rebels.
1977 - Led by Leonard Stauffer, Bardo would organize an Old Timers team from player across the PBL to compete in Twi-Light Provincials. Bardo would compete in the provincial Twi-Light playoffs every year between 1977 and 1990 according to Stauffer in a 1990 Tofield Mercury article.
1978 - Bardo win their second recorded PBL Pennant
1978 - Bardo wins their seventh PBL Championship, defeating the Camrose Roadrunners
1990 - The Tofield Powerline Oldstars team, managed by Leonard Stauffer, would compete in the Kindersley Invitational Twilight Tournament, earning the Manitoba Trophy of their efforts.
1993 - longtime Bardo player, manager and resident, Leonard Stauffer passes away on February 18. Later in the year, former teammate and friend Frank Johnsrude, would help honour the memory of ‘Lefty’ Stauffer with the Pride of Bardo Trophy. The trophy would be given to the Bardo Sports Day winner on an annual basis. The first Pride of Bardo Trophy would be fittingly awarded to the Bardo Athletics.
1994 - the 100th anniversary of Bardo was celebrated and baseball was a big draw for the event.
1998 - Bardo wins their third PBL Pennant.
1999 - Bardo wins their fourth PBL Pennant. It is also the first time that Bardo was won back to back pennants.
2001 - Bardo wins their fifth PBL Pennant. The Athletics make their first PBL Championship series since 1978, but fall to the Powerline Brewers.
2006 - Bardo wins their eighth PBL Championship, defeating the Armena Axemen.
2008 - Bardo wins their ninth PBL Championship, defeating the Camrose Roadrunners.
2009 - the PBL sees the second wood bat era begin as the league votes to no longer allow aluminum or aluminum composite bats in league play.
2013 - the Bardo Athletics make the playoffs for the final time in franchise history by finishing in fourth place with a 7-7 record. The Holden Blue Jays would sweep the A’s in their semi-final series as Bardo would lose 5-3 in Holden in game one and 10-0 in game two at the Bardo Recreation Grounds.
2016 - the Bardo Athletics win what would be their final game in franchise history with a 3-2 victory over the Armena Royals at the Bardo Recreation Grounds.
2016 - the Bardo Athletics play their final game on July 18, 2016 at the Bardo Recreation Grounds against the Ryley Rebels. The Rebels would win 17-4.
Bardo Sports Day Winners:
Still a work in progress tracking down winning teams. Some seasons have no Bardo Sports Day update provided to local newspapers.
2016 - Rained Out
2015 - Leduc Milleteers
2014 - Beaumont Angels
2013 - Rained Out
2012 - Bardo Athletics
2011 - Leduc Milleteers
2010 - Leduc Milleteers
2008 - (Leduc Runner Up)
2005 - Armena Axemen
1995 - Ryley Rebels
1994 - Tofield Lakers (Bardo 100th Anniversary)
1993 - Bardo Athletics (Introduction of the Pride of Bardo Trophy)
1980 - Tofield
1979 - Camrose Roadrunners
1977 - Ryley Rebels
1976 - Bardo Athletics
1975 - Bardo Athletics
1971 - Bardo
1970 - Bardo
1969 - Tofield (Bardo 75th Anniversary)
1968 - Tofield
1964 - Bardo (Opening of new baseball field and donation of Anderson School)
1963 - Tofield
1962 - Rained Out (during Tofield vs Ryley)