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 Bismarck Larks

Larks & Big Sticks Compete for New Railroad to Roosevelt Rivalry

June 11, 2024 - Northwoods League (Northwoods)
Bismarck Larks News Release

(BISMARCK, ND) - The new rivalry between the Bismarck Larks and Badlands Big Sticks now has an official name: The Railroad to Roosevelt Rivalry presented by Dakota Community Bank & Trust. Fans were asked to nominate a rivalry name between May 13 and May 18. The top four names were selected for fans to vote on between May 20 and May 24.

"This rivalry name goes beyond baseball and fans and truly gives a nod to the rich history of our two towns," Larks Chief Experience Officer, Rob Williamson, said. "The railroad that connects Bismarck to the Badlands means so much more to each community and the development of the western half of the United States in the late 1800s. This rivalry name is a nod to the people that came before us, tied the cities together, and recognizes the future of our state intertwined with baseball fans and families alike."

The cities of Dickinson and Bismarck are now united via Interstate 94, but the duo has been tied together since 1864 via the Northern Pacific Railroad. The Northern Pacific Railroad was a transcontinental railroad that operated across the northern tier of the western United States, from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest, and has several defining moments related to North Dakota.

Bismarck, Dickinson, and Medora among other towns grew alongside the railroad tracks bringing people, businesses, and success.

It led the way to September 1883 when then-New York assemblyman Theodore Roosevelt would ride the Northern Pacific Railroad to Medora, North Dakota. He would hunt bison and quickly fell in love with the rugged lifestyle and "perfect freedom" of the Badlands of the West. It's more than conceivable he got off the train in both Bismarck and Dickinson during his travels.

Roosevelt himself credited his time in the Badlands as one of the foundational experiences of his life. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library is set to open on July 4, 2026 in Medora, North Dakota and this new rivalry is a fun way to tribute to the spirit of our 26th United States President.

Regarding baseball ties, the two cities added more history this season when Big Sticks Owner, Dave Ouellette, transitioned the Badlands Big Sticks to the Northwoods League. He wanted to provide Big Sticks fans the best experience, help players be successful, and create more in-state rivalry experiences for residents who share friends and families in each town.

"There is a lot of crossover of baseball fans in both Dickinson and Bismarck. Fans would ask every year if we could play the Larks in a scrimmage so it's going to be fun," said Ouellette. "We want to take it to the next level for our fans and going to the Northwoods League will help us do that... I along with many Dickinson residents have family in Bismarck, Minot, and beyond in Minnesota too. We can make road trips to watch the Big Sticks now and go see family. That's what this is all about."

The Big Sticks formerly were in the Expedition League where they won the division in 2018, 2019, and 2020 including the Expedition League Championship in 2019. The team then went on to join the Independence League where they had a combined record of 57-45 through 2022.

The first matchup between the teams in 2024 is scheduled for 6:35 pm on Tuesday, June 11 at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark, Home of Dakota Community Bank and Trust Field.

Ticket prices are:

$15 Tickets in the Pizza Ranch Bleachers

$20 Tickets for Reserved Seats

$38 Tickets for Fireside Office Solutions Party Deck Seats (Includes All-You-Can-Eat Food + 3 Free Drinks)

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