The “Barbs” were founded in 1981 by Guy McKim, Doug Filipchuk and the late John Reilly. The club struggled in its initial stages until the late John Keogh arrived at practice with some high school students in tow and ready to coach. For these lads, rugby was a natural extension to their football training. Soon more high school-aged players (and frustrated soccer players!) joined the team looking for something different that would extend beyond their early adult years. It was inevitable that the “Barbs” would become one of the most endearing and enduring clubs in the Manitoba Rugby League.
Over the years, the Barbs have won the Men’s 2nd Division Championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 (Manitoba Cup), 2006, and 2010. The Men’s firsts have been RM runners-up for 5 years running in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. The Lady Barbarians brought home the Provincial Senior Women’s trophy in 2011, 2014 and 2015. The Club has travelled overseas to England and Wales and to the US for tournaments in the ’80s and ’90s. Many Barbarians who got their start in the Wheat City have represented Manitoba and Canada at National and International competitions. We have hosted National Tournaments, including the 1996 Canadian U-19 Championships and the 1997 Canada Games Tournament. The club hosted Prarie Regional Championships (now known as Man-Sask Regionals) in 2013, and 2017. They hosted the 2013 Manitoba Rugby Union’s league finals, which was the first time it had ever been hosted outside of Winnipeg.
The Barbs, who celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2021, are proud of their heritage and are again looking forward to the upcoming season.