Masterpage Problem: Specified argument was out of the range of valid values. Parameter name: value

  Home Page  
  About Ironwood
  Meet Bob Bardwell
  Events Calendar
  Wheelchair Camps
  Autism Program  
  Youth Programs
  Family Programs/Events
  Horse Programs
  Camp Scholarships  
  Contact Us  
  Job Openings  
 Bob Bardwell
Founder, Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch
Motivational/Inspirational Speaker
Bardwell Communications
Email Bob
Phone: 507-533-6707

Bob was injured in 1973 in a heavy construction accident, which left him as a T12 paraplegic.  But Bob's faith kept him going and and through it all, his vision of starting a youth camp ranch never waivered.  He went on to start Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in 1976, which today not only serves youth but people with physical or cognitive disabilities and military families.  As a motivational speaker for the past 30 years, Bob has left an impact on thousands of people nationwide. One of his presentations, "It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it" is an example of how he gets his message across. He's a counselor, coach and author.  Bob's accomplishments are evidence of that he walks the talk.  
  • Founder, Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch which serves youth, people with disabilities, and military familes
  • Founder of National Wheelchair Sports Camp
  • Co-founder of Operation Welcome Home for military families
  • Competed in over 100 wheelchair marathons
  • Writer of "Marathons of Life"
Bob's book cover photo       


Bob and his wife Jode, have four daughters; Hannah, and Triplet girls Lydia, Abby, and Birdie.

Picture taken at Constitution Hall in Washington
DC where Bob spoke and won the National DAR

Bob's Family photo at DAR award  


Bob has completed 100 Marathons in his wheelchair including the following: Boston, Twin Cities, Grandma’s, Chicago, Med City, Orange Bowl, Los Angeles, Lincoln, Fox Cities, Honolulu, Blue Angel, Whitewater, Disney, Green Bay, Madison, Journey’s, Quad Cities, Denver, Jesus Run, Phoenix, New Zealand.

275 races total – pushed his chair over 10,000 miles

75 first place wins including: Twin Cities – 1986, 1987, 1988, Chicago 1986 & Grandma’s in Duluth, MN.

  Bob's family photo on bikes

  • 2010 –Won the Major League Baseball & People Magazine ALL STARS AMONG US award.
    • Received national recognition at the All Star game in Anaheim, CA
  • 2010 - Honored with a trip to Washington, DC for serving the Military at the ranch & spoke at the 119th Continental Congress. Sponsored by the Daughters of The American Revolution.
  • 2006 – HALL OF FAME – WRESTLING – Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Chosen to go to Washington, DC during the George W. Bush presidency and represent the State of MN for launching President Bush’s “Faith-Based Initiative.”


  • Founder and Director of Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, a 200 acre ranch in Southern Minnesota serving 24,000 people annually.

  • General Contractor and fundraiser of a 5 million dollar lodge named “Miracle lodge”

  • Founder and Director of OPERATION WELCOME HOME. Free retreats for soldiers. Now having served 1000 families.

  • National Motivational Speaker (It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s What You Do About It)

  • Took 100 wheelchairs to Ghana, W. Africa resulting in Ghana taking their first ever disabled athletes to the Paralympics.

  • Author of an inspirational book called the “Marathons of Life”

  • Founder/Director of the National Wheelchair Sports & Recreation Camp (1986), which is now the largest wheelchair sports camp in America. In 2017 we had kids/adults from 14 states and Africa.  

Speaking Opportunities:

  • Twin Cities Marathon - Mpls., MN
  • New Hope Church – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • 119th Continental Congress – Washington, DC. Recipient of the national award for serving military families.
  • All Stars Among Us’ National Award – sponsored by Major League Baseball - Chosen from 7,500 entrants
  • Washington DC representing Minnesota at George W. Bush ‘Faith Based Initiative”
  • Knutson Construction – Mpls., MN
  • Northwestern College – St. Paul, MN
  • Outdoor Sportsman Conference – Joplin, MO.
  • Adolphson-Peterson Construction – Mpls., MN
  • Veit Construction – Rogers, MN

Recent speaking opportunities:

  • Classic Car and Truck show – Madison, WI
  • McNeilus Trucking and Manufacturing Co – Dodge Center, MN
  • Sanibel Island Men’s conference – Ft Myers, Fla
  • Henkel Construction – Mason City, Iowa
  • Elcor Construction – Rochester, MN
  • Residential Service Association - Kalahari – Wisconsin Dells
  • Mayo Clinic 150 years serving humanity - Healthy Human Wellness conference weekend
  • Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge
  • Minnesota Masonry Restoration - Mpls., MN
  • FCA - Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Cornerstone Church – Dallas,Texas
  • Gold Star Military conference – Brainerd, MN
  • Minneapolis Convention Center – Epilepsy Foundation Conference
  • City of New Richmond, Wisconsin employees
  • Burnsville National Day of Prayer Breakfast
  • National Disability Conference – Mayo Clinic
  • Memphis Basketball Team-NCAA – Tampa, FL
  • Carr Tree Service - Ottertail,MN
  • Northridge Community Church – Scottsdale, AZ
  • DAV – Disabled American Veterans
  • Corporate Chick-Fil-A – Atlanta, GA
  • National Day of Prayer – Fort Belvoir, VA
Speaking Testimonials:

Thanks for your support and speaking at our recent meetings. Your message is great and very inspirational to our team. The Feedback we have received from your presentation was fantastic. We will have you back. Knutson Construction

Bob, you were the most inspirational speaker that I have ever heard at the Unity Foundation banquet in Alexandria, MN. You had to touch the lives of the couple hundred business men and women with your life and presentation.” John Trisco