By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
The Steel City Superstars left Gary at 4 a.m. for a two and a half hour bus trip to Hamilton, Indiana where they competed in the regional level of the Twirling Unlimited National Competition. They represented the city of Gary against 52 teams of over 600 participants in 34 categories representing 4 states. After the dust cleared and the trophies were passed out, they had earned 5 regional titles, as well as second-place awards.
The Steel City Superstars, a non-profit program, have won countless local and state competitions. The program was initially designed to allow children in the Northwest Indiana area to learn how to twirl a baton, jump Double Dutch or learn single jump rope skills while building self-esteem and self-confidence.
The Regional titles were earned in the single jump rope, Double Dutch, Baton Twirling, Pom-Pom and Production categories. The teams winning the Regional Titles were the Steel City Novas, a single jump rope group comprised of 16 girls doing a choreographed jump rope routine to the “Let There be Love” song; Steel City Solar Eclipse, a 3-member Double Dutch team; the Steel City Galaxy, a baton twirling team; the Steel City Super Comets, a trio pom-pom routine, which not only earned a Regional trophy, but received no penalties for their routine and the Steel City Candy Land, which is a production routine, who not only won a Regional title but is undefeated for the second season.
The Steel City Superstars are coached by Tami Reynolds, Sarah Jordan, Chelsey Taylor, Kelly Peete-Gouwens. Student coaches are Madison McDonald, Donna Wines and Tacara Wines.
According to Reynolds, the Olympics does not have a sport that recognizes the girl’s sport but there is a World Competition that was held last year in Italy. She said, “The teams that won the Nationals last year went on to compete in the World Competition that was held in Italy representing the United States. If we qualify for the World Competition, we would definitely go.”
The group leaves for the National Competition to be held in Canton, Ohio in eight weeks.
After competing in the Nationals, Disney World has invited the girls to perform at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. They will be there for eight days performing on one of their entertainment stages. They will also be participating in a dance workshop with Disney choreographers.
Reynolds said the girls are definitely excited about the whole thing. She said, “It has been a long road and they have enjoyed every moment of it. They actually get upset when we don’t have practice because they feel they might not be good enough to perform, but they are because Disney has invited us. They fear if they miss practice they will start slacking and they don’t want to embarrass Gary performing at Disney World. They want to make sure that we are No. 1 because we are the only group from Gary to be invited down to do this.”