Saturday, December 31, 2016

3...2...1... Happy New Year!!!

Hello Texas Twirl Fans. Welcome to 2017!

Today we get to celebrate many things... the start of the New Year, the ending of the old one, the possibilities that lie ahead, the successes, and the failures, that we leave behind.

While the general consensus has been that 2016 wasn't quite the banner year that the world was hoping for, it was a great year in terms of increasing communication across the Texas Twirling Community.

I have been humbled at all of your usage of the website and the excitement over this blog. I am so appreciative of all the responses, involvement, and kind words. Our mission is to help keep our sport and our community going strong by bringing us together. I hope to see both continue to thrive in the coming year by spreading even more communication across our great State.

To celebrate what this blog has achieved, we wanted to do a Goodbye 2016 post to take a look back on the past six months of this blog's existence and recognize those that have helped contribute to our mission...

*Total Number of Blog Page Views Since First Post - 23,462 (WOW!!!)
*First Blog Post: June 21, 2016 - NBTA Texas State Championship Wrap Up
*Top Friday Night Lights Feature Post - Veteran's Memorial High School 
*Top Collegiate Twirler Spotlight Post - Erica Kuntz of University of Texas
*Team #TeamTexas AYOP 2016 Post - Vick's Chicks from Fort Worth
*Highest Number of Likes on Instagram - University of Baylor Golden Girls 
*Highest Number of Likes on Facebook - The Woodlands College Park HS Twirlers
*Highest Number of Shares on Facebook - University of Baylor Golden Girls

*Top 10 Posts By Page View Numbers:
         #1: 1,464 page views - Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Erica Kuntz of University of Texas
         #2: 1,248 page views - Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Sydney Webster of Texas Tech
         #3: 1,199 page views - Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Kaitlen McNeill of Angelo State
         #4: 1,116 page views - Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Baylor University Golden Girls
         #5: 1,106 page views - TX Twirling News - Twirler for a Day & Twirl Life Premier Update
         #6: 1,103 page views - Friday Night Lights Feature - Veterans Memorial High School
         #7:    967 page views - Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - UT Permian Basin Twirlers
         #8:    915 page views - Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Lindsey McCormick of Mizzou
         #9:    816 page views - #TeamTexas Support - Miss Texas at Miss America
         #10:  784 page views - #TeamTexas AYOP 2016 - Deep in the Heart

Congrats to all of those who made it into the end of year wrap up and Top 10 list, and a big THANK YOU to everyone who has read, liked, shared, or contributed to any of our posts this year.

While we do have our Contest Calendar Series and our upcoming Collegiate Try-Out Update posts in progress, we are always looking for fun, new angles and information to share. Have an idea for an upcoming post or some exciting news to share with the community? Email

Until the next post, remember...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Contest Calendar Series - Twirl in the Woods 2017

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

After a short holiday break, we are back. With only 3 days left in 2016, we wanted to squeeze in one last post to make sure no one misses out on a GREAT contest happening in just a couple weeks.

Today for the Contest Calendar Series we will be discussing Twirl in the Woods 2017!

*DEADLINE TUESDAY* Please note that the deadline for this competition is Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017. You must have your entry postmarked by this day. You can either open the entry by clicking here or you can visit the official Twirl in the Woods 2017 website. For any additional questions, please contact the contest director, Patti Mickey, at

Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Who - Contest Director Patti Mickey of Mickey's Majorettes
What - Twirl in the Woods 2017 Twirling Competition
When - Saturday, January 14, 2017. Doors open at 7:00 am. Contest begins at 8:00 am.
Where - The Woodlands College Park High School, 3701 College Park Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77384

*Picture on the left from the 2015 SW Regional Championship, used to showcase the facility size and ceiling height of the gym used for competition.

Why - Since this is the first competition of 2017, it is often one of the biggest of the season outside of the Regional and State competitions. Many coaches consider this contest to be the most accurate showing of what competition twirlers will face at the Southwest Regional Championship held later in the Spring. Many teams debut their routines here, and most of the twirling groups in the State will have representation. On top of that, the awards are extremely nice (tiaras, giant pageant trophies, the always popular light up trophies, Disney plushies, etc), and the contest runs very smooth for being as large as it is. It is definitely a 'must attend' for the season!

CONTEST HASHTAG! #twirlinthewoods2017
For this event, we strongly encourage our Texas Twirlers to utilize the hashtag #twirlinthewoods2017 when posting photos of this competition on social media. Below are some of the photos found on Facebook or Instagram that used the Twirl in the Woods hashtag during the 2016 competition. Shout out to Abby, Hailey, and Josie! Hashtag your photo this year and you might just see your picture in the contest follow up blog post.

Highlighted Event
A highlighted event for this competition is the team portion of the competition. As mentioned above, many teams premier their routines at Twirl in the Woods, which means team routines you have never seen before will all hit the floor for the first time. This is where we get to see the starting point behind all those hours of teamwork and new choreography. It is so exciting to see where the teams all begin each season and compare it to how far they go by the time we reach State in June.

Unique Feature
A unique feature of the Twirl in the Woods competition is always the award ceremony! You have to love any awards ceremony that has the placement blocks, an awesome photographer, and utilizes amazing senior twirlers from around the State to help pass out the awards. As you can see in the above Team Pictures, for the 2016 Twirl in the Woods competition, the awards were passed out by Baylor Feature Twirler, and current Miss Texas, Caroline Carothers. Should be exciting to see who will help pass out the awards this year!

Any Last Comments? 
Big shout out and photo cred goes to Mickey's Majorette Dad, Edward Obias, who took all these great photos included in today's blog and will be also be taking the award ceremony photos at the event. Thanks Mr. Obias! We love awesome twirl dads, especially when they are also pretty great photographers.

Want to attend this event?  Please visit the Twirl in the Woods 2017 website or contact the contest director, Patti Mickey, at for more details.

We hope you have this edition of the Contest Calendar Series. We are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Please contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Saturday Night Lights - 5A & 6A Playoffs!!!

Hello Texas Twirl Fans! We all know in Texas that football is a BIG DEAL! All season, the football players fight their way from game to game in hopes of making it into the State Playoffs. Baton Twirlers love football season because it gives our twirlers a chance to get out on the field and showcase their talents for the crowd.

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY many football players have been working all year for... The UIL 5A & 6A State Playoff Games!!! These games will be played on December 17th at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

While it is exciting that some amazing football will be going on... the Texas twirling community gets to celebrate as well because there will also be some AWESOME baton twirlers! We wanted to a take a minute to give a big shout out the the TWELVE Texas baton twirlers that will get to take the field at the AT&T Stadium tomorrow to perform in support of their school.

5A D1 Championship Game at 12:00 pm 
Highland Park HS (Dallas) vs. Temple HS (Temple)

Featuring the Highland Park High School Twirler
Senior Mela McMinn
Coached by Texas Touch Of Class (Sheila Rigelsky)

6A D2 Championship Game at 4:00 pm 
Desoto HS (Desoto) vs Steele HS (Cibolo)

Featuring the Desoto High School Majorettes
Coached by Shirley Payne

Featuring the Steele HS Sparklers Feature Twirlers - 
Senior Abby Neuman, Senior Julie Griffee, & Melinda Branson
Coached by the Sweet Sensations (Michele Pangrac & Mary Ann Srulowitz)

6A D1 Championship Game at 8:00 pm
The Woodlands HS (The Woodlands) vs Lake Travis HS (Austin)

Featuring The Woodlands HS Feature Twirlers - 
Senior Isabel Obias, Senior Jillian Romaguera, & Rachel Hutchinson
Coached by Mickey's Majorettes (Patti Mickey)
*Photo credit to Edward Obias

Congrats ladies on getting to see your High School Football teams all the way into the State Playoffs! We want to wish the best of luck to your teams and also to all of you in hopes of great performances. We can't wait to see you all show Texas what our twirlers can bring to the field! Go Team Texas!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Night Lights Feature - The Woodlands College Park Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans! Welcome to the final edition for the season of the Friday Night Lights Feature. I have loved getting to do these interviews with our high school and collegiate twirlers. I wish I could have been able to interview everyone in the State, but there are only so many weeks of the football season. Don’t worry though, we will be back next year and reaching out to all the twirlers we didn’t get to talk to this year.

This week we are going to bring the series full circle. If you remember, we started by talking to the three Feature Twirlers at The Woodlands High School. Today, we are back in The Woodlands meeting the four lovely ladies of The Woodlands College Park High School – Allie Pellerito, Alexia Monsivais, Emma Newsoroff, and Madison Frantzen.

Anyone who twirls NBTA in Texas has to be familiar with The Woodlands College Park gym, and who doesn’t have a picture from the Twirl in the Woods contest in front of the big “Cavaliers” logo. This is thanks to the Coach of the four WCP Twirlers, and contest director, Patti Mickey.

In order to become a Feature Twirler for the Cavalier Band, the twirlers must perform a solo in which they demonstrate their skills in 1, 2, and 3 batons in front of the school’s band directors. Then, after discussion, they post the next year’s featured twirling positions.

These twirlers get to have amazing times together while sporting Navy, Silver, and Green. They say that their favorite moment twirling on the field is when they all get to perform the same routine, which includes their school song and fight song. They also love being a part of the band traditions, especially singing the school song together and when everyone cheers a chant in which they say “AWWWWWW CP!”

This year has been an especially exciting year to be a twirler for The Woodlands College Park Band. For the first time in school history, the marching band qualified to compete at the 6A UIL State Marching Band Competition. Way to go Cav Band!!!

Let’s take a moment to get to meet each of these ladies and learn a little about their twirling story…

Allie Pellerito, Senior, Competition Level: Advanced
Allie has been twirling for 12 years with Coaches Patti & Kayli Mickey. The twirling honor she is the most proud of earning is being named the UIL State Outstanding Performer. Allie’s favorite competition trick is her rolls, and her favorite field trick is her back neck roll. She considers the most memorable moment of twirling to be when she performed at the Halloween pep rally. “It was the first time the students had seen anyone twirl knives and their reactions were priceless!” In baton twirling, Allie has been most inspired by Mississippi State University Feature Twirler, Mary Michael Bellin. After high school, Allie plans to attend college and earn a degree in Professional Meteorology.

Alexia Monsivais, Junior
Alexia has been twirling for 5 years with Coach Patti Mickey. Her favorite field trick is a front walkover. She says “I just learned it, but I’m going to get it soon!” In baton twirling, Alexia has been most inspired by current Miss Texas, Caroline Carothers. Alexia loves being a feature twirler. “During halftime, when the crowd sees you doing all these cool tricks it amazes them and really gets them into it!” After high school, Alexia plans to go into nursing. She says “I love helping others”.

Emma Newsoroff, Sophomore, Competition Level: Intermediate 
Emma has been twirling for five years with Coach Patti Mickey. The twirling titles she is the most proud of earning are the Texas State Junior Strut Champion, and the South Texas Championships Fiesta Cup Winner. Her favorite competition trick is her elbow pops or rolls, and her favorite field trick is a toss cartwheel catch in a one handed cartwheel. In baton twirling, Emma has been most inspired by former SMU “Doll” (Feature Twirler), Kayli Mickey, “due to her unwavering dedication to the sport, great sportsmanship, and astonishing achievements”. After high school she hopes to be a collegiate twirler and plans on majoring in anything psychology or business industry related.

Madison Frantzen, Freshman, Competition Level: Beginner
Madison had been twirling for four years with Coach Patti Mickey. The twirling title she is the most proud of earning is the Texas State Novice Champion. She says winning this title was her favorite twirling moment and that “my dad was cheering for me!” Her favorite twirling trick is 3 baton jugging. In baton twirling, Madison has been most inspired by the 2016 Junior Miss Majorette of the Southwest, Rachel Hutchinson. After high school, Madison hopes to become the TCU Feature Twirler.

Fun Facts!
Favorite Color – Coral (Madison), Blue (Allie)
Favorite Music – Christian (Madison), “I have very eclectic taste!” (Allie)
Favorite Movie – “Unbroken (Madison), “Chronicles of Narnia” (Allie). “The Conjuring 2 – I love horror movies!” (Alexia)

When they are not twirling, they love to…
Madison – go swimming and spend time with friends
Allie – practice make-up techniques
Alexia – hang out with friends or relax at home

Something you may not know about them is…
Madison – “I played the trombone in my junior high band”
Allie – “I don’t like when food on my plates touches each other”

Favorite Quote...
Madison – “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle”
Allie – “Hearts on fire, minds on ice”
Alexia – “You are capable of doing more than what you know”
Emma – “You can never be overdressed or over educated” (“not only because I love to get dressed up and look nice, but mainly because I thoroughly enjoy school and learning new things everyday”)

Most Memorable Advice from their Coach...
Madison – “Always smile! Even if you drop, just keep on smiling”
Allie – “Pretty feet!”
Alexia – “Always batons over boys”

The Cavalier twirlers feel that twirling has given them many skills outside of just baton work. Madison and Allie are both fans of what they have learned from doing interviews in competition. Madison says through interview “I learned how to speak to others in a professional way”. Allie agrees and mentions how the interview really helps with social skills. “Learning how to interview is a very important part of social skills and I would not have been as prepared going into college with this skill had I not been a competitive twirler”. Emma also mentions how twirling has taught her “how to mentally cope with stress”.

They also have some great advice to pass on to future twirlers including remembering to enjoy the small moments along with the big ones, to be bold and not be afraid, and of course, to work really hard and not give up. Emma adds “Most importantly, have fun while doing it!”

With each girl being in a different level in school, they are all over the spectrum of experience, but they all agree that being Features together is something they will greatly miss about high school. Madison says she will most miss “dancing with all my friends in the stands during football games”. Emma mentions that being around the band members has created an environment that has made her appreciate the people around her. Allie says she will most miss performing, especially for the student section. All the schools they perform for have really embraced the twirlers. “They are so appreciate of our sport!”

Thank you to the four Cavalier Twirlers, and all of the High School and Collegiate twirlers that have contributed to our Friday Night Lights and Collegiate Twirler Spotlight interviews. It  has been wonderful getting to learn more about everyone, and we wish every an excellent competition season!!!

(The Woodlands College Park Twirlers with The Woodlands Twirlers at the War of the Woods game)

*Special photo credit for almost all the pictures in this post goes to Edward Obias

We hope you have enjoyed the final edition for the season of our Friday Night Lights series. While we are no longer taking nominations for this segment, we are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Please contact us at, and we would love to hear more about it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Lindsey McCormick of the University of Missouri

Hello Texas Twirl Fans! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to kick off this blog and start spreading information about the amazing things going on and the awesome twirlers in the great state of Texas. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and sent us information these past several months. Let’s keep it going!

This week we round out our Collegiate Twirler Spotlight series with a special post. As we mentioned last week, one of the goals of this blog is to educate our younger twirlers on opportunities available to them or experiences they can pursue. Today is the second edition focused on twirlers who chose to go out of state to twirl in college, so that we can learn why they made the decisions they did and any tips on how they manage being far from home. Last week we had the opportunity to learn about three well known twirlers all from outside of Texas that came to a Texas University to twirl.

Now this week, we are going to round out this series by learning more about a Texas Girl who made the hard choice to leave Texas for college and twirl out state. Our final Collegiate Twirler Spotlight of the season is focused on one of the University of Missouri Feature Twirlers – Lindsey McCormick.

Everyone reading this knows that Texas is a great place to live. It has to be a hard decision to leave, but we also know that there are only so many Feature Twirler spots at major universities in Texas, and they aren’t always open or accepting auditions for new twirlers every season. Each year, a new group of High School Seniors has to consider the importance of twirling in deciding which University to attend, and if their school of choice would even have the option available to them.

When it came time for Lindsey to figure out her next step, there were not many open opportunities in Texas, and she didn't really feel a strong connection to the ones that were available. We asked Lindsey about her thought process in making this decision. "I love new experiences and meeting new people, so going out of state seemed like a perfect solution and opportunity for me. I applied to few different schools in different states, (but made the decision to attend) Mizzou! Whenever I toured Mizzou and auditioned, I instantly fell in love, and knew in my heart that it was where I needed to be. I'm so happy with my decision".

For a high school twirler thinking about going out of state, there is so much to consider. Can I twirl? Do I like the campus? How about the academics? We asked Lindsey what was it exactly about Mizzou that helped her solidify her decision. "The twirling opportunity definitely drew me to Mizzou, but most importantly, Mizzou has one of the strongest business programs in the country. Also, if you haven't seen the campus, you should! I always admire how beautiful it is when I'm walking to class. The Columns, Jesse Hall, and Memorial Union remind me of how much I love Mizzou. Whether it's raining, snowing, or sunny, it's breathtaking. It never gets old".

We wanted to know, now 1.5 years of school in, what advice Lindsey would offer to a High School twirler thinking about going out of state. "(It) is an amazing opportunity and a great learning experience. If you are able to go out of state, I would definitely recommend it. Although I miss Texas very much, going to Missouri has taught me so much. People and places may be different outside of our ‘bubble’, but branching out taught me how to be brave and try new things which, in my opinion, is an important part of life".

Going to school out of state hasn’t been without its drawbacks. "Being out of state can be bittersweet. Whenever I am homesick, I have to stick it out and remember to be patient. Most importantly, being out of state taught me how to be independent and strong whenever I miss home! It also made me appreciate home so much more. I really cherish the time I have with my family and friends from Texas".

So we know why Lindsey chose the University of Missouri in the first place, and how she is coping with being away from home, but what is keeping her there? Besides the gorgeous campus and strong academics, she loves the traditions. Her favorite Mizzou tradition involves the school columns (seen pictured below). “Every year, the freshman walk through the columns as a symbol that they are beginning their time at Mizzou. The marching band and twirlers perform, and everyone gets tiger striped ice cream! At the end of each year, the seniors walk through the columns the other direction. This is a symbol that they are leaving Mizzou and entering the world”. Wow! What a meaningful tradition. Did it give you goosebumps too?

Lindsey also really enjoys being a part of the 'Big M of the Midwest'. On top of the many, many hours of practice and the performances, they still get to have a little fun. “At the end of band camp, each section puts together a skit to perform in front of everyone. The judges are the twirlers, drum majors, and band directors. This is so fun because it is a way to reflect on all of the humorous things that happened during band camp. It's also a good way to end the week of hard work!”

Does this sound like an amazing opportunity to you? Lindsey has fantastic *BREAKING NEWS* to share with our blog… The new Mizzou Band Director, Dr. Cooper, just announced that not only will Lindsey and her current Co-Feature, former Junior Miss Majorette of America Simone Esters, be returning to twirl for the 2017-18 season, but the director is also opening auditions for potentially up to TWO additional Feature spots. So exciting!!! Are you heading to college and interested in getting to join Lindsey and Simone on the field next year? Here is your chance! Visit the Marching Mizzou website to request more information.

Now that she has told us why she chose out of state, let’s learn more about Lindsey...

Lindsey McCormick, Sophomore, Competition Level: Advanced/Collegiate
Lindsey is from The Woodlands, Texas, and is a Sophomore majoring in Business Marketing. When Lindsey graduates she plans to move back to Texas and pursue a career related to her major. She says, “Once a Texas girl, always a Texas girl!” Lindsey has been twirling for 14 years and works with Coaches Ashley Pedersen Moss, Ann Nita McDonald, Candy Kimbal and Nancy Apel. The competition title she is the most proud of is earning the 2015 College Miss Majorette of Missouri pageant. Her favorite competition trick is her double leap, catch behind her back into a lay back and her favorite field trick is back neck rolls with the fire baton. “The crowd absolutely loves it!”

As a twirler, Lindsey has been inspired by many outstanding twirlers, but says her biggest inspiration was her 2015-16 Co-Feature at the University of Missouri, Halie Hart. Lindsey tells us, “I joined Halie my freshman year as a Mizzou Feature Twirler and learned quickly that her attention to detail, technique, and showmanship is what made her such a phenomenal twirler. It was an incredible experience to twirl with Halie and I aspire to be just like her!” She also attributes her excellent time management skills to baton twirling. “Knowing how to balance school work with extra-curricular activities and spending time in the gym practicing has been crucial. I know this skill will help me to be successful in my future career!”

Fun Facts!
  • Favorite Color – light pink. "I’ve been a girly girl since day one. My 1st costume was light pink!"
  • Favorite Movie – The Notebook or Legally Blonde. "I know every single line from both"
  • Favorite Singer – Taylor Swift. "There's nothing better than singing along to all of her old-school songs with my friends!"
  • Favorite Quote – "The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged." -Deuteronomy 31:8 
  • Most Memorable Advice from your Coach – "Do not concentrate on what everyone else is doing, but instead, focus on yourself and be the best that YOU can be!"
When she is not twirling, she loves to…
"Hang out with my sorority sisters! This year, I am living in the sorority house with 80 other girls. It's so much fun having my closest friends right next door! Whether I need help studying, want to watch a movie, or just need someone to talk to, there's always someone there".

Something people might not know about her is…
"I love traveling! I first realized my love for traveling my senior year of high school when I had the opportunity to travel to Peru as a United States Twirling Ambassador. That same year, I was also fortunate to visit Spain, France, and Italy. Traveling to these different countries gave me a huge appreciation for other cultures. Before I graduate, I hope to study abroad in Barcelona".

Any non-Band/Twirl related school organizations?
"I am very involved in my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. The biggest reason why I chose Gamma Phi Beta is because of the philanthropy, Girl's on the Run. Our mission is to be role models to elementary age girls and set an example for them. We are able to visit them during school, and also cheer them on while they run their races! Our motto is 'Building Strong Girls'. It's a great way to spread knowledge through our own experiences".

Through her 14 years of twirling, Lindsey has made many amazing and fun memories. She says her favorite memory was when she was 10 years old and won the Beginner Miss Majorette of America pageant at AYOP. “This was my first big win, and I felt so rewarded for all of my hard work. I cried tears of joy in the arena because I was so excited. In that moment, I realized how much I truly loved the sport of baton twirling. I still feel the same way today!"

Lindsey say her funniest moment of twirling was from when she was in high school and twirling alongside her older sister. "It was her senior year and my mom was trying to get video footage of her for college auditions. Unfortunately, my sister brought two right-foot cougars to the game. I offered her my left cougar so she could get better twirling footage. I twirled with two right-foot shoes that night!"

Finally, to round out the final edition of the Collegiate Twirler Spotlight for Fall 2016, we had to know what advice Lindsey would like to pass on the future collegiate twirler hopefuls, and she said it was to make sure you keep competing. "Not only does competing continue to sharpen and challenge your skills, but it also teaches you how to perform under pressure in front of all types of audiences. This is super important when twirling in front of 70,000 fans! Though competing can sometimes be hard, anything worth having takes a lot work! Remember, anything is possible when you truly want to achieve your goals! Never give up and always remember to have fun!"

We want to send a big thank you to Lindsey for sharing with us her insight on the different types of decisions twirlers make when it comes to selecting a University. We want to wish Lindsey a ton of luck as she finished out her Sophomore year and we cannot wait to see her on the field next season!

To close out today's post, we also want to send a special shout out and wish of good luck to all those twirlers who are in the middle of their Senior year of High School and are knee deep in college decisions. We know it is not easy, but you will end up where you are meant to be. Trust your heart and reach for the stars!

We hope you have enjoyed the final edition of our Collegiate Twirler Spotlight series. While we are no longer taking nominations for this segment, we are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Please contact us at, and we would love to hear more about it!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Contest Calendar Series - ATX Holiday Twirl Fest 2016

Hello Texas Twirl Fans! As the football season winds down, and our Friday Night Feature & Collegiate Twirler Spotlight come to an end this week (this will be the last week!), we want to launch the next series for the blog. While we will continue to highlight all the awesome going on in the Texas Twirling Community, we will also take a little time before each competition to post the who/what/wheres, and then after each competition to post contest results and photos. 

To start the Contest Calendar Series, we are discussing the 2016 ATX Holiday Twirl Fest!

*DEADLINE WEDNESDAY* Please note that while the mail in registration deadline has passed, they are still accepting online registrations via their contest website ( until midnight on Wednesday, November 23rd. If you need any help registering online, or are not comfortable registering online and still want to enter, please email and they will help you out!

Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Who - Contest Directors Ashley Wood & Whitney Coons of Twirl ATX, Austin Twirling Academy
What - 2016 ATX Holiday Twirl Fest & Holiday Bazaar
When - Saturday, December 10th, 2016. Doors open at 7:45 am. Contest begins at 8:00 am.
Where - Vista Ridge High School Gym, 200 S Vista Ridge Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613 (NW Austin area)

Why - This is a super fun holiday themed contest. Holiday music is played for modeling and solo, awards are all holiday themed (snowflake ornament medals, snowflake trophies, snow globes, etc), compete for Miss Holiday Model or the Miss Twirling Snowflake title, or catch a photo op with the talking Santa or Candy Cane archway! Great way to get into the holiday season with all of your twirl family. 

CONTEST HASHTAG! #atxtwirlfest2016
We all love social media, and we all love to post, so let's start a contest # movement! As part of the Contest Calendar Series, working with the contest directors, this blog will help introduce a # for each contest. If you are preparing for, competing at, or taking post-contest photos, please hashtag your posts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) with #atxtwirlfest2016. Below are some of the awesome photos that were tagged last year... Shout out to Gen, Alana, and Landi! Hashtag your photo this year and you might see your photo in the contest follow-up blog post.

Highlighted Event - In honor of contest director, Ashley Wood's, mother, who fought and defeated Breast Cancer last year, there is a special Best Costume event. The "Laura Craft Honorary Best Costume" competition puts all ages against each other to judge who has the "best costume". The entry fee for this event ($10) is a direct donation to Twirling for the Cure. TFTC Founder, John Mitchell, will be judging at the contest and will be there to accept the donation check. Last year this event raised $400.00 for TFTC... Can they pull off a bigger donation this year?

Unique Feature - In a joint venture with the Vista Ridge High School Band, the ATX Twirl Fest will be held across the hallway from the 12th Annual VR High School Holiday Bazaar. This event will feature local vendors and concessions, perfect for holiday shopping and lunch! Admission is free, and the event will run from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Help support the VRHS Marching Band (yes they do have a twirler!!!) and check it out!

Any Last Comments? Make sure to check out Official Contest Photographer, Rebecca Hedges Lyon's, website ( to see photos from the 2015 event. Rebecca, who is a former twirler, has an amazing ability to catch those hard to capture action shots. She will again be at the 2016 competition taking photos which will be posted to her website and available for purchase. To learn more about Rebecca's photography visit or

Interested in attending this event? Visit Have any questions? Contact or Ashley at 512-848-7426. We hope to see everyone in December!

We hope you have this edition of the Contest Calendar Series. We are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Please contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Night Lights Feature - Round Rock High School Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans! Are you ready for the Thanksgiving school break week? I know we are! What are your plans? Oh, you are a twirler/twirling coach/twirling mom? Then it must involve the inside of a gym at some point! We all know holidays for twirlers just mean more non-school hours for practicing.

This week we take a moment to meet two ladies who know that hours and hours of practice in the gym, and on the blacktop, are just a way of life when you want success. For our second to last edition of the Friday Night Light Feature, we travel just north of our State Capital to meet the two lovely Feature Twirlers of the Round Rock High School Dragon Band – McKenzie Gomez and Josie Linson!

These two twirlers have not only helped bring baton twirling visibility back to the Round Rock area, but also to the Texas Bands of America competitions! This season, their award winning Varsity Marching Band (Finalist at the BOA  Austin Regional, BOA San Antonio Super Regional, and the UIL 6A State Marching competition) featured these ladies twirling beautiful Lumina batons as a part of their competition marching show. They were also front and center for the JV Marching Band show where they twirled light batons, and Samoan knives to fit the Star Wars theme.

The Round Rock Dragon band is very well known throughout the State competition circuit, not only for their excellent marching shows, but also for their contagious chant. At any football game or marching band performance, the unmistakable “Go Rock! Go Band! Go Rock Band!” can be heard echoing through the stadium. We know these two twirlers love being a part of this wonderful organization and are always happy to cheer right along.

Now let’s take a moment and meet these two beautiful Dragon Twirlers off the field…

Josie Linson, Sophomore, Competition Level: Advanced
Josie has been twirling for 8 years with Coach Whitney Coons and Twirl ATX. The competition title she is the most proud of earning is the 2015 Intermediate Junior Texas State Pageant Winner. Her favorite competition trick is her double illusion and her favorite field trick is a toss cartwheel. In baton twirling, Josie has been most inspired by current University of Texas Feature Twirler, Erica Kuntz. “She works so hard and she is a great example of true showmanship”. Josie’s favorite moment as a twirler was when she caught her double illusion in her pageant solo at AYOP Nationals. She had pulled her hamstring pretty bad in practice the week before the competition and she "almost wasn’t going to try it, but my coach and my mom encouraged me to go for it.. and I am so glad I did!” After high school, Josie hopes to become a feature twirler for a major university.

McKenzie Gomez, Sophomore, Competition Level: Intermediate
McKenzie has been twirling for 13 years with Coaches Lynn Dell Harrell, Sheri Carter, and Caroline Carothers. The competition title she is the most proud of earning is the USTA Texas State Strut Champion. Her favorite competition trick is her double walkover, and her favorite field trick is her toss, leap, walkover. In baton twirling McKenzie has been most inspired by the current Miss Texas, Caroline Carothers. “She inspires me because of her grace, kindness, and her love of the sport”. McKenzie’s favorite moment as a twirler was when she was twirling at an away game against a rival school and “the entire student section of that school was cheering for me when I was catching all of my tricks”. After high school, McKenzie plans to go to college and twirl at a major university.

Fun Facts!
Favorite Color = Light Pink (McKenzie), Pink (Josie)
Favorite Movie = “Frozen” (McKenzie)
Favorite Music = Pop (Josie)
Favorite Food = Pizza (McKenzie)
Favorite Animal = Dachshund (Josie)

Favorite Quote
McKenzie = “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
Josie = “Practice makes progress”

When they are not twirling, they love to…
McKenzie = “Hang out with friends and catch up on sleep”
Josie = “I really like to read”

Something people may not know about them is…
McKenzie = “I can sing and play guitar”
Josie = “I love baking”

Most Helpful Tip from Their Coach…
McKenzie = “Keep my grades up so that I can twirl in college”
Josie = “Have ‘soft’ hands while catching”

We had a great time getting to learn more about Josie and McKenzie this week. We are sad to see the weekly Friday Night Light feature coming to an end, but it is time to move on to bigger and better things... competition season! Don't worry though, we will be back next week for one more post to bring our season full circle. In the meantime, remember... GO ROCK! GO BAND! GO ROCK BAND! 

We hope you have enjoyed another edition of our Friday Night Lights Feature. While we are no longer taking nominations for this segment, we are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Please contact us at, and we would love to hear more about it!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - The Baylor Golden Girl Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans! One of the goals of this blog is to raise awareness of those in the Texas twirling community. We also hope to educate our younger twirlers on opportunities available to them or experiences they can pursue. To close out the Collegiate Twirler Spotlight series for the season, our next two editions will be with twirlers who chose to go out of state to twirl in college so that we can learn why they made the decisions they did.

As Texans, we obviously know why someone would want to come here! However, it is always good to hear why our State is so awesome from an outsider. This week we are talking to three nationally known twirlers that could have chosen to go almost anywhere in the USA, but decided that for college they would call Waco, Texas their home away from home.

For today’s Collegiate Twirler Spotlight, we are talking to the three beautiful and talented Baylor Golden Girls – Adaline Bebo, Phoebe Carr, and Merri-Frances Dmitrzak.

The Baylor Golden Girls are a Texas twirling institution, and a position that has been held by many amazing twirlers. Some recent notable Alum includes the 2012 Miss Texas, DeNae Couch, the 2016 Miss Texas, Caroline Carothers, Tori Mays, Mattison Torres, Kelsey Vaughn, Michaela Tennison, Allison Hatfield, and Scottie Hagen. The Golden Girls, led by instructor Lynn Dell Harrell, uphold a long standing tradition of twirling excellence as a part of the Baylor Golden Wave Band. These twirlers do audition annually for their position, but once a twirler has been named a “Feature” twice, they are then guaranteed their position for subsequent seasons. 

 These girls have been having a great time as part of the Baylor community. They all three named “The Baylor Line” as their all-time favorite school tradition. According to Merri-Frances, the Baylor Line “is when the freshman students run onto the football field before the football team runs out to start the game”. Phoebe tells us “it is one of the most exciting, yet terrifying things to experience”. Adaline feels the same and tells us that “we are the only school in the nation that does anything like it!” Adaline is also a fan of the tradition of “Tortilla Tossing” off the suspension bridge.

Now when it comes to being a part of the Baylor Golden Wave Band, these ladies have two different traditions they love. Phoebe’s favorite is after a winning game, the band likes to chant “Bears won, Bears won, Bears won. Let’s go home.” She says it accurately describes the band’s reaction to the win. “We are excited for our victory, but also exhausted… after 5 hours of practicing before the game, performing during the game, and performing a post-game show”.

Adaline and Merri-Frances enjoy being in on a band specific moment during the singing of the Alma Mater.  Adaline tells us “when the band sings our Alma Mater, there is a part when the band adds a “Whoosh!” and swings our “Sic ‘em” (the bear claw hand). I love it because at any event… you can see and hear exactly who is a part of the BUGWB family, past and present”. Merri-Francis says “It’s an inside band story that mostly only band members know. So, I won’t tell you why. Join the band and you will find out!”

 Spending this much time together has to result in some awesome inside jokes. All three girls named the same inside joke as their favorite, and it is what they call an “Adi”. Phoebe describes this phenomena by telling us that “although Adaline is a very graceful twirler, sometimes she would have moments where the baton would go straight to the ground. Any time we have a silly drop, we call it an Adi”. Merri-Frances expands on that by telling us how an “Adi” moment led to naming an exchange “The Blackout” (yes, a black eye was involved!).  What does Adaline have to say about this? “Well…”. We know every twirler has had their share of “Adi” moments. Makes us all feel a little better to know that a World Team level competitor has her own “silly drop moments”. Baylor Golden Girls… they are just like us!

Now that we know a little more about what it is like to be a Golden Girl and a member of the Baylor Golden Wave Band, let’s learn a little more about each of these ladies and how they ended up wearing the gold and green!

 Adaline Bebo, Sophomore, Competition Level: Elite/Advanced
Adaline is from Carmel, Indiana and is a Sophomore Neuroscience and Pre-Law Major. Adaline has been twirling for 10 years with Coaches Jackie Stewart and Cheryl Wimberley. The competition titles she is the most proud of winning are the 2016 Grand National Strut Champions and Miss Silver Bean of Chicago. Adaline’s favorite competition trick is her triple leap (left, right, left), forward roll with a back catch. “It took a long time to build up strength for it, and I love how unique it is – It always gets a lot of applause!” On the field, she loves doing side and front aeriels under tosses with unique catches. “There’s some suspense and it’s usually something the crowd hasn’t seen before”. 

As a twirler, Adaline is most inspired by Hollie Neilson. “She’s always inspired me to try doing things my own way and keep an open mind during the creative process”. Adaline considers her favorite moment of twirling to be when she was performing in Helsingborg, Sweden with Team USA. “I genuinely had the time of my life and the performances reminded me why I love twirling and performing so much”. After graduating, Adaline says she would “love to work with the government and help to bridge the gap between science and politics to integrate bio-ethical regulations. I am also interested in how nutrition impacts neurological functions, so building awareness in that area is a goal for me!”

 Phoebe Carr, Freshman, Competition Level: Advanced
Phoebe is from Hartland, Michigan and is a Freshman Biochemisty Pre-Med Major. Phoebe has been twirling for 10 years with Coaches Patti Jankowki and Tammy Albrecht. The competition title she is the most proud of winning is the NBTA Carnival Cup Senior Queen. Her favorite competition routine is her dance twirl, “it incorporates all of my favorite tricks”, and her favorite field trick is her two baton.

As a twirler, Phoebe is most inspired by Adaline Bebo & Merri-Francis Dmitrzak. “They are both amazing twirlers and great people too. It is such an honor to get to twirl with them.” She considers her greatest moments of twirling to be when she is able to pass her twirling knowledge on to younger students. When Phoebe graduates she wants to become a Pediatric Oncologist (doctor who treats kids with cancer).

Merri-Frances Dmitrzak, Senior, Competition Level: Advanced
Merri-Frances is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a Senior History Major. Merri-Frances has been twirling for 19 years (since she was 7!) with Coaches Vignoli Parisi, Christine Radi, and Billy Bruce. On the competition floor or the football field, Merri-Frances loves any time she gets to twirl multiple batons. “People/fans love watching the more complex variety… I especially love twirling four batons, it is such a crowd pleaser. I also enjoy doing rolls”. While winning the world championship title with her team, the Modernettes, will always be close to her heart, her favorite titles are the State & Regional championships she has earned representing Baylor, “because twirling and representing my school are very important to me, win or lose”.

As a twirler, Merri-Frances has been inspired by many amazing twirlers including her two older sisters LeAnn Chamberlin (former Grand National Twirling Champion) and Heather Whittaker (2x Miss Majorette of America, Grand National Twirling Champion, and former Feature Twirler for The University of Louisville). The former collegiate twirlers she most admired are PJ Burkin and Karrissa Wimberley. “On the field, they captivated the audience, no matter what they were doing”. She also has a great respect and looks up to Savannah Miller and her “twirling partner in crime”, Adaline Bebo. “They both put all of their talents out on the field for everyone to enjoy. Their performances are incredible. I am honored to know each one of these twirlers”. Her favorite moments in twirling have been on the field at Baylor. “The Baylor Golden Wave Band has amazing and outstanding young men and women. We are all one big family”. After graduation, Merri-Frances plans to find a job teaching history and “hopefully have the opportunity to pass on to others what I have learned”.

  Fun Facts!
Color = Blue (Phoebe), Anything Pink & Sparkly – “and green and gold, of course!” (Adaline), “Green and Gold of course but also any shades of Blue” (Merri-Frances)

Movie = “GiGi” (Phoebe), any action movie (Merri-Frances), “A Few Good Men” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (Adaline)

Television = “I’m a huge Supernatural fan, but Food Network is my guilty pleasure (Adaline)

Band/Music = Disturbed (Phoebe), “I love to practice to pop and EDM, but I love to listen to soft pop or alternative while I study” (Adaline), “I listen to about everything” (Merri-Frances)

Food = Greek Yogurt (Phoebe), Marshmallows and Gummi Bears (Adaline)

Are you involved in any non-band/twirling organizations at school?
  • Phoebe = BUMEDS (medical ethics discussion organization) 
  • Merri-Frances = “Not directly related with the school but I do a lot of volunteer work with the Army at Fort Hood. I am part of the Family Readiness Groups that take care of everything on the home front when the soldiers are home and/or deployed. We plan activities for the children and families… I try to participate in as many programs as I can such as helping with the USO”.
When they are not twirling they love to…
  • Phoebe = “Work out and have board game nights with my friends”
  • Adaline = “Explore Waco and FaceTime with family”
  • Merri-Frances = “Play with my puppies!!! I have 2 Siberian Huskies. Kaiden is three years old and Nikko is five months old. They are my everything, and keep me healthy. We like to go on family hikes around Texas”
 Something most people might not know about me is…
  • Phoebe = “Before competing in baton, I played tackle football for 5 years”
  • Adaline = “I used to be a competitive hip-hop dancer, I love dinosaurs, and I’ve always wanted to go to culinary school!”
  • Merri-Frances = “I have a hearing disability and wear hearing aids in both of my ears. Growing up I have had to overcome many different obstacles”
 Favorite Quote/Life Motto…
  • Phoebe = “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” -Robert H. Schuller
  • Adaline = “If passion is the input, then success will be the output”
  • Merri-Frances = “Enjoy the journey you are on, always be a class act and live life to the fullest”
Most Memorable Tip/Advice from your Coach…
  • Phoebe = “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. So, if you look like a great twirler, act like a great twirler, and practice like a great twirler, you will be a great twirler.”
  • Adaline = “My coaches and I have made some really great and funny memories together over the years, but one of the most memorable and encouraging things Jackie has ever told me was ‘to go out there and command the judges to see your unique self’. This really stuck with me because it taught me not question my abilities or training and to not compare myself to anyone else.”
  • Merri-Frances = “Enjoy the journey you are on and everything else will fall where it needs too” 
What do you think is the #1 non-twirling life skill you learn from baton twirling?
  • Phoebe = “Dedication is a key factor in success. Just how practicing diligently for hours will significantly improve a twirler’s performance at competitions, diligently focusing on work or school can also be rewarding”.
  • Adaline = “Resilience. From learning to comeback stronger after an injury or crazy drops in a routine to being willing to take alternative paths in my life when things don’t go as anticipated, it is a skill that I’m grateful for every day. Physically and mentally, it has been the skill that has allowed me to grow and become stronger in everything I do”.
  • Merri-Frances = Preparation is the key for all fundamentals in life. (Also), baton twirling has helped me come out of my shell and become the person I am. My coaches and parents have taught me to always be a class act on and off the football field or competition floor and I like to tell younger twirlers that it is not all about the crown or the banner. What is important is you doing your job, being proud of your performance, and doing what you love”.
Advice or practical suggestion to future Collegiate Twirlers:
  • Phoebe = “When in doubt, sell a performance with presentation. Not all conditions on the field will be ideal for optimal twirling. The best part about twirling in college is that not everyone knows what a super difficult trick is. A lot of time people are amazed by the tricks we’ve been doing for years. It’s good to have a nice balance of difficult tricks and showy tricks that will catch the audience’s eye”.
  • Adaline = “Video everything! One of the hardest things for me prior to auditioning anywhere was pulling together quality, consistent, and updated videos of twirling to put into my audition tape! Beyond that, I highly recommending visiting schools you’re interested in, going to games to get a feel of the environment, having a good idea of what academic route you want to take, and putting school as the priority (as hard as it may be sometimes!)”.
  • Merri-Frances = “Don’t go to a school just because you have been offered a twirling position. Go to a university because it feels like home and you love it. Before Baylor I had the opportunity to go to a smaller school.  I attended Marshall University in West Virginia. I did not pick Marshall University for twirling. I picked Marshall because it was right for me at that time in my life. It is important to select a school that is right for you.”

Seeing as both Adaline and Merri-Frances mention picking your college based on the academics and environment, and not just because you could twirl there, we have to ask… What made them decide to go out of State? Adaline summed it up best when she told us “I’ve traveled the world for twirling, so I’d gotten a taste of what experiencing other places had to offer. I knew that if I wanted to go back to Indiana, I could, but an opportunity to live and experience another culture, meet new people, and gain some independence was too great to pass up”.

So why Texas? Why Baylor? Phoebe tells us she “chose to go out of state for twirling for a myriad of reasons. I chose Baylor because, although it’s on the other side of the country from my hometown, there was a warming presence that I felt on campus that basically told me that I was meant to be here, and that Baylor was to be my “home away from home”. Plus, I really didn’t want to twirl in the snow anymore. I have twirled in subzero temperatures and in blizzards, so a change of twirling conditions was much needed. I love Texas weather so much”. When asked what gave Baylor that warming presence, Phoebe said “the band director, twirling director, and the campus in general were all very inviting when I visited Baylor. I felt a strong spiritual pull. When I stepped on campus, I knew that this was where I was meant to be”.

Adaline also mentioned the weather.  “The weather during football season is MUCH better in Texas than Indiana, plus football and the twirling tradition is much richer. I used to train in Texas... so it was somewhere I knew well enough to want to live there”. While we totally understand the desire to come to Texas, what was it about Baylor that won her over? “I knew as soon as I walked on campus! Our new stadium and beautiful buildings are amazing! The science program is very strong and the religious affiliation was a big draw for me”.

Merri-Frances had a unique situation that brought her to Texas. “My husband is a Captain in the United States Army and he was transferred to Fort Hood while I was still at Marshall University. Once he was settled in Texas, we found out he was leaving for a deployment. Half way through his deployment I applied to Baylor to see if I could transfer in. Once I got my acceptance letter, I knew I found my new home”. What made Merri-Frances choose to apply specifically at Baylor? “While looking at University's in Texas, I had to see what was close to our house and a school that felt like home. Even though I drive 90 minutes each way, for me, Baylor felt like home. Academically the teachers are amazing. When you come to Baylor you know you will get a top of the line educational experience. You can get involved in many clubs and groups. There is something for everyone”. 

We know that making a decision to go out of state has to be a hard one, especially for those close to their family. We asked the Golden Girls what advice they would give to twirlers thinking about going out of state. Adaline mentioned “My family and I are so close that I never imagined living so far away from them. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that gaining independence teaches you more about yourself and ends up bringing you and your family closer, no matter how far you are from each other”. Phoebe also emphasize the importance of family when making this decision. “Stay in contact with your family. I text my parents and my grandma on a daily basis. It feels good to just hear how their day went and hearing how everything back home is going”. Merri-Frances agrees with keeping that family connection strong, but also advises twirlers out of state to make sure to find your new family. “It can be hard at first being away from your family but you can create your own friendships that will turn into a sisterhood or a brotherhood. Get involved as much as you can and meet new people”. 

The transition away from family has to be hard, but that is not the only difficulty out of state students face. What would they say was the hardest part that new collegiate twirlers traveling out of state should be aware of?  Phoebe feels the hardest part was going somewhere that she didn’t know many people. “No one from my high school goes to Baylor, so the first few weeks here felt kind of lonely. Luckily, there are a lot of opportunities to make friends in college”. Merri-Frances most misses seeing her family back home in person. “I have two nephews in Pennsylvania and a niece in Tennessee. It's hard to be away from them. We FaceTime at least once a week, but it's not the same as being there in person”. Adaline has learned the hardest part is integrating into new cultures, but that it can lead to learning to love new things. “Texas is totally its own culture and I absolutely love it! Before living here, I didn’t like Mexican food, but since, I’ve fallen in love with Tex-Mex! At first, it was difficult to adjust to new ways of saying things, learning how Texans drive (especially on I-35!), and finding new places to shop, hang out, and eat”. 

Great words of advice all around! It was an honor to get to chat with these ladies, and we hope that all the younger twirlers reading will take some of this information to heart when making their own decisions. Texas is very lucky to have these three amazing twirlers here representing our state and Baylor on a national level. A big thank you to Adaline, Phoebe, and Merri-Frances for their time, and a big Sic 'Em Bears for all you Baylor Fans!

We hope you have enjoyed another edition of our Collegiate Spotlight. Have a favorite High School or Collegiate Twirler that you would like to see interviewed? Please contact us at with their name and email address so that we can reach out to them!