Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Night Lights Feature - Claudia Taylor Johnson HS Twirler

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Competition season is here! We are only 10 hours away from the start of the Fall Twirling Festival and the South Texas Camp of Champions Winter Camp, and 2 hours away from the deadline for the ATX Holiday Twirl Fest. Good luck to all those competing in San Antonio in the morning, wishes of a successful weekend for those attending the camp, and for those still wanting to attend the December 2nd event, entries are continuing to roll in, so just visit to get registered

On to the football front, as we speak the scores for the first rounds of football playoffs are being finalized, and half the teams playing tonight are lamenting the end of their season, as the other half celebrate moving on to round two. Sadly, tonight's FNL interview is with a school whose football team ended their season run tonight (lost by only 1 point!), but the past few months, at least for the marching band, will live on in history as an unprecedented success! 

This week’s Friday Night Lights Feature is with the Claudia Taylor Johnson High School Feature Twirler, Sarah Pruski!

If you are not familiar with the name Claudia Taylor Johnson when it comes to High School Marching Bands, you are missing out! CTJ is considered one of the most creative and successful marching bands in the country. In fact, at the Bands of America San Antonio Super Regional earlier this November, CTJ scored the highest score ever recorded at a BOA Regional Event. So needless to say, being a member of the CTJ band in any form is an honor, but to be named their Feature Twirler is a definite achievement. 

As a member of the CTJ Marching Band program, she gets to experience some life changing moments, and be around some great people. When asked what she will most when she graduates, she said it would be her Band Director, Jarrett Lipman. “(He) is an inspiration to us all and an amazing director”. 

The band is also very supportive of the Feature Twirler. Sarah loves it during the games when “the band cheers for me while I twirl on the sidelines during the games”. The support not only comes from the band, but from the other spirit organizations as well. One really fun moment was when “the school mascot tried to twirl with me. It was really fun to watch”. Her favorite part of game day, though, is at the end of the game when she gets to be on the field for the playing of the school song alongside the spirit teams and football players. 

Now that we have learned a little about CTJHS and Sarah’s role in that program, let’s learn a little more about Sarah…

Sarah Pruski
Junior, Competition Level: Beginner
Sarah has been twirling for four years with the Alamo City Strutters, Coached by Pat Montgomery. The competition title she is the most proud of is when she won the 2017 San Antonio Twirling Festival Junior Basic Skills Pageant. Her favorite competition trick is a two spin, and her favorite field trick is juggling three batons. In baton twirling, Sarah has been most inspired by her Alamo City Strutters Teammate, and current University of Houston Feature Twirler, Rebekah Gonzales. After she graduates high school, Sarah hopes to attend and twirl for UTSA.

Fun Facts!
Favorite Color – Blue
Favorite Movie – “Mamma Mia”
Favorite Snack – “I love Cheetos”

When she is not twirling she loves to
“Draw and paint”.

Something people may not know about her is
“I like to dance”. 

Most memorable advice from her coach
“Always push forward”.

Favorite Quote
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney

While Sarah has had many fun moments and experiences as a competition and field twirler, she most values how it has taught her to never give up. She says she will never forget the first time she got to hear her name called out during a football game halftime performance, and had she given up during the rough times that come as a new twirler, that moment would have never happened. 

Though Sarah has learned so many things, she says the most important thing she would want to pass on to future Feature Twirlers is to “have fun out there! All people want to see that you are having fun!” That is definitely the goal, to entertain, perform, and enjoy what you do! 

We want to say a big congrats to Sarah and the entire CTJ band on an AMAZING marching band season. What a fantastic couple of months to be able to call yourself a part of this program, and we are so happy to see such an amazing band continuing the tradition of Friday Night Featured Twirlers. Thank you Sarah for your time, and we wish you a great upcoming competition season. 

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. 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? Contact us at and we would love to hear more about it.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Camp Calendar Series - South Texas Camp of Champions Winter Camp

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Contest season is officially underway, which means it is time to get those routines in performance shape! As we have the Thanksgiving Break coming up with plenty of time to get in the gym, why don't you use that time to attend the South Texas Camp of Champions Winter Camp!

*STILL ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS!* While they are still accepting registrations, the deadline is here, so the sooner you can register the better! Interested in attending STCC Winter Camp? Please visit or contact Pat Montgomery by phone at (210) 393-3551 or via email at

Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Who: Directors Pat Montgomery, Major Margaret Mann, and Nancy Eisenhauer
What: 2017 South Texas Camp of Champions
Where: Thomas Jefferson High School Gym - 723 Donaldson Ave, San Antonio, TX 78201
When: November 18, 19, 20. Attend one, two, or all three days! There will also be additional private lesson times available with the amazing instructors on November 21st. 

Why: The South Texas Camp of Champions is a baton twirling camp held in San Antonio each summer and winter. This camp has been around for many years and has been a great tool for Texas twirlers. This camp brings in big name local and out of State instructors to teach everything from introductory level to advanced tricks. Every twirler will leave camp with an arsenal of new or improved skills.

Highlighted Program: As many twirlers have varied schedules during Winter Break, this camp session is very flexible. Camp instruction will occur on November 18th, 19th, and 20th. Students are welcome to attend just one day ($110), two days ($195), or all three days ($280). P

Amazing Instructors: One thing you can always count on at STCC is amazing instructors! This year will be no different as they are bringing back several popular instructors including:

*Internationally Renowned Coach, Kathy Forsythe
*Former Washington Feature Twirler and World Medalist, Catherine Watters
*Former National Rhythmic Champion and team specialist, Courtney Patterson White
*Former State and National Champion,  Melinda Mann White
*Team USA Member and UTSA Feature Twirler, Michael Lopez

Not only will these instructors be leading classes and prep sessions, but they are all available for private lessons as well! Make sure to include any private lessons requests with your registration. Private lessons will be offered on all three camp days, and there will be additional spaces available on November 21st. This way your twirler can get in plenty of time with their favorite instructors to be competition ready!

Camp Logistics: Camp will occur November 18, 19, and 20 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Each day of camp, twirlers will arrive in athletic/practice appropriate clothes and start the day with a group warm-up. They then will divide into sessions. Lunch is served at Noon, and the day ends at 4:00 pm. Twirlers should bring with them their baton(s), twirling shoes, water, snacks, and a willingness to learn and try new things.

If this sounds like an amazing opportunity, which it is, and you want to enroll your twirler, please visit Any questions? Contact Pat Montgomery at (210)393-3551 or We hope to see you there!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. 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? Contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Collegiate Twirler Spolight - Tarleton State University Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

It is the last weekend for regular season football all over Texas, and our football seasons are winding down. Congrats to everyone who had their final game of the season this weekend, and congrats to everyone whose teams are moving into playoffs!

This week, because I was able to make a quick trip up to Stephenville, Texas, we had a very special Collegiate Twirler Spotlight by broadcasting a part of the interview LIVE on our Twirling is Catching - Texas Edition Blog Facebook Page from the Tarleton State University Memorial Stadium. If you missed it, you can check out the video here...

It is always such a joy to get to watch the Texans Feature Twirlers, Kaley Dowell & Savanna Esse! A fun fact about these two is that they twirled together at Goldthwaite High School, and now have been reunited on the Tarleton field.

During the live interview, I asked these twirlers the best thing about being a Tarleton Texan. Kaley told us it is all the traditions. Everywhere you go around the school there are different traditions for the students to be a part of, and a great environment of school spirit. They both mentioned the support the students have for each other as well. The attendance at the game was great and the student section gets really into the game and cheering on the spirit organizations.

Savanna mentioned that the best thing about game day specifically is the Pre-Game show. They really get to show off their school pride, and as Kaley brought up, they utilize the song Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix to really get the school hyped up before the football team comes out.

When not on camera, we asked these young ladies what advice they would pass on to those wanting to be a collegiate twirler one day. Kaley said that she would tell them "don't be afraid to just go for it!" They both agreed that even though a twirler may get nervous, they need to just push through and focus on enjoying what you love.

Besides attending high school with each other, they have something else in common. They both named the 2016 Miss Texas and current Baylor Golden Girl, Caroline Carothers, as they baton twirler they most look up to. Savanna mentioned that it isn't just her performance that she admires, but also her poise and the personality she shows to the world. Kaley had the chance to be coached by Caroline for a bit when she was a sophomore in High School and said she appreciated all the skills and life lessons Caroline taught her, and how much the time with her really helped her improve.

Now, lets that some time to learn a little more about these awesome twirlers...

Savanna Esse, Sophomore
Savanna is from Goldthwaite, Texas, and is currently a Sophomore Music Education Major. She has been twirling for 9 years, originally with Amanda Wood, but most recently with Belinda Flinn in Mason. While Savanna did not do competition twirling, she was very active in UIL and was very proud of her performance at UIL State her Senior year. She considered it her "redemption" from her previous year's performance. Savanna's favorite competition trick was her three baton vertical/horizontal stacks, and her favorite field trick is a toss cartwheel.

Kaley Dowell, Freshman, Competition Level: Beginner
Kaley is also from Goldthwaite, Texas, and is currently a freshman Psychology Major. She started twirling 8 years ago with her aunt, Amanda Wood, but in 2016 she joined Twirl ATX where she is coached by Ashley Wood (no relation between Amanda & Ashley, but fun coincidence!). The competition title she is the most proud of is when she won the 2017 Southwest Regional Beginner Senior X-Strut and Solo titles. Kaley's favorite competition trick is her monster roll, and her favorite field trick is a toss illusion.

Fun Facts!

Favorite Color = Blue (Kaley), Baby Blue (Savanna)

Favorite Movie = "Wizard of Oz" (Kaley), Any of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies (Savanna)

Favorite Food = Steak with mashed potatoes and corn (Kaley), Anything with Cheese (Savanna)

Favorite Quote...
  • Savanna - "Go with the flow"
  • Kaley - "Nothing is Impossible with God" Luke 1:37
Best Advice they have been given...
  • Savanna - "Always finish with a smile"
  • Kaley - "Just have fun and that will help you get through it"

Favorite Twirling Moment...
  • Savanna - "In high school I was wearing one of those bun hair pieces, and on the last song during our UIL performance it fell out on the field. All of the twirlers that year (including Kaley) burst out laughing while trying to finish their performance". 
  • Kaley - "This summer was my first time attending AYOP and I got to attend as a part of my team (Twirl ATX). Being at Nationals with my team, just all of it, was amazing, but most specifically, on the morning of Collegiate Downfield I got so nervous that I was sure I couldn't go on the floor. My coach was judging so she sent over one of my teammates, Alexus, to cheer me up and make sure I performed. Her coming to help me and be with me when I was freaking out meant everything. I did get the courage up and was able to compete in Collegiate Downfield proudly representing Tarleton State". 

Funniest Twirling Moment...
  • Savanna - "Once at a football game we (the twirlers) were dancing in the stands and my foot slipped. I slid into a full split on the bleachers! It was hilarious!"
  • Kaley - "After a long day of prep for State, I was driving home with one of my teammates and we came across cars that were sideways in the road. We were delirious from hours of practice and just couldn't stop laughing!"

Thank you to these two ladies for being good sports and doing a live interview with us. Having had the chance to watch their first game of the season, and now their last, it was amazing to see the growth between these two. Their confidence shone from the field, and their love of the Texans and what they do was clear for all to see. Congrats on a great first season twirling together Savanna and Kaley! Go Texans!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. 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? Contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

College Twirler Spotlight - Tyler Junior College Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Contest season is officially here! Saturday is the South Plains Twirling Festival, we are only a little over a week away from the Fall Twirling Festival, and if you haven't already, make sure you submit your entry to the 2017 ATX Holiday Twirl Fest, as the mail in entry deadline is this Friday (don't worry, they will still take online entries until the 16th!). Amazing how quick competition season sneaks up on you, and while we are all excited for that to get going, we are still in full swing with our field twirlers, and still have several more interviews to go this season. 

Today we are in Tyler, Texas, meeting the two ladies that represent the TJC Apaches. This week's Collegiate Twirler Spotlight is on the Tyler Junior College Feature Twirlers - Beth Maddox & Sami Prazak!

As the Apache Feature Twirlers, Beth and Sami get to be a part of a lot of great moments at TJC. While Beth's favorite school tradition is the band's Rim March, Sami loves the school spirit shown at the end of every practice when the band chants "TJC". 

These two have learned so much from baton twirling. Beth says the skill that she has developed most as a baton twirler is dedication. Sami agrees, but also says that Communication has been a major life skill twirling has helped her develop. "I love talking to others, not only about twirling, but about life and God and just getting to know people and all of our diversities. Twirling really broadened my horizons”.

This level of Communication is one Sami hopes all twirlers can develop. Her number one piece of advice for a future collegiate feature twirler is that "Speaking to others about and representing the band is just as important as twirling for the band. Really go and find out about your college so you’re prepared for any questions anyone may ask you about band or school, including traditions!" Such great advice! You have to be able to know and speak about your school to get the best experience from it! 

Beth also wanted to add that a twirler should "never forget to be a blessing to those around you, because that’s real leadership.” What a beautiful way to express that thought. Beth did want to make sure to share some practice advice for future collegiate twirlers about balancing their workload. “Remember not to take 17 hours of classes your first football season! Haha! It was rough!" We can imagine!

Now lets take a moment to go a little deeper and learn more about these two ladies!

Beth Maddox
Freshman, Competition Level: Collegiate
Beth is a freshman majoring in Biology, where she is a part of the Honors Program. She is from Van, TX, and has been twirling for seven years. She is a member of the Mickey’s Majorettes and is coached by Patti Mickey and Kayli Mickey-McIntosh. Her favorite competition trick is spins and/or low horizontal flips, and her favorite field trick is a Russian leap. Her favorite moment as a baton twirler as when she got to twirl fire at TJC's Homecoming pep rally. In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by former twirler, Paige Patillo. “She has some of the craziest three and four baton tricks!” After she graduates, Beth hopes to attend Med school to become a surgeon.

Sami Prazak
Freshman, Competition Level: Intermediate
Sami is a freshman majoring in General Studies. She is from Diana, TX, and has been twirling for 6 years, however, she just started competing in NBTA in 2016. She is a member of JJ’s SuperStarzzzz and coached by Janice Jackson-Seamonds. Her favorite trick is a toss, leap, front-walkover. Her favorite moment in baton twirling is As she is just getting into the environment at TJC, she is not yet involved in any school organizations outside of band. “My life revolves around band and twirling, therefore, I am not a part of anything outside of band and twirling! I even work in the band hall!” In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by Miss Texas 2016 and current Baylor Golden Girl, Caroline Carothers, “not just for twirling but for her attitude and humbleness”. In fact, Caroline was a part of one of her favorite moments as a baton twirler. "I performed for a rating and when I went to the judge to get my critiques she told me I reminded her of Caroline Carothers and it made my day! I will remember that forever!”After she graduates she hopes to get a job as a speech pathologist. 

Fun Facts!
  • Favorite Color – Green (Beth), Purple (Sami)
  • Favorite Movie – “The Help” (Beth), “Tangled” (Sami)
  • Favorite Music – Rascal Flatts (Sami)

Favorite Quote/Life Motto…
  • Beth - Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord”
  • Sami – “A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear”

When they are not twirling they love to…
  • Beth – “Run”
  • Sami – “Go to my job! Working in the band hall is a lot of fun!”

Something people may not know about them is…
  • Beth – “I am an extreme cat person”
  • Sami – “I love yellow roses”

Most memorable advice they have been given…
  • Beth – “Practice doesn’t make perfect performance, perfect practice makes a perfect performance”
  • Sami – “You have to have the downs to have the ups”

Funniest Twirling Moment…
  • Sami – “One of the percussion players had left full band rehearsal one morning for class and one of his friends were asking where he went. So I was trying to be smart with him by saying something like “he’s going to get his education”, and I got almost through the sentence but as soon as I said “edd..” my baton rolled off the side of my hand and hit me in the mouth and scared me and the drumline laughed with me a lot about it because I deserved it!”

A special thank you  to Beth and Sami for taking time in their busy college schedules to answer our questions. It was so great getting to know a little more about these two great twirlers, and we look forward to seeing them on the Collegiate field for many more years to come! 

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. 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? Contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Contest Calendar Series - ATX Holiday Twirl Fest 2017

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Now that Halloween is over, the hints of the holidays are starting to show up everywhere. Music, lights, shopping.. and even twirling contests! It is time to get ready to celebrate the holidays in the Austin, TX area with all your favorite twirling friends.

Today our Contest Calendar Series is about the 2017 ATX Holiday Twirl Fest!

*MAIL IN DEADLINE FRIDAY* Please note that the mail in registration deadline for this contest is Friday, November 10th. You must have your mail in entries postmarked by this date. Click here to download the entry form or you can visit the online registration site. For more information, please contact the contest directors at

Miss the mail in deadline? *ONLINE DEADLINE NOVEMBER 16TH* Twirl ATX will continue to accept online registration/payment entries only until midnight on Thursday, November 16th. The online registration can be found at 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.

*Director's Note for High School Twirlers* - Have a High School Twirler that would like to attend, but is unsure if their football team will be in the playoffs that weekend? You can enter online or via paper registration, but please mail in the payment and put a post it note on the check stating "Please Hold for Playoffs". The check will not be cashed until we receive confirmation that your twirler will be attending.

Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Who - Contest Directors Ashley Wood & Whitney Coons of Twirl ATX
What - 2017 ATX Holiday Twirl Fest
When - Saturday, December 2nd, 2017. Doors open at 7:45 am. Contest begins at 8:15 am.
Where - Hutto High School, 101 Chris Kelley Blvd, Hutto, TX 78634 (North East of Austin, TX)

Why - The ATX Holiday Twirl Fest is a fun holiday themed contest. Holiday music is played for modeling and solo, the decorations and awards are holiday themed (custom snowflake ornament medals, snowflake trophies, snowmen, etc), compete for Miss Holiday Model or the Miss Twirling Snowflake title, or catch a photo op with the Candy Cane archway! Great way to get into the holiday spirit alongside all of your twirling friends and family.

CONTEST HASHTAG! #atxtwirlfest2017
For this event we strongly encourage our Texas Twirlers to utilize the hashtag #atxtwirlfest2017 when posting photos of the competition weekend on social media. Use the hashtag and your photo could end up on this blog or the contest site! Don't forget to tag @twirlingiscatchingtx on Facebook or Instagram and we may share your pic on one of our pages.

New Facility & Co-Host - For the 2017 contest, this event is moving to a new facility. The Hutto High School gyms have great ceiling height, the practice gym is connected to the competition gym, and the floor was just redone in August, so it is in amazing condition! This year's event is also co-hosted by the Hutto High School Winterguard, who will be helping around the facility and will be running a concession stand. Food available will be posted on the contest website the week of the event so that attendees can plan ahead. *Please Note* while attendees are welcome to bring their own food and drinks, only water will be allowed in the gym.

Highlighted Event - Originally created to honor contest director, Ashley Wood's, mother, who fought and defeated Breast Cancer in 2015, and to celebrate all the women in our twirling community that have overcome so much, 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 to Fight Cancer. TTFC Founder, John Baton Mitchell, will once again be judging at the contest, and will be there to accept the donation check. Last year this event raised $475.00 for TTFC... Can they pull off a bigger donation this year?

Congrats to Jenna Bowen, the recipient of the 2016 Best Costume Award

Unique Feature - Make sure to check out Official Contest Photographer, Rebecca Hedges Lyon's, website at to see photos from the 2016 and 2017 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 2017 competition taking photos which will be posted to her website and available for purchase.

Interested in attending this event? Visit to find the registration form or the online registration link. Have any questions? Contact or call Ashley at 512-848-7426. We hope to see everyone in December!

Also, don't forget to check out for information and entry forms for many upcoming contests in and around the State of Texas. There are so many great contests heading our way, and we don't want anyone to miss out!

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 info we could use to help highlight our sport? Please contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Night Lights Feature - Whitehouse High School Twirler

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

The second to last Friday of regular season football is here. Some teams are looking at the end of their season, while others are hoping for many more weeks, ending at the coveted State Championships. We can't wait to see which of our twirlers get to twirl at the Cowboys Stadium this season!

As we continue our FNL adventure, we head over to Whitehouse, Texas. This week's Friday Night Lights Feature is with the Whitehouse High School Head Twirler, Kaylee Williams!

At Whitehouse High School they have a twirling line, and Kaylee was designated as their Head twirler. In order to earn the title of Head Twirler, Kaylee has to re-audition each year. “We have two days to learn a group routine and the next day after school they daw numbers before the girls are split into groups of 4 or 5. They go in groups one at a time with numbers and perform the group routine and fundamentals. Then each person goes in one at a time to perform their solo. After we wait in the band hall for the Band Director to call out numbers and announce the new twirlers.”

Kaylee has been able to be a part of many great moments at WHS. Her favorite moment as Head Twirler has been “when the voice from the press box announces our performance”. She also really enjoys being a part of the weekly game tradition when the band sings the school song when they get back from a football game.

They even get a chance to play jokes on the freshman! “We always tell the freshman to look for the red dot on their plooms (feathers on their band hat), so they don’t put it on backwards. The red dot doesn’t exist!” Ha! I bet that stumps quite a few freshman… attention incoming WHS freshman…there is no red dot!

Through her progression of competition and becoming the Head Twirler, Kaylee has learned a lot about herself and the sport of baton twirling. “I have learned that hard work pays off no matter how much you keep pushing”. She also has great advice for future High School Twirlers – “Make your performance exciting and make sure to entertain the crowd instead of just performing”. That is a must for pleasing those football game audiences for sure!

Kaylee Williams
Senior, Competition Level: Intermediate
Kaylee has been twirling for 6 years with the Twirling Prodigies, coached by Shelby Elder. The competition twirling title she is the most proud of is when she won the 2017 Senior Beginner Southwest Regional Pageant. Her favorite competition trick is an angel roll and her favorite field trick is doing leaps. In baton twirling she has been most inspired by her coach, Shelby Elder, who is a former Stephen F Austin University Feature Twirler. After High School Kaylee plans to pursue Computer Science and hopefully become the Feature Twirler for her University.

Fun Facts!
Favorite Color… Blue

Favorite Quote… “If you think you can or you think you can’t, your right!” – Henry Ford

Favorite Individual Twirling Moment
“Having a No Drop solo at my first Nationals!

When she is not twirling she loves to…
“Design pages for my schools yearbook as the Editor in Chief”

Something you might not know about her…
“I’m left handed”

Most Memorable Tip from her coach…
“Keep yourself accountable by documenting your goals & practices”

Funniest Feature Twirler Moment…
“When I was in position on the track about to perform my 4th quarter routine, all of a sudden our football team scored a touchdown and the cheerleaders jumped up and surrounded me. They started their routine and instructed me to do it with them. High kicks, chants, and all! It was hilarious, fun for me, and best of all, the crowd loved it!

What will she miss the most when she graduates…
“I will miss the environment of High School Band since most of your friends are in the classes during school”.

Thank you so much to Kaylee for allowing us to interview her this week. We wish her an amazing rest of her senior year, and we can't wait to see where she goes in the future. Go Wildcats!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. 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? Contact us at and we would love to hear more about it. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Texas Tech University Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Welcome to November! I seriously am in disbelief that this year is almost over, but there are still a ton of great ways to enjoy the rest of 2017 in a twirling fashion. Only 17 days until the Fall Twirling Festival, and only 8 days until the mail in registration deadline for the ATX Holiday Twirl Fest. Plus, so much more football (playoffs!) and Holiday parades are just around the corner!

Today we are continuing with our Collegiate Twirlers Spotlight by venturing up Lubbock and the land of the Red Raiders as we meet all nine members of the Texas Tech University Twirling Line!

Everyone in the Texas Twirling Community knows about the Tech Twirling Line. Not only have they won many State and Regional Titles, they have also won two National Titles at NBTA’s AYOP! In 2014 they won the Beginner Small Dance Twirl Team title and in 2015 they topped that with the Collegiate Half Time Dance Twirl National Title. As their coach, Bethany Tolley, said “It was an amazing experience. I love the fact that so many directors of other university twirling groups have contacted me to help them start and expand their competition groups”. Way to help the Collegiate twirling team world continue to grow!

The Texas Tech Twirlers have a rich history. The line was introduced to Texas Tech in 1927. While it was always a big part of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, it started to take it’s more modern form when Tolley was hired in 2007. As Bethany tells us, “The band director wanted me to take the Tech Twirlers into a more visual role to compliment the Goin’ Band. He wanted them to be more on the field rather than just on the sideline. He also thought the level of difficulty needed to be enhanced. Little by little we have done that. We started the girls in team competition in the spring semester soon after. I thought that they would be able to grow more as twirlers and it would give the team more attention for recruiting quality members.”

This process has done great things for the line over the years. Many of the members hold State, Regional and National individual titles, and the quality of the line is constantly increasing. As Tolley mentioned “This season has been one of the most rewarding and ‘fun’ seasons. I have nine exceptional ladies that have amazing attitudes and work ethics. It has made my job so much more enjoyable!”

Not only have these ladies made a lasting impact on their Coach, the Texas Tech Twirling Line is so famous in Texas that younger twirlers even dress up as Tech Twirlers for Halloween! So cute!

*Anna & Ginger Lilie of Austin, TX dressed as future Texas Tech Red Raiders for Halloween 2017

Now that we have learned about the history and fun that comes with this year's line, lets meet the nine lovely and talented ladies that make up the 2017-18 Texas Tech Twirling Line!

Allyson Padron, Head Twirler/4th Year
  • Hometown: San Antonio
  • Senior Nutrition and Pre-Physician Assistant Major
  • Favorite Competition Title: Advanced/Collegiate Solo Champion
  • Favorite Trick: Double Illusion
  • When she is not twirling she loves to… “Eat food and watch musicals”
  • School Org Involvement: Delta Gamma Women’s Fraternity, Hispanic Student Society, Raider
  • Church Leadership team
  • Favorite Quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” - Ferris Bueller
  • Goal after College: Go to Medical school to become a pediatrician
Adrianna Chavez, 4th Year
  • Hometown: Lubbock, TX
  • Senior Kinesiology Major
  • Competition Level: Advanced
  • Favorite Trick: Two Spin Illusion
  • When she is not twirling she loves to... “Be at home and sleep!”
  • School Org Involvement: Hispanic Student Society & Secretary of the Pre-PT Club
  • Favorite Quote: “When there’s a will, there’s a way”
  • Goal after College: Become a Physical Therapist
Alyssa Womble, 4th Year
  • Hometown: Lubbock, TX
  • Junior Human Development and Family Studies Major
  • Competition Level: Intermediate
  • Favorite Competition Title: Beginner Junior Miss Majorette of Texas (“I still remember that one like it was yesterday!”)
  • Favorite Trick: One spin illusion
  • When she is not twirling she loves to… “Read fun romance books and be with family”
  • School Org Involvement: Collegiate recovery community/ASAS
  • Favorite Quote: “Life is a roller coaster, you can scream or enjoy the ride”
  • Goal after College: To be a Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher
Raegan McWilliams, 3rd Year
  • Hometown: Odessa, TX
  • Graduating Senior Human Development and Family Studies Major
  • Favorite Competition Title: 2017 Intermediate Texas State Solo Winner
  • Favorite Trick: Toss Cartwheel
  • When she is not twirling she loves to… “Spend time with my family and puppy”
  • Favorite Quote: Psalm 22:30-31
  • Goal after College: Teaching Elementary school in Odessa
Paxton Parliament, 3rd Year
  • Hometown: Brock, TX
  • Senior Marketing Major
  • Favorite Competition Title: 2017 Intermediate Senior Texas State Pageant Winner
  • Favorite Trick: Rolls
  • When she is not twirling she loves to… “Hang out with friends”
  • School Org Involvement: Chi Omega Sorority, Tech Marketing Association, Delta Sigma Pi
  • Favorite Quote: Proverbs 3:6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him and He shall direct thy path”
  • Goal after College: Work for a major corporation as a buyer

Shae Willingham, 3rd Year
  • Hometown: San Antonio, TX
  • Junior Animal Science, Equine Assistance Therapy, Major
  • Competition Level: Intermediate
  • Favorite Trick: One spin illusion
  • When she is not twirling she loves to… “Draw and spend time with animals”
  • Favorite Quote: “Life is improv, and I’m killing it”
  • Goal after College: Start her own therapeutic riding facility
Emily Smith, 2nd Year 
  • Hometown: Austin, TX
  • Sophomore Early Childhood Development Major
  • Favorite Competition Title: 2017 AYOP Beginner National Solo Champion
  • Favorite Trick: 3 baton backhand stack
  • When she is not twirling she loves to… “Cook and learn new healthy recipes”
  • Favorite Quote: “Around here we don’t look backwards for very long, we keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” - Walt Disney
  • Goal after College: To be an elementary school teacher and then a school counselor
Kailin George, Rookie
  • Hometown: Monahans, TX
  • Junior Advertising Major
  • Competition Level: Intermediate
  • Favorite Trick: Toss Cartwheel
  • When she is not twirling she loves to... “Travel”
  • School Org Involvement: Texas Tech Women’s Production
  • Favorite Quote: Luke 12:34 “Where your treasure is your heart is also”
  • Goal after College: Account executive for an athletic company
Megan Bass, Rookie
  • Hometown: Lufkin, TX
  • Junior Human Development and Family Studies Major
  • Favorite Trick: One spin illusion
  • When she is not twirling she loves to... “Spend time with my family and friends”
  • Favorite Quote: “If it’s meant to be, it will be”
  • Goal after College: Elementary School Teacher

The process to become a Texas Tech Twirler starts with many years of twirling competitively and the development of great showmanship and skill. Once a twirler is a senior in college and deciding what to do, they can start checking their school of interest for audition information. The Tech audition information is usually available around January. Those auditioning for the line do not have to submit a video, but they will need to send a resume and transcript. On the day of their audition they have a routine they will learn to perform for part of their score. They will also do a short interview and perform an addition pre-prepared routing showing they meet all the audition requirements. Announcements are made the day of auditions.

Once a twirler is a part of the Texas Tech Twirling line they get to be involved in many great school traditions. One of those traditions is pre-game. “Everyone loves our pre-game! They love the fans and getting to perform for their family in the stands”. They also get a great view for watching the masked rider lead the team on the field. “Oh, and don’t forget the tortillas throws at the first kickoff”. Tortillas? Those funny red raiders!

As well as enjoying school traditions, the Texas Tech Twirlers are a big part of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, and all that entails. Several notable Goin’ Band traditions include the Matador March, “We leave the band lot and march through campus and arrive at the stadium on game days”. The band also has a chant they do at the end of every practice – “Who’s the greatest band in the land? Goin’ Band! Go Red Raiders!”

Of course when you have this many twirlers spending that much time together, there has to be a ton of funny moments. One of these moments happened when a rookie couldn’t quite understand that when they were referring to their Band Director they were calling him “Prof”. The rookie thought they were calling him “Prophet!” Ha! They also cannot forget the time that Head Twirler, Ally, forgot her boots and didn’t realize it until they were about the begin the Matador March. She had to call someone to get into her apartment and bring them over to the stadium. That was a close call there! Way to go Ally!

Finally, during their experiences they have learned a lot of great lessons. The one they say is the most important for future Collegiate Twirlers is to “Practice, practice, practice!” As they said, “The preparation will be a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end”. They also wanted to mention that “Showmanship is so much more important than you may think. Just have fun! It will show!”

Another aspect of the Texas Tech Twirler legacy has been their “Feature Twirler” position. This position is “Featured” during every half time as is the face of the line. In 1965 they had their very first Feature Twirler (who happened to be current Tech Twirling Coach, Bethany Tolley’s, mother, Benni Dunn Evans!). Bethany tell us “It was a ‘scandalous’ time because she wore a black costume and NO skirt!” The Texas Tech Feature position has been a real family affair for Bethany. Not only was her mother the first Feature, Bethany held the position from 1980-1984, and her daughter Amanda held the position from 2009-2013.

While there is not currently a Feature Twirler for the 2017-18 season, they are already searching for that stand out performer to fill the spot next year. If you are interested in auditioning for the 2018-19 Texas Tech Feature Twirler position, the information will be available HERE in January, or you can contact Bethany Tolley at

Congrats to the ladies of the Texas Tech line on being a part of a Texas legacy, and representing the Black and Red doing what they do best! We wish them a great rest of the football season and tons of luck as they prepare for AYOP 2018. Wreck 'Em Tech!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. 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? Contact us at and we would love to hear more about it.