The gymnastics scene in Craig has stepped up its game, rolling out a new facility along with new coaches earlier this week.
Rising Star Youth Training Center had its grand opening Monday at 538 Pershing St., next to the post office. To kick off the celebration, the facility hosted a youth gymnastics camp on Monday and Tuesday.
Cammy Winder, the gym’s co-owner and manager, decided to start the new business after being the instructor at Gym Star, which was a gymnastics and cheer business that used to be located in Centennial Mall in Craig.
“We bought their equipment — not their name — and started our own business,” Winder said, referring to herself and her husband, Shane Winder.
When tracking down a new location, the Winders thought the 9,700 square-foot location next to the post office would be out of their price range. But the spot, which has been vacant for months and home to bars and nightclubs most recently, turned out to be a fit they could afford.
“I think so many people didn’t want a bar there, and a gymnastics facility is not that,” Cammy Winder said. “It seemed out of range for a brand new, tiny business, but we did a lot of praying.”
Almost all the gymnastics equipment has been moved into the new gym, Cammy Winder said. It has equipment for all four gymnastics events — balance beam, bars, vault and floor routine.
The bigger excitement, though, is the new coaches who will help her at Rising Star.
“Here, I’ve got real coaches with years of experience in gymnastics,” she said. “(Kaitlyn Balfour) is a level-nine gymnast, (Leah Grant) is level six and she’s been coaching for two years. I’m really excited about this group.”
Balfour was a four-time state qualifying gymnast from Casper, Wyo., who, when she heard about a new gymnastics school opening in Craig, wanted to be involved.
“I’m excited to see these girls have potential and grow into it,” Balfour said. “They all love gymnastics, and I’m excited to have gymnastics back in my life. It will be cool to watch the girls grow like I did.”
Other coaches Grant, Britany Nielson and Morgan Carrico make it possible for the staff to handle lots of participants.
“I just like that we have coaches here who can get (gymnasts) to that level,” Grant said. “You need to have that guidance because it’s so hands on.”
Rising Star will offer 11 different classes beginning this week, for both newcomers and more experienced gymnasts. It also will have classes for children from eight months old (with parents) to high school ages.
While the focus for business is gymnastics, it is also important to Winder for it to be a destination for any interested child.
“It’s all about the kids,” she said. “I want them to have a place to go that is theirs. There are so many gyms, bars or businesses that people associate with around town. Kids don’t have that other than school. I want anyone to know they can come here, and it will be a fun and safe place for them.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org