Craig gymnasts dazzle, delight at Rising Star Spring Fling
Audience members were brought to tears as one-legged teen gymnast Jessica Womble and teammates approached the stage at Rising Star Youth Training Center’s fifth annual Spring Fling.
A slideshow tribute to Womble’s drive and determination projected onto a screen just before the group’s dramatic entrance accompanied by smoke effects.
Womble, a freshman at Moffat County High School, lost her leg nearly one year ago in a car accident, but the lack of appendage didn’t deter her from landing a roundoff double back-handspring Wednesday with precision and poise to roaring cheers from the audience.
Rising Star owner Cammy Winder said Womble’s strength and perseverance in the face of tragedy is an example of the core values gymnastics instills in children at a young age.
“I want my kid in a sport that gives them the strength to bounce back from something so horrible,” Winder said. “In gymnastics you fall on your face a lot, you fall a lot, but we just keep telling the kids, ‘It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up.’ We teach our kids that every single day.”
More than 100 children, ranging from toddlers to teens, performed over the course of four days at the gym’s annual Spring Fling to the delight of parents, siblings and community members in attendance.
“It’s just fun to watch these children be so human,” Winder said. “They are going out there and they are so vulnerable, and often they are so scared, so when they are able to do it you have just such a sense of pride for them, even if it isn’t your kid.”
Self-described “least athletic person ever” Winder will celebrate six years in the gymnastics business this June.
Over the years, Winder has added dozens of coaches as the gym continues to grow and attract talent.
“Honestly, the gym kind of runs itself,” she said jokingly.
The Spring Fling fundraiser raises money for Winder and her team of 15 coaches to continue learning through hands-on training sessions at the USA National Congress later this summer.
“There are some kids in here that there is nothing more in life that they would want to do than gymnastics,” she said. “They are so good at it and so driven by all that gymnastics has to offer them that this is their sport. If we didn’t have a gym I don’t know what these kids would be doing right now.”
During the hour-long in-house competition Wednesday, a panel of judges assessed the gym routines of dozens of children as they performed to the backdrop of various Disney tunes.
Prior to the final performance of 35 competitive team gymnasts, Wilder honored MCHS senior Emily Magruder for her hand in choreographing and preparing for the annual event.
Jodie Fallis, Rising Star administrative assistant, said she looks forward to watching her daughter Madison, 2, learn the life skills gymnastics has to offer.
“Leadership, friendship, kindness, that’s what we represent here,” Fallis said.