Nearly 2,000 baton twirlers from around the nation will compete in the National Twirling Championships this July and vie for a spot at the NBTA World Championships in April 2009.
Hosted by the National Baton Twirling Association (NBTA), the competition takes place at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., from July 22 to 26. Twirlers compete in four different age divisions— starting at age 7—and the top three finishers in each group will be invited to compete at the World Championships in Belgium.
“I think what makes [twirling] special is that it provides one of the most athletic, exciting and energetic sports to be presented to the country,” says John Mitchell, NBTA judge and instructor.
“When somebody sees it, they get it. They say, ‘Oh yeah, it’s totally something phenomenal.’”
Held concurrently, the National Collegiate Twirling Championships will crown the top collegiate majorette line and feature twirler. The top three finishers in the collegiate events will likewise be invited to compete in Belgium.
Penn State University dominated last year’s competition, taking the 2007 team title for the fifth year in a row. Penn State’s feature twirler PJ Maierhofer will defend the individual title.
Another organization, the United States Twirling Association, held its trials event from April 4 to 5 to select team members to represent the United States at the 29th World Baton Twirling Championships from Aug. 2 to 10, 2008 in Limerick, Ireland.
Overall about 8,000 to 10,000 twirlers compete througout the United States and more than 5,000 overseas.
Photo courtesy of John Mitchell. All rights reserved.