SHERIDAN — For those older than 18 wishing to tumble and spin on the bars, Tongue River Twisters offers an adult gymnastics program.
“It is honestly the best workout,” Tongue River Twisters coach and participant Morgan Shepardson said. “You do not realize that you are exercising; it is fun. It is a great way to be with a group of like-minded people that will encourage you and build you up.”
Many of the participants in the program double as coaches for the younger groups, including Shepardson and Carrie Steinhorst, to provide professional help for participants.
“I had a daughter in flying trapeze and there were a lot of people in flying trapeze that do adult gymnastics and they asked me if I wanted to come,” participant Ginny Rieger said. “The people are the best. They are hardworking, dedicated, funny and willing to try new things. It is a hard thing for grown-ups to do. When you are 40, you are a little more fixed on things. It is good to stretch those things and try new things. The people are so kind and encouraging.”
The group meets Tuesday nights starting at 7:45 p.m., allowing participants to leave whenever they like; however, the majority of gymnasts leave around 10 p.m.
Just like the younger groups, the adult gymnastics team competes at competitions as well.
“We are preparing for nationals next year,” Shepardson said. “At least five of us are going to nationals in April next year. We just need to work on cleaning up skills and getting competition ready.”
For the first few of opening Tongue River Twisters in 2017, Shepardson found it difficult to find meets for the competitors to go to.
“Adult gymnastics is kind of a growing thing,” Reiger said. “There are a lot of people that compete in their youth then become an adult. A lot of gymnasts want to continue as adults. It is good for your brain and body.”
The team also participates in virtual meets, springing up as a result of COVID-19.
“COVID-19 changed the landscape of everything,” Rieger said. “We have had some virtual meets. You just sign up and record your routine and the judges watch it that way.”
For those new to the sport, Shepardson aims to get them comfortable in the gym.
“We have a level system, going from one to 10,” Shepardson said. “They start as bronze then make their way to diamond, which is level 10.”
To participate, Shepardson recommends calling Tongue River Twisters at 307-672-1899.
“I find it to be good for flexibility, strength, mobility and balance,” Reiger said. “It is also empowering. I learn new tricks while making my routines. I get to take those to a meet and do it in front of other people while they give me feedback. That process is empowering and makes me feel powerful.”
Marly Graham is an intern with The Sheridan Press.