Three members of the Airdrie Sky High Twirlers will be feeling jolly good when they compete at the World Baton Twirling Championship and Nations Cup in Liverpool, England this August.
Head coach Taelyr Patton said the trio of athletes, which includes her younger sister Kendall Patton, Juliana Barbo, and Paige Boyd, booked their berths in the world meet after a successful qualifier in Oshawa, Ont. earlier this spring.
The three members of Airdrie's local baton-twirling club will be among Team Canada's cohort of 26 athletes who travel to England to compete against many of the best baton-twirlers in the world.
Kendall and Barbo will each compete in four individual events as well as the team event, while Boyd will test her skills in the team event.
“All of them were attempting to qualify in individual and team events,” recalled Patton, of the recent trip to Ontario.
Patton credited the athletes' dedication to the sport of baton-twirling, noting that they practice nearly every day to tweak their routines and improve their overall skill and coordination.
She brought up that Kendall, who is 22, has competed in international competitions before, but that the upcoming trip to Liverpool will be a new experience for Barbo, who is 15, and Boyd, who is 14.
“Kendall has attended other international competitions, so she’s kind of a role model for the other girls and knew what to expect [at the qualifiers],” Patton said. “But the other two girls haven’t even had the chance to go to a qualifier for one of these international competitions, just because of where COVID fell.
“We’ve talked about it for many years, so they were definitely prepared, knew what to expect, and had been training for [a long time].”
While the trip to England will be the culmination of the Airdrie Sky High Twirlers' 2023 season, Patton said there are a few other events and competitions on the horizon, highlighting that the summer is the busy part of the year for competitive baton-twirlers.
She said the club is hosting its season-end recital at Bert Church High School's gymnasium on June 7, which will give many of the Airdrie Sky High Twirlers athletes an opportunity to perform their routines in front of a big crowd.
Following that event, 12 of the club's competitive athletes will continue their training regimen throughout the rest of June as they get set to take part in the Canadian national baton-twirling championships, which will be held in Edmonton in the first week of July.
And finally, the trip to England will follow suit, offering Kendall, Barbo, and Boyd an opportunity of a lifetime as they visit a new country and compete against the world's best.
Patton noted the Sky High Twirlers have been fortunate over the years to compete in some far-away countries, including Croatia, France, and now England.
“We’re very lucky to have the opportunity to travel for our sport,” she said.