TROY, Ohio (WDTN) — A local student jump rope team is gaining popularity and national attention.
They’re called the Troy Pop Rocks, and they travel and perform at halftime shows across the country, putting on an act like no other and entertaining the crowd.
“This year we had a great year. We went to Duke University. We went to Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State. Of course, we do a lot of local shows as well,” says Coach Josh Oakes.
WATCH THE SHOW AT DUKE UNIVERSITY HERE.
“Sometimes it can be a little scary if the crowds are sometimes really big. Like for Duke and the big colleges, their arenas are really, really big and their crowds are really big,” says third grader Reagan Chapman, who wanted to become part of the team after seeing them perform.
“I saw them in kindergarten. I saw them on TV, and I just thought it was a really cool sport,” says Chapman.
The team started 14 years ago out of a gym class unit.
“We started with a club meeting one day per week. And they wanted to do more,” states Oakes. “It’s been a real fun ride these last 14 years.”
This year, the team is made up of more than two dozen third through eighth graders in Troy City Schools, and they practice about four times a week in the Van Cleve gym.
“They work extremely hard. I can’t stress that enough. They like to see that work come to an end result and just getting out there and being able to perform,” says Oakes.
“The routines get very hard. We have to memorize so many different routines, memorize it with the music,” describes eighth grader Sophia Treadway, who started with the Pop Rocks when she was in third grade.
“When you finally get it down, it feels really good, and then when the crowd gasps, it also feels amazing,” states seventh grader Lydia Pierce, who has also been with the Pop Rocks from third grade on.
In March, they held a couple clinics, teaching others the ropes and showing them what it takes to be a Pop Rock.
“It takes a lot of effort, a lot of time, a lot of commitment, you know. It’s not easy,” states Oakes.
But even with all of the stunning tricks, the Pop Rocks make it look easy.
“Learning the beats when you’re new is really hard,” admits fourth grader Quinn Suber. “It takes us about six months to get all this stuff done, and you mess up over and over and over again, and then you get it, and you feel so good.”
“It was very challenging, but at the end the payoff is worth everything. It’s so fun,” says Treadway.
They say it’s a team effort, building on tricks and each other.
“It’s basically the first thing they know, and work as a tea, and work together. And it also teaches them new skills to do routines with other people,” says Pierce.
“We have to work with other people. We’re not just doing it by ourselves,” says Treadway. “You just have to work hard for what you want, and you can accomplish anything.”
Tryouts for the Pop Rocks are being held this month. For more information, click here.