More than 200 acrobatic gymnasts will come to Kilgore on what they hope is the road to the regional and national tournaments.
After hosting a local tournament last year, the Kilgore AcroFlyers will host a state tournament at Kilgore Middle School Saturday and Sunday.
The two-day meet will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at the school with the first day ending about 4:30 that afternoon. The competition will resume at 9 a.m. Sunday and should last until about noon.
“It’s a great opportunity to see the sport of acro at its finest with the best of the best in the state of Texas performing,” AcroFlyers coach and meet host Ada Alexander said.
The competition will include gymnasts from level 5 (compulsory) to senior elite, who are international gymnasts, Alexander said.
Last year’s local meet was a state-qualifying meet, but this year, the athletes will be competing for their chance to go to the regional tournament in Ft. Myers, Florida. From there, the competitors will have a chance to earn a bid to the national contest in Wisconsin.
The 206 athletes at this weekend’s meet will represent 10 different clubs from across the state, including the Kilgore AcroFlyers. Thirteen of the competitors will be local gymnasts.
Even though the meet will be in Kilgore, Alexander said, the only benefit the local athletes get is to sleep in their own beds because the meet is at the KMS gym, not the AcroFlyers gym and the judges are from across the state.
The sport is growing, Alexander said, but it is still not to the level of cheer or drill team in the state.
If the meet goes well, she said, there is a chance Kilgore could host the regional meet in the future, but Alexander will have to submit a bid to host the competition for Region 3.
Spectators are invited to watch the state competition with one-day and two-day passes available for both children and adults. One day passes are $12 for adults and $6 for children, while two-day passes will be $20 for adults and $12 for children 12 years old and younger.
“I’m excited to show off our city and our businesses and how our small community can welcome outsiders into our town,” Alexander said.