Greatmats Life Floor pool deck tiles in Unity School pool area

New Swimming Pool Decking is Lifesaver for Unity School District

Foam Pool Decking Makes Makes Unity Pool a Safer Place to Swim

By Brett Hart

After years of battling the cleaning, repair and hazards of a ceramic tile floor in its pool, spa and locker room areas, the Unity School District, located in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, decided to try something new in the Fall of 2016 – and couldn’t be happier with the results.

”You could never clean it and get it scrubbed,” said Jeffery Allen who has been in charge of pool maintenance since 2010. He noted that he was constantly fighting calcium buildup and patching chunks that were coming out of the floor.

Safety Concerns

Unity School District Pool Deck Tiles Life Floor Tiles Greatmats

Unity School District New Pool Deck Floor with Steve “Dewey” Strilzuk

The main issue, however, was safety, according to Maintenance and Operations Director Steve ”Dewey” Strilzuk.

”Little kids, of course, are always running around by pools and… the (stainless steel) edges we had were a concern,” Strilzuk said. ”The fall factor was big.”

Laurie Paulson, who has been the pool manager at the Unity School District swimming pool for the last 15 years, estimated dealing with 5 to 10 slips or falls daily as a result of the hard, slippery tile floor.

”Maybe not severe, but enough to bonk their head or be uncomfortable,” Paulsen said. ”We have a lot of senior adults as well. It was really slippery, and they had trouble walking on the floor.”

ceramic tile pool deck before installation of Life Floor Unity School Pool Greatmats

Ceramic Pool Tile before Installation of Life Floor

The Answer

installing Greatmats Life Floor pool deck tiles in Unity School pool area

Installation of Life Floor Super Grip Ripples Tiles

After being presented with the option of Life Floor Super Grip Ripple Tiles from Greatmats, the board of education and superintendent liked the safety features of the foam/rubber blended tiles, including slip resistance and cushion.

”They were going to retile, but when the price tag came through, this took precedent,” Allen said. ”Plus, the down time was a lot less. They had this done in a week and a half.”

”We have a lot of community members and a lot of lake home owners who come into this area that use our facility,” Strilzuk said. ”It’s used 24-7, from about 5:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night almost every day. … We want to make sure we make it safe for everyone. … With the cushion and traction that we’ve got with this floor, I think we made a great decision.”

Rave Reviews

Greatmats Life Floor pool deck tiles in Unity School pool area

Greatmats Life Floor Super Grip Tiles Installed at Unity School

”The appearance is awesome,” he added. ”(Pool users) really really like the edges of the pool and the (rubber and vinyl) edges of the wading pool. … With the tile and the stainless edge, that really wasn’t a good combination. I used to bring my kid here all the time and the biggest concern was the edge of the pool and wading pool had very sharp edges and when I even think about the kids slipping and falling, going into the pools as they would, hitting their heads on that was a major concern.”

”The kids are not getting hurt anymore,” Paulsen said. ”The accidents have been cut by 90 percent. It’s better than the expectations. This floor is amazing.”

Paulsen added that as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, she often works 11 hour days and the comfort factor of the Life Floor pool decking has made her life much easier.

”My legs are just as comfortable as early in the morning,” Paulsen said. ”Where before my back would hurt, my legs would hurt. It was very miserable.”

Her students love the new flooring for a totally different reason.

”When you do swim lessons, we have the kids sit and the floor, and before they were grossed out. Now they don’t mind sitting on the floor or doing demonstrations on the floor.”

”The public loves it,” she added. ”From toddlers crawling around to senior citizens. We have special needs people, along with the students. Everyones loves it. .. Now, (the seniors) come out and they’re so secure and feel really safe. It was a great investment – great product for our pool.”

Since the daily cleaning this grippy foam/rubber flooring is very different than cleaning ceramic tiles, the district purchased a new stand-on floor scrubber for the large areas and a smaller machine for tighter spaces, such as the locker rooms and bathrooms which now feature Life Floor Slate Tiles.

”I’ve been coming here for years with my son, even before I started working here, and we love using this pool,” Strilzuk said. ”Thank you to the board. This is huge for the community and the safety of all families.”

installing Greatmats Life Floor pool deck tiles in Unity School locker room

Installation of Greatmats Life Floor Slate Tiles in Locker Room

Steve ”Dewey” Strilzuk
Unity School District
Balsam Lake WI 54810
For more on this topic please review our Swimming Pool Decks Flooring Tiles product page.
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Moline Christian School Celebrates 100 Years with New Gym Wall Pads

School Gymnasium Gets Facelift in Honor of 100-year Anniversary

By Brett Hart

In celebrating its 100th year, Moline Christian School equipped its gym with new wall padding that featured its school logo, continuing the school spirit the establishment has been blessed with since Sept. 5, 1917.

moline-christian-school-wall-pad-2

”I absolutely love the art,” said School Circle President Courtney Joldersma. ”It makes such a great statement. It is clean and refreshing.”

When looking to update the school gym with new wall padding, the school gym/music teacher came across several online wall padding retailers but decided to go with Greatmats.com because of three key factors – price, quality and customer service.

Moline Christian School, which began as a one-room school house with one teacher and 58 students knows quality when it sees it. With a tradition of quality itself, the school has grown to feature an enrollment of 260 preschool through eighth grade students and now has multiple classrooms, teachers and support staff.

”The mission of Moline Christian School is to provided a quality, Christ-centered education, equipping students for a life of service to their Lord,” Joldersma said.
Moline Christian school partners with its parents to teach its children the skill necessary leave a legacy of hope for the future in their church, state and society by ”Building God’s Kingdom Together.”

”The investment is substantial,” Joldersma said. And while they celebrate 100 years of faithful growing, she and her colleagues at Moline Christian School are confident that ”the reward is eternal.”

moline-christian-school-wall-padGreatmats Custom Gym Wall Pads at Moline Christian School
Courtney Joldersma
Moline Christian School
Moline MI 49335
For more on this topic please review our Gym Wall Padding product page.

Wisconsin Woman Brings Foam Floor Mats To Life for Halloween

From Bumblebee to Arcee to Heavy Machinery, Wisconsin Mother Creates Costumes from Foam Puzzle Mats

By Brett Hart

Having already built a reputation for creating elaborate Halloween costumes, Tia Hoffmann of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, set the bar a bit higher a few years ago when she and her then fiance’ attended a Halloween themed engagement party.

Bumblebee & Arcee Transformers Halloween Costume Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles

”We wanted to surprise everybody with our costumes,” Tia said. ”They knew every year, we had something elaborate.”

Inspired by the Transformers movies, Tia came up with a plan to dress her husband as the yellow Camaro, Bumblebee, and herself as the motorcycle, Arcee. The first challenge was finding the right materials to create the costumes. She needed something lightweight, yet dense enough to hold its shape.

”I considered something like a PVC material and really just thought it was too heavy,” Tia said. ”I started looking at stores, going up and down aisles to see if I had any materials that popped into my mind, and then I saw yoga mats.”

Tia determined the yoga mats were too malleable, but knew she was on the right track.

”Then I thought of those foam floor mats, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. That would be great.”’

After a little research, she stumbled upon the website Greatmats.com where she found just what she needed – 5/8 inch thick Premium Foam Floor Mats.

She ordered five of the 2×2 foot mats in yellow for Bumblebee and another three mats in Purple for her Arcee costume. The project consumed her living room and her time for about three months as she constructed the jaw dropping costumes out of these foam tiles.

Using photos and her own imagination and references, Tia logged more than 800 hours working on the costumes.

”We couldn’t invite anyone over, and if we did, we had to scramble and shove everything into a bedroom,” Tia said.

But the time, effort and research paid off as Tia was able to successfully bring her ideas to life.

”I have a very cooperative husband who allows be to dress him up in elaborate costumes every year,” Tia said.

The experience also planted a seed for future costumes.

A couple years later, Tia came across a woman on Facebook looking for someone who could create a Halloween costume for her child who needed a wheelchair to get around. Tia knew just what she could do to help and ordered another 15 foam tiles from Greatmats and donated her time to create a Caterpillar front end loader costume to adorn the child’s wheelchair.

Front End Loader Halloween costume for wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles

This August, Tia connected with that mother again and they decided to have Tia construct a fire truck costume for the boy using just seven foam tiles and 15 hours of her time.

Fire Truck Halloween Costume wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles
”I really like using the foam,” Tia said. ”It’s works really well for what I do. I have no education in art, but I’ve always been creative and crafty.”

Since 2011, Tia has constructed four costume’s using the foam tiles, including bride and groom Lego characters. Now the mother of a 9-month-old child and owner of a new puppy, Tia’s time and focus is a little more restricted, but the experiences have inspired her to help other families with disabilities.

Her goal is to set up an annual charitable event where several families with children in similar circumstances can enjoy the festivities of Halloween.

Fire Truck Halloween Costume Wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles
Tia Hoffmann
Pewaukee WI
For more on this topic please review our Foam Tiles product page.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Cheerleading Mats

Greatmats Cheer Mats help three Greeneville, Tennessee Area Schools Prepare for Success

By Brett Hart

In just two years, the same pair of Greatmats cheer mats have benefitted three school cheer programs in the Greeneville, Tennessee, area.

Climbing Through The Ranks – Greeneville Middle School

It all began when Greeneville Middle School Cheer Coach Tessa Carter purchased two 6×42 foot Cheer Mats from Greatmats.com in July 2014.
”We bought them to practice for competition purposes,” Tessa said. ”What we got… is exactly what we compete on.”

The ensuing season, Tessa’s team of 16 cheerleaders practiced on the mats 2-3 days per week, including during the summer, and used them for pep rallies.

”We were the first school in our town to have cheer mats, besides the local gyms,” Tessa said. ”It was kind of like a big thing to have.”

Greeneville Middle School went on to compete at state for the first time that year and claimed first place in the East Tennessee Small Division of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) tournament.

Greenville Middle School Cheerleading Greatmats Cheerleading Mats

Greeneville High School

”Our high school competed the next year for the first time in probably 7 years,” Tessa said. ”They didn’t have any mats yet.”

So the middle school squad shared its mats with the high school team occasionally to practice tumbling and stunting.

”We’d take our mats to the high school, or we’d bring them back to the middle school, and we’d practice on them together,” Tessa said. ”Both teams were able to get ready on them.”

Greeneville High School Cheer Coach Jessica Miller said, ”We realized we really needed our own (mats), and we wanted to have a full set to practice for competitions.”

In July of 2015, the high school ordered its own set of seven cheer mats from Greatmats that were exactly the same as the ones borrowed from the middle school.

Miller’s team of 21 cheerleaders uses the mats once a week to practice stunting and said her favorite part about the mats are, ”They are easy to put away and store.”

”We’ve been able to improve our overall skill since we’ve had the mats to practice,” Miller added. ”Last year was the girls’ first competition. We couldn’t have felt comfortable at all without having the mats to practice on.”

Carson-Newman University

While the high school cheer team was enjoying its new mats, Tessa and her middle school team also realized that they could really use a full-sized competition floor to practice on and came across of seven used mats at a price they couldn’t refuse. So Tessa sold her two 1.5-year-old Greatmats Cheer Mats to local college Carson-Newman University – in Jefferson City, Tenn. The sale covered more than half the cost of the used full-sized competition floor.
”The mats we have now are 12 years old, and I think we can get another 5 years out of them,” Tessa said. ”We’re trying to put up money to buy a full set of new ones in about five years when these are really worn out.”

Carson-Newman’s cheerleading team had recently grown from 20 members to 30 and needed more space, so the timing was perfect for it to add to its practice space.

Carson-Newman University Head Cheerleading and Dance Coach Christy Bowlin said, ”We use the mats during our weekly practices (approximately 7 hours a week) plus additional free stunting time.”

The mats are also used for Carson-Newman’s ”Talons Tumblers” acrobatics class.

”This is a class we teach local third grade through high school students during the school year, and during Fall and Summer cheer camps and clinics,” Bowlin said. ”We love the mats due to ease of roll out and roll up.”

The ”traveling mats” continued to bring good luck with their stop in Jefferson City as the Carson-Newman Eagles placed first in the Rally and Game Day Competition at the 2016 National Cheerleaders Association Summer Camp in Division 2.

Carson Newman University Cheerleading Greatmats

 

Tessa Carter
Greeneville Middle School
Greeneville TN 37743
For more on this topic please review our Cheer Mats product page

Former Pro Fighter Making Friends, Passing on Knowledge through MMA

Roli Delgado – Motivated by Students

By Brett Hart

A former wrestler, Roli Delgado has always had an interest in martial arts, but it was a 1998 move to Little Rock, Arkansas, that finally allowed him the opportunity to pursue his claim to fame.

Roli Delgado grappling Greatmats

”The rise of the UFC helped plant an itch that I had to scratch,” said Delgado, who competed in the 8th edition of The Ultimate Fighter Series (2008).

Now, at age 35, Delgado is a third-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and green belt in Judo. He trains under Denilson Pimenta and Matt Hamilton with GF Team and currently owns and trains in MMA at Westside MMA in Little Rock.

”I’ve trained in most of the major elements of MMA,” Delgado said, noting some great influences and teaching from Hayastan, GF Team and Aaron Fisher (Muay Thai), as well as wrestling and boxing coaches. ”I absolutely love all combat sports.”

Life as a Coach
Now he is able to share that love and knowledge of martial arts with his community as a full-time gym owner and BJJ coach.

After nearly 20 years of training, Delgado said his biggest accomplishment was creating a Black Belt World Champion (2010) out of his sister, friend and student Hillary (aka ”Killary”) Williams – as well as influencing other black belts, including fellow 2010 world champion Rodrigo Cavaca. Delgado was credited for the advancement of Cavaca’s popular straight ankle lock.

”My students motivate me,” Delgado said. ”They are so talented and consistent. I feel obligated to be a great coach for them, not just someone who goes through the motions.”

Roli Delgado BJJ coach Greatmats

American Grappling Federation
american grappling federation logo greatmatsRecently, Delgado led his team to an Adult Gi Division championship at the 2017 American Grappling Federation Arkansas Open, which he said was ”fantastic, considering I had seven killers in Austin that day for the IBJJF.”

”I like that the AGF tournaments run on time and that they are pre-registration only with ‘day-of’ weigh ins,” Delgado said. ”It’s really a good service that they offer.”

Points of Pride
”Personally, I am also proud to have competed in many different platforms such as the UFC, Bellator, Combat World Championships, IBJJFs and Professional Muay Thai,” Delgado added. ”I love grappling, regardless of rule sets, and I love being around my team and helping them. It’s a great way to spend my time.”

Roli Delgado USA Team Trials martial arts Greatmats

Through martial arts, Delgado has been able to build relationships all over the world.

”I’ve met so many great people, many of whom are now good friends of mine,” he said.

Delgado’s son has also taken up the sport, but Roli is trying to avoid pushing him too hard.

”He’s actually pretty good,” Delgado said. ”I’m just wanting him to enjoy it.”

”BJJ has come a long way,” he added. ”I’m so happy to have so many gyms in Arkansas now and to also have tournaments in state. It’s been a long time coming.”

Roli Delgado BJJ coach Greatmats

To learn more about Greatmats-sponsored American Grappling Federation Tournaments and athletes and coaches visit Greatmats’ AGF Tournament Resource Page.

 

Roli Delgado
Westside MMA
Little Rock AR 72202
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.

Steve Powell – Dog Training Man Cave

Dog Agility Mats, Sport Dog Training Mats, Dog Training Flooring

By Brett Hart

What’s in a man cave? For Wheeler, Wisconsin, resident Steve Powell, it’s an indoor area with a padded floor where he can train his sport dogs. ”Everybody’s got a yard,” Steve said. ”I thought it would be cool to have somewhere we could come out to (train in a consistent environment).”

Dog Agility Flooring with German Shepherd Sporting Dog

Pursuing his vision, Powell converted the back half of his pole shed into an approximately 900 square foot insulated training area, complete heat and ceiling fans. And after a lot of online research and discussions with others in the dog training business, Powell came to a Facebook page for Greatmats, a Wisconsin based specialty flooring company, where he found his ultimate man cave accessory – interlocking foam dog agility mats. Aside from getting recommendations from reputable trainers, what attracted Powell to the interlocking dog agility tiles was the comfort value for both him and his dogs – the cushion, the non-slip surface and the fact that the tiles are double sided and reversible.

”We do jumping. We do obedience, bite work – a little bit of everything. I needed something that the dogs could land on, and it wouldn’t hurt their legs,” Steve said, noting that his man cave wasn’t just for training purposes. ”Sometimes we come out here just to play around.”

After nearly two years of using his rural private facility, Steve can’t help but rave about his decision to build this place of fun and relaxation with Greatmats dog agility flooring.

”It holds up extremely well,” Steve said, adding that he hasn’t even come close to utilizing the double-sided feature yet. ”There are very little scratches on the floor. It was easy to put in. … I am totally happy with the product, and I don’t know anybody else who wouldn’t be.”

Dog Agility Flooring in Large Shed
Steve Powell
Private Residence
Wheeler WI 54772
For more on this topic please review our Dog Training Flooring product page.

It’s Safety First at Brookings Tae Kwon Do

Taekwondo and Karate Blackbelt Equips Growing Academy with Greatmats Martial Arts Mats

By Brett Hart

After nearly 30 years of training in various forms of martial arts, Brookings Tae Kwon Do Head Instructor Mark Anawski has become an advocate for safety.

This fourth-degree American Kaeru-Do Karate (AKDK) black belt, Kukkiwan certified third-degree Tae Kwon Do Black Belt, and Songahm Taekwondo black belt has trained in both International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) styles as well as participating in boxing and football, so he knows a little about combat sports.

Brookings Taekwondo Class Greatmats Martial Arts Mats

A longtime law enforcement professional with more than 16 years of experience as a police officer and deputy sheriff in South Dakota, Mr. Anawski is certified in defensive tactics, pressure point control tactics, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and firearms and trains other law enforcement officers in many of these areas.

He admits that he didn’t always make the safest choices, but now understands just how important safety has become not only in combat sports but in life in general. He also draws upon his exercise science background, where he holds a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and started on a masters in exercise science and administration, to focus his instruction safe training practices.

”Everything in my life has been trying to be as safe as we can, because I wasn’t,” Anawski said. ”I need my athletes to be able to go to school the next day. I need my athletes to be able to go to work the next day.”

In 2010, he cut back on his law enforcement time to pursue his passion for martial arts and took over the Brookings Tae Kwon Do head instructor position from Masters Tom (6th degree) and Diane Buehr in August 2011.

Starting with just seven active students, Anawski followed Master Tom’s request to keep it traditional, but make Brookings Tae Kwon Do his own.

Brookings Taekwondo Academy Greatmats Martial Arts Mats

”I respect all the other martial arts,” Anawski said. ”I think they’re phenomenal. They’re beautiful. With my law enforcement background, I’m able to take applications from what I teach in taegeuk… (and apply it to) basic fundamental self defense.”

”I’m able to take applications that we teach law enforcement officers in real world situations and how to effectively stop that individual safely for you and for them. There’s no reason why you can’t take that same thought process and apply that to a citizen. … It all starts with being mentally prepared and being aware.”

Shortly after taking over the program, Anawski challenged his students to bring friends to classes. He also began to partner with the area Parks and Rec Department, middle school, daycares and home school programs for physical education classes and to teach about how to address bullying.

”I don’t believe you should ever not allow a student to train because he’s an introvert or he’s awkward or too noisy or he’s too wired up,” Anawski said. ”Martial arts can help them curb that.”

In the fall of 2012, Anawski also began to host open tournaments twice per year, that have drawn in upwards of 150 competitors from nine states as well as Canada. The first year, Anawski rented martial arts mats for his tournaments, and while the price was reasonable, he felt it would be worth investing in his own tournament mats.

Brookings Taekwondo Academy tournament Greatmats Martial Arts Mats

He contacted a couple of different mat companies to get samples of economically priced mats that would be good enough quality for use at tournaments. Under the recommendation of another academy owner, he eventually landed on Greatmats.com and requested samples from them as well.

The Greatmats samples arrived first and Anawski was sold on the 20 mm thick Pro Martial Arts Sport Mats on every level, saying Greatmats ”knocked it out of the park – grand slam – not just with pricing, but with shipping.”

”You’ve got Century and Kwon… I’m sure they’re good quality, but I’m not going to drop $1,000 to $1,200 on shipping alone. I’d rather take that money in the value of the mat or save my self that money if I can.”

Anawski partnered with another school in Minnesota, and the two academies purchased 400 of the 1×1 meter interlocking reversible mats – 200 red/blue mats for Brookings TKD and 200 black/gray mats for the other academy.

”It’s great,” Anawski said. ”Those mats – I can take them and travel with them. Take a stack in the back of my truck. It takes a few minutes to set up and take down. They’re lightweight. They’re perfect for that.”

If he needs a little extra padding for anything, Anawski said he just doubles up the the mats, and they work great.

And now, instead of renting mats, he’s able to rent out his mats for other area tournaments when he’s not using them.

Before Anawski knew it, Brookings Tae Kwon Do had grown to 50 students. In September of 2015, Anawski was visiting with a man who had trained in Shotokan karate, and he mentioned that he had his eye on a 5,300-square foot climate-controlled storage unit with the perfect location to turn into a dojang, but was concerned he wouldn’t be able to afford it. As it turned out, that man happened to own the building and was in the market of selling it to the right person for the right cause.

Impressed by what Anawski was doing in the community, the man determined he was that right person with the right cause and they came up with a price both men were comfortable with.

In February of this year, the school was ready for a space of its very own and Brookings TKD purchased the building, storage business and naming to it.

Anawski converted 3,000 square feet of the building into a training area and left the rest to continue operating as storage units.

”I’m not deserving of this,” Anawski said. ”I wasn’t the best kid in high school. We’ve been absolutely blessed with where we’re at and what we’ve grown to. We’re well over 100 students now.”

Once again, he was in the market for mats and checked back with Greatmats to see if it was still the place to go to get the best bang for his buck.

brookings-tkd-dojang

Indeed, it was, and he ordered just over 200 of the Martial Arts Karate Premium 1 inch thick mats in a reversible wooden/black color. The majority of the dojang floor utilizes the wood grain colored side of the tiles while the sparring zones are separated out with the black side.

”We wanted something that looks natural with our building,” Anawski said. ”It looks incredible. They’re so nice, and the transition colors that I love.”

Anawski was particularly impressed by the gray dense foam center having a thick black or thick wood surface color on the outside.

”Over time when things do start wearing out, we’re not going to fall into that gray,” Anawski said. ”The center grey density is fantastic. It is exactly what we need. I’ve been at different school with mats, and these mats are so comfortable and they clean so well. … From start to finish they’ve been fantastic.”

When not holding classes, Brookings TKD will occasionally host birthday parties on the mats.

”They hold up really well against stains,” Anawski said. ”We had Hi-C, red pop, on the mat and it cleaned up. Food… That was everywhere, and we wiped it up. That was fantastic.”

While he was updating his dojang flooring, Anawski also purchased four 4×10 foot by 2 inch thick folding gym mats to practice hapkido and judo throws.

”Those are incredible,” Anawksi said. ”For the price we paid, the value and the quality, they’re outstanding.”

Now, with the help of the Brookings, South Dakota, area community and Greatmats, Brookings Tae Kwon Do has seen exponential growth and has its very own ADA regulated dojang with a welcoming earth tone Asian American feel.

”We really wanted to create an opportunity for training for anyone,” Anawski said. ”The quality of the mats is beyond impressive. They were everything we wanted, and then some.”

Mark Anawski
Brookings Tae Kwon Do
Brookings SD 57006
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.