Upper Columbia Academy Enjoys Acoustical Benefit of Protective Carpet

Gym Floor Carpet Tile Provides Sound for Concerts

By Brett Hart

Upper Columbia Academy Gala Greatmats Gym Floor Covering Carpet TilesWhen Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Washington, decided convert its gymnasium into a venue for its spring gala, Principal Eric Johnson, knew the existing hardwood gym floor may cause acoustic concerns as well as a less-than-ideal look and feel.

That’s when he began researching temporary floor covering that would be more appealing for special events such as this and came across Greatmats’ Gym Floor Covering Carpet Tile.

Impressed by their sound deadening qualities, durability and easy installation, Johnson says his school also uses the protective carpet tiles for graduations, parents weekends and concerts.

The carpet tiles get their heaviest traffic during graduations, which typically hosts about 1,000 people in the gymnasium. At the fundraising gala’s, they’ll place tables and chairs on the protective carpet where they’ll feed the approximately 400 people in attendance.

”I worked with our maintenance crew to put them down,” Johnson said. ”They’re simple. They’re very easy. We have a complete industrial arts program here, so our students made carts for them. We’ve got them on six carts, and we’ve got them stored in the gym. We just wheel them out and take them off and lay them down and pick them up.”

With plenty of help from the students, Johnson says it takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to cover approximately 12,000 square feet with the just over 3×6 foot tiles.

upper-columbia-academy-gala-gym-floor-covering-carpet-tile-365While Johnson said the tiles have done a great job protecting the hardwood underneath, that’s not the primary purpose for which they purchased the flooring.

”We bought them for aesthetics and the sound deadening,” Johnson said.

UCA, a private Seventh-day Adventist coeducational Christian boarding school in operation since 1945, draws students from all over the country is well known for its vocal and orchestral music programs, which as produced the likes of international classical singer Thomas Hampson.

And Johnson said, with the new Gym Floor Covering Carpet Tiles, it greatly improves the acoustics in the gymnasium when they are having concerts.

”We’ve been very pleased with them,” Johnson said. ”They’re great!”
Eric Johnson
Upper Columbia Academy
Spangle WA 99031
For more on this topic please review our Gym Floor Covers product page.
Advertisements

My Epiphany Paradise Farm – Robin Broughton

Portable and Permanent Stall Mats fitting the bill for multiple uses

By Brett Hart

After more than 50 years in the horse industry, ranging from rodeoing to jumping to reining, Robin Broughton, is sharing her paradise with hunter/jumper and dressage horses. My Epiphany Paradise Farm Robin Broughton Greatmats

Her farms, My Epiphany Stables in Wadsworth, Illinois, and My Epiphany Paradise Farm in Kidder, Missouri, offer spaces for retirement and rehabilitation for these equine companions.

The current focus of My Epiphany Paradise Farm, a spinoff of her other farm which was founded in 2004 and focuses on rehab, is being a long-term retirement facility for horses.

My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Pasture Greatmats

”Because not all horses are able to be rehabbed due to their injuries, my clients were always asking for referrals to retirement farms for their horses,” Broughton said. ”Many of them had asked why I did not start my own retirement facility. They knew me. They trusted me; and it would be a natural transition for those horses who were unable to make it through rehabilitation at my Illinois farm to transition to a retirement farm owned by me.”

In the spring of 2012, Robin sat down with her parents, Keith and Arlene Wilcox, and came up with a plan to turn their family beef farm into a long-term retirement farm for hunter/jumpers. That September, they opened their gates and formed an LLC with officers that included Robin’s husband, George, and sister, Niki McCabe.

Arlene became the primary caretaker of the horses while Keith handled pasture management and maintenance among other duties. Five years later, My Epiphany Paradise Farm is the home to 30 retirees, ranging from 11 to 33 years of age. Last year, it also began accepting young horses that needed a place to grow up before beginning their performance life.

The Need for Stall Mats
In the early years of My Epiphany Paradise Farm, the crew worked out of an older cattle barn with dirt floors. When Robin began researching portable stall mats online for the limited times in which they would need the barn for veterinary or farrier work, or inclement weather, she kept coming back to Greatmats.com because if its in-depth information and apparent quality.
My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Barn Greatmats
As the farm’s popularity grew, Robin decided to build a new barn and arena on the back side of the farm. At that time, she began researching permanent mats and again chose Greatmats, this time going with pre-sized Horse Stall Mat Kits due to their ability to be easily installed over limestone without slipping over time.

My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Barn Greatmats Interlocking Horse Stall Mats

”They are built to last, great quality, came numbered so that we just followed the schematic to install,” she said. ”There was no cutting, cursing or overheating in putting them in. … Awesome!”

With her new 3,800-plus square foot barn housing 10 stalls and featuring run-out all-weather paddocks off each stall, Robin plans to move the entire Illinois rehabilitation program to the new barn where the bigger stalls, runs, round pen and additional paddocks will be able to service even more injured horses dealing with suspensories, tendon tears, ligament injuries, etc. And with its new 80×184 foot indoor arena, Robin and her staff can work on the fitness rehabilitation of the horses after they’ve recovered from their injuries.

My Epiphany Paradise Farm Horse Stall Greatmats Horse Stall Mats

With that being said, the retirement program will continue is its current form, only more acreage will be added, bringing the total area of My Epiphany Paradise Farm to 200 acres.

Even with the new permanent mats, Robin is still making use of her Greatmats portable horse stall mats for all the same uses as before, along with entryways on the ground for her living quarter trailers, in her stock trailers for short hauls, and in temporary stalls with concrete floors when she brings her horses to shows.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Robin Broughton
My Epiphany Paradise Farm, LLC
Kidder MO 64649
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.
AKF Cartersville with Greatmats Cheerleading Mats for Martial Arts

AKF Family Martial Arts of Cartersville – Carpet Topped Mats

Instructor Donny Thompson Likes Feel and Functionality of Greatmats

 

By Brett Hart

AKF Grandmaster Kim and AKF Cartersville Donny Thompson Kyuki Do GreatmatsHaving trained in martial arts since 1983, AKF Family Martial Arts of Cartersville owner Donny Thompson has learned to appreciate the gentler side of the his sport.

A 4th Dan in Taekwondo, Thompson, beginning at the age of 12, regularly competed and admitted he wasn’t the nicest of competitors. So, after taking a break from martial arts when he started his family, he began looking for a place for his son to train that utilized a much friendlier approach.

He found that with Master Merrill Sinclair of Sinclair’s Kyuki-Do Martial Arts in Dallas, Georgia.

”It was non competition, which I loved,” Thompson said. ”I didn’t want my son to have to go through all of that.”

Although his son didn’t take to it as much as he’d hoped, Thompson’s love for the martial arts was reborn, and he has worked his way up to his 3rd Dan in Kyuki-Do, which he achieved in April of this year. Shortly thereafter, he opened his own school in Cartersville, Georgia.

Equipping Academy with Cheerleading Mats

AKF Cartersville with Greatmats Cheerleading Mats for Martial ArtsUnder the recommendation of the American Kyuki-Do Federation, which uses Greatmats martial arts mats in several of its schools, Thompson chose to equip his new academy with Greatmats 2 inch thick carpet-topped cheerleading mats.

Why cheerleading mats, you ask?

”I like the feel, personally, of the mat itself under your feet,” Thompson said. ”I was used to carpet on concrete, honestly, so it had that nice firm feeling, but when you hit the ground it’s not like hitting the concrete. … They’re thick enough to be cushiony, but they’re firm enough that you can do your techniques without sinking into the mat.”

”They’re very easy to clean,” he added. ”All you need is a vacuum, and they hold up very well. As long as you take care of them properly, they don’t have a problem lasting for years. Some of the vinyl tops, you have to worry about holes getting poked in them, and in the mornings, when it’s cold, they’re cold. These don’t have that problem.”

AKF Cartersville with Greatmats Carpet Topped Roll out Mats for Martial ArtsThese particular mats come in 42 foot rolls. So after cutting them to fit his space, Mr. Thompson had enough leftover to wrap them around the poles in his academy and use them as pole pads.

”They work totally awesome for that,” he said. ”I use the straps that came with the original ones, and it worked. I was very pleased. They’re thicker than a regular pole pad and so people can hit them harder.”

Family Oriented Environment

Greatmats Cheer Mat installation at AKF Cartersville Martial ArtsHaving found success back in the day competing with the United States Taekwondo Union, he’s now chosen a different path.

”We are family oriented,” he said, noting that he doesn’t what the message of his academy to being ”Look what I did” as much as ”Look what I can do for you.”

”It’s a whole different mindset (than competing),” he added.

That family-oriented mindset fits in perfectly with the AKF, which recently presented Thompson with his 3rd Dan Certificate at its annual Black Belt Extravaganza in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

”I go every year,” Thompson said about the Black Belt Extravaganza. ”It is immensely fun. … I come from a side of martial arts where… you rarely saw anybody from other schools unless you go to a tournament or a big test that everyone had to get together for. But for the most part, you did your own thing as far as schools went. The AKF is totally different. … Everybody’s there supporting each other. I go, not just for the seminars, but to see the people of the AKF – my martial arts family. We call ourselves the Kyuki-Do Nation, but we’re really the Kyuki-Do Family.”

Donny Thompson
AKF Family Martial Arts of Cartersville
Cartersville GA 30121
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.

Basketball Wall Pads – Home Basketball Court

Quality Home Improvement, Inc – Christopher Moss

By Brett HartWhen Quality Home Improvement, Inc. owner Chris Moss was hired to complete a garage transformation for an indoor basketball court for the father of twin standouts Adam and Abraham Bell of California’s Twentynine Palms High School, he knew that the quality of his work and materials needed to be the best of the best.

wall-pad2x6-closeThe father of two of the top high school basketball players in the nation, Rickey Bell, wanted to create a space where they could pursue their NBA dreams by working on their game at home.

”They turned to Quality Home Improvement, Inc. to get the best of the best,” Moss said. ”We have done work for Rickey in the past, so we have an amazing trust factor going with this family. We were honored to be selected in this process. This is why we found Greatmats.”

wall-pad2x6Moss used Greatmats’ 2×6 foot wall pads as well as a couple of custom wall pads for safety behind the basketball hoops.

He said the Greatmats wall mats were ”professionally made, durable and good looking.”

As for the Bells’ reactions…

”They loved the entire process,” Moss said. ”It’s like being on an NBA court even though you are in a large RV garage.”

bell-kids-basketballMoss added, ”If I, or anyone else that I know, need a professional set of mats for a basketball court or anything outdoors that require protection, Greatmats is who we turn to.”

About Quality Home Improvement, Inc

Founded in January of 2016, Quality Home Improvement, Inc was started by Moss, a 24-year home improvement business veteran.
Running this all-purpose home improvement company, Moss has received more than 100 certificates focusing on energy efficiency, among numerous other certificates.

Christopher Moss
Quality Home Improvement Inc
Pomona CA 91767
For more on this topic please review our Gym Wall Padding product page.

River City Dance – Sheryl Baker Clogging on Adagio Marley Dance Floor

Standing Up To the Abrasiveness of Appalachian Clogging

By Brett Hart

River City Dance St Croix Falls WI Greatmats Marley Dance FloorDance, and especially clogging, is in the blood for St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin’s River City Dance studio owner Sheryl Baker. Now in her 40s, Sheryl has experience dancing on the stages of Dollywood in Pegeon Forge, Tenn., for six seasons, dancing for two years on the TV show ”The Old Midwest Barn Dance” and coaching several national champion soloists, receiving overall awards and gold medals at the AAU Junior Olympics, NCHC Championships and National Clogging Champions of America.

River City Dance Owner Sheryl Baker St Croix Falls WI GreatmatsGetting her start in figure skating, tap, jazz, ballet, and Appalachian clogging, Sheryl has been a national clogging instructor and judge since 1990. Sheryl was the recipient of the ”Glen Hill Pioneer Award” in 2006, recognizing her for her contributions to the clogging community in choreography, teaching and spirit. In 2013, she was inducted into the clogging ”Hall of Fame.”

In addition to River City Dance, the 30-year veteran of dance instruction also runs the River City Cloggers based on the other side of the Scenic St. Croix River in Taylors Falls, Minn., and a competitive team called The Clogging Premier. She caters to clients ranging from preschool to 92 years young.

river-city-dance9”Appalachian clogging is wonderful for all ages,” Baker said.

Baker’s clogging teams are known for their acapella clogging skills that combine the best tap sounds with rhythm and sound.

”Our team has the national title for the overall acapella team in the world,” Baker said. ”Our clogging nationals teams have won in some of the precision categories, hoedown categories and some of the line categories.”

Her 17-year-old daughter, Alyssa Keller, is also a two-time national champion in acapella clogging.

Finding the Proper Flooring for Clogging

River City Dance Greatmats Marley Dance FloorAs the popularity of Baker’s instruction grew, she decided to open River City Dance earlier this year and needed some quality flooring to meet the needs of this aggressive form of dance as well as other styles.

While searching for dance flooring online, she found Greatmats.com and was impressed by its descriptions of the types of dance flooring available and ultimately chose Rosco Adagio marley flooring.

”I was looking for a floor that was really durable and would stand up to an abrasive type of activity,” Baker said. ”It was very easy to install. It just laid down, and we got it installed very quickly. We opened our studio after two weeks of prepping the space, and it has really held up.”

river-city-dance2She was also impressed with the controlled slip the flooring offered.

”Because (Appalachian clogging) is so aggressive, and you’re picking your feet up so high, it does move very quickly, you’re looking for a floor that has a surface that has non skid. … The dancers risk falling if you’re on a slippery surface.”

”This floor in particular, the marley floor, is wonderful, where we can do our movements and not have fear of falling,” Baker added. ”I always welcome anyone to look up River City Dance. It’s a fun atmosphere.”

River City Dance also offers classes in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Fitness and Canadian Step Dancing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sheryl Baker
River City Dance
St. Croix Falls WI 54024
For more on this topic please review our Dance Flooring product page.

Fumio Demura Sensei – The Evolution of Karate Flooring

Sensei to the Stars Discovers Perfect Karate Flooring

By Brett Hart

After nearly 50 years of training some of the biggest names in martial arts and serving as a movie stunt man, Fumio Demura remains modest about his National and International influence in the martial arts community.

”I’m not famous,” Demura Sensei says. ”I’m just doing my best. That’s all.”

A 1961 All Japan Champion, Demura Sensei moved to the United States in 1965 where he introduced Shito-Ryo Karate Do and Okinawa Kobudo to the nation as well as creating and introducing Kobudo Kumite to the World at the age of 68.

His prowess and innovation in the martial arts world led Demura Sensei to train many of the top martial arts icons, including Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal.

Movies and Television
What Demura Sensei is possible most well known for, however, is his stunt work in the Karate Kid movies and his mentor-ship of Pat Morita’s character, Mr. Miyagi in the movie franchise.

Demura Sensei says many aspects of the Karate Kid movie reflected his own personal life, such as the fishing and ”Wax on. Wax off” – a phrase in which he coined.

”I was doing (Wax on. Wax off.) for years before they made the movie,” he said, noting that after seeing the movie, many of his students called him and said, ”That’s me and you!”

Over the years, Demura Sensei has worked in 14 feature films and nearly 40 different television programs. He’s also written eight books and produced numerous videos, demonstrations and competitions around the globe.

Movies and competition bring out very different sides of the martial arts. In movies, he said, ”You have to sell what you’re doing,” Demura Sensei said.

He pointed to the 1971 cult classic movie ”Billy Jack” when Billy says, ”I’m going to take this right foot, and I’m going to wop you on that side of your face. And you want to know something? There’s not a damn thing you’re going to be able to do about it.”

He also pointed to the ”Wax on. Wax off” scene in the original (1984) Karate Kid movie.

”That type of thing,” Demura Sensei said. ”In the movie business, you have to have some selling point.”

In contrast, he noted that in competition there are rules, such as no hitting or kicking the groin or neck.

The Birth of a New Career
As a young man, Demura Sensei wanted to be an actor, but his father was against it. So he went to Nippon University where he majored in economics.

However, after wining the All Japan Championship, it changed his career direction towards the martial arts. Even with all he’s accomplished Demura Sensei says that moment is still his favorite.

”We had 48 provinces and each province has two people,” he said. ”We had 80-90 people competing. … Me and the other guy were the only two left. No other people there. … Not that much nervous, but kind of friend, but enemy. We don’t talk to each other, just waiting for the time to come up. That is a moment I’ll never forget.”

After his victory, Demura Sensei was introduced by his friend, Wisconsin native and internationally-known martial artist Donn Draeger, to Ohio-born martial arts promoter Dan Ivan, who brought him to the United States to teach karate.

Genbu-Kai Karate
Now, at the age of 78, Demura Sensei has Genbu-Kai Karate schools in 30 countries and 13 states within the United States. When asked how many students he’s trained over his career, he responded, ”Not too many. About 30-40… thousand.”

While several of those students are well-recognized action stars, that part of the job isn’t always glamorous.

”Some people, they just listen to me and do it,” Demura Sensei said. ”Chuck (Norris) and Bruce (Lee)… just listen. ‘Ok. Just do it that way?’ That’s it. Some people say ‘OK. Do it this way? But I do it that way.’ … Sometimes it’s very difficult.”

Evolution of Karate: From Fighting to Flooring
A lot has changed in Karate for Demura Sensei over the years.

”It used to be a different way,” he said. ”For example: Fighting. Everybody had a different way of fighting, but today everybody looks the same because they go to the world champion and everybody copies from that. … And the Kata – same way. … They do same kata from DVD or something. You watch and you copy. It used to be, you never do that kind of stuff.”

Even the flooring has evolved over time.

”I started karate with wood floor,” he said. ”In the beginning it was a little harder. We come to here, we had wrestling mat, but I hit my toes all the time. Then later, we got tatami mats.”

The tatami mats, Demura Sensei is referring to are the Elite Striking Art Pro Mat Tatami Mats from Greatmats. They are 1.5 inch thick 1×2 meter mats with a 1.5 inch thick polyurethane foam core and tatami-textured vinyl surface.

”The mat is best for me – tatami mats – not to soft, not too hard. And I can throw the kids without hurting them,” Demura Sensei said. ”On the legs, it’s not too bad. So perfect for me.”

He first learned about the tatami mats while visiting one of his schools that were using Greatmats martial arts mats and liked the feel and function of the mats. So when it came time to order mats for his relocated studio in Santa Ana, California, he turned to Greatmats.

”I recommend people if they have money, buy the tatami mat. … In the beginning… people said ‘too soft.’ But now, they love it!”

Fumio Demura
Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Genbu-Kai International
Santa Ana CA 92701
For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.
Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy with Greatmats stall mats

Wisconsin Horses and Volunteers Turning Disabilities into Abilities

Quarter Moon Acres Equine Assisted Therapy Center

Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy with Greatmats stall matsPolk County Wisconsin’s first-ever Equine Assisted Therapy Center didn’t just come together by chance. Two of the three founders had been contemplating the idea for many years. For one, it was a childhood dream, and for another, her own experience using horses to cope with disorders led them to help others turn disabilities into abilities.

“Horses helped me through the years,” said Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy Center co-founder Patti Andersen. “I have ADD myself. I have massive depression, and the horses themselves have helped me through that.”

Greatmats Interlocking Stall Mat Kits Horse Hooves and Cowboy BootsFellow co-founder Kristi Hart and a childhood friend had worked out plans for a future equine therapy center as pre-teens. That friend passed away far too early, but Kristi never forgot their plan to help others through horses.

In 2014, Patti, who had served as a second mother for Kristi through her teenage years, approached Kristi about opening an equine therapy center on Patti’s farm in rural Amery, Wisconsin. Kristi jumped on the opportunity, moved back to the area, and the duo quickly asked Karole Lee, a boarder at Patti’s farm, to join in the venture.

With all three still working full time jobs, they began offering therapy sessions one day per week in the Spring of 2015 with a crew made entirely of volunteers.

“Our clients range from 6 to 86 and everywhere in between,” Patti said. “Some clients with dementia are the 86 group. And the young ones – many times it’s not an anxiety disorder that they have, it could be just social skills – even at that age – or no core strength, which equine therapy helps with that too.”

The Need for Quality Stall Mats

Greatmats Interlocking Stall Mat Kits Horse Hooves and Cowboy BootsWith the average age of Quarter Moon Acres’ therapy horses being about 17, maintaining their comfort is essential to keeping them ready to serve.

“They’re in stall for quite a bit of the day,” Patti said. “They need some cushion on their feet and under their legs. Without stall mats, we would not be able to do what we do because – No legs on a horse, no feet. No horse, no therapy.”

Kristi pointed out that not all horse stall mats work the same, noting that some of the mats they’ve used have had a tendency to curl, exposing seams, creating a tripping hazard for the horses and making the mucking process more labor intensive than necessary.

“When God created horses, he did not make them the most graceful animals, so if there’s something to get caught on, they will get caught on it,” Patti said.

“We have to have sound horses,” Karole added. “If they aren’t sound, we can’t have them out in the program at all…. They’re not going to be sound if they trip over uneven mats.”

“These horses are our life,” Patti said. “With the mats from Greatmats, they are standing straight and tall.”

Greatmats Rubber Interlocking Stall Mat Kits installedWith Greatmats stall mats, Kristi says they are able to keep their therapy horses comfortable and they’re stalls dry and clean much easier, saving the volunteer QMA staff a lot of time, effort and frustration.

Each rider requires at least three volunteers to help them through each therapy session, so its important for the staff to be able to spend as much of its time as possible focusing on the riders.

The three founders thoroughly enjoy watching the progress their Greatmats Rubber Interlocking Stall Mat Kits installationclients have made over the past three years as well as the reaction on the faces of the clients and their parents as they discover new things about the horses and confidence within themselves.

“Seeing the clients and parents is awesome, but I also think that watching the volunteers that come out here and support us is awesome,” Karole said. “We can’t do this program without them.”

“We’ve seen what horses can do for us, or the people that are close to us, not only physically, but emotionally as well, and we’re lucky enough to have this right at our fingertips,” Kristi said. “So to be able to take what we have and can use every day, and share it with people who don’t … is amazing!”

Patti Andersen, Kristi Hart, Karole Lee
Quarter Moon Acres Equine Therapy Center
Amery WI 54001
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats product page.