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.
Advertisements

13 Horse Trainers Compete for National Honor

Greatmats National Horse Trainer of the Year LogoMilltown, WI – They come from all different walks of life, but something these 13 horse trainers have in common is the fact that they are making a positive impact in their communities through their work with horses and beyond.

The following 13 horse trainers, representing 10 different states, have been nominated for the honor of National Horse Trainer of the Year, and award presented annually by Greatmats.

From Nov. 16 to 30, 2017, voting will be open to the public on Greatmats Facebook page as it weighs in on which two trainers will be named finalists for the award. The winner will receive horse stall mats, or a cash option, from Greatmats, which is in its third year of hosting the contest.

This year’s nominees are as follows.

 

California

Ashley Salter of iRide4U in Santa Ynez

Colorado

Justin Dunn of Justin Dunn Horesemanship in Guffey

Frances Carbonnel of Mariah Farms in Castle Rock

Kentucky

Kelly Murphy-Alley of Striking KMA Performance Horses in Willmore

Beth Harris of Walnut Way Farm in Simpsonville

Michigan

Bill Brown of Chase Lake Equestrian Center in Fowlerville

North Carolina

TR Potts of Potts Performance Horses in Fountain In

Tennessee

Chrystal Crispin of Crispin Unlimited in Jonesborough

Texas

Jeremy Dull of Jeremy Dull Horsemanship in Hempstead

West Virginia

Mike Hurst of Mike Hurst Horsemanship in Philippi

Wisconsin

Sharlyn Fellenz of Mytalisha’s Dream Riding Center in Eau Claire

Bryanna Larson of Pony Tales Refuge and Rehab in Colfax

 

Learn more about the 2017 National Horse Trainer of the Year Award and how to vote for your favorite trainer at https://www.greatmats.com/horse-stall-mats/greatmats-annual-national-horse-trainer-of-the-year-contest.php

As part of its 3rd annnual National Award Series, Greatmats is also presenting awards to to Martial Arts Instructors, Cheerleading Coaches, Personal Trainers, Dog Trainers and Dance Instructors. Learn more about the National Award Series at https://www.greatmats.com/greatmats-national-instructor-of-the-year-awards-series.php.

Dog Trainers of All Styles to Compete for National Title

Greatmats National Dog Trainer of the Year LogoJeremy Joseph BrownMilltown, WI – Whether training for law enforcement, entertainment, protection, agility, obedience or companionship dog training plays an important role in the quality of life for both the animals and their humans. And it doesn’t stop at training to make the world a better

Sara Carson

place. That’s why dog enthusiasts from across the country have come together to nominate seven of the top dog trainers in the U.S.A. For Greatmats’ third annual National Dog Trainer of the Year Award. The award, part of Greatmats annual National Award Series, is designed to recognize those trainers who have had a positive impact in their communities through not only their dog training skills but community service and inspiration.

The public will determine the two finalist for the award through a social media vote Nov. 16-30 on Greatmats Facebook page. Then Elizabeth BerryGreatmats will choose the winner of the award, who will also receive his/her choice of new dog training flooring or a cash option.

This year’s nominees, representing six different states, are:

 

Arizona

Two-time defending National Dog Trainer of the Year Jeremy Joseph Brown of The Complete Canine in Tucson.

Leigh SylvesterDee Hoult

 

California

America’s Got Talent finalist Sara Carson of The Super Collies in San Diego.

Rehoming specialist Elizabeth Berry of Four The Paws in Novato.

 

Connecticut

World obedience champion Leigh Sylvester of Paws ‘N Effect in Hamden

 

Jason Brodt

Florida

Inmate rehabilitation supporter Dee Hoult of Applause Your Paws in Miami

 

 

Minnesota

Law enforcement specialist Jason Brodt of the St. Paul Police Department.

 

Texas

International defense and law enforcement performance award winner Windy Pool of Corpus Christi

Windy Pool

Learn more about the 2017 National Dog Trainer of the Year Award and how to vote for your favorite trainer at https://www.greatmats.com/greatmats-national-dog-trainer-of-the-year-contest.php.

As part of the National Award Series, Greatmats is also presenting awards to to Martial Arts Instructors, Cheerleading Coaches, Personal Trainers, Horse Trainers and Dance Instructors. Learn more about the National Award Series at https://www.greatmats.com/greatmats-national-instructor-of-the-year-awards-series.php.

3rd Annual AKF Throwing and Grappling Tournament

Delavan Academy Brings the Most Competitors

American Kyuki-Do Federation Logo AKF GreatmatsAppoximately 60 competitors from 10 American Kyuki-Do Federation member martial arts academies competed at the AKF’s third annual Grappling and Throwing Tournament. The tournament was held on October 7 at Walworth, Wisconsin. The grappling and throwing event was sponsored by Greatmats.
The venue for the tournament was hosted by Big Foot High School, Master Linda Imler’s alma mater. The martial arts competitors were aged 5 and up. A.K.F. Martial Arts of Delavan brought the most competitors to the friendly and fierce judo and jiu jitsu focused tournament. The academy is instructed and owned by Master Rick Bjorkquist and Master Lloyd Holden.
This was the final tournament of 2017 for the AKF. Previous Grappling and Throwing Tournaments were hosted in Eau Claire and Edgerton, Wisconsin. The next major event for AKF members will be in Wisconsin Dells, November 305 for black belt promotions and seminars for all ranks at the Black Belt Extravaganza.

Visit the American Kyuki-Do Federataion, LLC Facebook page to view hundreds of photos from the event.

Grappling and Throwing Tournament
American Kyuki-Do Federation
Walworth WI
For more on this topic please review our Grappling and MMA Mats product page.

Josh Mancuso – Becoming BJJ

This isn’t a hobby where you can buy way to the top

By Brett Hart

”I’ve been doing this so long and frequently that I am BJJ,” Louisiana BJJ black belt Josh Mancuso says. ”I can’t imagine not training.”

Josh Mancuso Grappling BJJ Greatmats

In addition to being a first degree black belt in BJJ, Mancuso also holds a brown belt in judo, owns the academy JM Modern Jiu Jitsu, works in outside sales for a large corporation and coaches his athletes in competition. At the recent Greatmats-sponsored American Grappling Federation New Orleans BJJ Championships, Mancuso led 35 competitors from Soul Fighters Louisiana to a overall team title. Two-hundred nine points separated his squad from the runner up team in a field in which nearly 60 teams recorded points.
Josh Mancuso podium AGF New Orleans BJJ Championships Greatmats

Motivated by the satisfaction of seeing his students and himself improve, Mancuso said, ”I’ve got a bunch of medals – all special in their own way. However, the life lessons, growth and friendships I’ve gained through the sport are by far my largest accomplishments.”

As a coach, Mancuso enjoys taking his athletes to AGF events.

”Their customer service is what sets them apart from all other organizations,” Manucso said.

With some background in wrestling, boxing and MMA, Mancuso now trains under Bruno Tanque Mendes and Rafael Formiga Barbosa, and his 14-year-old daughter has also joined in the training process.

”The fact that you can’t fake it,” is Mancuso’s favorite part of BJJ. ”The mats always speak the truth. In many hobbies, you can buy yourself to the top – not this.”

Josh Mancuso with BJJ instructors Greatmats

Josh Mancuso JM Modern Jiu Jitsu Greatmats

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

Josh Mancuso
JM Modern Jiu Jitsu
Baton Rouge LA 70809
For more on this topic please review our Grappling and MMA Mats product page.

Cottonwood Riding Club Loving Interlocking Horse Stall Mats

93-acre Riding Club is Largest Horse Boarding Facility in Colorado

By Brett Hart

Tara Gandomcar-Hieb of Cottonwood Riding Club in Littleton, Colorado, has become a horse stall mat connoisseur of sorts after being in the horse business with her family for the last 35 years.

Cottonwood Riding Club horse boarding logo GreatmatsShe and her sister, Erica, recently took over the family business, the largest boarding facility in the state of Colorado, which is home to more than 170 horses on the riding club’s 93 acres.

”We’re second generation at this barn so a lot of what we’re doing now is updating the barns that were built 25 years ago,” Tara said. ”We’re a large boarding and training facility, so we have two box stalls,” Tara said. ”Those have the old non interlocking mats.”

cottonwoodWhen we revamping the breezeway barn, which has open sides, it discovered Greatmats’ interlocking stall mats.

”There are no shavings allowed in that barn,” Tara said. ”I needed something to protect the horses from laying on the gravel and still not slip around on the ice. The non interlocking mats peel up and curl up the edges, so the horses were tripping and people were tripping.”

They started with updating some 11.5×20 foot stalls with custom cut interlocking horse stall mats from Greatmats.

”I love the interlocking mats,” Tara said, which led her to use them again when they built a new barn in 2016. ”It’s easier for my guys to clean. It’s better for the ladies walking around. The horses – they’re not tripping and have less thrush and foot issues.”

Cottonwood Riding Club horse boarding GreatmatsNow, with four barns, Cottonwood Riding Club has equipped its newest 23-stall barn with a 12×12-foot mat stall mat system over chip gravel.

”Every stall has it’s own little drainage system,” Tara said, noting that the cleanliness of her facility is one of the reasons its become the most popular boarding facility in the state. Adding the interlocking stall mats has helped keep the reputation in order.

”Before, the stalls were not completely matted – Mats in front and dirt in the back.” Tara said. ”That definitely made that barn more sellable. Having the horses on a completely matted surface. It just looks cleaner so it’s more appealing. … Shavings and dirt and everything get underneath the corners of the non interlocking mats.

Tara Gandomcar Hieb owner of Cottonwood Riding Club horse boarding GreatmatsAnother big selling point for Gandomcar-Hieb was the fact that the Greatmats stall mats came with 12 year warranty.

”It was a dollar per square foot more expensive than the non interlocking mat, but worth the expense in the long run,” Tara said. ”It’s nice to have the new technology.”

”Our first barn was sort of the test for it and we’ve definitely noticed that that is an easier situation,” she added. ”You can go to a feed store and get mats that are a dollar a square foot cheaper, but you’re going to be fiddling around with it every year. It’s less labor. Labor is time and time is money.”

home gym
To learn more about Cottonwood Ride Club, read this article published in the Littleton Independent or visit its website.

Tara Gandomcar-Hieb
Cottonwood Riding Club
Littleton CO 80125
For more on this topic please review our Horse Stall Mats 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.