Students strut their stuff at state

Edwardsville-area twirlers compete at the Illinois State Fair.


Team 1 of the Victory Star Twirlers

Have you ever been to the Illinois State Fair? If you have, you mainly remember all the rides and food, but have you ever paid attention to the other things going on? For example, in one of the seemingly empty barns in the back of the fair, a baton competition is hosted every year.

If you have never heard of the sport of baton twirling, it’s very similar to rhythmic gymnastics. In baton twirling, you twirl a metal rod called a baton. You twirl to music in a routine usually with correlating outfits. Not only do you twirl batons, sometimes you twirl flag batons, hoop batons, and ribbon batons. Also, during some routines, props are used such as stools, hats, canes, etc.

This competition was in a barn. In the barn there was a large section of chairs to the side, judge’s tables on the back wall, a large empty section in front of the judge’s tables for the performances, and curtains all around the edges for the performers to change in. The performances are the fun part though.  At the beginning of the competition the group routines and the show twirls are hosted. After the teams, strut is hosted, then finally, solos are hosted.

  • Show twirl: a solo routine with music
  • Team routines: routines with a group also with music
  • Strut: where multiple people compete against each other in marching in a square. You have to lift your knee at 90 degrees and take eight steps for each side of the square.
  • Solos: short routines with only one person, performing to music.


Each category is judged depending on age, size of the group, category, skill level, and other skills.

In Edwardsville there is a baton team called the Victory Star Twirlers. This group competed in the competition. I interviewed two people from the baton group, asking the about the competition. Those two people are Celine Soldan (7th grade) and Karley Saddler (8th grade).

Q: “What did you think of the competition?”

Karley: “I guess I liked it because we just got to like hang out with your friends, but like not in school and it’s awesome!”

Celine: “It was very hot, the room was like really humid and there were a lot of people.”

Q: “What’s your favorite routine that you do?”

Karley: “I kind of like another day.”

Celine: “I’ve always liked play ball.”

Q: “Do you like the outfits you wear?”

Karley: “I don’t really care, but I don’t really like the baseball routine outfit.”

Celine: “No, not all.”

Q: “If you could change one thing about the group, what would you change and why?”

Karley: “If I could change something, I would probably change the positions and formations in our routines.”

Celine: “I would probably change some of the positions of the routines. I wish I could be up front more instead of usually being in the back.”