USIR 2014 – Sugarland, Texas
Jamie Earls and Annika Strolle qualified back in May at the Regional Championships held in Alma, MI to be among the 105 dancers representing five age groups and six regions of the United States to compete in the 2014 United States Inter-Regional Championship held on Saturday, July 20th in Sugarland, TX.
We arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Sugarland on Wednesday and were welcomed with warm Texas hospitality and a goody bag for the dancers, teachers, and parents. A short time later, dancers from the Southwest came to decorate the finalists doors with a ribbon, large bow, and embroidered name ribbon. After spending an hour in the practice room, we loaded up in Randy’s car and headed for the stock up trip to Target, where Gatorade and additional hair supplies were at the top of the list.
Thursday was another hour in the practice room and then the finalist outing to the Pinot’s Palette where the dancers got a chance to display their artistic abilities and paint a cowboy boot with a Texas star and the state flower of Texas (bluebonnets). The banquet was held in the ballroom on Thursday night, with members of the St. Thomas Episcopal School Pipe Band serving as the escorts for the finalists.
Friday was the start of the competition with multiple events taking place including a Premiership (three National dances) for the Premiers. The Midwest Region gathered at the Lasagna House, conveniently located across the street from the hotel for the annual Regional Dinner where they each received a rep gift bag from the Midwest Region. After dinner, many took advantage of the lovely town square in Sugarland and treated themselves to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, frozen yogurt, or Jamba Juice for desert!
The USIR was held on Saturday morning with a new format for the dancers. Previously the three younger age groups had competed in the morning and the two older age groups competed in the afternoon. This year it was decided to have everyone dance all day, so the Fling and Sword took place in the morning and the Triubhas and Reel were danced in the afternoon. At the conclusion of the dancing, there is the “Parade of Regions” where all the dancers walk across the stage and are introduced and presented with a certificate to commemorate their participation in the event. The weekend concluded with another day of competition for all levels.
Both Jamie and Annika danced well,and though they did not come home with any medals, they reconnected with old friends, made new friends and celebrated with those in attendance the love of Scottish Highland Dancing!
THHD dancers that have qualified for USIR include:
Rebekah Danaher Anderson (Philadelphia, PA 2000, Long Beach 2001)
Alexandra Cruickshank (Denver, CO 2002)
Jean Stein (Mt. Vernon, WA 2005, Saratoga Springs, NY 2006, Orange, CA 2007, Denver, CO 2008, Nashville, TN 2009, Traverse City, MI 2010, Spokane, WA 2011)
Kristen Williams (Orange, CA 2007, Scottsdale, AZ 2013)
Arbie Karasek (Traverse City, MI 2010, Spokane, WA 2011, Hunt Valley, MD 2012)
Annika Strolle (Spokane, WA 2011, Sugarland, TX 2014)
Jamie Earls (Scottsdale, AZ 2013, Sugarland, TX 2014)