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‘So exciting’: Calgary baton twirlers host major international competition

Some hardworking Calgary athletes are taking on the world this week.

Members of the Alberta Baton Twirling Association are hosting the 2024 Pan Pacific Cup Baton Twirling Competition.

Almost 200 twirlers from across Canada and the U.S. will be coming to Calgary for the event, with competitors from Japan also attending.

“Which is so exciting. Japan is known for being the best at baton twirling,” competitor and coach Brooke Mauro said. ‘They’re the people that always win at worlds and they’re just insane to watch.”

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The competition will feature twirlers aged nine and up.

“I like the tricks – they’re fun,” Ainslee Mikkelsen,11, said. “And doing routines.”

As with competitors in other sports, twirlers spend long hours practicing.

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“It’s really unique,” Mauro said. “And it’s quite funny, because people are like, ‘What? Even in baton?’ – and it’s your whole life.”

The 2024 Pan Pacific Cup Baton Twirling Competition runs from Friday to Sunday at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina Nation, just west of the Calgary city limits.

“The special thing about baton is that it’s not just dance-focused,” Mauro said. “There’s a lot of gymnastics and strength that goes with it, and coordination – all while you’re twirling.”

The athletes hosting the event are hoping spectators attending will appreciate the finer points of the sport.

“Like thumb flips, where you flip the baton in your hand,” Mauro said. “And then if you were going to take it up a notch, it would be a thumb toss, so that’s when you toss it up and catch it.”

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