Center hosts exhibition

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— The Steamboat Springs Gymnastics Center is hosting an exhibition show tonight that will feature gymnasts of all different levels in an environment conducive to fun rather than competition.

"We do this for the kids," gym co-owner Rose Atkins said.

Children from the pre-beginner class, pre-team class, Level 5 competition team, boys training team and optional team will be performing. Members of the optional team, the highest level practiced in the gym currently, will perform both solo and group routines.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m. The show is scheduled to start shortly after 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children and can be purchased at the gym.

The Steamboat Gymnastics Center is located on Seventh Street.

For some of the children performing, tonight will be their first chance to show off their skills in front of an audience. The children on the floor tonight range in age from 3 to early teens.

The Steamboat Springs High School cheerleaders are also slated to make a special appearance.

The squad uses the Steamboat Gymnastics Center for practices and helps out with coaching as well.

Gymnasts often strive for perfection in their routines, and while the optional gymnasts are trained in the importance of presentation, scores won't be handed out tonight.

"This show is about fun, not perfection," Atkins said.

The boys training team practiced its routine several times on Wednesday to get positions and timing down. The song "Footloose" bounced off the gym walls, while the practicing performers bounced off the floors and mats.

"Gymnastics is fun," Charles Toye said. "I get to learn new tricks."

At 7, Toye is one of the younger members of the boys training team. Atkins said a large number of boys are involved in gymnastics in Steamboat. They currently don't compete, but each boy, selected by the staff to be on the team, is increasing his strength and flexibility.

Prior to joining coach Nick Batliner on the training team, boys work with co-owner Dan Atkins, better known as Mr. Dan, in Tumble Tots, and then the recreational class. The training team follows.

Several training team members, including Dustin Atkins, 9, and Kai Rogers, 8, are perfecting their round-off back handsprings.

"As tough as Nick is, he tries to keep it fun for the boys," Rose Atkins said.

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