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Serving the Loup Valley for 140 Years

Chopper Lands At Ord Quiz For Presentation

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The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Daryl Fletcher, Ord resident and cardiac arrest survivor, donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Loup Valley Fitness on Monday. Late last year, Fletcher was saved by the use of an AED and was transferred by helicopter for treatment, resulting in a full recovery. A LifeNet helicopter was chartered to deliver Fletcher and present the donated AED. See next week’s Quiz for the full story. Pictured above (l-r): cardiac arrest survivor, Daryl Fletcher; pilot, Laine Stahr; paramedic, Sara Ruocco; and paramedic/flight nurse, Luke Ballmer. 

Ord Gymnastics Sets The Bar High

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Bobbie Hill, coach and trainer of Ord Gymnastics (lower right), helps students achieve the correct form on the balance beam. Pictured (front to back): Kenya McCain, Reagan Klimek, Marleigh Lowe and Kennedy Yeomans.

By Kate Wolf

   Bobbie Hill is a petite little woman who is a bundle of positive, contagious energy and a fireball gymnastics coach. Today she is a successful entrepreneur with her own gym and students competing at the team level throughout Nebraska and Iowa. But it wasn't always easy and she's come a very long way to get here.

   She and her husband, Phillip, have six children and Bobbie is the youngest of 10 kids. So, she was used to being around a lot of kids and naturally has a very high tolerance for chaos.

   During the early years, back in Kansas, a friend of hers owned a gym where the Hill's two oldest daughters were enrolled in gymnastics. Bobbie started helping out, got a feel for the business and learned a lot about how to run a successful gymnastics program. The family moved to Westerville, NE in 2005, then on to Comstock in 2007 and finally settled in Ord in 2011. Everything seemed to be looking up for the Hills.

   Their youngest daughter, lzie, was diagnosed with brain cancer, requiring intensive treatments and 24/7 care. It's hard to hold down a 9 to 5 job under those circumstances. Then something completely serendipitous happened. An Ord mom posted on social media an inquiry to see if there was anyone in the Ord area who could teach her daughter how to do a cartwheel. Hill knew she could do that with her eyes closed. By the very next day, there were 30 more similar inquiries, her daughter, Chloe, told her, "Mom, that sounds like a job opportunity," and the rest is history. After a great deal of struggle, lzie was declared cancer free after her radiation treatments, Ord Gymnastics was born and Hill had a new career path. It was totally a "God thing".

   Hill first started out in Klimek's building with 20 kids but soon outgrew the space. She moved over to the Executive Plaza and her program grew even more. She now has her own large, roomy, fully equipped gym located one block east of the Viaero tower on the corner of 13th Street. She was teaching and training 85-90 kids B.C. (before COVID) and, like everyone else, the pandemic took a bite out of the business. After COVID, her numbers are currently down at 70 per week but still growing.

   In 2017, Hill started her competitive gymnastics team, which is part of a league called AmeriKids, consisting of approximately 20 gyms similar to hers throughout Nebraska and Iowa. Hill has 13 top level competitors on her team and these kids not only practice, they seriously train for competition. They are all at a higher skill level and put in 24 hours each month, two days each week for three hours. Their competition season lasts from January through April.

   The recreational gymnasts have hour long classes each week, four times a month and are learning the basics. Hill points out her students learn good form, better spatial awareness, balance, achieve better physical condition, develop muscle memory and gain self-confidence through her program. They learn that it's okay to fall down, as long as they get back up and keep trying until they get it right. It prepares them for other sports in high school, promotes a healthier lifestyle and gives them the skills to try other physically demanding activities in the future. Her students presently range in age from four to 15 years old.

   On Feb. 25-26 this year, Hill and Ord Gymnastics did something that has never been done before.

   "I decided to step out of my comfort zone and host Ord's very first gymnastics meet in the OHS gym," she commented.

   They came from Lincoln, Beatrice, Adams, Plattsmouth, Holdrege, Norfolk, Republican City, Columbus, Neligh, Oakland and Corning, IA. It brought in 298 visiting gymnasts and their families, represented 12 separate gyms, four judges, and brought at least 1,200 people into town. They stayed in Ord's motels, purchased gas, ate in area restaurants and shopped at local stores. It was a huge boost to the local economy and a very successful Gymnastics Meet. Ord's own Abian John gained a First Place with an All-Around score of 33.8.

   "I feel really honored that I was able to bring this to Ord," Hill stated. "I wanted the kids to be able to experience gymnastics. A lot of friendships are formed here. They support one another and cheer each other on. They begin to learn that they aren't competing against other kids, they're competing against the perfect gymnastics routine. I'm just as proud of the kids who are first learning gymnastics as I am with my competitors."

   To read the complete story on Ord Gymnastics, pick up the March 22 edition of The Ord Quiz.

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