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A Day In The Life of a Baton Twirler

Posted on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 11:47 am

Some people spend their entire life trying to figure out what they are passionate about, but not 14 year old Madison Leckbee.

After spending time at a younger age doing all the things girls do, playing softball, soccer and dance classes, she decided to try her hand at baton twirling. Leckbee’s mom, Tami and sister, Georgie, had spent some time in high school twirling, so Leckbee attended her first clinic in the summer of 2012.

Being what she calls “mesmerized” after attending the camp, she has went full steam ahead since.

Leckbee’s talents of twirling isn’t something that comes without hard work, but is something that could possibly pay big dividends in the future. Not only has she won numerous trophies and competitions for her solo acts, she has also contributed to her twirling team, The Sugerettes, success by helping them win many trophies.

She is not stopping there, through networking and attending events on college campuses Leckbee has her sights on one of the many collegiate full ride scholarships that are given to these talented people to continue their passion.

Any athlete knows they can’t succeed without a great coach. Leckbee has nothing but praise for her coach, Holly James, who has taught her everything she knows.

In just six years, Leckbee has worked her way through the ranks of Novice, Beginner, currently at the second level of Intermediate, and is working toward the Advanced Level. Her status hasn’t come without hours upon hours of practice year round, not to mention the confidence that needs to be built in ones mind to go out in front of people and not be afraid to throw a baton or two in the air with a chance of not catching it. Along with the skill to twirl Leckbee adds the ability to be able choreograph some of her routines.

Elsberry High School Band is now benefiting from Leckbee’s talents as a twirler, but it has opened some doors for her also.

Last year, as an eighth grader, Leckbee performed with the EHS Band at the Mizzou Marching Band Competition and was noticed. She was then asked to comeback last month to participate in the Feature Twirler Day on Mizzou’s Faurot Field. Only 25 girls were given this honor in the State of Missouri.

“I was so honored to be chosen and I was so excited to be a part of the event,” said Leckbee.

When asked what is Leckbee’s motivating force behind her passion she had a couple responses. First, the more she practices and performs the more she craves it. Even though sometimes she is so wore out, her passion, leads her to be more relaxed about what she is trying to accomplish and wants more of the reward of succeeding.

Her second driving force and not necessarily in this order is the support she receives from her parents. My mom is there to push me when I don’t want to keep going, but always lifts me up no matter what. She is always there to help me better understand my goals in life and she will be there when I reach them.

She said her dad is an “awesome twirler Dad”. He takes her to practices, is crazy about twirlers and understands her passion. What tops it all off is performing and looking at them both in the audience with huge smiles on their faces.

Leckbee added, “Their love and admiration for me is the highlight of my life.”

Some of Leckbee’s accolades while being a member in the National Baton Twirlers Association, (NBTA) and American Youth on Parade, (AYOP) include being in the top 10 of solo routines for flag baton at Nationals this past summer at Notre Dame University; Ms. Majorette runner up at the competition in Carthage last year which allowed her to compete in solo activities at Nationals; and at the Twirltacular in Pigeon Forge, TN where Leckbee received all first places in solo routines.

Being the co-captain of her team has also allowed them to take home two top 10’s places in routines at Nationals and at the State contest the team received all first place in their categories which allowed the team to capture the “Major Sugar Smith Award”. Ironic is that this award is named for the mom of Leckbee’s coach; Smith was instrumental in shaping the NBTA in the State of Missouri.

Finally, Leckbee wanted to take the opportunity to thank the Elsberry School and community for giving her the opportunity to be part of the band and the encouragement people always bestow on her when she performs at various events.