OSAGE | A total of 25 dancers, their coach and nine chaperones from Osage traveled to Tampa, Fla., for a performance at the pre-game and half-time Outback Bowl shows on New Year’s Day.

The Osage Just For Kix Senior Kick team earned the honor following a first place finish at the United We Dance competition held in Waverly in March.

The Senior Kick Team was comprised of fifth - 10th grade students.

Once the team qualified, siblings and other dancers in the Just for Kix program were eligible to participate in the trip to Florida, which started on Dec. 28 and concluded on Jan. 3.

The dancers received a link to online choreography to practice at home prior to the trip.

Their program director and coach, Melinda Lee, held three group practices.

Once the dancers arrived they had a full week scheduled and planned.

The first day they had a one hour practice followed by four hours of practice each additional day, leading up to game day.

On the day of the Outback Bowl, they had an additional two-hour practice prior to heading to the stadium.

In addition to daily rehearsals, the dancers had several outings or events to attend.

Those activities and events included time at Clear Water Beach, Busch Gardens, a dinner cruise aboard the Yacht Starship, Disney and the Outback Bowl that featured the University of Iowa versus LSU.

With the honor came hard work to earn the $1,500 needed to participate in the show.

The dancers held several fundraising events and received support from Fox River Mills sock sale proceeds through the use of a special promotion code and from the County Line Locker in Riceville.

Lee said, “It has been amazing to watch this group of young ladies come together and work so hard for this goal.

“The support of the parents and community during our fundraising efforts was tremendous.”

According to Lee, there were too many memories to recall all of them, but “despite the rain on three of the days, each day was filled with memories, from the first time flying, to seeing the beach for the first time to bonding with nine other parents who helped chaperone.

“I think the one thing all the girls have expressed enjoying the most was performing at Raymond James Stadium in front of all those people. They all want to do it again.”

For Lee herself, she said the most memorable moment was having her daughter, Alyssa, be one of the 25 dancers from Osage.

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