High energy and lowrider trucks: UCA's Shindig in the Valley 2019

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Fancy Free Cloggers traveled to Maggie Valley, NC for our first competition of the year. Things have changed a bit since we last clogged at the Stompin’ Ground; Shindig in the Valley is now part of the United Clogging Association circuit. This means a different rule set, different group of competitors, and a new vibe.

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Like most of our longer clogging travels, this road trip began at Molly’s house and included lunch and a stretch break at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. We each made an unsurprising purchase; a book for me, spices/seasonings for culinary student Molly, and tea for Sabrena.

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A new addition to this road trip was an enthusiastic welcome and car unloading assist upon arrival. Myla, our newest FFC competition teammate, appointed herself the official team greeter. Thanks, Myla!

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How many people does it take to pull out this sofa bed? I cannot answer that, but I CAN tell you it takes more than these three cloggers + me + two hotel proprietors! They relocated us to a different room rather than fool with lugging a rollaway bed up the steps at a late hour.

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Busy weekend in Maggie Valley! Southeastern Mini Truck Nationals took over the festival grounds. Sabrena and I admired the mini trucks all lined up as we walked to get pre-competition coffee.

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I love both of these very different looks. Clearly, lots of work goes into the details of all these vehicles.

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About those different rules for a different organization….Oops! Turns out, UCA doesn’t allow props (um, our pom poms) in an exhibition routine, so we took a deduction for that. However, the pom poms are fine for exhibition per the rules of the other organizations we are competing in this year. Don’t worry, we already have a plan to alter the routine for UCA nationals in October!

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This most senior competitor in the male traditional solo brought style from head to toe!

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Speaking of style, FFC’s new traditional dresses blend right in with Blue Ridge Mountain Cloggers’ costumes.

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CLOGGING CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Dee Decker, creator of clogging memes, was in the building to compete with her Tangled Feet Stompers teammates. Check out the sidebar for links to the Tangled Feet Stompers and I Love Clogging Facebook pages to find her work!

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The Stompin’ Ground’s beautiful (but slippery) wood floor took a pounding as teams showed off their footwork. Organizers shuffled the schedule a bit to allow a few cloggers time to go home and get ready for the high school prom. Competing on your prom day shows serious clogging dedication!

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The venue doesn’t have private space to walk through a routine before taking it to the stage, so everyone slipped outside to warm up a routine or two. Our young solo dancers got a pep talk and last-minute tips in front of the iconic sign.

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Whitney won overall grand champion female traditional solo while wearing Evie’s clogging shoes. Coincidence? For a small fee, Evie may consider renting her magical footwear at future events, ha-ha. If your shoe size is in the ballpark of 6 1/2, you’d better get in line quick!

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Why does Dustin look happy, handsome, and nervous? He’s about to propose!

And his sweetheart said YES!!!

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FFC gets excited when we have other adult teams to dance against. Shout out to Southern Taps (TN) for bringing friendly competition (and cute outfits) to Shindig!

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Tangled Feet Stompers (NC) were a delight in the adult traditional line category. They don’t compete often, but we hope to run into them again at future events.

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Fancy Free’s biggest success was our Hee Haw show routine, which won overall in the variety category. This is the only routine with the entire competition team in it, and I’m glad we were all able to share in winning that trophy. Not that anyone was watching ME during this routine; the raccoon, dog, donkey, and cow stole the show!

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Molly celebrated her birthday during Shindig. Thank you to Matt for leading the crowd in singing after her solo! Madison and Evie gave Molly a custom birthday song in the bamboo after dinner:

Happy birthday to you,

You’re standing in bamboo!

We’ve all had a big day,

But this one’s for YOU!

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The lowrider trucks sent sparks flying and lights flashing after dark. The only “normal” vehicles in the hotel parking lot belonged to cloggers.

Special thanks to the gentleman who checked out the minor problem Evie had with her vehicle. At least it happened when she was surrounded by auto enthusiasts!

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Back home at FFC Studio, we had stories galore to share with the Tuesday night clogging class folks.

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Thanks for the memories, Shindig in the Valley 2019!

Do YOU have a story to share about Shindig 2019? Add it in the comments!

Congrats to the winners of the Dollywood Clogging Classic, which took place in Tennessee the weekend after Shindig.