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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Local athlete seeks support

Thursday, December 8, 2005

MYRTLE -- A local athlete, T'Ra Brockman from Myrtle, is asking the support of the community as she begins the long, arduous track to the 2012 Olympics in London, England.

Brockman is a fourth grade student at Couch Elementary school where she maintains a straight A average. She is is the daughter of Terry and Anita Brockman of Myrtle.

Her athletic career began at the age of 7 1/2 when she enrolled at Gina's Gymnastics in Thayer. Within the first year she competed at three levels, advanced beginners, intermediate and advanced tumbling. She won first place at all three competitions.

Her second year at Gina's brought more challenge when she joined the All Stars competition cheerleading squad. The All Stars performed at schools in the area, participated in six parades in surrounding towns and won fourth place in the Nationals at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"The highlight of T'Ra's year was on New Year's Eve when she became the youngest cheerleader to perform during halftime at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis," her mother said. "In the middle of a huge football stadium, surrounded by over 70,000 cheering fans, our tiny little girl's light shined the brightest."

Regina Stevens, owner and coach at Gina's Gymnastics, thought there was something special about T'Ra and her gymnastic skills. She said she saw for her an Olympic future.

"Regina knew that our pride would someday become America's pride and at that point in time recommended we enroll her in Olympic training with Olympic coaches. It was a tearful goodbye to leave Gina's, but T'Ra knew that because of the amount of hours and dedication to training at the Olympic level, there would be no time left for cheerleading," her mother said.

After her initial evaluation at the Junior Olympic Gym, her new coach decided to place her on a level five competitive team, forgoing a year of pre-team and a year of level four. Now, after six months and about 1,000 hours of training this competitive season, she will be competing in six competitive meets throughout Missouri and Arkansas.

"Her Olympic coaches are confident that her skill level, competitive spirit and hard work will put her on the winner's platform," her mother said.

The very first day at the Olympic gym her dad commented as both parents watched her from the parents' viewing room, "Our little girl is in her element. All we can do now is support her with our love and watch as all her goals and dreams come true."

T'Ra and family moved here six years ago from Arizona. Anita said they came here on vacation, fell in love with the area and decided this is where they wanted to raise their little girl. Both parents are retired. Terry drives a school bus at Myrtle and substitute teaches part time. Anita drives T'Ra two hours a day, five days a week to and from gymnastics practice in West Plains.

The Brockmans are not a wealthy family and are inviting the community as friends and neighbors into their lives to share in their daughter's Olympic gymnastic career and future. "We are asking for community support, prayers of good health and good wishes. Any donations will go toward the financing of each competition. As a supporter, they will receive an 8-inch by 10-inch picture of T'Ra in her competition leotard, and each month I will send a letter to keep everyone informed on each competition, how she scored, upcoming events and new pictures from each meet," Anita said.

"Along with the donation we ask that the contributors send us a line or two telling us a little about yourself. We will be collecting inspirational stories, and we would like to know what inspired people to become a supporter," Anita said.

Donations may be made to: T'Ra Brockman, RR 1 Box 228, Myrtle, MO, 65778. Anita asks that anyone responding please enclose a return mailing address.

T'Ra's first meet will be Dec. 9 in Fayetville, Ark., and the last meet of the season will be state competition in St. Louis March 17 and 18.

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