Rushmore Invitational brings all-around excitement for gymnasts while keeping interest alive in the Black Hills region


Screenshot 2023 02 26 195653RAPID CITY, S.D.– From vault, uneven bars, beam, and floor routines athletes came to the Barnett Fieldhouse Saturday and Sunday for the Rushmore Invitational Gymnastics Meet, marking 40 years of club gymnasts gathering in the Black Hills for competition. Co-owner of Just Jymnastics Tracy Ponto explains more about the event and its importance.

What is the Rushmore Invitational?

The Rushmore Invitational is an annual gymnastics meet in Rapid City and the largest of its kind in Western South Dakota. This year, 450 athletes representing six states including South Dakota came together for competition. “It is great to bring in gymnasts from such a large area and it is great for our kids. We have to travel a long ways to get to meets every year. So it is wonderful to have a home meet for our own competitors,” Ponto explained. Athletes from other states include: Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. “We just have private clubs that have [to] do all different levels of gymnastics from kids that are five years old all the way up through graduating seniors.”

How important are club gymnastics programs in the area?

For Rapid City residents and people in the surrounding areas, the club programs are all there are in terms of opportunities to get involved with the sport. Earlier this month, Rapid City Area Schools removed gymnastics from their list of sponsored sports. The programs in the area help anyone wishing to start or continue in the sport. “Gymnastics teaches a ton of great skills, you know, time management, how to love, exercise, how to learn what your body does and you know how to be proud of yourself after you accomplish things,” she said. “And it just helps them with so many different sports. And then a few of the kids just learn to love it and want to keep doing that. Our goal is for any kids in our program, if they want to compete in college, that we can get them there.”

Where can I sign up my children for gymnastics classes?

To get your children registered for classes or to join one of the teams through Just Jymnastics, check out their website. Classes begin in September and run through May. To see the results from the Rushmore Invitational Meet, click here.

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