Many third-and-sixth grade students spend their time playing with their friends or with a controller in their hands playing video games.
However, for Kinlee Bare and Prairie Smith, that life doesn’t exist. The two girls spend most of their free time in the gym, practicing the craft that they have come to love.
Kinlee and Prairie are gymnasts at Bounce Academy Gymnasium in Yukon. They are thriving in the sport.
Kinlee is a sixth-grade student at Yukon Middle School and Prairie is a third-grader who is homeschooled. Both live in Yukon.
The dynamic duo recently took their talents to Kansas City, Kansas, to compete in the Judges Competition National Gymnastics Meet. Kinlee took second in the 10-11 age group, while Prairie finished fourth in the 7-8 age group.
Kinlee and Prairie competed in the individual competitions as members of the OK All-Stars. Both girls competed in the vault, unbalanced bars, balance beam and floor routine.
Kinlee finished with a score of 8.675 in the vault, 9.325 in the unbalanced bars, 9.225 in the balance beam and 9.525 in the floor routine. She finished with a total score of 36.650.
Prairie scored an 8.625 in the vault, 9.250 in the unbalanced bars, 8.750 in the balance beam and 9.525 in the floor routine for a total score of 36.075.
“They were phenomenal that day,” OK All Stars and Bounce Academy coach Sam Rohr said. “They hit in all four competitions. They are powerhouses. We are lucky to get to work with young ladies that have the desire to work hard and be good. To see them put it all together was special. They make us look good. We just show them what to do. They go out and actually do it.”
Kinlee said she has been doing gymnastics since she was five-years-old.
“It was a struggle at first. It was hard but I kept getting better. Last year, I didn’t make it to the Judges Competition, but this year I did and it was a lot of fun.”
Prairie said she also started gymnastics at a young age.
“It was a lot of fun making it to nationals this year.”
They both said they started doing gymnastics because their family and friends did it.
“I was a little scared because it was such a big meet,” Kinlee said. “It was cool to see how everyone did everything.”
Prairie echoed her teammate’s comments.
“I was pretty nervous. The nerves went down when I started warming up, but they came back again when I started to perform.”
Kinlee and Prairie said they enjoyed going against the best in the country and they will learn from their first experience on the national stage.
“I want to keep moving up levels each year,” Kinlee said. “This was more intimidating than the regional meet. We have a similar meet in Florida coming up.”
That “similar” meet Kinlee is talking about is another national competition that will take place in February in Florida.
Both girls said they would rather be in the gym practicing than out playing with their friends.
“We enjoy being at the gym,” Prairie said. “We practice every day except the weekends. We like to practice.”