Hall of Fame

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CAROL BENZ – Boise, Idaho

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013
  • A parent volunteer and USTA’s “unsung hero”
  • Worked behind the scenes to develop a computer program that touches every athlete, parent, coach, contest director and judge who participates in USTA competitions
  • Customized the program for 17 states, all five USTA regions, the U.S. National Baton Twirling Championships, the U.S. Pre-Trials, the U.S. Trials, the International Cup and the World Baton Twirling Championships
 
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BARB BIRO – Avon, Ohio

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013
  • Coached many state, regional and national champions
  • Founded the award-winning Biro’s Blazers in 1969
  • The group performed at high profile events in the U.S. and around the world
  • USTA Level II Certified Coach and Pre-Trials Judge
 

ANN BITTENBENDER – New Carrollton, Maryland (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Served USTA as a Board member,  U.S. Technical Advisor and Chair of the Technical Committee
  • Pioneer in the development and implementation of the USTA competition system known as the “set system”
  • Former World Technical Advisor Chair, instrumental in the development of the U.S. Trials and World Championships as we know them today
  • Coach of national and world champions, including the unprecedented four-time World Champion Team from Italy
 
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SHARON CAMPBELL – San Jose, California (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013
  • Founded the award-winning Brentwood Majorettes and Drum Corps in 1958 in Maryland and the Valley Baton Club in 1980 in California
  • Coached many state, regional, national and international champions
  • California Baton Council Board member, secretary, vice president and president
  • USTA board member, secretary, national contest director
  • Cofounder of the National Coalition for the Advancement of Baton Twirling in 2008
 
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Anabel Clark – Port Jefferson, New York

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013
  • Coached many state, regional, national and international champions
  • Founded the award-winning Clarkettes in 1968
  • Hosted baton twirling competitions for more than 40 years
  • USTA Certified Coach and Level III Judge
 

JACK CRUM – Monterey, Tennessee

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998
  • Served USTA as President, Executive Director, Board member and Chair of Judge's Association
  • First U.S. Representative to the World Baton Twirling Federation
  • Coach of state, regional and national champions
  • President of Star Line Baton Company
  • Philanthropist to many USTA and WBTF programs and projects
 

JOYCE DALTON – Centerville, Ohio

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998
  • Served USTA as President from 1986-1996, Board member, member of U.S. Technical Committee and Judges’ Commission
  • Past U.S. Representative to the World Baton Twirling Federation
  • Coach of state, regional and national champions
  • Former director of the Daltonettes Musical Corps
  • Owner of the Joyce Dalton Dance & Baton Studio
 

BARBARA MONTE DE REY DOCKTER – Diamond Springs, California

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Served USTA as a Board member, Public Relations and Media Coordinator, Director of the first USTA Western Regional competition
  • Past President of California State Council
  • Former Technical Director for the British Baton Twirling Sports Association
  • Coach of state, regional, national and world champions
 

STARR EVANS – Houston, Texas (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Former USTA Grand National 2-Baton Champion
  • Served USTA as a Board member, National Contest Director for 15 years, Director of the South Central Regional Championships and Texas State Championships
  • Past President of the Texas State Council
  • Coach and mentor to many state, regional, national and world competitors, including her daughter Starr Shephard
 

CARRIE JERGER – Anchorage, Alaska

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Served USTA as a Board member, Chair of the Judges’ Commission,  developed the first-ever USTA Judges Manual, Chair of the Coaches Commission, edited the current Level I and Level II Coaches Manuals
  • Past President of Alaska State Council
  • Director of the Alaskanette Baton Corps, which has won many national championships and performed around the world
  • President of Star Line Baton Company
  • Philanthropist to many USTA and WBTF programs and projects
 

CHET JONES – Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Served USTA as a Board Member, Judges Chair, National Contest Director, contributed to the USTA rule book, judges and coaches manuals
  • Founder and CEO of Twirl Sport International, also known as the American Baton Twirling Institute, established in 1960
  • Selected as an ITTI clinic staff member and traveled for 25 years to 64 countries teaching twirling
  • Coach of many state, regional, national and world champions
  • Coach of many state, regional, national and world champions
  • First World Technical Advisor and authored the Rules and Regulations for Compulsories and Freestyle for the World Baton Twirling Federation
  • Director of Baton Hawaii
 

JOHN KIRKENDALL – Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • One of the original founders of USTA
  • First Editor of Twirl Magazine
  • Principal founder and first President of the World Baton Twirling Federation
  • Practiced law for 20 years and served as a probate judge for 19  years
 

BOBBIE MAE – Chicago, Illinois (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • One of the original founders of USTA
  • Contributed many years of dedicated service to the sport of baton twirling and the success of USTA
  • Outstanding twirler and inspirational coach
  • Owned Show-Off Costume Company and designed costumes for twirlers, skaters, dancers and singers
 

NICK MICHALARES – Bloomington, Indiana (Deceased)

  • Inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1998
  • One of the original founders of USTA, long-time Board member and first Chair of Judges’ Association
  • Deemed the first “Golden Girl” at Purdue! (Then switched his allegiance and twirled at Indiana University.)
  • Performed at I.U. homecomings for many years
  • Coached fulltime for many years in 44 schools in southern Indiana
  • Former owner of M & M Trophy Company in Bloomington
 

FRED J. MILLER – Centerville, Ohio (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003
  • One of the original founders and first President of USTA
  • Former Director of Miller’s Blackhawks who established a record unequalled in the twirling world by winning the National Championship every year from 1956 through 1968
  • Coach of many state and national champions
  • President of Fred J. Miller, Inc., which manufactures uniforms and equipment for drum corps, color guards and marching bands
  • Daughter Mary Lynn and his twin sons Mark and Mike, as well as wife Marlene (a USTA icon in her own right) also work for the company
 

NORA SEPOTZ – Seattle, Washington (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998
  • Served USTA as office staff member for 15 years and head of national tabulation staff for more than 25 years
  • Devised the manual tab sheets and set up many of our tab procedures still in place today
  • Nora was involved in baton twirling because of her niece who twirled. She was never a coach or a judge, but she attended every northwest contest and volunteered her services as a tabulator.
 

MERL SMITH –Naples, Florida (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Served USTA as a member of the Judges’ Association, drafting its original rules and regulations
  • Merl was an innovator, directly and indirectly involved with many firsts in the twirling and marching band world
  • One of the original owners of Star Line Baton Company
  • Founded the nation’s first baton club and baton twirling camp, which became the  legendary Smith Wallbridge Camp, which trained thousands of twirlers as well as drum majors, color guards and drill teams
 

TUDY SMITH – Sharpsville, Indiana

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 
  • Served USTA as three-time President and National Contest Director
  • Served in many capacities as an officer of the Indiana Council
 

TOM VEENENDALL – Montclair, New Jersey (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993
  • Served USTA as President from 1976-1985, Editor of Catch It! Magazine, National Contest Director and Chair of the Judges  Association
  • Past U.S. Representative to the World Baton Twirling Federation
  • Coached many state, regional and national competitors
  • Former professor of Communication at Montclair State College in New Jersey
 

GEORGE WALLBRIDGE – Syracuse, Indiana (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008
  • One of the original founders of USTA
  • Founded the International Twirling Teachers Institute (ITTI) which offered clinics and conventions throughout the world to help twirling professionals improve their skills
  • Founder, original owner and President of Star Line Baton Company
  • Instrumental in the foundation of the World Baton Twirling Federation in 1977
 
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MIKE WALSH – Brentwood, New York (Deceased)

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013
  • Founded The Sparklers, one of the nation’s largest and most successful twirling organizations, in 1974
  • Trained hundreds of recreational and champion twirlers throughout Long Island
  • The Sparklers have performed at the New York State Capitol and Madison Square Gardens and around the world
  • Honored by the Suffolk County Girl Scouts and Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame
 

FRANCES WHITLEY – Con Can, Texas

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Served USTA as a Board member, National Contest Director,
  • U.S.  Trials and U.S. PreTrials, U.S. Technical Advisor and
  • Vice Chair of the WBTF Technical Committee, Co-chair of the U.S. Technical Committee, Chair of the Essentials Commission,  instrumental in the development  of the Competitive/Achievement Program
  • Coach of many state, regional, national and world champions
  • Past President Texas State Council
 
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SANDI WIEMERS – Clay Center, Kansas

  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013
  • USTA Certified Coach, Master Judge and Master Judge Clinician
  • USTA President for 12 years, Board member for 20 years
  • Positioned USTA as a respected and professional sports organization
  • President of the World Baton Twirling Federation (WBTF)
  • Increased the credibility and visibility of baton twirling as a legitimate international sport
 
 
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