Local athletes Connor Kraska and Hannah McClure did more than walk in the Tournament of Roses parade.
They jump roped the more than five-mile long route.
The two joined 38 other jumpers from around the country representing USA Jump Rope in the Jan. 1 parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Kraska, a 13-year-old from Westlake, had jumped in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade but said the crowd on Jan. 1 was more involved.
“It was a really good experience,” he said. “I would definitely do either parade again.”
McClure said all the practice beforehand paid off.
“Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous,” the 14-year-old from Colleyville said. “Probably because I knew that I had trained really well for it.”
To condition for the event, McClure rehearsed the routine via a YouTube video and would jump rope for about four miles several times a week.
“My mom and I went up and down the neighborhood streets and we just went for two or three hours,” she said.
Both children said when they tell people they jump rope competitively they’re met with confused faces until they explain more.
Both Kraska and McClure have practiced and competed in jump rope for years and both are part of the local team, the Jumpin Jammers. They compete in regional and national events that are broken into speed and freestyle categories.
Kraska prefers speed events where athletes compete to record the most jumps in a time limit.
“I love doing the speed portions of the single rope,” he said. “It's sort of relaxing, I guess. I just get to sort of clear my mind.”
Kraska holds a couple of speed records for his age group. The USA Jump Rope National record for 30 seconds with 178 jumps and the AAU Junior Olympics 1 minute record with 312 jumps.
McClure has a soft spot for the freestyle competitions where judges score routines featuring various move sets performed by single jumpers, pairs or larger groups.
“I really like doing the single tricks because they're really fun. You mix it up and make it different,” she said. “That's my chance to really show creativity and pairs you get to do it while working with a partner.”
Both Kraska and McClure said they have yet to reach their jump rope peak.
Krakas‘ is training on the side to make the USA national team and compete at the next level.
“I think I'll definitely take it through high school and college but afterward it's sort of one of those things that you can’t do all of your life, but if you can, its a great sport where you can do it all your life,” he said.
McClure said she wants to keep jump rope in her life and compete through college and maybe coach later.
“Jump rope really never leaves you,” she said.