Cheer & tumbling gym coming to Blythewood

Joe and Michaela Gonzales celebrate the purchase of land for their new Blythewood gym. | Contributed

BLYTHEWOOD – A new cheer and dance facility is coming to Blythewood in August 2024. It’s the relocation and expansion of a gym in Elgin that currently houses The Tumble Tree recreational programs and Twisters All-Star Cheerleading.

“We love living in Blythewood. We love the small-town feel. Our kids grew up here playing recreational sports and going to school in this area, and I think it’ll be a great opportunity for kids here to get active,” says Michaela Gonzales, who has owned and operated the business for 15 years.

“Even if they don’t like cheer, we have dance classes, we have the open gym, and we’ll be offering some new programs as well.

“We’re thinking about doing some kid fitness classes… and just some opportunities for the kids and families in Blythewood to have some more kid-friendly programs out here instead of having to drive 20 to 30 minutes to do them somewhere else.”

Gonzales’ husband, Joe, is a Blythewood teacher and baseball coach.

She says she started the business inside local elementary schools when their kids were small, beginning at Lake Carolina Elementary and quickly expanding to four other schools.

“The classes at school are just very beginning and basic and fun, and we have a character development program where we really try to encourage teamwork and confidence and having fun while they’re trying their best. We didn’t want it to be competitive or anything,” Gonzales says.

“We did that for a year,” she said, “and then, after my second year, some of my parents were begging me to do competitive cheerleading because there wasn’t a lot of competitive cheerleading up in this area, so I took a jump and said we’d try it.”

She rented out space in a church gym for the competitive cheer program, she says, and 32 kids participated in the first season. By the next season, the number had more than doubled. So, she and her husband took a “big leap of faith” and rented out the current building in Elgin.

“That was 14 seasons ago,” Gonzales says. “This is our 14th season in that gym.”

Since then, the programs have grown on both the recreational and competitive side, ranging from show teams that perform in the community through various levels of competitive cheer, including teams that compete – and win – on the national level.

The kids who attend the programs range from preschoolers to high-schoolers – over 800 in total, including 330 in the after-school program, 250 in the recreational program, and 240 in the competitive cheer program.

The gym also offers all-day summer camps and similar activities when Richland Two schools are out for breaks, and there are 14 high school and middle school teams that train there. It also hosts events like birthday parties and parents’ night out events.

“It’s a special place,” Gonzales says. “Families get to know each other and end up being lifelong friends through the sport and traveling and being together through so many seasons and things like that.”

The gym has also been there long enough, she says, that she’s watched kids grow up in the program, participating in elementary cheer programs, then as junior camp counselors. Some go on to be high-school cheerleaders, and later, coaches.

“So, now we have a really close-knit coaching staff that grew up in the gym or they’ve worked here forever,” she says. “It’s a great group of young people.”

For Gonzales, the new facility in Blythewood represents the next leap of faith into the future.

She and her husband recently purchased the 3-acre site near Sandy Level Baptist Church and she says they’re currently in the permitting and design phase of construction.

The new gym will expand from four practice floors to six, and equipment like trampolines will be built into the floors. It will have high ceilings for stunting and will include rooms where parents can sit and observe their children through the glass.

“We’re super excited to be able to build it exactly how we want it,” she says of the planned 22,000-square-foot facility, which will be located approximately 20 minutes from the current location – a shorter drive for participants who live in Blythewood.

“We’re hoping the new location right off of I-77 will be a good fit,” she says. “We have people that come from Charlotte, Florence, Rock Hill, the Lexington area as well as Camden and Lugoff. We were trying to find a good location that kind of worked for everybody.”

Gonzales says the location in the Montgomery Ridge development will also be beside another recreational facility: Home Plate, a baseball and softball training facility – and she hopes that more recreational facilities will locate there in the future.

She says they expect to break ground on the new facility in December or January, with the opening in August of next year.

The new gym will be called Twister Nation.

A group uses the Twisters gym in Elgin. | Contributed

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]