A final show
This year's team could be the last traveling jump and after school
group. Jarlath Mortenson is retiring, but would love to help someone else continue the program.
Mortenson to retire from jump program
by Janet Montgomery
March 7, 2009
Ropin’ Wranglers bounced and jumped and twisted to tunes last Wednesday in the groups final demonstration of the year, and maybe forever as Jarlath Mortenson is hanging up her rope for the traveling and after school jumping programs.
While Mortenson will still be Pinedale Elementary School’s Health and Physical Education teacher as well as continue to produce the annual American Heart Associations Jump Rope for Heart program, the Ropin’ Wranglers traveling and after school activity needs a new volunteer coordinator.
"It could keep going," Mortenson said. "I’d be there to help."
But for Mortenson, she said it was time.
"When you lose that sort of pizzazz, it’s time to change direction," she said, adding that many things have contributed to her decision to retire from the traveling team and after school program which she started 11 years ago with just a few jumpers.
Before the program, Mortenson had sought out a way to teach athletics for the elementary-age students.
"I wanted to contribute to high school and middle school athletics but without being sports specific," she said. "And I wanted to teach them to be volunteers. … A community doesn’t function without a huge family of everybody pitching in."
The Ropin’ Wranglers started with a group of six jumpers and has had as many as 72 signed up to participate in one of three groups: Local Events Only (LEO), Travel Only Days (TOD), and Travel Over Night (TON).
This year’s fifth-grade members of the jump team graduate from the elementary activity to middle school sports next with the six of them- Lilian Jensen, Izzie Wills, Danielle Blankenship, Alexis Cabrera, Jordan Costello, Maeve Paulson and Olivia Pape- were recognized for their work as Ropin’ Wranglers.
And with the saying so long to the fifth graders, the group also said their good-byes to Mortenson.
Over the years, the jumpers have traveled thousands of miles, visiting nearly every county in Wyoming, with the exception of Niobrara County, to demonstrate their jumping skills.
During Wednesday’s assembly, all of this year’s Ropin’ Wranglers showed off their skills with individual and group jumps as well as touted the message of the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program that says staying healthy is as easy as 1-2-3 "eat healthy stuff, move around enough (exercise) and live tobacco free."
This year’s fund raising efforts from the Pinedale Elementary Students brought in an unofficial total of $7,500 for the AMA.
Story and photos by Janet Montgomery.