by Terence Baker | December 01, 2003

"Baton twirling is an artistic sport, similar to gymnastics... Organizing the championships is the most rewarding part of my job."

Sandi Wiemers is president of the Copiague, N.Y.-based U.S. Twirling Association (, dedicated to the sport of baton twirling. Wiemers is in charge of national events, including a biennial convention and a national championships event held every July. She lives and works in Clay Center, Kan.

How do the national championships work? Baton twirling is an artistic sport, very similar to gymnastics. Athletes compete in individual events, twirling either one, two or three batons. The freestyle competition involves more gymnastics and dance elements, and there also are events for pairs. Organizing the championships is the most rewarding part of my job.

What has been your biggest challenge? Often team coaches block multiple hotel rooms and then sell those rooms far too late, which results in others not being able to get into the block. To combat the problem, we usually set our cutoff date fairly early.

Is there a world championships? Yes, but I do not organize any of those events. At the U.S. trials next March, three athletes will be selected for the World Baton Twirling Championships, which will be held in Osaka, Japan, in summer 2004; the U.S. team will be defending its title.

Do you have time to spend with your family? I do. I met my husband in fourth grade, and we now have three children and four grandchildren, with one more expected in January. I hope it’s a girl; all the others are boys. -- JONATHAN VATNER