Dance coach Debbie Connor has wanted to do this kind of routine for years.  She's had the vision in her head and, this year, finally got to rev the engine and see it brought to life on the floor.  And the new "Biker Babe" hip hop dance routine by the Daviess County Pantherettes is paying off big time.  The squad swept the KDCO 3rd Regional competition this weekend in Ohio County and looks poised to make a serious bid for the state title.

The Pantherettes (coached by Debbie Connor and her daughter Kendal) took top honors in Varsity Hip Hop Large Division and Varsity Pom Large Division.  They also claimed Best Costume and the most coveted prize of the day, Grand Champions.  The Grand Champion trophy is awarded to the squad with the highest combined scores of the day across all divisions.  To be eligible for Grand Champion, a squad must compete in at least two different disciplines.

And while we would love to show you the video of the Pantherettes' routine, Coach Connor wants to save it until the girls compete at the state tournament February 22nd in Frankfort.  After seeing the routine Saturday, I don't blame her.  It is flippin' awesome and it is going to be a real contender.  Here's a little taste of what the girls are bringing to the floor.

But the Pantherettes weren't the only squad with smiles on their faces Saturday.  The Owensboro Lady Devils were thrilled too.  They qualified for the state tournament for the very first time and they did it in THREE different disciplines.  Take a look at their Open routine, which must include at least two different styles of dance.  Their choreographer, Ashley Ayer, is a former Rockette and her influence definitely shows in this routine.  LOOK!

Big shout out to Paul Strahan for filming the Lady Devils in action.  Oh, and that Bruno Mars music mix is kicking.  I wonder who put that together?

And what about the host squad?  The coaches of Ohio County High School freely admit that they have historically had a struggling team.  But this year, on their home turf in front of a home crowd, the Lady Eagles rose to the occasion in the JV competition and took out their rivals, Daviess County's JV squad, not once, but twice!  The Eaglettes truly wrote their own Cinderella story this past weekend and it was awesome to watch!  At the end of the day, they had snagged three first place trophies total.


Another shout-out goes to the squad from Daviess County Middle School.  That team always works hard and rocks it out at competition.  In fact, their scores are routinely high enough to topple a bunch of high school teams and they honestly compete on that level.  On the dance floor this squad defies age.  But what I loved most about yesterday's performances from D.C.M.S. was the inclusion of 7th grader Ellis Birkhead, the only male dancing at the Regional Tournament.  And this kid rocked.  In many ways, he was the star of his squad.  Not just because he was the only male on the floor, but because the kid can truly bust a move.  He danced in step with the girls when he needed too and pulled off to the side to breakdance when the choreography called for it. I loved both the routines Daviess County Middle School presented and the judges did too.

And, finally, I have to recognize the ladies from John Hardin High School near Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  Brand new to the KDECO competition, the ladies came to Regionals as the sole team from the 5th Region of the state.  They had no real competition on the floor, but they also had no experience competing in this type of meet either.  But the ladies brought fire, determination and undeniable team spirit to their dances.  And when they realized they had earned a coveted trip to the state meet and were taking home two trophies, the girls rushed the stage, grabbed their hardware and smiled for the camera.

This, after all, is what team competitions are all about: practice, commitment, teamwork, friendship and finding thrill in victory and lessons in defeat.

Congratulations to ALL the teams who competed Saturday in Ohio County.  And to those who are moving on, we'll see you Saturday, February 22nd in Frankfort!

Here's the full list of squads who qualified for state . . .

Middle Schools
Daviess County
College View
Grayson Co.

High schools
Grayson Co.
Owensboro High
Daviess Co
Russell Co.
Owensboro Catholic
Barren Co.
John Hardin
Breckinridge Co.
Muhlenberg Co.
Todd Co. Central
Ohio Co. JV
Daviess Co. JV