‘Coach Blondie’ Tumble and Cheer Sees Great Success in New Venture

coach-blondieFAIRMOUNT CITY, Pa. (EYT) – When she graduated from college, Amber Kimmel saw an opportunity.

When the Revolution Gymnastics building in Brookville was up for sale, Kimmel had aspirations to open a cheerleading gym of her own.

“It had always been my dream to open a gym,” 33-year-old Kimmel told exploreClarion.com. “At the time I was like, ‘Oh, I want to buy it,’ and then I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t the right time.’ So, I passed on it.”

It turned out Kimmel was not destined to open her gym in Brookville. However, she did not give up on her dream.

Now, Kimmel, apart from working at a cheerleading uniform business, is the owner of Coach Blondie Tumble and Cheer, a tumbling and all-star cheerleading gym located in Fairmount City.

Cheerleading Background

A lifelong practitioner of cheerleading, Kimmel explained she started coaching when she graduated Keystone High School.

During her college years, first at Clarion University for undergrad and then Edinboro for a Masters degree, Kimmel worked for National Cheerleaders Association, traveling across the country to manage cheer camps.

“I’ve been in that realm for 15 years,” she said, “whether it be as an assistant coach, a head coach – you know, youth ages clear up to collegiate level.”

Kimmel has coached at Clarion Area High School, C-L High School, Thiel College, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“When I was still coaching, I was getting to a point I was being asked to do choreography camps, teaching kids choreography,” she said. “That’s where I like to think the business started.”

Kimmel has also judged United States All Star Federation competitions as a legality judge.

Coach Blondie Tumble and Cheer

In late 2019, feeling the regret of not having bought Revolution Gymnastics when she could, Kimmel decided to take fateful first steps.

“I decided, ‘Let’s get something started,'” she said, “and started with two 6 by 30-foot mats.”

The name came easily.

“I’ve always had kids call me Coach Blondie for obvious reasons, but I said, ‘Ok, I’m going to call myself Coach Blondie,'” Kimmel explained.

She opened her first, small-scale tumbling gym inside Tri-County Health and Fitness in New Bethlehem.

To say Kimmel was successful from the get-go would be an understatement.

“The day I had tumbling sign-ups, and I tell everyone this, my classes filled up in less than twenty minutes,” she said with excitement. “We had sign-ups in November of 2019, and my classes started January of 2020. Just to think twenty minutes and then boom, I was already booked.”

With 13 students split between three classes, the gym did have to close for the COVID-19 pandemic, though that was only for a couple of months.

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In August of last year, Kimmel decided it was time to expand.

She developed an idea to create competitive cheer teams, which morphed into the three all-star cheer teams Kimmel coaches today, the Ash, Platinum, and Pearl teams.

Pearl is the novice team, Platinum is an intermediate-level team, and Ash is composed of Kimmel’s most advanced students.

Named after different shades of blonde-colored hair, these three cheerleading teams began competing last year in various regional cheerleading tournaments.

More teams meant more kids, and what started as 13 students has now become 57 between the three cheer teams and tumbling class.

Kimmel also needed a bigger space, and she upgraded from the small 6 by 30-foot mats, which were located in the weight room of Tri-County Health and Fitness, to an 18 by 42-foot spring floor and their own room in the gym.

However, the largest upgrade came in July of this year. Having the ability to rent a bigger space, Kimmel secured a 42 by 42-foot room inside a warehouse in Fairmount City, a massive improvement.

“Do you know how difficult it is to adjust going from an 18×42, and now you’re going to a 54×42 area,” which she explained is the size of the competition space. “You’re thinking, ‘Where do I stand?’ because I’m so used to this small area.”

“Constantly Building Their Confidence

Along with her two assistant coachers, Chelsea Davenport and Madison Nugent, Kimmel operates her gym under the motto of “Constantly Building Their Confidence.”

“The girls have to get confident and feel confident because that’s what pushes that aggressiveness,” Kimmel said.

Her teams will need a competitive attitude if they hope to reach their goals.

Kimmel explained both the Ash and Platinum teams hope to compete at “The One,” a national cheerleading competition that will be next held in late March at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.

They will have to earn a bid to go to the tournament by qualifying at certain other competitions later this year and next year.

Though reaching The One is important, Kimmel said the atmosphere during class is positive and uplifting.

“I cannot get the kids to leave!” she exclaimed. “That environment here in itself. I really think we create that loving and positive environment here.”

Classes are focused on progression and seeing kids mature grow as people. Kimmel’s favorite coaching moments come when her students first learn a new skill or trick.

“Hands down, it is those smiles I see from kids when they get something,” she said. “Seeing that child progress with their confidence, I get to witness that during practice.”

To build team cohesiveness, she makes sure accomplishments like those are celebrated by the whole group, emphasizing that cheerleading is a team sport and not an individual endeavor.

Future Goals

Because of her new location, Kimmel sees more expansion as a definite possibility, adding more practice rooms and classes.

She will do some of that next year, as she is starting a hip-hop dance team called “Ice.”

“We’ve had a lot of request for it, and I have a young lady that would be an amazing hip-hop coach,” Kimmel said.

As a five- to ten-year goal, Kimmel wants to have her teams compete at The Summit, the premier cheer competition in the nation.

“Think of ESPN down at Disney World with the best of the best of the country,” she said. “Getting the opportunity to go, that says ‘Hey we’re moving up.'”

For now, though, it is one step at a time.

Though cheer sign-ups are over for the year, and she has a waitlist for tumbling classes, Kimmel encouraged those interested to visit her Facebook page to keep up.

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