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Age just a number for 88-year-old baton twirler

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Posted at 10:29 PM, Jun 14, 2024

ROCKWALL, Texas (KTVT) — An 88-year-old North Texas woman is marching to her own beat with a baton in hand.

Having twirled for eight decades, Jeannie Strain is still going strong, proving age is just a number when it comes to doing something you love.

"I learned to twirl when I was seven years old with a used baton that my daddy found somewhere," Strain said. "I then learned how to twirl from one of the next-door neighbors and I just loved it from the very start!"

Miss Jeannie quickly went from being a student to teaching twirling clinics at schools like SMU and Baylor University. Sheopened her own studio called Calico Kids in Garland, teaching tricks and life lessons to twirlers all over North Texas.

She now runs CK Studios in Rockwall.

"I love to twirl, but I also love for people to have a good life even more," Strain said. "They learn discipline, and they learn to continue to practice … to keep going even if it's impossible."

(NOTE: CBS News Texas reporter Amelia Mugavero was also one of Strain's many students, taking lessons from her starting at just 4 years old and continuing as a feature twirler in high school and college.)

Former student Kim Woods was taught by Jeannie at age 3. Both are now twirling side-by-side decades later in their adult twirl group called "Twirl Fun."

"It's part of her love, twirling," Woods said. "Her contagious infectious personality. She's always positive and just comes naturally to her. I'm always trying to take some of that with me in whatever I do in life."

The group of women who are on "Twirl Fun" range in age from 40-88. They spend their time practicing at least once a week and then showing off their skills at nursing homes, parades, and patriotic performances.

Strain says the groups bond is formed by their love of batons and friendship. She adds that anyone can be an athlete at any age if it brings you joy.

"Whatever you love, try to continue it. If it's baton twirling or tap dancing, or whatever, it doesn't matter. Just do what you love and keep doing it."