What a tournament! Loanne and I left at 3:30 am on Wednesday morning heading to Springfield airport. Our flight left at 6:25 am and flew into O'Haire airport in Chicago. We made good time and met up with Ms. Olivia Rosado at O'Haire and had lunch before our flight into Calgary, AB. This is where the trip got good! We went through customs and got our first ever stamp in our passport. From there we went across the street to get our rental car from enterprise. Apparently their elevators in big cities have touch screens and you just hit what rental car you reserved and it takes you to the appropriate level.
So we got our car and off we went - in circles! LOL! We eventually got going in the right direction and got to Lethbridge, AB. Found our hotel and checked in. About that time the rest of Eastern TN showed up! Haha! We met Master Darin Gibson that evening at dinner. He was our tournament host for this event. He also let us use his TKD school two mornings in a row to warm up and get moving after the long trip.
On Thursday afternoon we got to go to Waterton which was about an hour and a half away from Lethbridge right on the US boarder. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The tournament kicked off Saturday with a wonderful opening ceremony. There where many masters and grand masters there including Grand Master C. K. Choi. He is one of the 12 original TKD masters who opened the first TKD school in Vancouver in 1970. We also got to meet many different people. We adopted the Aussies! We love their chant they do when they get excited - Ozzie, ozzie, ozzie, ozzie, oi! (etc it keeps going). Loanne and I had an extremely hard time keeping our accent straight after being around Canadian, British, and Australian people. In fact we failed multiple times and you might here a a weird twang from us if we get excited on Friday during class! LOL!
During the competition team USA did VERY WELL! There were many medals taken home by USA. I'm very proud to say that NAMA took home 4 of those! Dominic Giles placed 1st and 1st, Tyler Duncan placed 1st in patterns, and Loanne Harper placed 3rd in sparring. Now the competition was very different from normal CTF tournaments we attend. For patterns they had to perform the pattern multiple times because there would be 2 competitors called up. Then they would perform and the judges would "point" to the winner of that match. This continued on until the final round for 1st and 2nd. So Dominic and Tyler did their pattern 3 to 5 times! Then all juniors sparring was continuous. So that meant instead of stopping and calling points they just kept going while the judges clicked on their clickers counting points for red and blue players.
Monday morning we left at 2:30 am! We had to drive back into Calgary, AB to turn in our rental car and get back through customs. After that Loanne and I had to run to our plane because we almost didn't make it because of the customs line! After boarding we had to wait an hour because it decided to have a freak snow and they had to de-ice the plane. After landing an hour late into Denver, CO we had to run from gate 32 to 57! Thank God above for those flat escalators! Using those we ran on them to go faster and caught our next flight. WHEW! We made it to Springfield and then back home later that afternoon.
What a trip!
PS. I will be posting competition videos soon! ;)
Jessica Thelen & Adam Willis.