Zumba in the Room-ba: Close, but no cigar for Guinness

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Vibrant yellow, pink and orange shirts light up the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex as men and women from the community line up on every five yard line to the 50 yard line of the football field to Zumba. Zumba in the Room-ba director Jennifer Bagley reads off the checklist to make sure everyone is ready to attempt breaking the Guinness World Record of largest Zumba class, which stands at 1,223 people, according to guinnessworldrecords.com.

Zumba instructor, Jamie Gilpin, sings along as he among other instructors lead the group through the morning Zumba session. Photo by Jason Brown

The participants work in a couple more quick stretches before Bagley screams out “Let’s shake it!”

Then the music begins.

Last Saturday, Jan. 21, 525 people (counting Max the Griffon) made an appearance at the 2nd Annual Zumba in the Room-ba, which was an increase from a total 498 at last year’s event. Unfortunately, 525 was not enough to break the existing record.

“I wish we would’ve set the Guinness, but that’s cool that we at least beat our record from last year,” student Hannah Strasser said. “We’ll just keep getting better, hopefully.”

Although St. Joseph did not break the Guinness World Record, it is still recorded as a personal best at 525, which also led to raising around $10,000 for the YWCA Choices Program (which focuses on issues facing adolescent girls and helps the girls to increase their life skills and to make good life choices) and Western Women’s Athletics.

Wendy Hickman, who works for the Choices Program, was very pleased with how the event turned out.

“I thought it was great; it was fun, it was energetic and everybody seemed to be having a good time — and it was all for a good cause,” Hickman said.

Hickman also said the donations going toward the Choices Program will help by allowing speakers to come and talk to the girls involved in it.

Not only did the Choices Program benefit from the event, however.

After dancing the Zumba for a straight hour, the instructors and contestants were undoubtedly gleaming with sweat and sporting smiles. Strasser, who couldn’t make it to Zumba in the Room-ba last year, enjoyed the event.

“It was really fun,” Strasser said. “All the instructors did really well.”

There were a lot more instructors this year, and Zumba leaders, like Jaclyn Ziesel, were really looking forward to Zumba in the Room-ba this time around.

“It was awesome, we were so excited to do it,” Ziesel said. “Coming from doing it from last year, we were for sure we wanted to do it.”

Although the event is over for this year, Hickman is already looking to the future.

“I’m looking forward to next year.”

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