When the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off on Nov. 25 in New York City, more than 100 jump rope athletes from across the country will participate in its pageantry.
Featured in the parade will be jumpers representing 25 teams from 21 states throughout the nation, including two from Franklin — Jacob Weatherford and Delaney Talbert, who are members of the Hot Shots of Tennessee competition team jump rope team based in Franklin.
This will be a return to the traditional parade throughout Manhattan, after last year’s virtual parade that kept the parade record intact during the pandemic. Organized by the Heartbeats Jump Rope Team in Cleveland, Ohio, the group will appear under the acronym JUMP (Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade). Jump Rope is a competition sport that has been featured on television on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” ESPN Sports, Fox Sports, and other programs.
According to a press release from Hot Shots, these outstanding athletes will showcase their talent in the Macy’s Parade alongside giant character balloons, celebrities, floats, marching bands, performance groups, and clowns. This will be the fifth time for this group to appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It will be the first time for athletes from the Hot Shots of Tennessee team to participate.
Jumpers will arrive in the Big Apple on Nov. 23 with much anticipation and excitement for the parade. This troupe of athletes will come together, not to sightsee or shop, but to practice. Jumpers will be performing many tricks and skills in unison as they jump their way along the parade route to the delight of visitors and New Yorkers who will line the streets 20 deep and fill windows and balconies along the streets overhead.
Starting from Central Park, the athletes will be jumping the entire 2.8-mile course that winds through New York City in front of a huge spectator crowd and millions of viewers of the NBC live telecast of the Parade. To jump the entire distance, the athletes have to be in peak physical condition. Months of practice will culminate with the cadenced steps that will be seen across the country live from New York City.
Coach Pam Evans of the Heartbeats team submitted the application to Macy’s for the Parade participation. There is a very competitive selection process, where only a very few performance groups are added to the parade each year by Macy’s. Members of the Heartbeats team designed and choreographed both the routine for the parade route and the NBC one-minute live television segment from Herald Square.
Athletes were invited from jump rope teams across the country to join the ensemble, each paying their own way to New York City. Included in the group will be many athletes who have earned recognition as national and international champions. All of the athletes have been practicing for months in their local community with their team to learn the routines, and prepare and build their endurance for the Parade.
Members of JUMP are male and female, ranging from 12 to 26 years old. Jump rope routines feature gymnastics and dance moves, all done while jumping a rope. Athletes build great foot skills, tremendous upper body strength, powerful endurance and superior coordination.
Broadcast nationally by NBC, the parade will begin at 9 a.m. (EST) Thanksgiving Day.