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A history of Wheelchair Partner Stunt
October 28th 2008 Rick Rodgers has an accident at work which damaged his knees and lead to the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
July 2009 Rick begins to work on stunting again from his wheelchair.
February 2009 Rick gets his first wheelchair.
He now uses a wheelchair for much of his day to day activities.
It's come a long way since this 2009 video with Nic Salmon as the flyer
Meeting and working with Matt and Fiona (Unity athletes) was a big turning point in 2010
Ricks good friend Nathan Rouillard designed this awesome logo.
We put together a really fun routine, and performed in t-shirts that said "Worlds first Wheelchair Partner Stunt (probably)
We made a plan to compete at that years FC nationals.
They even gave us a trophy
But one of the best moments was meeting with Kenny Feely, 'spring - cheer, dance, tumbling'. He taught us how to Cupie during the warm-up, saying Rick would want that picture on his wall (he still has it there).
Here's the only video we have of that routine (no-one recorded it from the floor for us, at least that we have a copy of)
Fiona was already competing with Unity out there that year so I had to find another flyer as she couldn't do "double duty". It was a sad parting but I started working with the super sassy Viv Mendoza, with Jayme as my backspot since by then we'd worked out better ways to stunt and i'd built my strength enough not to need so much help.
Kenny, and his partner Lisa, had been so inspired by what we achieved at that competition that they wanted the rest of the world to see us. They managed to get us invited out to showcase at the ICU and USASF World championships in April 2011.
Worlds 2011 was amazing, we met so many wonderful people, many of whom are still supportive of us today.
We also performed at FC nationals again that year.
What's very exciting is that they gave us medals for our performance and dedication to the sport, It was the first time the word "ParaCheer" was coined.
And we got to Paris for the European Opens competition there too, again thanks to Kenny and Lisa
We got invited back to Worlds in 2012. Wearing uniforms sponsored by Spirit Fever. We performed to a packed out hall because of the hype generated by the year before and our social media presence on the lead up to the competition.
Later in 2012 Rick got the honour of carrying the Paralympic torch. He did so after being nominated because of his cheerleading activities.
He also performed in the Paralympic Games opening ceremony as an aerial artist and dancer, he was one of a group of 40 Professional disabled circus artists.
For the next couple of years Rick performed as a professional dancer for Candoco Dance company as so cheerleading had to take a back seat.
In 2014 the International Cheer Union (ICU) contacted Rick asking for his advice on creating ParaCheer divisions now that Cheerleading was on it's way towards Olympic status. He was also appointed to the ICU Athletes Commission.
In 2015 Rick and Jeff Webb made an agreement that if he brought a team in 2016 to showcase ParaCheer it would be a division for 2017.
He went and did it. Also founding the charity ParaCheer International CIO
The ICU ratified the divisions and the first competitive ParaCheer happened as planned in 2017. It was on this team that Rick and Chantal met and started partner stunting together, restarting Wheelchair Partner Stunt.
They continued training together when they both got back to the UK, and later that year got the opportunity to attend the Chula Vista cheer camp sponsored by UCA.
While there they trained seriously hard to keep up with the other high level partner stunt teams they were placed with, and succeeded in hitting the worlds first unassisted Hand in hand /Corvette on a wheelchair using base. To much jubilation.