At a recent practice, Evergreen Gymnastics owner Tiara Racicot gently coaxed a young gymnast who stood hesitant on the balance beam.
“We had a little oops last night, what’d we do?” Racicot said, as she coached a handful of advanced gymnasts ages 9 to 10. “We slowed down, yes? OK, are you going?”
After a few nods and deep breaths, the girl conquered two back handsprings to land solid.
The 23-year-old Racicot has landed someplace solid herself since opening Evergreen Gymnastics in north Spokane earlier this year. She already has signed up about 45 students for training.
Overall, the 9,000-square-foot business at 10808 N. Perry Road provides gymnastics instruction for recreational levels, competitive gymnasts, home-schooled youth and special-needs students. It also holds youth camps and adult fitness classes.
Racicot literally grew up in the sport as a lifelong Spokane resident. Her first exposure was at age 3 in a toddler class when she was enrolled by her mother, Shelli Waddell, an All-American gymnast as part of the 1979-’80 Spokane Community College national championship team.
In 1981, Waddell fell from the uneven bars and suffered a spine injury that left her a paraplegic. Racicot said Waddell remained a strong supporter of the sport and later encouraged her daughter’s involvement.
After performing well at competitions for most of her childhood, Racicot turned to coaching at age 16 because of a shoulder injury.
“I coached here and there and everywhere in this area,” she said. “I reached a point where I wanted to open my own facility and have a little more control. Business has picked up much more than I expected.”
She leases the building that formerly held a Ferguson plumbing outlet. Remodeled areas include a large gym, separate reception area, and a small studio room used for yoga and recreational classes.
While she coaches the more advanced gymnasts involved in the Junior Olympic competitive program, Racicot has hired four coaches for other groups. Evergreen’s recreational sessions, divided by age and skill level, meet one or two times a week.
“I’m still hands-on with all the groups as far as oversight,” Racicot said. “We keep our groups small.”
The more advanced gymnasts practice about four hours a day, six days a week, she said. By January, she expects to take some of those top athletes to USA Gymnastics meets in Texas, Las Vegas and Chicago.
Evergreen Gymnastics’ session costs vary based on ages and levels, ranging from $45 a month to more than $100 a month for some high-level groups, Racicot said. She also offers private instruction at $40 an hour.
“For the recreation level, you’re more around $75 a month,” she said. “For these (advanced) kids, you can go up into the hundreds, depending on how often they’re coming and the hours.”
To offer adult fitness options, Racicot hired a yoga instructor for classes held at 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She teaches the core conditioning sessions at 9 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
“It’s a conditioning rotation using different core muscles, with some cross-fit work, Pilates, a lot of free weights, and some of the gymnastics conditioning I use for my Junior Olympics competitive gymnasts,” she said. “It’s definitely a workout.”
All fitness sessions are $10 per class for regular participants, or $13 for a drop-in rate.
Evergreen offers a Mommy and Me class for kids ages 16 months to 3, but the adults can be moms, dads, even grandparents. Racicot also tailors another session for special-needs students, such as for autistic children, to improve motor function and remember colors and shapes in games using props such as balls, cones and buckets.
This summer, Evergreen Gymnastics will hold two daylong gymnastics camps. A July 7-11 recreational camp is geared for ages 5 to teens, with fun games and activities, designed even for children who haven’t done gymnastics. This camp runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $200.
A July 14-18 camp is geared to competitive gymnasts from any gym, Racicot said, and it will feature several guest coaches at a cost of $300.