Porter Ballard and Seth Ingram of Rexburg, along with teammates Bailey Andrus and Dalton Kohler, won the double dutch pairs senior division at the World Jump Rope Championship on July 4 in Orlando, Florida.
The World Jump Rope Championship is the world title for youth jump ropers and brought nearly 1,000 competitors from 30 countries across the world to compete in Orlando. Ballard, who has been jump roping for years, said it was the biggest jump roping contest he’s ever been to.
“The world competition is kind of cool,” Ingram said. “We got to meet people from all sorts of countries. It’s not every day you get to hang out with Koreans and kids from Japan. It’s just pretty cool being in that environment.”
In addition to winning double dutch pairs, Ingram and Ballard were on teams that took second in 2-wheel freestyle and double dutch speed and took third in pairs double unders.
Ingram also placed first in his age division in individual events: 30-second speed, three-minute speed, triple unders, pairs freestyle and 2-wheel. Ballard placed second in his age division in freestyle and third in triple unders.
Double dutch pairs has two jump ropers at a time jumping in the middle while two turn the jump rope and the two pairs switch off throughout the event.
Ballard and Ingram compete on a jump rope team based out of Idaho Falls called Proform Airborne. During the summer, the jumper ropers put in three hours of practice a day five days a week.
“I feel like (our effort) paid off because my team and I did really well in the competition this year,” Ballard said .
“It was really good because we practice every day before we go,” Ingram said. “It just feels good to have it work out.”
Going into the competition, the team was confident but unsure what competition they would face.
“Practicing beforehand we knew we’d probably do well,” Ingram said. “We didn’t know where everybody else was at (skillswise) before we got there so we were a little surprised to win.”
The double dutch pairs team had to work as a team to win the event.
“We had to put in all the effort we could together to make it to finals,” Ballard said. “It was really difficult; we all worked really hard to get there. I’m proud of my teammates; we put in the same effort together so that we could all do well.”
While Ballard and Ingram are going into their junior year at Madison High, Andrus is from Ucon and Kohler is from Ammon.
The competition was a special but bittersweet one for the double dutch pairs team because this is the last competition they will compete in together for at least a couple years because Kohler is leaving on an LDS mission this year.
Double Dutch pairs was the last event of the day after the pair had narrowly missed out on taking two other events.
“It happened to be the last event that we were competing in that day and we came very close on a couple of other events that day,” Ballard said. “It was the only event that had all four of us in it and we’ve been jumping for a long time. It was really good to have all of us there and win in our last year together for a while,”.
Ingram said the awards ceremony, after they took first in double dutch pairs, was special.
“It was cool we got to go up there and hold up the American flag as we got our award,” Ingram said. “With all the other countries there, it was just really cool.”
Proform Airborne had 14 total jump ropers at the competition including Ingram and Ballard. Two other jump ropers are also from Rexburg: Porter’s brother, Preston Ballard, and Natalyn Gordon.
Proform Airborne assistant coach/ athletic trainer Erica Price said it was cool to impress people from around the world, including people who had never heard of Idaho.
“These kids are just masters of the sport,” Price said. “They’ve been doing this for years together. They work up to 15 hours per week training with coaches on their skills, on their content and they condition. They’re waking up at 5:30 every Saturday morning to go train. They just give their life for this.”