Californian Robyn Andrews named 23rd Golden Girl
Possessing the poise, charisma and flashy twirling tricks the judges were looking for, Robyn Andrews, a senior apparel design and technology major from San Jose, Calif., bested five competitors to become Purdue University’s 23rd Golden Girl.
The announcement was made by Alisha Bane Kuckartz , Auxiliary Advisor for Purdue University Bands, at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Elliott Hall of Music following a competition that included field tryouts and personal interviews.
Joining Andrews in Purdue’s elite twirling ranks is Krista Woodward, a senior hospitality and tourism major from Waterford, Mich., as Girl in Black. For the first time since the Silver Twins position was created for identical twins Sharon and Karon Roeske in 1960, Purdue will not have Silver Twins on the field this fall. No twirlers expressed interested in auditioning for the position which requires two twirlers to coordinate their styles and work as a duo.
Following Friday’s auditions, Director of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band David A. Leppla and Kuckartz announced that the Band Department’s 48-year custom of auditioning solo twirlers in the fall will be replaced with spring auditions in 2003. The move aligns Purdue with other major university band programs, which use auditions as a tool to attract top twirling talent from across the nation.
Kuckartz feels the move to spring auditions will bring more competitive twirlers to campus and bolster the long-standing tradition of twirling excellence at Purdue as the university prepares to celebrate 50 years of the Golden Girl tradition in 2004. It will also hopefully allow the Twins to reappear on the football field in future years.
Andrews, who twirled as the Girl in Black in 2001, says she was “surprised and relieved” after the announcement. “I’ve worked really hard for this. It feels great!”
The Golden Girl tradition was one of the lures that brought Andrews, a natural blond, to Purdue to twirl. “Because it’s such a well known position all over the country, I want to be as outstanding as I possibly can,” she says. And, with the tradition nearing its 50th anniversary, Andrews wants to return some of the celebrity status it enjoyed in its early days. “It’s just an incredible tradition and I’d hate to see that fade away,” she says.
For Woodward, her selection as Girl in Black was the perfect early present for her 22nd birthday. As a freshman, she felt the sting of rejection on her Aug. 18 birthday when she failed to make the “All-American” twirling line. Although she entertained the notion of giving up twirling, “every time I saw the marching band I felt like I should be out there as well,” she says.
So she auditioned and made the line in 2000, was named a Silver Twin with Kim Benson in 2001 and Girl in Black in 2002. “I’m very excited. I really want to challenge myself this year to do harder tricks and continue to increase my skill level,” Woodward says.
“I also want to set a positive example in leadership, ability and attitude, not only for the band but for every person I encounter from elementary schools to nursing homes.”
Following tradition, the four women not named to solo spots will become part of the “All-American” Twirling Line along with freshman Tracy Johnson from San Gabriel, Calif.
Over the years Purdue’s Golden Girl has enjoyed a national reputation as one of the top twirlers in the United States. Former director Al Wright began the tradition in 1954 when quarterback Lenny Dawson was referred to by the press as Purdue’s "Golden Boy." Wright put gold sequins on Juanita Carpenter and named her the "Golden Girl." After Dawson graduated his nickname faded, but the Golden Girl has continued as a strong Purdue tradition.
Andrews and Woodward will make their first appearance with the band at the Aug. 31 Illinois State game in Ross-Ade Stadium.