Christy Jayne Stallings named Purdue’s 24th Golden Girl
Christy Jayne Stallings of Johnston City, Ill., was named Purdue University’s 24th Golden Girl in the first spring auditions ever held for the legendary position. The competition also filled the duo twirling position of Silver Twins, which had been vacant during the 2002-03 season.
Julie Thompson of Westlake, OH, and Tracy Johnson of San Gabriel, CA, were named Silver Twins. Both were members of the Purdue Twirling Line in 2002-03. Krista Woodward of Waterford, Mich., who served as Girl in Black in 2002-03, was selected to again serve in that position.
The announcement of the 2003-04 solo twirlers was made by David Leppla, Director of Purdue University Bands, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at Elliott Hall of Music following a long day of competition that included field tryouts and personal interviews.
All four women chosen exhibited the poise, charisma and flashy twirling tricks the judges were looking for. They were part of a record field of 16 contestants from California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
Stallings, currently a sophomore broadcast journalism major at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, brings an impressive resume to Purdue’s top twirling position. She’s been a National Baton Twirling Association competitive twirler for 19 years, a world champion in two baton, and a national champion in two baton, three baton and flag baton.
“Ever since I was little, people said ‘You need to grow up and be the Golden Girl.’ I’ve kind of stepped up to that,” said Stallings, who saw her dream come true Saturday.
Stallings feels her two years as featured twirler with the Marching Salukis Band of Southern Illinois prepared her well for the highly visible Golden Girl position. “I wanted to make sure I was mature enough before I took on the world. I’m ready,” she says.
“I look forward to being Golden Girl. It’s a great opportunity and will open so many doors.”
In moving the solo twirling auditions from fall to spring in 2003, Bands Auxiliary Director Alisha Kuckartz hoped to attract many talented twirlers to campus, and the move paid off. In 2003, there were just six contestants for the four solo twirling spots. The Golden Girl and Girl in Black spots were filled, but not the Silver Twins.
The move to spring auditions aligns Purdue with other major university band programs, which use them as a tool to attract top twirling talent from across the nation to their school. All the twirling candidates had to be accepted by Purdue to audition.
Kuckartz feels the move also bolsters the long-standing tradition of twirling excellence at Purdue as the university prepares to celebrate 50 years of the Golden Girl tradition in 2004.
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.
Golden Girl No. 24 Christy Jayne Stallings, and the other solo twirlers, will make their first appearance with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band (barring any schedule changes) at the Sept. 6 Bowling Green game in Ross-Ade Stadium.