ROCHESTER, Minn. — For the gymnasts jumping into Rochester this week, taking a tumble isn’t such a bad thing — it might even make them first in the nation.

Running through Saturday, June 19, Mayo Civic Center hosts the United States Trampoline and Tumbling Association’s National Championships, the first time the competition has taken place in Minnesota.

After a year in which COVID-19 kept competitions at bay, the nationals have organizers jumping for joy.

“We're excited we’re having nationals because we had several months when we just had in-house gym meets,” said Patti Lingenfelter, the USTA’s executive director.

More than 1,700 competitors from around the country will participate in tumbling, trampoline and double mini trampoline events. Previous USTA gymnasts have gone on to perform in Disney World shows and with groups such as Cirque du Soleil.

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For each area of competition, participants perform various gymnastic skills on 7-by 14-foot trampolines and sets of two smaller connected trampolines, one angled and the other straight. Events on the different equipment will run simultaneously from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The competitors, who range from 3 to 35 years old, compete in skill-level categories from novice to elite.

“It goes from little 3-year-olds doing front rolls all the way through to the elite level that's doing triple backflips,” Lingenfelter said.

Athletes are judged on the difficulty of their skills and their form. Awards are presented to the highest-scoring individuals and teams.

Despite the national stage, the competition isn’t cutthroat, Lingenfelter said.

“USTA is a big family, and we care about everybody else,” she said. “We want to beat the other person, but we're going to help them out also.”

If you go

  • What: Trampoline and Tumbling National Championships
  • When: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Saturday, June 19
  • Where: Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Drive
  • Tickets: $15 on Eventbrite