Lataua Applegate and Dulcie Cargil of Godfrey founded The Hoop Factory for an exciting way to exercise and have fun while listening to their favorite music. As they continue to learn more about the art of hooping, the two friends hope to expand their group by inviting the public to join in on the groove.

Applegate and Cargil have been attending music festivals together for years. They have always admired the artistic dancers at these festivals, especially the hula hoopers. In recent years, hula hooping has become a very popular art of dancing.

Inspired by the performers at music festivals, Applegate and Cargil decided to take on the challenge and learn how to hoop. They began attending classes in the area, but often found themselves disappointed with the outcome. The two friends decided to start a group of their own called The Hoop Factory.

“After attending some classes around here, Dulcie and I started watching tutorials on youtube and began teaching ourselves,” said Applegate.

The group began meeting at Lataua’s house over the summer. Each week, the ladies got more and more into the art of hula hooping and it became a big hobby.

“The next thing you know, I cleaned everything out of my garage and turned it into a hoop shack,” said Applegate.

As the winter months came near and it started getting cold outside, Sportsman’s Club President Brad Beck opened the Club doors to the group and generously gave permission for them to crank up the tunes in the Banquette Hall to practice.

“We couldn't be more grateful for Brad letting us practice at the Sportman’s club,” said Applegate. “I look forward to Sunday hoop all week, we have so much fun.”

The Hoop Factory meets at the Sportsman’s Club every Sunday from 2 - 4 p.m. and many even stay to hoop further into the evening.

“It’s not only great exercise but you get a great sense of self accomplishment out of hooping,” said Applegate. “When (a trick) feels like you’ll never get it and you finally do, it is so rewarding. It has been a huge change in my life, really. It makes me feel good about myself.”

The Hoop Factory members would love to see their group grow. The members are looking forward to teaching beginners and learning from experienced newcomers.

Applegate and Dulcie said that it is important to know that the group does not discriminate in any way and that nobody should feel discouraged to come and join in.

"Everyone no matter your size, age or experience level is welcome," said Applegate. "We have no 'Hoop Snobs' here! We feel everyone is beautiful! I am 54 years old, I am here to prove it doesn’t matter how old you are. If I can do this, just about anyone can!”

There is absolutely no cost. Each class is a fun, energetic learning experience for everyone involved. Hoop to see you there!

For more information, please contact Lataua Applegate at Latauaapple@gmail.com.

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To contact Brittany Kohler for future events or story ideas, e-mail brittany@riverbender.com or call (618) 465-9850 ext. 237. Follow her on Twitter @KohlerJo.

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