Emalee Bigley: Baton coach and university twirler


Courtesy of Royal Baton Twirlers

Junior Emalee Bigley is the university baton twirler. Along with performing on the sidelines, Bigley has also coached as the Royal Baton Twirlers since she was a sophomore in high school.

Emalee Bigley is a junior transfer student studying Elementary Education. But might be more commonly known as the university twirler. According to World Baton Twirling Federation, sport baton twirling is a relatively new sport and involves a weighted steel instrument with rubber ends. Skills required include fine motor skills, precise timing and synchronization with the movement of the body.

Bigley has been twirling ever since she was four years old and living in California. Since then, she has won numerous titles including California State Champion, Ms. Majorette Kan., and Overall Junior Olympic Champion taking home four gold and two silver medals.

“Baton has really become my life. It’s a personality trait at this point,” Bigley said.

Coaching was never on the radar for Bigley until she was approached by a parent during her sophomore year at Louisburg High School. Bigley decided to give it a try and ended up falling in love with it. Coaching came into her life unexpectedly but soon became her favorite part about baton.

In 2019, Bigley started her own team called the Royal Baton Twirlers and currently coaches 30 girls total in Louisburg and Paola, including four who are involved in competitions.

“[It’s] been a privilege to me that I’ve been able to coach all these amazing young girls and share my love for the sport with them, and see them love it just as much as I do,” Bigley said.

Bigley started at Johnson County to obtain an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and transferred to Baker University this semester to pursue Elementary Education. The change of career path resulted from her newfound love of coaching. The choice to twirl at Baker was a last-minute decision. After breaking her foot in 2019, she stopped twirling altogether and focused primarily on coaching.

Outside forces convinced her she would regret letting this opportunity slip by.

“A month before the first football game, I called my mom and was like, ‘I think I’m gonna do it. Can we get in touch with the band director?” Bigley said. “And my mom was like ‘… how are we gonna do this?’ I was like ‘I don’t know we’ll figure something out, I wanna do it.”

Performing in front of a crowd is nothing new to Bigley. The sport has been in her life for so long it’s become natural to her.

“[Performing in front of people I don’t know yet] doesn’t really bother me. Everyone’s been really nice and welcoming,” Bigley said.

When the nerves do get the best of her, however, Bigley leans on her mom for support.

“My mom will come to the games and she will stand down on the track and so when I’m feeling weird I’ll literally zone in on my mom and I just perform to her,” Bigley said.

Bigley touched on the close relationship she has with her mom.

“[My mom is my biggest fan.] She’s been there through everything…my mom has been everything in my own career and now my coaching career,” Bigley said. “She’s the girl I go to for advice and how to deal with parents and all that so she’s pretty awesome.”

Bigley has plans to continue to share her love for baton here in Baldwin City.

“I want to start a class here in Baldwin. After the Maple Leaf parade I kind of got a lot of kids interested,” Bigley said. “[Something people might not know about me is] I’m a pretty hard worker. Once I set my mind to something, I do everything I can to make sure it happens.”