By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky fans in Rupp Arena will be in for a treat again Saturday when the Cats entertain Alabama because the Firecrackers, a performance jump rope team of fourth through eighth graders from Kings Local School district in Ohio, will be back with their high energy halftime show.
“Rupp Arena is their favorite hands-down. Probably 99 percent of the girls would say Rupp is their favorite place by far,” said coach Lynn Kelly. “If you are at Rupp Arena all the time, the vastness is lost on you.
“I remember my first time when we were invited. They took me out to the floor before the game and I thought, ‘Oh dear God. No way we can do this. I don’t know how this happened and we got here.’ Just the sea of blue and enormous roar of the crowd is overwhelming. Our first trip the crowd roared and scared a couple of the girls so bad that they cried on the floor.”
If you don’t get to see them Feb. 17, you will get another chance if you go to the SEC Tournament in St. Louis. For the first time, the Firecrackers will perform on Saturday during the semifinal games.
“We’ve never performed in St. Louis and we’ve never done the SEC Tournament,” Kelly said. “The girls are really excited about doing something new.
“But nothing beats coming to Rupp Arena. This is the one venue they look forward to performing all year. The older girls always motivate the younger players by talking to them about performing at Rupp Arena.”