MT. IDAHO — After 15 years of retirement, Mt. Idaho Gymnastics (MIG) is back in full force.
“Everything just came together like a perfect puzzle,” smiled MIG owner Lynn Welborn. “Really, there was just one miracle after another.”
Welborn started MIG in 1984, shortly after she and husband, Jim, moved to Grangeville. However, that was not her first taste of the sport.
“I was a late bloomer,” she laughed. “I started gymnastics in sixth grade.” Welborn competed for years, coached her first junior high team while she was still in high school, and was the head coach for the San Bernardino YMCA when Jim told her, “I’m moving to Grangeville, Idaho. Wanna come?”
Within three weeks they were here in 1983 and she soon opened the gymnastic business.
“We started as the Prairie Pirouettes,” she said. They started in The Judo Hut in Grangeville, moved to the old JC Penney Building in 1985, then to the Evergreen Assembly of God Church on 2nd Street where they stayed until 1991.
All during this time Welborn was helping run the Grangeville Shelter Home, was raising three children (Jeremy, Heather and Ryan), served as an EMT and began working on her nursing degree.
Once she became a registered nurse she and her family moved to property in Mt. Idaho where they moved MIG.
During that time she trained her son, Ryan, who went on to become a three-time collegiate champion at the University of Washington.
When Jim was in a horrific logging truck accident 15 years ago, Welborn made the decision to give up MIG.
“I had priorities – I had a grandchild by then and Jim needed me,” she said. “I could not do everything. It was one of the most difficult decisions I ever made.”
It was also a life-changing decision for Emily Chapman Schacher.
“I was going into my junior year of high school and I’d been competing since fourth grade,” she said. “I was devastated but I understood.”
Throughout the years, Welborn continued to mentor Schacher, who also became a nurse. The two worked together at Syringa Hospital. Welborn has spent the last 23 years there working nights and just recently resigned but will continue to work some shifts per diem. Schacher now works at St. Mary’s Clinic.
“I just didn’t need that type of stress anymore,” she said.
Schacher had been asking Welborn about reopening MIG and Welborn said Dr. Hollopeter was also very encouraging.
“Emily was bugging me and Dr. Hollopeter was saying how kids need it, they need to be more active,” Welborn laughed. “And that’s where it started.”
Last year, Welborn and Schacher offered a few classes at The Gym. The response was overwhelming. So much so, that the two began to figure out how to turn the old MIG barn back into MIG.
“I had gotten rid of almost everything and the facility was converted to horse space and my husband’s shop,” she said. That’s when the puzzle pieces started fitting into place. From perfectly fitting floor exercise mats and rugs to bars, beams, rings, springboards and other equipment, everything slowly trickled in and found its way to MIG. Volunteer help and support from friends, husbands and parents poured in.
Even the barn heater that had not worked in 15 years fired right up, Welborn said.
Christi Gortsema Sonnen and Sam Manifold, also former student competitors, both offered their coaching help and now, along with Welborn and Schacher, offer classes to more than 70 children from ages 4 through 13. Manifold teaches an all-boys class which currently has 12 students.
“I have to say it feels really good to be back in business,” Welborn smiled.
“Although we [Sonnen, Manifold] all think she’s a much softer coach now,” laughed Schacher.
To inquire about classes call 451-4778.