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City's top baton twirler to go to OSU
Sultana's Kailey Taylor chooses greener pastures at Oregon State
Her phenomenal baton twirling skills have won her school talent shows, put her atop regional and state baton competitions and provided an opportunity to travel outside the U.S. Next fall, Kailey Taylor's ability to twirl as many as four batons at a time will help her get into the college of her choice, Oregon State University.
The school was so impressed with the Sultana High senior's abilities that they gave her a scholarship and named her their feature twirler.
To secure the role, Kailey recently visited OSU in Corvallis for an audition with the band director. Earlier, the director had sent her a recording of the pregame song. She prepared two routines for the occasion.
One huge difference was readily apparent, however. With Corvallis' annual rainfall being about 35 inches more than Hesperia's 5.51 average, it wasn't a surprise that she would be greeted by a wee bit of the wet stuff.
"I tried out in the rain," she said.
Undeterred, Kailey nailed her routine and then followed up her rainy performance with a second routine inside a gymnasium.
As feature twirler of the OSU orange and black Beavers, Kailey will perform have an opportunity to perform along with the band at football and basketball games, pep rallies and other athletic contests.
"They like really high tossers and juggling two at a time," she said.
Kailey's collegiate baton twirling career will begin with a bang on Sept. 25 when the Beavers, which went 9-4 and had a victory in the Emerald Bowl, will face one of America's perennial top college teams, USC. The Trojans had an 11-2 season including an overwhelming 49-17 victory over Illinois in the Rose Bowl.
Fortunately for Kailey, "I'm very into football," she said, with mother Shari Taylor adding, "We're avid Sultana fans."
And there's a great likelihood that Kailey's twirling talents will catch the eye of many Beaver fans, as Reser Stadium, which holds around 45,000, has one of the biggest video screens in the Pac 10.
When she's not twirling Kailey plans on studying industrial engineering, which she believes will open the door to an eventual career at NASA. She also plans on taking advantage of her participation in Sultana's Junior ROTC program by enrolling in the college ROTC. After college graduation she wants to become a pilot for the Air Force or Navy.
"I can join the military as a second lieutenant," Kailey said. "I want to go in as an officer."
Kailey also was interested in pursuing a baton twirler spot at Arizona State but believes she will enjoy a more featured role as OSU's prestigious solo feature twirler.
She was also eager for the completely different landscape of Oregon.
"I think she was ready for a change," her mother said.
Kailey is eager to soak up The Beaver State's greenery.
"It is so beautiful up there."
Self-driven and determined, she's looking forward to tending to the important things in her life - studying and twirling.
"I'm not a big partier," Kailey said.