Ruth Flynn is celebrating her 25th year as Director of the Apache Belles.
“I love the kids,” said Flynn, “and helping them to make good decisions and be more responsible.”
Flynn loved to dance as a young girl growing up in Arp. There was no drill team at the high school, so she became a twirler in the band. She aspired to be a band director until meeting Deanna Bolton.
Flynn worked several camps with her as a choreographer. Then Bolton guided her to being a Kilgore Rangerette and thus the journey began.
In 1984, Tyler Junior College and the Apache Belles were looking to take the program in a new direction. They pursued Flynn, then a choreographer for the Kilgore Rangerettes.”They had had several directors and wanted fresh blood and someone to update the program,” said Flynn.
Since taking over in 1984, she has updated the uniforms and started the Belle Babe program. The world famous Belles have traveled the globe, from France to New York City to Washington, D.C. Other notable performances included Pearl Harbor in 2004, Ramstein Air Base in 2006 and two Dallas Cowboy Super Bowl Parades.
In her 25 years as director, Flynn taught approximately 750 young women. Some of those young women went onto become cheerleaders and dance team members for the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Texans and many other sports teams.
Others went on to become teachers,dance team directors, choreographers and more.
“I am proud of them all” glowed Flynn.
All of the young ladies hold her in such high regard.
“I aspired to be like her,” said Assistant Director Christy Evans. “She was biggerthan life.”
Evans became head dance captain in her tenure as a Belle. In 2004 she came back to TJC to become assistant director and choreographer. As a peer, she still aims to be like Flynn.
Many past Belles want their daughters to have the same experiences they had with Flynn.
In her inaugural season as director in 1984, Flynn introduced a young freshman Belle, Georgia Lowery to her husband Randy.
Little did she know, 25 years later Georgia and Randy Lowery’s daughter would become her head dance captain, Lindsay Lowery.
After growing up a Belle legacy, Lowery decided that TJC, the Apache Belles and Ruth Flynn were the right fit.
“I wanted to go to a small school and continue to dance,” said Lowery. “(Mrs. Flynn) sets a good example and is very grounded.”