Steamboat Rocky Mountain Cheer welcomes back Dan Atkins |

Steamboat Rocky Mountain Cheer welcomes back Dan Atkins

Luke Graham

After closing his gym in 2007, Dan Atkins is returning to help Steamboat Rocky Mountain Cheer.

— It was like old times again.

Dan Atkins sat at the Steamboat Rocky Mountain Cheer gym and watched as several girls worked on running handsprings into backflips.

There was a steady ease about him.

"It's fun getting back into teaching," said Atkins, more affectionately known as Mr. Dan. "I've missed that tremendously."

Atkins, who owned the Steamboat Gymnastics Center for 12 years before closing in 2007, recently met up with Rocky Mountain Cheer owner Summer McParland.

With her group growing in terms of programming as well as competing at events, McParland gauged Atkins’ interest in helping out with tumbling. He was immediately interested.

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"It's been good and I'm really enjoying it," said Atkins, who has been helping for two weeks. "Summer invited me in and the girls like it. I like it. I want to help her grow this. It's supposed to be fun. If the kids are not enjoying it, they won't come back."

Atkins’ focus has mostly been on the tumbling. He works with the youngest group, Tumbling Tykes, all the way up to the all-star team.

He has been another set of eyes for McParland and has worked to tighten up the all-star team's tumbling technique.

Through two weeks, McParland said the team is already showing great progress.

"We're happy to have him," she said. "I can't say enough good things. We're excited about him coming here. Mr. Dan is like an icon in this town. He's already improved them in two weeks."

Atkins said his time away was good. Seeing him Thursday, however, was a reminder of what he is best at.

"It's like riding a bike," he said. "I needed a little bit of time. I'm happy with myself being here right now. It's been good."

To learn more about Steamboat Rocky Mountain Cheer's programs or the all-star team, call McParland at 727-424-1373 or email Those interested can also visit the team's Facebook page at Steamboat Rocky Mountain Cheer.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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