Coach Marcus Summers invited a special visitor to make a surprise appearance at the Western Express Track Club’s farewell practice of the summer on Monday, July 29th, in Garden City, Kan.
The special guest was none other than the world’s most inspiring storybook pole-vaulter, Maggie Steele, who made the trip from her farm near Grain Valley in Southeast Kansas, waaay out west, to a city where Buffaloes stampede down the runway.
Coach Summers ordered multiple copies of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon to present to club members as inspirational Maggie Awards. The young adult novel tells the story of Maggie Steele, a gutsy farm girl who overcomes hardship and soars to new heights as a pole-vaulter.
Author Grant Overstake says Maggie was happy to visit Garden City!
“Maggie has been cheering for Western Express vaulters at track meets and street vaults all over the state this summer,” he added. “She was happy to congratulate the Buffalo vaulters and inspire them with her story.”
The hard-charging Buffalo is a fitting mascot for a herd of bold 11- to 18-year-olds who comprise one of the most successful vault clubs on the Kansas prairie. The new club has already made its mark, producing middle school league champs, high school state qualifiers and medalists, and college vaulters.
“It’s a fine tribute to Coach Summers that he has created such a successful club in such a remote community,” Overstake said. “I think he must have put a zillion miles on his vehicle this summer, taking his vaulters all over Kansas. I’ve been really impressed because he has such a great attitude with his athletes. His kids always seem to be having a great time vaulting, which is absolutely what it’s all about.”
Coach Summers agrees that pole-vaulting should be fun, and safe, all the time, and his efforts are paying off.
“My goal and aim starting out this club was to create a safe, fun, and positive learning environment for local youth vaulters in the southwestern Kansas area,” said Summers, who coaches the event at Garden City High School. “Our club has grown from three vaulters my first summer to nearly 20 in our third year, so it has just been a fantastic summer with these great kids!”
Coach Summers brought a number of vaulters to the Kingman (Kan.) Street Vault this past Sunday. Two of them, Lourdis Covarrubias and Hannah Schultz, received Maggie Awards for their performances there, giving them a head start on Western Express members who received their books on Monday.
The coach says Hanna liked the story so much that she devoured the entire book on the three-hour drive back home to Garden City. As a result, he happily reports, “I think she will be going out for pole vault in high school now instead of playing softball!”
Coach Summers, who also is an adjunct professor of AP Psychology at Garden City Community College, thinks Maggie can have a positive impact on all of his vaulters, both on and off the runway.
“I would say my overall goal and aim now is not only for kids to become successful and passionate about this dynamic event, but to become successful and passionate about something even more important,” he said. “I’m hoping that Maggie Vaults Over The Moon will inspire, and have a lasting, lifelong impact on these kids lives.”
Maggie Vaults Over the Moon is available in paperback or eBook and can be purchased through Amazon.com in the United States, Canada, China, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy. Maggie also is available at Australia’s premier online bookseller, Angus & Robertson, and at hundreds of local independent US booksellers near you.
“Maggie Awards” are an exciting way to inspire your kids to stick it out, persevere, and soar! You can order ‘Maggie’ at a special quantity discount, with free social media exposure for your club, camp or street vault event. Click here to learn more about Maggie Awards.