The Transylvania Times -

Pisgah Thunder Members Have The Look, The Moves – Brevard NC


Pisgah Thunder is always looking for new members to recruit. A successful candidate, however, must have extensive knowledge of the movie "Caddyshack." (Courtesy photo). Pisgah Thunder performed during last year's Halloweenfest. (Times photo by Michael Rogers)

The popular Pisgah Thunder dance troop has announced it will be making a "presidential" performance during the "Make A Difference" event this Monday, Feb. 15, at Oskar Blues Brewery.

Benefiting the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County, the group's upcoming dance is scheduled to be its loudest yet and will be held outside for safety reasons.

Dancer and Looking Glass Realty broker Paul Wilander said that those who attend should not worry about the cold.

"There will be enough heat coming off us to keep everyone warm," said Wilander. "In response to all the noise this presidential campaign is making, we're going to be making our own noise on President's Day. We may even announce that one of us is running for president."

The 20-plus member dance troop's ranks consist of insurance agents, architects, real estate agents, surgeons, nonprofit representatives, summer camp owners and directors, and city and county staff.

"We're a really diverse bunch," said Ryan Olson, director of Muddy Sneakers. "Some of us are in their 60s and in their early 20s. We're from all walks of life."

Olson said that the dance troop takes its physical conditioning pretty seriously, and are actively recruiting new members. To join, applicants must be in "top physical condition" and pass a written test, which tests their ability to identify quotes from the film "Caddyshack."

The troop typically meets once a week to practice their moves and smooth things out, but getting 20 guys in step can be difficult.

"Our practices consist a good amount of calisthenics and yelling at one another," said Olson.

The dance troop is also working on putting out a calendar featuring the dancers. The signature tube socks are sure to be included in the wardrobe for the calendar shoot, but little else could be said about what they would be wearing.

"The idea for the dance troop came from Jackie Witherspoon," said Olson. "She saw the New Orleans Stompers perform in Louisiana on a recent trip and thought it would be a great idea for Brevard. Jason Shepherd is our ringleader. Some of the stuff was copied that we wear, like tube socks, but he's been wearing them since middle school. He's been the ringleader, watching their movies, stealing the dances. He's currently in Puerto Rico learning some new dance moves that he's going to bring back to up the ante for some summer performances."

On a more serious note, all of the money raised by the Thunder goes directly to the Boys & Girls Club, including their own membership dues.

"Their biggest need is money," said Wilander. "They have had issues with their building and some other issues that ate into their budget. They are looking for support, small and large donations. They average 230 kids every day and serve 500 different kids a year. We can't think of a better nonprofit to serve in our community."

The Boys & Girls Club currently offers a diverse set of activities for kids to participate in after school.

"It offers things to a lot of kids that they wouldn't get at home," said Olson.

Those activities include working in a garden or being in a quality running program. Some of the children perform public service activities, as well. Neither Olson nor Wilander have children in the program. Both said they are not the right age yet.

"We don't have kids in the program," said Olson. "But in this community where we have an incredible amount of volunteers, I think it speaks to folks in the community to roll up their tube socks and do what's needed. I hope in the future we can call on other folks for help also. That goes for all the volunteer groups in the community. We can get things done by helping each other."

Monday's event at Oskar Blues Brewery will be from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. A percentage of the bar revenue will go to the Boys & Girls Club. For more information about the Pisgah Thunder, call Shepherd at (828) 423-9010.


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