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Fitness mentor is honored after death

Brandon Kelly of the Bouncing Bulldogs jump ropes with kids during the 21st Annual N.C Rope Skipping Workshop on Saturday.
Brandon Kelly of the Bouncing Bulldogs jump ropes with kids during the 21st Annual N.C Rope Skipping Workshop on Saturday.

A team jump rope routine brought tears to Amanda Brazelton’s eyes.

She thought of her husband, Ambrose, who died in June.

“It’s him in a nutshell,” said Brazelton, who is from Ohio.

The 21st annual N.C. Rope Skipping Workshop held Saturday honored Ambrose Brazelton and his commitment to encouraging physical education for all children.

The workshop offered jump rope skill sessions and closed with a show of both prepared routines and new skills learned from the classes that morning.

Ambrose Brazelton was one of the country’s top fitness teachers and a mentor to many of the workshop’s participants.

His wife, Amanda, and their daughter Leslie attended the event in his honor.

The workshop has been held at East Chapel Hill High School for the past 10 years and is the largest and longest running of its kind in the country.

This year the event attracted jump ropers from five countries —Belgium, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Wouter Tack and Jonas Vermeulen, both from Belgium, were invited to teach at the workshop.

“This is our second year here,” Tack said. “It’s good for the promotion of the sport, and I love working with the kids and having a good time.”

Houston resident Nick Woodard has been staffing the event for six years.

He said he likes to see the different moves the international jump ropers bring.

“Language barriers don’t matter,” Woodard said. “As long as you have a rope in your hand, you can jump.”

Ray Fredrick Jr., coach of the Chapel Hill-Durham jump roping team Bouncing Bulldogs, has been organizing the event since its start.

On average about 400 participants from ages 4 to 29 attend, Fredrick said.

All money received from registration fees goes to airline tickets to bring jump ropers from around the world to teach their skills to those less experienced.

Mia Stopa, 12, of Chapel Hill has been jump roping with the Bulldogs for five years.

Stopa got her start with the team after the group came to her school to showcase its work, and her mother signed her up.

“It teaches you leadership skills, and it’s a lot of fun,” Mia said. “You get to travel a lot.”

The spirit of jump roping was something Ambrose Brazelton stood for, his wife and daughter said.

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“This is awesome — children of all ages, both boys and girls, coming together to do a sport they can all do,” Leslie Brazelton said.

“There are no losers.”

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