This past Sunday marked some big things for the AGRO family. After a lot of planning and preparation the newest branch of AGRO held their first meet in Springfield, Missouri. It was a big day for Josh Taylor and Shane Shields who have worked so hard to get it started. They both began suspending and learning with the AGRO Tulsa team, and couldn’t have been happier when they heard that their friend and mentor, Rick Pierceall, would be there with members from both the Tulsa and Houston chapters to support them.  I have had the opportunity to work with both of these guys several times over the past year, and I can’t put into words how proud I am of them both for all of their hard work and the dedication they have shown for their team.

The day kicked off outdoors, and although it was hot, there was a great breeze and plenty of shade to cool things off while plans were made for where to set up. People began to arrive, and after the final carloads had made their way to the bridge, the announcements began. Shane, Josh, and Rick took time to explain to everyone who AGRO was, how the group works, and some safety advice that everyone should follow for the day. With that the event was underway, people were signed up, and the suspensions began.

In total 7 suspensions took place that day, with the first 3 being outdoors on a steel bridge that spanned a part of Lake Springfield. Even with the heat that day, there was no denying what a perfect location and view they had chosen. Although the day went well for everyone involved, there were some bumps along the way. About half way through the suspensions, officers from the Springfield police department arrived along with park rangers due to a complaint they had received. The police were extremely polite with everyone there, and even took the time to ask questions and watch a short video of a body suspension that had been performed that day. Even being as nice to us as they were, we were told the area required a permit to have the meet there, which lead to the final four suspensions being held indoors. The timing couldn’t have been better, and as the weather took a turn they were grateful to have everything packed and loaded when the rain started coming down. As an added bonus, a friend of Josh and Shane happened to live in a loft which worked out great for the indoor suspensions.

Since the first talks of starting AGRO Springfield, Josh has told me what a great teacher and inspiration Rick Pierceall has been to him. Anyone who has talked to Rick knows that his passion for body suspension is contagious. He has an undeniable love for it, and that love it the reason AGRO has grown into what it is today. As new members come into AGRO they don’t just hang from hooks and go home, he works to share with them what he has learned, and with that passes on a little spark of that passion for it. I have no doubt that the crew in Springfield will live up to everything Rick and the other members of the AGRO family expect of them. With the people they have had to guide them this far, they already have a solid foundation to build from and the support that will help make them a great team.

One major announcement made that day by Rick, was that he would be taking a break from AGRO meets for a bit as he makes a little time to focus on his family and his life. After 10 years of very hard work creating this amazing team, he is certainly deserving of a little rest. Although it may have come as a shock to many members of AGRO, it should be viewed as nothing but a compliment. He has put in years of work to build this team, and to shape the members into the skilled practitioners they are. His ability to take a break shows the amount of faith he has in his team to be able to live up to the AGRO name even if he is not in attendance. I’m sure they will all make him proud as they keep up the hard work in the months to come.

As for Josh, Shane, and Kristen, you guys have some big shoes to fill, but I am confident that we will see nothing but good things coming from Springfield. I feel so fortunate to have been there for your first meet, and I look forward to visiting more. Congratulations on your first successful suspension meet! I love you guys, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.