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Women over 55 aim to 'inspire before we expire' through retirement community's cheer squad

The Sun City Poms is a community of women aged over 55 who reside in Sun City, Arizona, who are passionate about dancing, performing and staying active.

Women over 55 aim to 'inspire before we expire' through retirement community's cheer squad
Image Source: Facebook/Sun City Poms

The Sun City Poms, a marching and performing team for women aged over 55, is proving that there is no age limit to doing what you love. It is a community of energetic women passionate about dancing, performing and staying active. Established in 1979, the team comprises women aged over 55 who reside in Sun City, a retirement community in Arizona.

The team has gained immense popularity over the years with its vibrant performances at parades, festivals and events throughout the state. Despite the demanding schedule of three-hour practices three days a week, the women remain committed to the team, driven by their love for dancing and performing, reports PEOPLE. For them, being part of the Sun City Poms is not just about staying physically active, but it's also about building friendships, fostering a sense of community and having fun.


Not all members of the Sun City Poms have a history of cheerleading or participation in marching bands. President Peggy Parsons, 81, explained that her passion for dancing led her to join the team. However, Mary Zirbel has been twirling batons since grade school and gained most of her knowledge from a book.

She said, "My daughter had a great big birthday party for when I turned 80 back in Wisconsin. I was twirling all over the place." To be part of the Sun City Poms, individuals are required to reside in the retirement community of Sun City. Zirbel worked as a practical nurse in Green Bay for 40 years and relocated to Sun City after retiring.


She said, "I thought I'd probably end up in Florida." However, a trip to Sun City with her spouse, who has passed away, changed her mind about Arizona. She added, "I'm still in the same place, and my daughter and her husband are out here now also. They only live about six doors away from me."

At present, the Sun City Poms has 30 members and a few trainees who can enroll in the team after completing a three-month course, mastering two routines and demonstrating their skills. Parsons compared the joining process to an audition. The age range of current members is from 58 to 90 years old and Parsons shared that the crowd cheers louder for the older members. Ginger, their 90-year-old member, receives the most applause, Parsons revealed.


She added, "We requested that our teacher teach a routine called 'We Are Family' because we like each other so much. They're like sisters." Beyond camaraderie, being part of the Sun City Poms means making a significant commitment. The squad performs in roughly 40 to 50 events annually, such as parades, conventions and memory care facilities.

On March 25, the team held a notable "Celebrate the Poms" event, which drew an impressive crowd of more than 700 individuals. The show even included a performance by "The Flops" - the Poms' husbands, friends and significant others.


Zirbel, who has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, plans to continue twirling for as long as she can keep up. Despite considering last year that she might be getting too old for it, she believes that the love and support from the crowd is a driving force that motivates her. As for Parsons, she has her sights set on reaching a specific milestone, hoping to celebrate her 90th birthday with the Sun City Poms.

Zirbel's philosophy for life is to "just help people out and have fun" because she believes that life is short and should be enjoyed regardless of what the future holds. Parsons, on the other hand, feels that getting older is not a concern for her anymore, thanks to the memories she has created with the Sun City Poms. According to her, these are the best years of her life.


Parsons, who is also a published author of romance novels, explained the squad's motto: "We aspire to inspire before we expire." She has found great value in being able to share a lot with the group. As one of the older members, she sometimes feels like a mother figure, which she enjoys because she never had a daughter and can now share her love for costumes and outfits.

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