Pepper Steppers Win Double-Dutch Title
By Elio Velez
Stan's Pepper Steppers continued their annual tradition of winning, taking top honors at the American Double-Dutch League 34th Annual World Invitational Championship at the Exhibition Center in Sumter, South Carolina.
The eleven young boys and girls from Far Rockaway competed against hundreds of jumpers from the United States and around the world.
The Pepper Steppers have been victorious in this competition in years past. They have appeared on local and national television since the team was started by Stan Brown in 1975.
They have claimed 28 world titles and 156 state titles in that time period.
But there was a possibility that this year the Pepper Steppers might not have been able to compete.
The team usually gets donations from parents and the community to fund the trip. However, donations weren't sufficient wasn't collected to pay for the $5,000 cost to rent a coach bus to travel to South Carolina.
But the team received a reprieve a week before the event began; Brown was informed by the organization Forest City Ratner, owners of the New Jersey Nets, that they would donate enough funds to provide the transportation for the Pepper Steppers and a few double-dutch teams from Brooklyn.
When they finally arrived and competed against some of the top double-dutch jumpers, Stan's Pepper Steppers' quickness was evident.
In the compulsory, speed and freestyle competitions, they were named the fastest team in the world.
The speed test lasted two minutes with the jumpers averaging three- and a half steps per second.
The Pepper Steppers high school team received the highest score in both the singles and doubles team competitions. Winners were awarded scholarships, jackets and trophies.
Brown is proud that one of the youngest teams he's had in a while that displayed a level of maturity beyond their years at the championship.
"I wasn't surprised by the results because I know how hard they work. I was very pleased with the dedication, and the sincerity and the legacy of living up to the name of the Pepper Steppers," Brown said.
And the winning never gets old by any means according to Brown.
"You wish you could bottle it every day. It's a gratifying feeling. These kids kept pushing when others wouldn't give up. I take my hat off to them. They are a bunch of great kids."
The team members from Stan's Pepper Steppers; Laa'Neisha Jones, Peter Alvarez, Katherine Rocha, Robeisha Davis, Alaisyia Woodard, Jasmine Hamlet, Nadine Harrison, Jessica Berrios, Destiny Alvarez, Niya Dubose and Jazmine Daniel.
The coaches and officials from Stan's Pepper Steppers: Stan Brown (coach), Linda Brown (official and scorekeeper), Yatte Brown (coach), Carol Walker (official and assistant scorekeeper), and Terri Dubose (chaperone).