Smoky Mountain Shaggers
Knoxville, TN
History and Progress
by Betty Ladwig

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the history and progress of the Smoky Mountain Shag Club.

Prior to June of 1996, ten of us in the Knoxville area gathered from time to time for dinner and dancing: 

Melinda and Charlie Basler
Betty and Rudy Bennett
Terry Allen
Glenda and Eldon Alexander
Carolyn and Eddie Acuff
Betty Ladwig

When the Alexanders moved to the Atlanta area, Billy and Elyse Loope filled their vacancy.  As a member of the Nashville Shag Club and the Chattanooga Shag Club, I’d been attending their events.  Nashville on occasion and Chattanooga Club weekly.  I also traveled to surrounding clubs for their special events.  Encouraged by Nashville, Chattanooga, Louisville, and others, we talked about starting a “Dance” club.  At Carolyn Acuff’s suggestion the name “Smoky Mountain Shaggers” seemed appropriate for our area.

We thought that if we officially started a club we would be at least ten strong in membership.  During May of ’96 an initial letter announcing the formation of Smoky Mountain Shaggers was mailed to friends and acquaintances that we met over the past year and a half.  We felt that since we may remain a small club a formal board was not necessary at that time.  The letter explained that we were operating and incorporating under “General” rules vs By-Laws and indicating what the due would be for the first year.

Smoky Mountain Shaggers grew gradually at first so we remained somewhat informal continuing to discuss our progress from time to time.  However, after our move to DONN’s on Downtown West Blvd, followed by the write-up in Shannon’s column, many called and expressed a sincere interest to learn.

Smoky Mountain Shaggers will soon become a member of ACSC (Association of Carolina Shag Clubs).  Our application, fees, by-laws, and newsletter were presented at a meeting on January 17th.  A week prior to submitting application, we were made aware of the requirement package.  We quickly established a board and with combined efforts, put together the required package.  We hope to be in at the meeting February 20th - 21st.  We will no longer be members of Southern Shaggers unless you individually choose to join on your own.  You may call 1-888-767-3113 or check online www.shagdance.com 

Current board is composed of the original dinner-dance group and will serve until mid 1999. 

President: Betty Ladwig
Vice President: Terry Allen
Secretary: Elyse Loope
Treasurer: Betty Bennett
Newsletter: Melinda Basler-Editor, Jim Ferron-Graphics
Membership: Eddie Acuff

Jim Ferron, one of the newest club members was asked to serve as the Graphic Artist for the newsletter.  In January 1999, a nominating committee will be appointed.  This committee will seek out and encourage interested members in good standing to run for an office.  Hopefully we will have to or three choices for each position.  In addition to the Board, there are various chairperson position.  Many of you have volunteered and are working hard on various committees for our weekend event “Shaggin’ in the Smokies” and also our street “Beach Party” for the Dogwood Arts Festival Dancing’ in the Street, April 11, 1998. 

The Board will appreciate your continued support and cooperation and hope that you will continue to volunteer for the balance of our term and prepare yourselves for serving on the Board as opportunities arise.  Your ideas and suggestions are encouraged and welcomed.  We have come a long way, established a bond among all members enjoying an activity that is healthy and puts each of us in touch with very special people.  As they say, Engineers are a breed of their own and SO ARE DANCERS.  In our places of employment, our co-workers become our second family  This is also true in the DANCE WORLD -- we are a family here for one another in good times and bad.  Loyalty, support, patience, honest, and understanding are all requirements for happy surroundings. 

Keep Dancin’
Betty Ladwig