History of the Freewheelers
The history of the Freewheelers Square Dance Club is one of innovation. Prior to the club being founded, most square dance clubs were either couples or singles clubs, where only couples or singles could be members. One of the members of the Bob Wright’s Hayloft class, Edith Townsend, had graduated from a singles group's class the season prior and was somewhat frustrated. Edith was married, but her husband chose not to take classes. Since she was married, she was not allowed to join the singles club; and since she came to dances alone, she was not able to join a couples club.
Freewheelers were formed to provide a club where singles and married people (dancing together or not) could be members and welcomed to our dances. On the 3rd Sunday of July 1985, a club was formed with Edith as our 1st member, quickly joined by 55 charter members.
As a result of a contest, the name of "FREEWHEELERS" was adopted. Our badge was designed as the result of another contest. Both our badge and our banner are a representation of a square dance couple dancing on a large wheel. Our banner was made by Charter Members, Shirley, and Roger Olsby. The club caravan outfit for the ladies consists of turquoise blouse, white skirt, turquoise petticoat, and white shoes. The men wore dark trousers, white shirt, and a turquoise tie, but this has been changed to turquoise shirt and white tie. You may wear any variation of the above, as we just want our members to caravan with us.
The Freewheelers and the square dance community thank Bob and Shari Wright for stepping up and filling a need in the way square dance clubs were run. Thank you, Bob, for calling for us for 25 years!
Prior to COVID, the 3rd Sunday of February we used to have our Annual Pie Dance. The club members bring pies, and the club furnishes the ice cream. With the easing of restrictions, the annual pie dance may come back.
The 1st Sunday of May each year the Freewheelers sponsored a dance aboard a Washington State Ferry, which went from Anacortes up through the San Juan Islands. We usually had at least 25 squares of dancers aboard and one year we had 37 squares. It was always a lot of fun! Then in 2000 the Ferry System had all the seats bolted down ending the tradition.
Our original caller was Bob Wright. We added Debbie Taylor as our cuer in 1990 and she has been our cuer ever since. In 1995 we added Don Wood to our calling team. In 2002 Don moved on and Roger Spiese joined our calling team. After Bob's retirement from calling in 2010, guest callers have joined Roger in calling our dances. Also, in 2010, Dennis “Spyder” Webb was sought out to teach our classes and call our level dances. We have been very fortunate to have this great line up over the years.
With almost 40 years of history many dancers joined and moved on or passed away over the years. Each played a role in maintaining and changing the Freewheelers. New members are welcomed to join the club on its continuing journey.
Continuing our innovative ways, the Freewheelers Square Dance Club continues to be a club to change up the norm - if we don't have enough mainstream students, we quickly changed to plus lessons. Recognizing the need for more plus dances, in 2018 the Freewheelers changed to hosting alternating mainstream and plus dances. We dance mainstream on the 1st Sunday of the month and plus on the 3rd Sunday. Every dance begins with advance pre-rounds from 6:30pm - 7:00pm followed by the dance from 7:00pm - 9:00pm. On 1st Sundays, if there are enough plus dancers, we have a plus tip at 9:00pm.
The Freewheelers have been most fortunate to have many highly dedicated members who have devoted a lot of their time and energy throughout the existence of the club and have kept the club running smoothly. The current Board is Randy Lewis, President; Carol Harris, Vice President; Penny Curtis, Secretary; and Tom Corning, Treasurer.